Skip to Content

25 Interesting Facts About Arizona (Updated for 2023)

25 Interesting Facts About Arizona (Updated for 2023)

One of the best things about the Western United States is some of the most beautiful nature in the world. When you love the outdoors and wildlife, you will love Arizona. The Grand Canyon State hosts mountains among a desert landscape.

25 Fun Facts About Arizona

The Copper State borders other beautiful states including California, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico. It is best known for its influences from Native Americans and historical significance.

Whether you want to visit Sedona and its red rocks or Phoenix and its Desert Botanical Museum, Arizona hosts a wide variety of attractions for everyone to enjoy.

1. It Wasn’t A State Until 1912.

A road sign that says Arizona Centennial 1912 2012.

ARIZONA, UNITED STATES – 09 AVRIL 2018 : Vintage Arizona sign/top photographer/Shutterstock

Originally a part of Mexico, it was seized during the Mexican-American War when the United States obtained half of its land. While the land was first ceded in 1848, it didn’t formally become the 48th State in the Union until 1912.

Before Mexico owned it, it was owned by Spain, which is why so many of its cities, memorials, and landmarks are Spanish.

2. Yes, It Does Snow Here Too.

While we can’t say that it’s a place to visit to ski in the winter, snowfall does occur in some of the states. The state receives five or fewer inches annually, mostly in the northern highlands like Flagstaff or even Sedona.

3. Access To Water Is In Jeopardy.

Water is difficult to transport and currently, 36% of its water supply comes from the Colorado River. The river has been experiencing shortages due to climate change, which is a sound of alarm for many residents. Projected trends suggest there may be a severe shortage in the next years or decades.

4. Phoenix Is The Hottest American City.

The average temperature in Phoenix from June to September is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. While low humidity, the heat is relentless, making it the hottest city across the United States. The town plans on planting more trees which will offer some shade and a cooling effect too.

5. It Doesn’t Follow Daylight Savings Time.

A huge clock on the building wall that points to 2 o'clock and has the label Arizona Time.

Water intake tower with a clock showing Arizona time on the Arizona side of the historic Hoover Dam – Las Vegas, Nevada, USA – 2020/Michael Vi/Shutterstock

While the state did follow the rest of the country in observing Daylight Savings Time (DST) during both World War I and II, that ended when the wars finished.

The truth is that the state just doesn’t need an extra hour of sunlight at night. Arizona remains in the Mountain Standard Time since 1968 while the Navajo Nation does observe DST.

6. It Has Its Own London Bridge.

You’ll find a piece of the London Bridge that once stood over the River Thames in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Built in 1831 from granite, it was once the busiest part of London.

When it was decided it would be replaced, Missouri real estate developer, Robert P. McCulloch decided to buy it from London and place it here which he founded.

7. It Was Ahead Of The Times For Women’s Suffrage.

While the Women’s Suffrage Movement traces back to Seneca, New York, Arizona was lesser known for its impact on the movement.

Thanks to activists like Josephine Brawley Hughes or Frances Willard Munds rallied support with speeches and pamphlets and actually gave the women the right to vote in the year that Arizona became an official U.S. state in 1912. This was eight years before the 19th Amendment was ratified.

8. Pluto Was Discovered Here.

Now considered a dwarf planet, Pluto was first discovered in 1930 at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff. Clyde Tombaugh, a young astronomer, discovered it using an astrograph and previous predictions from other scientists.

He captured and compared images of the sky for consecutive nights to confirm the discovery.

9. Rocks In Grand Canyon Are Older Than Dinosaurs.

A view from the plains where the bottom of a canyon can be seen.

Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock

Yes, it’s no secret that the Grand Canyon is a wonder of the world, but it’s also historic. It provides a unique look at prehistoric creatures, however, its rocks are even older than these fossils.

10. It’s Home To The Wettest Deserts Across The Globe.

I know this is definitely an unusual fact, but according to the Guinness Book of World Records the Sonora desert is known as the wettest desert in the world. It receives anywhere from 4 to 12 inches each year. In this desert, temperatures can surpass 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

11. Arizona Is Home To More Rattlesnakes Than Any Other State.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department reports that 13 different rattlesnake species live here, which is more than any other state. Only 36 different species exist and ⅓ of them live in Arizona. The good news is that a rattlesnake bite has only resulted in less than 1% of deaths.

12. Yes, They Have Monsoons There Too!

While one of the hottest and driest states, it does have a monsoon season. While usually associated with coast and water, it does mostly rely on wind, which is optimal in a desert climate.

The heating of Arizona helps to create wind shifts that push moisture from the Pacific inland. This can lead to extreme weather conditions, primarily from July to September.

13. It Was Home To The First McDonald’s Drive-Thru.

A Mcdonald's Drive-Thru where can be seen waiting for their orders.

McDonald’s drive thru service. Minsk, Belarus, 2022/8th.creator/Shutterstock

The first drive-thru was created in Sierra Vista in 1975 where its franchise owner carved a hole in the side of his restaurant to help customers order food while in their vehicles. By the end of 1979, more than half of the 5,000 McDonald’s in the country had one.

Talk about a revolutionary idea!

14. Supai Arizona Delivers Mail By Mule.

The Havasupai, a community of Indigenous People in the Grand Canyon, receive mail and any supplies by mule.

15. The Oldest Living Woman To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro Hails From The Copper State.

Anne Lorimor climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest freestanding mountain at 89. She is not a professional climber and even fell at the beginning of her climb, but continued to push on to complete the accomplishment.

16. It Has The Most Federally Recognized American Indian Tribes And Percentage Of Land Designated To Them.

Nearly 27% of its land is tribal land or more than 20 million acres. The Navajo Nation is the largest reservation in the United States and comprises 27,000 square miles.

It is bigger than the states of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts combined. The Tohono O’odham Nation found in Southeastern Arizona is the second-largest reservation.

17. It Was Home To The Family Circus Comic Creator, Bill Keane.

Portrait of the famous creator of The Family Circus cartoon, Bill Keane.

Cartoonist Bill Keane, creator of The Family Circus cartoon photographed in his Paradise Valley, Arizona home studio in the mid 1980s./Kent Sievers/Shutterstock

The Family Circus comic launched in 1960. It was created by Bill Keane from Paradise Valley until his death in 2011. Since then, his son, Jeff Keane, has taken over the role of its artist. The comic strip sometimes is set in Scottsdale.

18. Its Most Famous Criminal Is Responsible For Mandating Miranda Laws.

Ernesto Arturo Miranda was convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping, and rape charges based on his confession during a police interrogation.

It was set in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court, Miranda v. Arizona, which rules that suspects must be informed of their rights against self-incrimination and their right to consult with an attorney before being questioned. This is now known as the Miranda warning.

19. The Arizona Cardinals Are The Longest-Running Continuous NFL Franchise.

First known as the Morgan Athletic Club in 1898, they later became the Racine Street Cardinals. The American Professional Football Association, which was the NFL’s forerunner, started playing in 1920 and the Cardinals were a part of the organization and then later the NFL.

20. The Sun Shines 85% Of The Year, Higher Than Florida And Hawaii.

In Phoenix and Tucson alone, the sun shines more than the Sunshine and Aloha State. In Phoenix, there are 211 Sunny Days, but 296 days have some type of sun.

21. It’s Been A Popular Place To Film Movies.

A cowboy mounted on his horse while standing on top of a rock with the view of unique land formations.

Stefano Borsa/Shutterstock

Films like Planet of the Apes, Wayne’s World, Star Wars: A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, Casablanca, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom were all filmed partly or entirely on its soil.

22. Stevie Nicks Hails From Phoenix.

The Fleetwood Mac songstress who has been twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was born in Phoenix.

23. You Can Pay To Sleep 22 Stories Underground In The Grand Canyon Caverns.

In Peach Springs, for just a few hundred dollars a night, you can sleep that far underground for the experience. Obviously, it isn’t for the claustrophobic.

24. Cutting Down A Cactus Will Send You To Jail.

It’s a punishable offense in Arizona and the maximum jail term is 25 years. The saguaro cactus takes a long time to grow up to 50 feet tall and can live from 150–200 years. This is why the state authorities are so adamant about protecting its habitat.

25. It Has More National Monuments Than Any Other State.

Land formation that seems like several pile of rocks with trees at the bottom.

Zack Frank/Shutterstock

Arizona has 19 National Monuments all of which protect natural resources, land, wildlife, or culture. The Chiricahua National Monument is located in Southeastern Arizona.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Arizona expensive to live?

The cost of living in the Grand Canyon State is about six percent higher than the national average. However, the cost of housing and daily necessities can vary depending on where in Arizona you live.

What is Arizona best known for?

Its most iconic feature is definitely the Grand Canyon. However, it is also known as the Copper State as it hosts an abundance of this important mineral.

What foods is Arizona known for?

Fry bread is one of the most popular foods in Arizona, which is a dish from the Indigenous People. This flat-dough bread may be fried or deep-fried in lard, shortening, or oil. Other popular foods include the Chimichanga, Mesquite flour, Medjool dates, the Sonoran hot dog, and the Prickly Pear margarita.

Does Arizona get snow?

Parts of the state actually do get snow. The higher elevations found in the Northern and Southeastern parts of Arizona get snow most winters.

What was Arizona before it was a desert?

65 million years ago, the area was much less of a desert and more of a forest that took up most of North America. A variety of evergreen trees and ferns grew in this warm and wet environment.

Book Your Trip to Arizona Today!

After learning about all the beautiful terrain to explore and fun things to see in Arizona, it’s time to book your trip today to experience it for yourself. Happy travels!