Spring, summer, winter or fall: Head out of the house, out of town and into Arizona's treasured parks for a chance at true adventure. For a truly immersive experience, make it an extended visit with a stay a nearby campground or cabin.
Wherever you are, cast your eyes to the sky at night for the best stargazing opportunities around. Arizona is home to more certified Dark Sky Places than any other U.S. state. And no country outside the U.S. can rival the state's 14 dark-sky communities and parks.
Fishing, swimming and sports
In southern Arizona, you'll discover Patagonia Lake State Park, a relaxing sanctuary thriving with wildlife, fishing and gentle sandy beaches. At night, enjoy the cool evening breezes while you relax around a crackling campfire. For those farther out west in the state, search no further for premier bass fishing than Alamo Lake State Park, about 80 miles northwest of Wickenburg.
During the summer, as temperatures rise, cool off in Arizona's natural water slide. Grab your swimsuit, towel, and sunscreen to spend the day in the refreshingly shallow waters at Slide Rock State Park in Sedona.
Water sports enthusiasts will enjoy the 45-mile-long lake at Cattail Cove State Park near Lake Havasu City. Clear, blue waters are ideal for water skiing, tubing and boating out on the open lake. Drift into a quiet cove to fish for small, largemouth and striped bass, channel and flathead catfish, bluegill and crappie. Geology lovers will find paradise by exploring the volcanic rock, geodes, jaspers, obsidian, turquoise, and agate found at the park. Travel down the road a bit to enjoy the beautiful beaches, nature trails, and peaceful camping at Lake Havasu State Park.
If you're more of an indoor-outdoor person, don't miss Kartchner Caverns State Park in southern Arizona. Experience the stunning limestone, wide variety of unique minerals and formations of this "living" cave once voted "Best Cave" by USA Today. Tour guides unveil this captivating underground landscape during an unforgettable 90-minute tour that is entirely accessible for all abilities. Spend the day exploring the cave and escape into a relaxing campfire at the park's serene campground.
History buffs can experience life through the eyes of a frontier soldier at Fort Verde State Historic Park. Home to the best-preserved army fort from the post-Civil War era, visitors can venture back in time by exploring the furnished historic homes and four original adobe buildings.
If you journey west you'll discover the history behind Jerome, Arizona's copper boomtown, and the five C's that helped establish the small town. Explore Jerome State Historic Park's Douglas Mansion, a historic landmark built by James S. Douglas in 1916. The mansion was built on the hill above the Daisy Mine and is now a museum featuring photographs, artifacts, and minerals along with a 3D model of the town and underground mines.