Arizona residents have no doubt the 48th state is great. Whether you hail from Flagstaff, Yuma, or somewhere in-between, there’s instant access to year-round sunshine within a short drive. We’re home to all four U.S. deserts. Not to mention mountains, red rocks, winter snowfall – and, of course The Grand Canyon. But Arizona also comes with a few quirks that outsiders may not understand.
Umbrellas in sunshine.
At the height of a southern Arizona summer when the cloud count is zero and Mr Sun is frying eggs on the sidewalk, you’ll often see locals wandering around town carrying umbrellas. Before you call for a straightjacket, spend five minutes in the blistering heat. We promise you’ll realize the genius of a “parasol.”
This isn’t The Wild West.
Ok, technically Arizona is home to a few modern-day cowboys working on dude ranches throughout the state. But if you’re expecting folks wandering around in chaps and Stetsons, turn on Longmire or Hell on Wheels. The only place you’ll find that here is at some tacky tourist trap like Tombstone.
Time (change) doesn’t exist here.
Daylight savings? Most of Arizona hasn’t observed this antiquated tradition since the 1960s. We are Mountain Standard (MST) year-round.
Holiday lights on cactuses.
In Arizona, we love to tack lights everywhere. On palm trees. Buildings. Mountains. While higher elevation towns like Prescott and Flagstaff are filled with pretty Ponderosas, desert areas are stuck with palms and cacti. So December, it’s light ‘em if you got ‘em. Even if what you have is a 20-foot saguaro in your front yard.
Arizonans find it hilarious to make lollipops embedded with scorpions, snakes or spiders and stock them in gift shops. Really, we just want to see if you’re enough of a sucker to actually eat these suckers. Consume at your own risk.
Turn signals are for wussies.
Apparently, when the 62.1% of out-of-state transplants moved to Arizona, they forgot how to drive. Or maybe it’s the natives that overlook their driving test basics. Either way, don’t expect to see turn signals from your fellow drivers. Cut-offs and quiet, seething anger are the norm.
Haboobs popping up.
The Arabic word for a dust storm may inspire grade school giggles, but in desert areas these intense currents are no joke. They’ll come out of nowhere like the giant wall of sand in The Mummy, turning your easy freeway drive into an instant nightmare. If you pull off the road during a haboob (*giggle-snort*), turn off your lights to ensure drivers won’t hit your vehicle thinking you’re still on the freeway.
Carry On, Wayward Sons.
There’s a reason Guns and Ammo mag rated Arizona the #1 state for gun owners. No concealed carry permit is required, gun regulations are minimal and you can score just about any ammo you want locally at a decent price. Granted, The Brady Campaign also ranked The Grand Canyon State the top place for criminals to get their hands on a gun… but who listens to those rankings anyway?
Pink underwear and green bologna.
Thanks to recently ousted Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, our state is home to a bizarre penal system that includes tents, spoiled leftovers and pink undergarments. Watch for fluorescent-orange-clad chain gangs, and pay heed to the “Don’t stop for hitchhikers” sign near every state prison.
The Grand Canyon isn’t everything.
Yes, we’re proud of having one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. But Arizona is more than just a hole in the ground. We have meteor craters, waterfalls, rivers, gorgeous sandstone caves, cliff dwellings and Native American ruins, historic mining towns and more. Check out the Official State Visitor’s Guide to see what else Arizona has to offer.