Breaking News
More () »

105 great things to love about Arizona

On the state's "birthday", here are 105 reasons to be thankful for Arizona every single day. What did we miss?

Our beautiful state celebrates its 105th birthday this year.

Arizona is home to some of the most spectacular landscapes in the country -- the Grand Canyon's just the beginning.

From sprawling desert scenery to an epic professional sports roster and not to mention a culinary landscape that would make any foodie salivate. And don't even get us started on the sunsets.

PHOTOS: 12 photos that make us thankful to live in Arizona

On the state's "birthday", here are 105 reasons to be thankful for Arizona every single day:

1.) Our state is known as the nation's Valentine because it became a state on Feb. 14, 1912.

2.) One of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World and arguably the most awesome, the Grand Canyon, of course. Eleven reasons you should visit at least once.

3.) Sensational desert master pieces. Mother Nature loves Arizona, she paints amazing landscapes for us to enjoy and capture.

4.) Incredible sunsets. How many times have you found yourself leaving work and having to pause to take in the insanely colorful sunsets? They're just the best, aren't they?

5.) Haboobs, or more accurately, dust storms. Monsoon brings these crazy, suspenseful, but beautiful dust storms every once in a while.

6.) Snow. Yes! It snows in Arizona! If you need a change in scenery, just hop in the car and head up to Northern Arizona. Snow days are absolutely a thing in the high country during the winter season.

7.) Lakes. We actually have a decent water supply for being a desert state. Not to mention spring breaks and summers at Lake Havasu. (Arizona is among the states that issue the most boat licenses.)

8.) Not only is Lake Havasu a destination for cooling off, it’s also home to the London Bridge (which may be haunted) and more lighthouses than 15 states that have them.

9.) Public educational institutions. The University of Arizona, Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University are some of the most affordable and best public colleges in the country.

10.) Trails, lots of trails. No excuse to stay cooped up inside. Arizona has miles and miles of hiking trails. From novice to expert, every level of hiker can find something to explore.

11.) Carefree, Surprise, Paradise Valley? Who wouldn't want to live in cities with such great names. And if you're looking for Love, that's in Arizona too.

12.) The Wild West is still alive and well. And thanks to a rich history between Hollywood, Monument Valley and other parts of Arizona, it's been captured for generations to enjoy.

13.) We make the news ... a lot. Good or bad, Arizona consistently makes national headlines for various reasons. Whether it's the robust political climate or breakthrough research going on in the universities, there's always a story to tell about the people in the state.

14.) Tombstone. The place to be if you're Wyatt Earp. Seriously, he lived right here in Arizona in the little town of Tombstone.

15.) A frontier saloon that’s been around longer that Arizona has been a state. The Palace in Prescott, Arizona, opened its doors in 1877 and has transformed over the decades.

16.) Route 66. The iconic American byway runs through Arizona and is home to a number of attractions. The Jackrabbit Trading Post. The Wigwam Motel. The Dineosphere. To name a few.

17.) Cool state flag. Simple, straight-forward, eye-catching.

18.) The art of dashboard summer cookies. You've seen it. Cookies baking with the power of the sun. They're wonderful.

19.) Many of us might live in a desert, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t water. Right in the middle of the Valley, there’s a waterfall that provides power to residents and has a history as a vacation spot.

20.) White Mountain Waterfall trail. Hidden gem near the Grand Canyon.

21.) Horseshoe Bend. It's one of the five most instagrammed spots in the state.

22.) Lightning storms. Mother Nature's best light show right in your backyard.

23.) Critters. Scorpions, desert hares, even Jaguar, bobcat and mountain lion sightings. A lot of these creatures are native to the Arizona desert.

24.) Rattlesnakes. Arizona is home to more species of rattlesnakes – 13 in all – than any other state in the U.S.

25.) Sonoran hot dogs. Sonora in general has a berth of culture but the hot dogs are other-worldly.

26.) Sedona. It repeatedly makes travelers' bucket lists because of all the natural beauty. Singers, poets, photographers, yogis all take the "pilgrimage," if you will, to Sedona because some say the trip is nothing short of a spiritual awakening.

27.) World-class golf courses. Arizona uses quite a bit of water to maintain these top-notch courses. They vary in difficulty and level of play, but there are tons. The mild weather most of the year attracts some of the best golfers in the world. .

28.) Waste Management Open. Not only is it one of the toughest stops in the PGA Tour, it attracts a noteworthy crowd. Thousands show up to drink and play all day.

29.) Spas. Pick one. The list is endless, almost as long as the type of treatments you can find.

30.) No daylight-saving time.

31.) Pro teams. Phoenix is one of the few lucky cities with all of the major professional sports teams. The NFL's Arizona Cardinals, the NHL's Arizona Coyotes, the MLB's Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Suns ... and let's not forget FC Tucson. The soccer league is pivotal in the development of the soccer fan base in the United States.

32.) The Phoenix Suns Gorilla is one of the most iconic mascots in all of sports. Standing at five-foot 'ape' and hailing from the Banana Republic, here’s how he was chosen for the team.

33.) A lot of Olympic medals. Just this past year alone, 11 athletes with ties to Arizona won medals in Rio de Janeiro, including Michael Phelps record-breaking performance. He now lives in Scottsdale.

34.) That time the Diamondbacks beat the Yankees in the 2001 World Series. Epic.

35.) Spring training. The biggest names in baseball, sunny skies and a cold brew. It's the closest you can get to the stars at any point in the season.

36.) The Arizona Cardinals. There's just something gritty about this team. Not to mention it's the longest-running franchise in the NFL.

37.) The University of Arizona is the only college in the country with both a female and a male mascot and the two are actually a married couple. Wilbur and Wilma wed during a football game in 1986.

38.) Road trips! Get in the car, roll the windows down and drive. The roads are smooth and the scenery alone will keep you entertained, no matter the destination.

39.) PIR. Phoenix International Raceway! The NASCAR Series' makes a stop in the Valley every year and the crowds follow. Tucked at the edge of the White Mountains, the raceway offers some very cool views.

40.) People love coming here from all over the world! In 2015, 42.1 million people visited the state and spent a total of $21 billion, according to the Arizona Office of Tourism.

41.) People might just visit for Vitamin D. Arizona averages about 300 days of clear skies and sunshine a year.

42.) Speaking of gold, people have been searching the Superstitions for years for the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine. There’s even a society, founded in 1980, determined to find the secret location.

43.) The Northern Arizona Berringer Crater. It's one of the most well-preserved meteorite sites in the world.

44.) Our top secret history. You may have seen the mysterious Xs alongside Interstate 10 near Casa Grande. They were part of a government project during the Cold War, and their purpose was unknown for years.

45.) That’s not Arizona’s only secret. ASU is home to a secret garden. The courtyard between Dixie Gammage Hall and West Hall on the Tempe campus has become something of an icon.

46.) Adding to the state’s mystique: The Mystery Castle. Just minutes from downtown Phoenix, the home on South Mountain is unlike any other, a testament to a father’s love for his daughter.

47.) The I-17 mystery tree. Every holiday season someone decorates a tree alongside the freeway with ornaments, stuffed animals, flags and bows. That person(s)’s identity is still a mystery.

48.) Emma Stone. This is subjective, but she's sure made a splash in Hollywood. The actress was discovered shortly after she graduated from Xavier College Prep right here in the Valley.

49.) Aidy Bryant. The Saturday Night Live star might be in the Big Apple now, but she grew up in Phoenix.

50.) Lowell Observatory. Where Pluto was discovered!

51.) Light-pollution laws. Light pollution in Tucson, Flagstaff and parts of Phoenix is close to nonexistent. Astronomy and the night skies are actually a huge priority here.

52.) Pizza. The pizza scene here is said to give New York a serious run for its money.

53.) Culinary landscape. Foodies unite! The variety of eateries is unmatched. Not to mention the experience that comes with each unique cuisine.

54.) Art community. The art scene is thriving in the desert.

55.) Natural resources. Water from the Colorado River, salt deposits, copper reserves... we'll stop there, don't want to reveal all of our treasures for the taking.

56.) Prickly pear cactus. Make jam, cocktails, drinks. All delicious.

57.) Saguaro cacti. A staple of the Arizona landscape.

58.) Pools per capita. It's a lot, just look down whenever you fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.

59.) Grumpy Cat. Yep, she's from Glendale.

60.) The "LOVE" sculpture in Scottsdale. Great social media op.

61.) Native American population. Over a quarter of the state is reservation land and there are 22 federally recognized tribes, including most of the country's largest- the Navajo Nation.

62.) Arizona Wine Country. One of the desert's best kept secrets.

63.) Frank Lloyd Wright reportedly loved Arizona. He spent winters here.

64.) Sandra Day O'Connor, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice, grew up here.

65.) The cost of living is reasonable.

66.) Bike trails and runner's paradise. The racing season for avid bikers and runners is long. You'll be begging for a break by the time summer rolls around. Some of the best runners in the world train in Flagstaff due to the elevation, long season, beautiful weather and complex trails.

67.) Salt River tubing. Grab your friends, a lot of sunscreen, a cooler with refreshment and take a nice long drift down the Salt River.

68.) Less traffic. A mega-network of highways can take you anywhere in the Valley with traffic flow much friendlier than that of other big cities.

69.) Phoenix is a sprawling metropolis and steadily growing. Desert means there's room for everyone.

70.) The state was once home to camels. Seriously. Congress bought camels for the Army and some of them ended up in Arizona, according to the Smithsonian.

71.) Tempe is home to the main ASU campus, meaning it has all the qualities of a trendy college town. That includes great nightlife, accessible public transportation, affordable housing, a lot of school spirit and plenty of places to eat.

72.) The Boneyard. You may recognize it as the sight of an iconic scene from the "Transformers" movies. The location is real. The Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group at the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson is a mecca for plane enthusiasts.

73.) The Thing. If you’ve driven on I-10 between Phoenix and New Mexico, you’ve probably noticed the bright yellow billboards. It’s one of the weirdest roadside attractions in the country.

74.) Spicy everything. Hot foods -- especially with the help of jalapeño -- are a staple of every authentic Mexican-food menu in the Valley.

75.) Craft breweries. The efforts are huge in the industry. Dozens of breweries are springing to life all over the Valley.

76.) Phoenix consistently makes the cut for being one of the most fit cities in the country. All the miles of outdoor trails, plethora of gyms and wide range of fitness options are contributing factors.

77.) The annual bloom of wildflowers in the desert. It's actually really amazing.

78.) Twilight author Stephenie Meyer hails from Arizona. So does country singer Dierks Bentley, along with the timeless Stevie Nicks.

79.) Awesome concert venues. Outdoor or indoor, the concert lineup is packed year-round. Some of this year’s highlights: Metallica.

80.) Arizona is home to the country's oldest rodeo in Prescott, Arizona.

81.) Location, location, location. The Southwest is one of the most travel-friendly regions in the country. Your travel plans are usually safe.

82.) Low gas prices.

83.) Melting pot of people from all over the world. Young professionals, Snow Birds (vacationing senior citizens), families, college students, new business owners, there's a community for just about anyone.

84.) A potpourri of languages. You never know what language you will hear when walking down the street. Not to mention the dozens of endangered Native American languages spoken exclusively in Arizona, and the Navajo Code Talkers.

85.) Bolo ties are actually a thing. In fact, they're the official state tie.

86.) It's an outdoorsman's paradise. Camping, rock climbing, rafting, hiking, biking. You can do it all in a day.

PHOTOS: Prettiest Arizona pictures

87.) Desert rain is almost always followed by a rainbow.

88.) The dry heat of course.

89.) Bald eagles... because America.

90.) Pima Air & Space Museum. History buffs can take a closer look at U.S.-military-history-making planes.

91.) Winter is pretty great here. Wait, so is spring ... and fall! As for summer ... let's just call it a long pool season.

92.) Skydiving and other "jumping off stuff" activities. . (Zip lining, cliff jumping, base jumping, etc.)

93.) So. Many. Birds. 138 species to be exact.

94.) It's huge! Arizona is massive. It's the sixth-largest state after only Alaska, Texas, California, Montana and New Mexico.

95.) The Hoover Dam. It's a man-made wonder.

96.) Swimming year-round.

97.) Short but rich history. Arizona is celebrating its 105th anniversary of statehood. It's the youngest as the 48th state and last of the contiguous states.

98.) Scenery right in the heart of our capitol. The South Mountain Park is the largest municipal park in the U.S. and one of the largest in the world. The drive from downtown Phoenix is no more than 15 minutes.

99.) Biosphere 2. An Earth systems science research facility in Oracle, Arizona

100.) Our cool neighbors in California and Las Vegas.

101.) Country Thunder. Country fans flock to the desert once a year for one of the nation's biggest country music festivals.

102.) Festivals in general. Tequila, tacos, tattoos, craft beer ... every weekend brings forth a new showcase. Need something to do? There's always something going on around the state.

103.) Home to one of the oldest rivalries in college sports. Known as the Duel in the Desert, the battle for the Territorial Cup between the U of A Wildcats and the ASU Sun Devils is one of college football's longest-running rivalries. The birth of the rivalry goes all the way back to 1899.

104.) Tequila. It's an art. Mexican Moonshine, Cruz and Corrido were all born here.

105.) Public Forest & Public Lands take up most of the state. And Arizona is home to 22 national parks and monuments. Here’s a look at them all.

And a bonus: Because it's home!

Thanks, Arizona!

Before You Leave, Check This Out