Arizona sees roughly 41 million visitors annually. With that kind of attention, there is no denying our state is a massive tourist attraction. While nonresidents clamor to see everything this beautiful state has to offer, sometimes, those of us year-rounders need a reminder why Arizona is sought after.
Maybe it’s time to pack up the car and head north, south, east or west. Because adventure, views, lakes, mountains, and wildlife are right outside our doorstep. And April, known for the emergence of gorgeous wildflowers and butterflies, is the perfect time to get out and explore!
Consider taking a scenic drive to the authentic old western town Oatman, located just off famous Route 66. There you’ll be delighted with many wild free-roaming burros, almost like friendly ambassadors to this quirky town. If that isn’t exciting enough, Oatman also boasts a hotel, mining museum, and western gunfight shows staged for your entertainment in the town center.
Everyone loves the Grand Canyon but, try a new approach and take the train from Williams to the south rim. This course traverses land you’ve probably never seen. Wild mustang herds, expansive prairie, then the emergence of the majestic canyon- one of the most exciting geographic experiences. Go often to the Grand Canyon and you will see something new every time. It is grand after all.
On the way to Sedona, stop by the less-visited Montezuma Castle National Monument in the Verde Valley. This is a fascinating collection of well-preserved dwellings by the Sinagua people, occupied over 1,000 years ago.
When you arrive at Sedona, you will be greeted by the famous and stunning red rock formations. You'll weave into town on the busy roads with many tourists. Yet, what they might not know are the spots off the beaten path. Like the Briar Patch Inn, Indian Gardens Cafe, and the Pump House Station Urban Eatery and Market.
If it's stunning hiking and incredible geology you're after, the Chiricahua National Monument might be the most incredible hiking and camping spot in the southeast corner of the State. There you will find hoodoos, which are rock columns and formations like natural pillars so unique they will leave you in awe.
Mosey on up to Prescott and walk around the Courthouse Plaza, filled with shops, eateries, and plenty of events all year long. Visit the Hassayampa Hotel, where legend has it a resident ghost named Faith Summers roams the hallways and rooms at night. Although, not to worry, I have been to the Hassayampa many times and have never encountered her.
If you haven't spent much time in Flagstaff, spring is a great time to check it out- there might even be snow on the ground! Sip a cocktail at the historic 96-year-old Monte Vista Hotel which sits above an infamous and extensive tunnel system used for secret travel and suspicious activity during prohibition. From the hotel walk west on Aspen Avenue to the Lowell Observatory, where you can catch a glimpse of the solar system through the Clark Telescope.
Whatever you are looking for, it is right here in Arizona. Dream. Discover. Explore.
Maybe it’s time to pack up the car and head north, south, east or west. Because adventure, views, lakes, mountains, and wildlife are right outside our doorstep.