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Arizona is made for road trips. Yes, the state has its showstoppers – Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon, Cathedral Rock – but you'll remember the long, romantic miles under endless skies for as long as you do the icons in between. Each drive reveals a little more of the state's soul: for a dose of mom-and-pop friendliness, follow Route 66 into Flagstaff; to understand the sheer will of Arizona's mining barons, take a twisting drive through rugged Jerome; and American Indian history becomes contemporary as you drive past mesa-top Hopi villages dating back a thousand years.

Controversies about hot-button issues – immigration, gun control, education – have grabbed headlines recently. But these can't cancel out the Southwestern warmth and historical depth you'll find. And Arizona's ancient beauty reminds you that human affairs are short-lived. The majestic Grand Canyon, the saguaro-dotted deserts of Tucson and the red rocks of Sedona… They're here for the long term.

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