It’s flurrying outside but I’m feeling the warmth of the sun anyway. We just booked our annual Spring trip to Arizona. T-minus two more long months of enduring Wisconsin’s awesome Winter before we can bask next to the pool with margaritas and a kick ass view of the Superstition Mountains. My parents moved down here to enjoy retirement life about 5 years ago. And while at first I selfishly thought it was the worst idea ever (who would ditch their kids for cacti and warm weather?!), it only took one visit to understand their logic. Life is just better in the desert.
We frequent some of the places below each time we visit so I thought I’d share them with you. This was from our trip a little over two years ago. I was 5 months pregnant with our youngest, and as you’ll notice, traveling with a 4 year old is never boring.
If you have any favorite things to do or see in Arizona, please share them with me! Leave me a comment below!
Tortilla Flat is located northeast of Apache Junction nearby Canyon Lake and the Roosevelt Dam. It’s populated with a mind-blowing 6 people. Don’t let that fool you though. This tiny town takes pride in it’s one restaurant/one store “strip mall”. It gets pretty busy on the weekends. If you’re looking for live music and a solid selection of beers, check it out. There are quite a few trails to explore here as well.
GOLDFIELD GHOST TOWN
A tourist trap. I don’t know what else to say about it. But if you have kids, the train ride and little shops will hold their attention for an afternoon. If you’re curious about the search for the Lost Dutchman Mine, there is a history lesson to be learned here. Unfortunately, we didn’t last long enough to catch it.
I wish I had more photos of Globe, but the drive was too intense for me. What I do remember is the amount of time I spent white-knuckling the “oh shit” handle wondering if it would just be better if I got out and walked. So just imagine some serious mountains with some serious drop-offs until you get there. Globe is home to the Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Park. But we spent our time here at an enormous, well-curated antique store. Worth a day trip, especially if you plan to visit Boyce Thompson Arboretum, too.
My favorite place thus far. Set on the side of a mountain, this historic copper mining town sits over 5,000 feet above sea level and is occupied mainly by old hippies, artists and cocktail lovers. It’s small but you could spend a whole weekend here easily. With a bar on every corner, and art galleries and rock shops in between, it’s easy to get sucked into their easy going life style. Word on the street is that Jerome’s only hotel is haunted, big time. It’s a must see for us every year.
After the Grand Canyon, I believe Sedona is the most popular tourist location in Arizona. You don’t visit this State and not see Sedona. It’s full of high end art galleries, spas and restaurants. All places I don’t dare bring my boys to. Our favorite place to visit is Red Rock State Park. If you don’t have time for hiking, check out the Red Rock Loop Scenic Drive.
OAK CREEK CANYON
Justin’s most favorite view in the world, he says. You guys, this is the view from the top. Unbelievable. The anxiety ridden drive up apparently ranks in the top 5 most scenic drives in America. I will tell you this… I had no idea how great my fear of heights actually was until this car ride.
INTERSTATE 17 | THE GRAND CANYON
I love the drive to the Grand Canyon. Before I had visited, I imagined us driving through… I don’t know… canyons? But it’s actually just a very straight, long and uneventful drive on flat land with awesome views in the distance. If you enjoyed Breaking Bad, your curiosity will peek as you drive by the random RVs that appear occasionally. As for the Grand Canyon itself, there is a reason why it’s listed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. You will never see anything like it. The magnitude of how epic this place is is truly not measurable. Prepare yourself for an out of body experience. It genuinely feels like you’re on another planet. Put it on your bucket list!
featuring Dinosaur Moutain
We have two nearby hiking trails we like to take the kids on when we visit. Dinosaur Mountain is just a short distance from my parents’ home, while Silly Mountain is basically in their backyard. You can’t catch a sunset here in Wisconsin like you can in the desert. It’s enough to make you move down there. Just ask my folks.