Arizona, United States

About Arizona

The State of Arizona is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. The capital and largest city is Phoenix. The five next largest cities are Tucson, Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, and Scottsdale. Arizona was the 48th and last of the contiguous states admitted to the Union on February 14, 1912. Arizona is noted for its desert climate, exceptionally hot summers, and mild winters, but the high country in the north features pine forests and mountain ranges with cooler weather than the lower deserts. Population figures for the 12-month period ending July 1, 2006 indicate that Arizona was at that time the fastest growing state in the United States, exceeding the growth of the previous leader, Nevada. Arizona is one of the Four Corners states, bordering New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, touches Colorado, and has a international border with the states of Sonora and Baja California in Mexico. In addition to the Grand Canyon, many other national forests, parks, monuments, and Indian reservations are located in the state.

Arizona Tourism and Recreation

Take a sunrise hike amid awe-inspiring scenery. Tour thousand-year-old ruins. Spy a rare hummingbird along a tranquil riverside. Or simply soak up some sunshine in January. There’s no shortage of things to do in Arizona.Tourism and travel is a leading industry in Arizona.

There are 22 national parks and monuments located entirely within Arizona. By far the most popular is Grand Canyon National Park. Petrified Forest National Park and Saguaro National Monument are also popular national parks. There are also 14 state parks that regularly attract over 1 million visitors per year.

Arizona offers excellent camping on both public and private land, and there are many farm vacation sites and dude ranches, particularly in the Tucson and Wickenburg areas. Popular for sightseeing and shopping are the state's Indian reservations, particularly those of the Navaho and Hopi. Boating and fishing on Lake Mead, Lake Powell, Lake Mohave, Lake Havasu, the Colorado River, and the Salt River lakes are also attractions. The red rock country of Sedona is a popular destination. There are also a number of resorts and spas across the state. Biosphere 2 in Oracle is another popular tourist attraction.

Arizona Climate

Weather in Arizona varies from region to region. In the desert areas, such as Phoenix and Scottsdale, peak season lasts from January through March when visitors flock to Arizona to enjoy warm sunny weather (average high temperatures are in the 60s and 70s). Remember to pack something warm since temperatures in the desert drop considerably at night.

In the mountainous regions, in the northern half of the state of Arizona, seasons are the opposite of the desert areas. Peak season is from June through August with average high temperatures in the 80s. Shoulder season is April to May, and September through December, while value season is from January through March.

The best vacation values in the desert areas become available during the shoulder season from April to May, and October through December with temperatures in the high 70s and 80s. Summers are very hot with high temperatures around 100 F - that is when resorts offer their rooms at rock bottom prices.

Arizona Transportaion

Main interstate routes include Interstate 17, and Interstate 19 running north-south, Interstate 40, Interstate 8, and Interstate 10 running east-west, and a short stretch of Interstate 15 running northeast/southwest through the extreme northwestern corner of the state. In addition, the various urban areas are served by complex networks of state routes and highways, such as the Loop 101, which is part of Phoenix's vast freeway system.

The Phoenix and Tucson metropolitan areas are served by public bus transit systems. Yuma and Flagstaff also have public bus systems. Greyhound Lines serves Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Yuma, and several smaller communities statewide.

Airports with regularly scheduled commercial flights include: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix; Tucson International Airport in Tucson; Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa; Yuma International Airport in Yuma; Prescott Municipal Airport in Prescott; Flagstaff Pulliam Airport in Flagstaff, and Grand Canyon National Park Airport, a small, but busy, single-runway facility providing tourist flights, mostly from Las Vegas. Phoenix Sky Harbor is currently 7th busiest airport in the world in terms of aircraft movements, and 17th for passenger traffic. Other significant airports without regularly scheduled commercial flights include Scottsdale Municipal Airport in Scottsdale, and Deer Valley Airport home to two flight training academies and the Nation's busiest general aviation airport.