Arizona is know as the Grand Canyon State after its most famous site, and offers stunning natural beauty. To the south, near Phoenix, Scottsdale and the capital Tucson, is the eerily beautiful Sonoran Desert, while further north the landscape rises through high desert plateaus to canyons and mountains, the kind romanticised by 'Wild West' cowboy films. Here the city of Flagstaff and Sedona attract the bulk of visitors. More than 25% of Arizona's land is given over to Native American reservation land and the state has several ancient Puebloan ruins.
Over in the Canyonlands, Monument Valley is an unmissable stopping point on the border with Utah. The soaring buttes of the Navajo Tribal Park are particularly spectacular, and unsurprisingly a filming location for many Western movies. Even the drive there is truly awe-inspiring: an emblematic loop of ochre sands and wide, empty, all-American roads – don't forget to stop at overlooks for panoramic vistas of the famous slopes of the Mittens buttes. Delights continue at Lake Powell that wouldn't look out of place in a sci-fi movie, with its bright blue waterways snaking among arid deserts and jutting rocks – the winding Horseshoe Bend is particularly impressive. Both rustic and luxury lodges abound – they're the perfect vantage point for hiking, swimming or boating, alongside both classic American and fine dining.
Phoenix is the gateway city to the Grand Canyon and as America's fifth largest city you're sure to find plenty to keep you amused. Stretching across the Salt River Valley, Phoenix started out as a farming town in the 1860s and today has many historic attractions as well as being filled with live music venues and rooftop lounges. Nearby Scottsdale was absorbed into Phoenix as it continued to grow and is famous for its designer stores, hotels, cafes and world-class gold courses. The quiet, tree-lined streets and desert setting attracted the visionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright to establish his winter studio, Taliesen West, here in 1937.