The Sonoran Desert—or as the Mexicans call it, El Desierto de Altar—dominates the northern part of this state, where long stretches of flat scrub are punctuated by brown hills, saguaros, and organ-pipe cacti. South of Guaymas, the desert gives way to a dry, tropical landscape.
- The chance to visit a colonial city Wonderfully preserved Álamos has great hotels and restaurants and a friendly community of American expats.
- Having a beach all to yourself Resort towns provide plenty of creature comforts, but secluded beaches await those with a sense of adventure and a four-wheel drive.
- Experiencing ancient traditions Several indigenous groups here still live close to their roots—you might get a chance to see Yaqui and Mayo ceremonies.
- Going off the grid An otherworldly landscape of volcanic craters and towering sand dunes, El Pinacate is isolated, mysterious, and strictly for adventurous sorts.
- A drive along the Río Sonora Exploring this river route into the sleepy towns in the foothills of the Sierra Madre gives you a glimpse of traditional Mexican cowboy life.