Whether you are a local Arizonian or a traveler from another state or country, strange and fascinating sites all over Arizona will excite your travel bug. When planning your 2023 travel itinerary, we recommend adding these unique vacation destinations to your bucket list.
Are you traveling with a group of people? Skip the confusion of multiple cars, designated drivers, and off-the-beaten-path map reading by booking a private shuttle bus. By scheduling private transportation, your group can relax and enjoy the trip at an affordable price. Additionally, booking an entire condo or house on Airbnb or VRBO is an excellent way to reduce accommodation costs while keeping your entire group close!
Unique Arizona Vacation Stops
1. Mystery Castle
Mystery Castle was self-built by a man whose motivations remain unknown. One day, he disappeared, abandoning his wife and young child. But, for 15 years, he built this mysterious castle; not by conventional means though. He used mortar made of cement and goat milk and materials such as stone, automobile scraps, railroad tracks, and even telephone poles. In the end, he had a castle but disappeared soon after, leaving it in the care of his bewildered family. With 18 rooms and numerous parapets, the Mystery Castle is worth taking a trip out of Phoenix to see.
2. Yayoi Kusama Firefly Infinity Mirror Room
Officially called “You Who Are Getting Obliterated in the Dancing Swarm of Fireflies,” this exhibit is a fascinating section in the Phoenix Art Museum. Designed by the eclectic Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, it is a 25-foot square space with mirror-lined walls, polished black granite flooring, a black plexiglass ceiling, and 250 dangling LED lights that alternate in color to make you feel as though you are dancing through a midnight meadow with fireflies at your fingertips.
3. Pumpkin Spring Pool
While there are plenty of springs around Arizona where you can take a quick dip, this pool in Littlefield is deadly! So how did it get such an adorable name? Well, the pool looks like a giant pumpkin! However, pouring over the side of the lip is arsenic-tainted murky green water, giving the pool distinctive vertical stripes that add to the pumpkin vibe. While you certainly shouldn’t touch it, Pumpkin Spring Pool is an excellent site to see when traveling the Colorado River.
4. Flintstones Bedrock City
Yabba Dabba Do! If you are a fan of the old Flintstones cartoons, you’ll enjoy a visit to the prehistoric family in Williams, Arizona. Bedrock City is a Flintstones-themed amusement park and campground where you can watch the cartoons in the theater, visit the main character’s homes, and eat at Fred’s Diner. While it was almost converted into a raptor eco-ranch, public outcry convinced the new owners to keep the park open for generations more to enjoy.
5. Titan Missile Museum
Located in Green Valley, Arizona, the Titan Missile Museum it is the only megaton missile silo from the Cold War open to the public. The bleak, sterile, and outdated area takes you back in time to share what it would be like to be at-the-ready to launch a strike against America’s enemies. While the missile set-up is a training missile (the real one was removed when the museum was opened), it is fascinating to see the inner workings of the control room and how the living quarters for a post-nuclear strike were designed. Fun fact: the missile originally at The Title Missile Museum was ready and aimed; however, the attendants in charge of the launch were never told where it was aimed, and it remains top-secret to this day.
6. Rose Tree Museum
Do you love roses? If so, you need to head over to the Rose Tree Museum in Tombstone, Arizona, to see the largest rose bush in the world. Behind the museum, which also features a fun display of historical artifacts, is the real wonder. Planted in 1885 from a cutting of a Landy Banksia Rose that had been sent from Scotland, the bush has grown and grown and grown. The canopy of the bush covers 5,000 feet of space, supported by various wood and steel pillars since the weight is beyond extreme. Of course, the best time to visit would be during the blooming season from March to April.
7. Colossal Cave
You can’t tour Arizona without hitting a cave or two along the way. Colossal Cave is particularly fascinating since it is a dry cave. What does that mean? Since the water source is no longer active in the cave, the geological formations are at a standstill, essentially stuck in time. Extending 600 feet into the mountain, the cave became famous for the mummified bodies of two members of the Hohokam Nation who were found there, and then as a hideout for robbers who supposedly used the cave to stash gold. Now, it is a lovely, safe place to tour as a part of the larger Colossal Cave Mountain Park!