When it comes to epic beauty and dramatic diversity, no state compares to Arizona. These 10 Must Visit Arizona State Parks will help you see everything from beautiful desert to beautiful lakes and lush forests.
Love to visit Arizona State Parks? We have some beautiful ones here in Arizona – and thankfully the National Park Service has several FREE National Park Visit Days each year that we can use to visit, too!
If you haven’t experienced some of the better Arizona State Parks, we rounded up 10 amazing opportunities to visit – from the Petrified Forest to the Grand Canyon and the Biosphere, there is something for every area of the state.
10 Must Visit Arizona State Parks
If you frequent our National Parks throughout the year with your family, you can score an Annual Pass for as low as FREE depending on what your status is. That annual pass will help you visit any of these Arizona State Parks for as low as free.
If you are Military, or Disabled you can score a FREE National Parks & Federal Recreation Lifetime Lands Pass .. the same pass is also FREE for Disabled, and those who have Volunteered 250 + hours.
The Grand Canyon National Park is the 15th oldest national park in the U.S.and located in northwestern Arizona, It’s considered one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.
The park covers 1,217,262 acres of unincorporated area in Coconino and Mohave Counties..
You can visit the park through the South Rim and Desert View, 365 days a year. They have free ranger programs for kids, and you can walk and hike the park to follow any of the trails (with permit). The North Rim is open May to mid-October, and offers mule trips and day hikes, too.
The cost is $25 per private vehicle or, $12 per person on foot. Find the park by traveling 60 miles north of Williams, on Rt 64 from I-40, and 80 miles northwest of Flagstaff on Rt 180.
Buckskin Mountain State Park is located along the 18 mile stretch between Parker and Headgate Dam – with mountains on both sides. They have mountain hikes, a desert escape, and water adventures – as well as cabana sites, campground, hiking, and showers.
One mile north is River Island State Park (great for camping!) The parks are located on north Highway 95.
One of the BEST places to fish for bass in Arizona, the lake is located in the Bill Williams River Valley in Wenden, Arizona. The park has great wildlife viewing, and outdoor fun – bass fishing and relaxation. Stargazers find this state park amazing too – the nearest city lights are 40 miles away.
You can pitch a tent, or, you can rent a cabin – they accept long term camping reservations. Park entrance is $7 per vehicle.
The Biosphere 2 is an Earth Systems research facility in Oracle, Arizona – owned by the University of Arizona. The Biosphere 2 was originally meant to demonstrate the viability of closed ecosystems to support & maintain human life. It has several biome areas, including a rain forest, ocean with coral reef, mangrove wetlands, a grassland, a desert, an agricultural system, and a human habitat.
The Biosphere is located in Oracle, Arizona, at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
This U.S. National Park is located in Navajo and Apache Counties in Northwest Arizona.
The Petrified Forest has one of the world’s largest and most colorful concentration of petrified wood.. .. the park covers 170 square miles, and encompasses semi-desert shrub and beautiful badlands. Half of the park is designated as wilderness.
The Petrified Forest is a wonderful place to visit if you are driving on the 1-40 to or from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Located in Northern Arizona, and stretching through southern Utah, the Lake Powell State Park is part of the Colorado River – it has 2,000 miles of shoreline.
You can rent a houseboat, stay at the campground or stay in their lodging (they even have guided expeditions!) You can visit their site for special offers on camping and lodging, directions to the park and local events.
Roper Lake State park is out near Safford – it’s ideal for sail boards, and boats with small, electric motors. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout and largemouth bass… alongside desert vegetation and a fishing dock.
Roper Lake has 30 lake surface acres, a boat ramp, natural stone hot tub, a swimming beach, a day use island with picnic tables and grills, camping cabins, and campgrounds. Reservations are available for camping cabins and select campsites.
Park entrance is $7 per vehicle, and camping fees are available.
Rainbow Bridge is one of the world’s largest bridges in the world — the park encompasses 160 square acres of land. It’s a small park that is open year round.
Access to the National Monument is only by boat or, backpacking from Navajo Mountain. Permits are available.
Located in Sedona, the park is originally the Pendley Homestead – a 43 acre apple farm in Oak Creek Canyon. Frank L. Pendley established a unique irrigation system that they still use at the park today. It’s now named one of America’s top 10 Swimming Holes – per the travel channel.
The park is named after Slide Rock – a stretch of slippery creek next to the homestead. You can wade along the creek or slide down a water chute.
Admission is $20 per vehicle, Monday to Thursday or, $30 per vehicle Friday – Sunday — that’s for 1 to 4 adults. Additional people are more.
Tonto Bridge State Park is located in Payson, off highway 87 – 10 miles north of the city of Payson.
The bridge is the largest travertine bridge in the world – it stands 183 feet high over a 400 ft long tunnel. It’s a wonderful place to take kids and is even better for a day trip. You can stand on top of the bridge or hike down below.
Did you like these ideas? If you did, don’t miss our previous posts, too!