Today’s post comes courtesy of Dave Porter with The Roaming Boomers. In 2006 David and his wife moved from Michigan to Arizona and haven’t looked back since. Although they admit there’s a lot to see and do in the Midwest, the endless sunshine and warm winters makes Arizona a great place for them to call home. Most people know about Arizona’s great weather, which is why David is sharing with us his favorite little known facts about his adoptive state.
#1 – Only 15% of Arizona’s land is privately owned
Arizona is the sixth largest state in area (113,998 square miles), and the sixteenth most populous of the states, yet only 15% is privately owned. The rest belongs to public forest and park lands, state trust lands, and Native American reservations.
This means that visitors to Arizona have vast tracts of land to explore including the Grand Canyon, the world’s largest stand of Ponderosa Pine, the beauty of the Sonoran desert with is world-renown Saguaro cactus and even the Lost Dutchman’s mine in the Superstition Mountains. The possibilities for natural exploration are boundless in the Copper State.
We’ve clocked hundreds of miles hiking, and thousands of miles driving the back roads of Arizona and haven’t even scratched the surface.
#2 – There are 22 Sovereign Native American Nations within the borders of Arizona
Fully one-quarter of the land space in Arizona belongs to 22 sovereign Native American nations. From the massive Navajo Nation in the northeast corner of the state (18,000 square miles), to the tiny Yavapai-Apache Nation (1 square mile), there is a long and proud tradition of honoring Native American heritage in the state. All of the various tribes are open about sharing their history and gladly welcome interested tourists.
#3 – Rattlesnake doesn’t taste like chicken
The Arizona state reptile is the ridge-nosed rattlesnake, which may or may not be the one featured in this photo I purchased for web use. However, many of our friends when considering a trip to Arizona will bring up the subject of rattlesnakes. It seems that more than quite a few people are scared to death of these things.
We’ve had a number of them in our yard and if you leave them alone they will in turn leave you alone. A local firefighter once told us that rattlesnakes bite only a handful of people each year and most of them were bitten because they were taunting the rattlesnake.
Every single time I have personally encountered a rattlesnake, the snake has made me aware of his presence long before I was near enough for him to strike. Oh, by the way, rattlesnake meat is sweet, and tastes more like alligator than chicken.
#4 – Untold thousands of people have mysteriously disappeared from Arizona
We’re not talking about mysterious alien abductions here or anything otherworldly. No, I’m talking about the long and mysterious history of Arizona’s oldest Native Americans tribes, the Hohokam, Anasazi and Sinagua people.
Somewhere around the 12th century these ancient peoples disappeared from Arizona and left thousands of remnants behind, in addition to a great mystery. This cliff dwelling is called Montezuma’s Castle and is one of the most famous of the mysterious ancient villages. The ruins are fascinating to visit and always leave the visitor wondering what happened to these important ancient peoples.
#5 – Arizona is the nation’s best place to visit for off-season travel
Arizona has 5 AAA Five-Diamond properties, and 45 AAA Four-Diamond properties. The best time to visit these luxurious resorts is in the summer when many people avoid the Arizona heat, and the properties offer deep discounts. It is very common to find rates for AAA Five-Diamond properties listed for around $100/night during the hot summer months; a perfect time to experience high-end luxury on a moderate budget.
Think about it, you’re just going to lay around the pool anyway, so why not enjoy these world-class resorts for 1/5th of the price! This just might be America’s greatest travel secret.
Shhhh. Don’t tell anyone. The locals love it for staycations!
Well, there you have it, five things I bet you didn’t know about Arizona. My advice: come visit. It’s a wonderful state.
Have you been to Arizona? What surprised you the most about the Copper State?