Arizona is a remarkable state – a secret haven of mountains, sunshine, and friendly people.
As a newer state (the 48th, to be exact), we are a bit wild – but not reckless. We love freedom, family, and nature. We take pride in the fact that we have both deserts and forests, red rocks and rivers, ski lifts and saguaro cactus. Arizona is truly a state like no other.
To show our Arizona pride, we’ve come up with a list of some of our favorites Arizona-inspired baby names.
Names with stars (*) next to them are derived from or are applicable specifically to the Tucson area.
Arizona – Let’s start with Arizona, a beautiful name in its own right. There is some dispute whether the meaning of the name is “silver-bearing” or “little spring.” Either way, we think the name is a winning one.
Bryce – Although the most familiar place associated with the name is Bryce Canyon National Park (a super beautiful place – google it), there is also a census-designated place with that name in Arizona.
Catalina* – Catalina is an unincorporated community in northeast Tucson (near Oro Valley). There is also a Catalina State Park (a 5,493 acre park in Oro Valley) that lies adjacent to the Santa Catalina mountain range (one of Tucson’s most prominent mountain ranges that peaks at 9,157 feet and receives 180 inches of snow annually). Meaning “pure,” it’s an elegant name that slips off the tongue.
Chandler – Due to the popularity of Friends, this name peaked in popularity in the 1990’s…but the name has a much longer history. A suburb of Phoenix in the East Valley, Chandler is a booming metropolis that was founded in 1912 and named after a veterinarian by the name of Dr. Alexander Chandler.
Cruz – The Santa Cruz River (“Holy Cross River”) is a river that flows in Southern AZ and northern Mexico. Despite its name, most of the Santa Cruz River is usually dry – except when the area receives significant rainfall.
Davis – Davis-Monthan (often fondly referred to as “DM” by residents) is a United States Air Force Base in Tucson. Named in honor of two WWI pilots (one by the name of Samuel Davis, which is a pretty great name – FYI), the base is a source of pride for the community.
Douglas* – Head to the Douglas Springs Trailhead in Tucson to hike a moderate 6 miles in the Rincon Mountains. Best of all, you can stop for a serene rest at Bridal Wreath Falls, which flows most of the year. Douglas fir is also a tree that grows in Northern Arizona.
Estrella – Who can resist a name with the meaning “star”? Estrella is also a master-planned community located in Goodyear, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix).
Gilbert – You may know and love the name because of the winsome character of Anne of Green Gables. It’s also a suburb of the East Valley of Phoenix, named after William “Bobby” Gilbert who provided land to the Arizona Eastern Railway in 1902.
Luke – Frank Luke was a WWI fighter pilot and the first airman to receive a Medal of Honor. Luke Air Force Base, located west of Phoenix, is named after him.
Lute* – If you live in Arizona, surely you are familiar with the legendary Lute Olson, revered Men’s Basketball Coach at the University of Arizona. Now 80 years old, the coach is an Arizona power house.
Oracle* – Biosphere 2 is located in this bedroom community of northwestern Tucson. The name “Oracle” comes from early prospectors. Albert Weldon came to the area looking for silver and gold. He and some other companions named their first mine The Oracle after the ship Weldon had traveled on. The community began to grow in the late 1870s, as gold and silver WERE discovered.
Parker – Founded in 1908, this Colorado River town was named after Ely Parker, the first Native American commissioner for the U.S. government.
Payson – The town of Payson, surrounded by Tonto National Forest, is in northern Arizona. Sitting at an elevation of 5,000 feet, it is a forest town with views and lakes. The name means “son of peace.”
Percival – Percival Lawrence Lowell (1855-1916) was an American businessman, author, mathematician, and astronomer who fueled speculation that there were canals on Mars. He founded the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff and formed the beginning of the effort that led to the discovery of Pluto 14 years after his death. Although the name means “destroyer,” Percival himself was a pacifist until his death. Possible nickname – Percy.
Phoenix – How could we not mention the capital of Arizona and the 6th most populous city in the USA? A very solid name too, with echos of strength and rebirth.
Reid* – In Tucson, Reid is a name residents say all of the time – because of two great community places: Gene C. Reid Park (Tucson’s largest park at 131-acres) and Reid Park Zoo. Both are named after Gene C. Reid, the city’s first parks director.
Rio – Meaning “river” in Spanish, this term can be found all over Arizona – Rio Verde (a master-planned community near McDowell Mountain Regional Park), Rio Rico (a census-designated place in Santa Cruz county), Rio Vista Pond (in Peoria), Rio Salado College, and more.
Rita* – The Santa Rita Mountains, southeast of Tucson, are home to Madera Canyon (one of the world’s premier birding areas) and Mount Hopkins (where Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory is located).
Sam* – If you’re looking for a stylish bungalow in the heart of Tucson, you (and your realtor) have likely come across the historic Sam Hughes neighborhood. An elementary school goes by the same name. The man himself was one of the first people to move to Arizona for health reasons. After his arrival, he became one of Tucson’s leading citizens – no doubt, in large part, because of the depth of his pockets. He donated land and money for the construction of both churches and schools. He and his wife (Atanacia – another great name) had ten children.
Sedona – Oh, to be named after Sedona! It’s the kind of city that tourists flock to and state residents boast about because it has an unearthly kind of beauty.
Summer* – Summerhaven is a charming little mountain town on top of Mount Lemmon in the Santa Catalina Mountains. Of course, this is also a fitting name to hail our home state because southern and central AZ tend to have a rather extended “summer.”
Theodore – Theodore Roosevelt Lake is a large reservoir formed by Theodore Roosevelt Dam on the Salt River. It is the largest lake or reservoir located entirely within the state of Arizona. The dam was named after our U.S. President, who dedicated the dam himself in March 1911. Great nickname options – Theo or Teddy.
Tucson* – This is a super alternative to the much-more-common Dallas. A child with the name Tucson is sure to be interesting, bright, and easy on the eye…just like our city.
Willow – Native to the southwestern U.S. and very familiar to Arizonans, desert willow trees are so named because of their willow-like leaves, with flowers that range from lavender to light pink. There is also a cold water lake located in Northern Arizona by the name of Willow Springs Lake.
Winslow – We dare you not to start singing “Take It Easy.” The catchy tune, recorded by the Eagles in 1972, has a line about “standin’ on a corner of Winslow Arizona…” The city has a population of just under 10,000. Adorable nickname option: Winnie.
Wrightson – Another tall and proud mountain near Tucson. Rising to 9,453 feet, Wrightson is the highest point in the Tucson region and is named after William Wrightson (a miner and entrepreneur who lived in the 1800’s).
Xavier* – Perhaps you’ve toured the regal Mission San Xavier del Bac in Tucson? The historic Spanish mission, founded in 1692, is named after a missionary by the name of Francis Xavier (1506-1552).
Zinnia – A common sight in Arizona, zinnias are shrubs with flowers of many colors – white, yellow, orange, red, and purple. The flower got its name from German botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759).
What Arizona inspired names did we miss?