Check Off Your 2018 BUCKET LIST in ARIZONA. A New Year always brings reflection on missed-opportunities, thoughts of new goals, and aspirations toward new adventures. Why not use your time in Arizona to achieve some of your loftiest dreams of memorable moments? Here are just a few of the exciting things you can do in our amazing state that might have made it on your 2018 bucket list.
- See the Grand Canyon
It’s a bit of a ‘no-brainer’ when you’re in the Grand Canyon State, to see the natural wonder that spans 277 miles and is more than a mile deep. But consider this: there are multiple ways to see the majestic grandeur of the canyon. From hiking, to mule rides, to rafting on the Colorado River, to hitting the railway on a scenic train ride — the choices seem endless. Excellent modes of transport to consider are: Arizona Scenic Tours (www.ArizonaScenicTours.com) where you can be fully immersed in your role of passenger and sightseer; Pink Jeep Tours (www.pinkjeeptours.com) where you can rumble through to stopping points in the canyon that other visitors can’t get to while trekking in an open air vehicle with an adventurous guide; Walking on a glass bridge over the canyon (GrandCanyonWest.com) that takes you 70 feet beyond the rim to view the amazing 4,000 foot depths below; and getting the ultimate bird’s eye view on an aerial tour of the world’s most spectacular gorge from Sedona Air Tours (SedonaAirTours.com).
- Go on a Rugged Adventure
Who doesn’t want to add a little adventure to 2018? Arizona has a myriad of opportunities for outdoor escapades. With 35 Arizona State Parks to choose from, hikers are sure to find a challenging trail system to explore (www.azstateparks.com). Less than an hour from Phoenix, you can have an off-roading adventure in the Sonoran Desert (complete with outdoor shooting if you desire) with Stellar Adventures (www.stellaradventures.com). If a water excursion is what you’re after, consider a guided or unguided kayak tour on one of Arizona’s many lakes and rivers with South By Southwest (www.sbswest.com), or head down to beautiful Bartlett Lake Marina (www.bartlettlake.com) just an hour from Phoenix to rent a pontoon, ski boat or party yacht. Still another option to enjoy the great outdoors is a relaxing scenic lake cruise on The Desert Belle (www.desertbelle.com) or The Dolly Steamboat (www.dollysteamboat.com).
- Go Back in Time
People want to turn back the clock for a multitude of reasons, but if you’ve got an affinity for all things historical, then Arizona is a great place to explore. Arizona is known for its wild west appeal and we’ve got ghost towns and ancient relics galore.
- Take A Walk on The Wild Side
If wildlife habitats fascinate you, we have many in Arizona worth checking out. In addition to our world class Phoenix Zoo (www.phoenixzoo.org) which is one of the largest non-profit zoos in the US, there is also Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park (www.wildlifeworld.com) in Litchfield Park, AZ, complete with rides and a petting zoo. A little farther North in Williams, AZ you will find Bearizona (www.bearizona.com) where you can drive through animal habitats, or stroll around the grounds and take in their birds of prey show. If you’ve been dreaming of an African Safari, Out of Africa Wildlife Park (www.outofafricapark.com) in Camp Verde, AZ offers VIP tours in an all-terrain safari vehicle. An experienced guide will bring you through the animal park and you can even feed raw meat to a tiger. If an animal encounter is on your bucket list, you can certainly satisfy your wild desire here in Arizona.
- Hit It Big
Winning a ton of money is on everyone’s bucket list, isn’t it? If you want to try your luck at one of Arizona’s casino and entertainment destinations, here are a few great options: Hon-Dah Resort-Casino (www.Hon-Dah.com) is in the pine tree laden Northern Arizona town of Pinetop; Talking Stick Resort and Casino (talkingstickresort.com) is a true nightlife and entertainment destination; Desert Diamond Casino – West Valley (www.ddcaz.com/west-valley) has classic gaming and lots of special discounts; Cliff Castle Casino (www.cliffcastlecasinohotel.com) is conveniently located between Phoenix and Flagstaff, just a quick drive from Sedona, and boasts the largest non-smoking gaming area in Arizona as well as a bowling alley. If you make it to the very southwestern tip of Arizona, you can take a chance at Cocopah Casino (www.cocopahresort.com) a player’s oasis in Yuma, Az.
- Take Flight
If you’ve always wanted to fly, there are many ways to take to the sunny skies of Arizona. Whether you’re ramping up to take the plunge from 10,000 feet (skydiveaz.com), or testing your courage at an indoor skydiving center (iflyworld.com). If zip lining has the thrill-factor you’re looking for, check out Predator Zip line (predatorzipline.com) and soar over the animals at Out of Africa Wildlife Park. For a once-in-a-lifetime ride in an authentic warbird, you can book a flight for yourself or the aviation buff in your life at Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum (www.azcaf.org). And the experience that should be — and probably is — on everyone’s bucket list, is taking a hot air balloon ride while watching an Arizona sunset. Two great ballooning companies to consider for those breathtaking views are Hot Air Expeditions (www.hotairexpeditions.com) and Aerogelic Ballooning (www.aerogelicballooning.com).
- Have An Aquatic Encounter
Deep sea diving may be a stretch in the desert, but that doesn’t mean an underwater adventure is out of the question in Arizona. For a full-immersion scuba simulation, visit OdySea Aquarium (www.odyseaaquarium.com) and swim with a myriad of marine life on their SeaTREK Helmet Diving experience. To swim with and ride on dolphins, Dolphinaris (www.dolphinaris.com) is a must-do. Yes, we have water in Arizona, so come explore it!
What are you waiting for? As all years do, 2018 will pass by in an instant! Start making those memories.
~ Serena Webbe, Editor