Arizona is home to the breathtaking Grand Canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and the one place on everyone’s bucket list. About 5.9 million people visit it every year.
The Grand Canyon is one mile deep, 277 miles long (from end to end), and 18 miles wide. How big is that exactly? Bigger than the state of Rhode Island. The Grand Canyon National Park, a World Heritage Site, contains much of the Grand Canyon. The most popular way to enjoy the Grand Canyon is to visit the South Rim, 60 miles north of Williams, Arizona. For the more adventurous, a great way to experience it is to hike down into the canyon and spend a night at one of the campsites.
Lake Mead is another must-see destination in Arizona. At 110 miles long, it’s the largest artificial lake in the United States. It holds nine trillion gallons of water. It’s an excellent place for boating, swimming, and fishing. Hoover Dam, which supplies water and electricity to the region and protects Southern California and Arizona from disastrous floods, holds back the lake.
Arizona is the only state in America where you’ll find four separate desert regions. The state’s climate is arid and semi-arid. Climate conditions vary due to the large differences in elevation within the state. Average annual precipitation ranges from three inches in the southwest at Yuma to about 40 inches in the White Mountains in east-central Arizona. The southwestern desert is hot, with summer daytime temperatures reaching up to 115ºF. In the winter, nighttime temperatures in the desert can be slightly below freezing, but elsewhere in the state, winter nights frequently drop into the 20s.
Arizona’s professional sports teams are all based in Phoenix. The Arizona Diamondbacks won the Major League Baseball World Series title in 2001. The other teams are the Phoenix Suns (NBA), Arizona Cardinals (NFL), Arizona Coyotes (NHL), and Phoenix Mercury (women's basketball, WNBA).
More than 7.279 million people call Arizona home. Phoenix, the state capital, is also the most populous city in Arizona. The Grand Canyon State’s income tax rate of 2.59% to 4.50% is below average. But the state’s sales tax rate of 5.60% to 11.20% is among the highest in the country. Overall, living in Arizona is fairly reasonable.
What we know today as Arizona was originally part of Spanish and Mexican territories. The area was ceded to the United States in 1848, and it became a territory in 1863. There’s uncertainty as to how the state got its name. Some historians think it came from a Basque phrase meaning “place of oaks,” while others suggest it’s a Papago Indian phrase meaning “place of the little spring.”