The tourism industry in ARIZONA has, literally, one colossal advantage – the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, the single most awe-inspiring spectacle in a land of unforgettable geology. Several other Arizona destinations have a similarly abiding emotional impact, however, thanks to the sheer drama of human involvement in this forbidding but deeply resonant desert landscape.

Over a third of the state still belongs to Native Americans, who outside the cities form the majority of the population. In the so-called Indian Country of northeastern Arizona, the Navajo Nation holds the stupendous Canyon de Chelly and dozens of other Ancestral Puebloan ruins, as well as the stark rocks of Monument Valley. The Navajo surround the homeland of the stoutly traditional Hopi, who live in remote mesa-top villages. The third main group, the Apache, in the harshly beautiful southeastern mountains, were the last Native Americans to give in to the overwhelming power of the American invaders.

The southern half of the state holds ninety percent of its people and all its significant cities. State capital Phoenix, a five-hundred-square-mile morass of shopping malls and tract-house suburbs, is larger and duller than lively Tucson, while there’s some great frontier Americana in the southeast corner, especially in Tombstone.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Why California should be your next family holiday

Why California should be your next family holiday

When it comes to kids, the Golden State certainly lives up to its name – California is one paradise of a playground. Go now and you’ll find the sights quie…

19 Feb 2018 • Keith Drew insert_drive_file Article
Los Angeles or San Francisco: which should you visit first?

Los Angeles or San Francisco: which should you visit first?

They’re two of the biggest cities in the United States. They’re two of the most famous cities in the world. Los Angeles and San Francisco have been written…

29 Jan 2018 • Keith Drew insert_drive_file Article
The best national parks in California

The best national parks in California

California has more national parks than anywhere else in the United States; together they protect an area the size of West Virginia. And with such a wealth of …

25 Jan 2018 • Keith Drew insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right