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Things to Do in Arizona - page 4

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Glen Canyon Dam
8 Tours and Activities

In 1964 the roaring waters of the Colorado River needed to be tamed, so the towering 710-foot-high Glen Canyon Dam was built and nearby Lake Powell created. The 186-miles long lake is the second largest manmade lake in the country and took17 years to fill to capacity.

Today, Lake Powell attracts some 3 million tourists every year. The site has become a popular destination for houseboats and waterskiing because of its placid waters and incredible views. Each marina has its own public picnic area and houseboats are available for rent. Lenient park rules mean visitors can set up camp almost anywhere, too.

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Tempe
6 Tours and Activities

If you’re hoping for a getaway filled with warm, sunny days, hit the road to Tempe. With 330 days of sunshine each year and an average temperature of 85 degrees, just thinking about Tempe can make you feel warm.

The combination of nice weather and 50 parks make spending time outside easy. Papago Park has more than 13 miles of hiking and biking trails and Tempe Beach Park boasts 25 acres of recreation space, while cyclists love Tempe’s 175 miles-plus of dedicated bikeways. Tempe is home to Arizona State University. Just North of ASU is Tempe Town Lake, a popular spot for boating, kayaking, fishing and rowing. An assortment of water toys are available for visitors to rent. Shoppers flock to The Mill Avenue District and its more than 100 shops, restaurants and bars.

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McDowell Sonoran Preserve
1 Tour and Activity

If there’s a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, McDowell Sonoran Preserve just might be it. With more than 30,000 acres, including the McDowell Mountains, visitors can hike it, bike it or even climb it.

With more than 120 miles of trails, picking which way to go can be tough, so ask the experts. Most mornings McDowell Sonoran Conservancy Pathfinders are on duty at the Brown's Ranch Trailhead, Gateway Trailhead, Lost Dog Wash Trailhead, Sunrise Trailhead and Tom’s Thumb Trailhead. Pathfinders have all sorts of information and suggestions to insure a fun, safe day on the trails.

Fit families will enjoy the way the Family Passport keeps everyone moving together. Scavenger hunts for animal tracks, rocks and other nature provided attractions can provide inspiration for hours of exploring. When you visit five Preserve trailheads (Gateway, Lost Dog, Sunrise, Tom’s Thumb and Brown’s Ranch) and get your passport stamped you’ll win a Preserve bandana.

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Tuzigoot National Monument
9 Tours and Activities

The Tuzigoot National Monument is made up of the remains of a pueblo building on a hilltop outside of Clarkdale, Arizona.

Built and occupited by the Sinagua people from roughly 1000 to 1400 C.E., the Tuzigoot village buildings include some with two or three stories. The ruins cover 42 acres, and you can see pithouses (entered via ladders through doors cut into the roof) and petroglyphs. There are other Sinagua ruins in the area, but this is the largest. There are artifacts recovered from the excavations of the Tuzigoot site on display in the visitor center.

The name “Tuzigoot” is an Apache word, and the site was named by an Apache who was on the archaeological excavation crew in the 1930s when the site was found. The name means “crooked water,” referring to a nearby river.

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Lake Pleasant Regional Park
2 Tours and Activities

With 114 miles of shoreline, the hard thing about a visit to Lake Pleasant is making up your mind what to do first. The lake is a great spot for a variety of water sports. Along with a 10-lane boat ramp, Lake Pleasant offers a full-service marina equipped to handle 1,000 boats. Sport fishing is very popular. A nice variety of fish including white bass, largemouth bass, striped bass, channel catfish, and black crappie swim in Lake Pleasant. Wildlife viewing includes Bald Eagles.

But you don’t have to be wet to enjoy Lake Pleasant. With numerous overlooks and seven miles of trails, hiking and biking are popular with visitors. Add 450 picnic sites and parking for 200 vehicles to the list and it’s hard to go wrong. In addition to 165 campsites, there is also a visitor center and a desert education center at Lake Pleasant.

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Bearizona Wildlife Park
1 Tour and Activity

There’s a certain thrill when a wild animal suddenly appears on a road trip. In most cases you see it, you reach for the camera, and before you know it, it’s gone. At the Bearizona Wildlife Park, however, outside Williams, Arizona, driving the compound is like experiencing that thrill on repeat every couple of minutes, as bears, wolves, Dall’s sheep, and mule deer appear out the window of your car. On the three mile long, self drive adventure, visitors will experience numerous encounters you would never expect up close—so much so that it’s required you keep the windows up at all times. Watch as a black bear lumbers through the forest or a wolf sneaks slowly through the grass, or Bighorn sheep, bison, and burros graze in the forested setting. In winter, many of the animals are covered in snow and the forest is a whitewashed wonderland, and you can get to experience an American safari and still use the heater in your car.

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More Things to Do in Arizona

Mill Avenue

Mill Avenue

Named for the flour mill that still grinds away at the northern end of the strip, Mill Avenue is the Phoenix magnet for bar-hoppers and night owls.

Its position near Arizona State University in downtown Tempe ensures a constant stream of lively fun-seekers and a somewhat bohemian atmosphere. Designers sell their wares in boutiques here, and it’s the hub for fairs and festivals. Take your pick from frat-house college bars, chill-out patios, brew pubs, wine bars, pool halls, brasseries, piano bars and DJ lounge bars.

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Saguaro Lake

Saguaro Lake

Located just outside of Phoenix, Saguaro Lake is the westernmost lake in the Salt River Project – a series of reservoirs on the Salt River, which include the famous Roosevelt Dam, built in order to sustain agricultural activities in the area and to provide drinking water to the Phoenix metropolitan area. Today, the lake is a recreational area famous for its fishing and its stunning scenery, characterized by Arizona’s signature cactus trees (the lake was, after all, named after the Saguaro Cactus) and dramatic landscapes of Stewart Mountain.

Saguaro Lake is the fourth reservoir of the Salt River Project, and is formed by the Stewart Mountain Dam. At 1264 hectares large and 90 feet deep, Saguaro Lake makes for a prime destination for fishing enthusiasts; rainbow and brown trout, several types of bass, crappie, sunfish, channel catfish and carp are found abundantly in the lake, which is regularly stocked by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

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Phantom Ranch

Phantom Ranch

One of the most remote hotels in the Grand Canyon, Phantom Ranch serves as a rustic, idyllic respite adventures who visit the bottom of the canyon. Even getting here is one of the purest ways to experience the canyon: the ranch is only accessible by floating down the Colorado River, by hiking, or by riding a mule.

Phantom Ranch offers nine, simple, stone-walled cabins, all of them air conditioned. This is truly Canyon living: the inside of each cabin as a concrete floor, desk, a toilet, sink, and bunk beds. Outside the cabins, picnic tables sit under cottonwood trees. It’s the only park lodging below the rim. The location is perfect, especially if you’re exploring Ribbon Falls and the River Trail, or if you just want to relax and read. The canteen is a popular spot for hotel guests as well as from the nearby Bright Angel Campground.

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Homolovi State Park

Homolovi State Park

Birdwatching, hiking and Hopi history brings visitors to Homolovi State Park. More than 300 archaeological sites are located in the area, and the visitor center features historical exhibits and interpretative programs year round.

With more than 4,000 acres, and an elevation of close to 5,000 feet, Homolovi is known as an excellent spot for birdwatching. Some of the birds visitors may see include the northern harrier, redtail hawks, golden eagles, kestrals, horned larks, roadrunners, ravens and burrowing owls. Hiking trails in the park are short, the longest being 1.5 miles, but many allow hikers access to archaeological sites.

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Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

Respecting wildlife and conserving its habitat is what the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center strives to teach its guests with every visit. The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC) rescues native wild animals and whenever possible rehabilitates and releases them back into the wild. No animal is turned away. Animals that can no longer live in the wild stay at the Conservation Center Sanctuary. SWCC has rehabilitated thousands of animals and more than 70 percent have been successfully released back into the wild.

Guided tours offer visitors a chance to learn about and get an up-close view of some of the permanent residents. Along with Mountain lions, bobcats and black bears, you might also see porcupines, Great horned owls or even catch a rare glimpse of an endangered Mexican gray wolf.

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