Arizona Is Always a Good Idea
Arizona is remarkable. Teeming with gems from border to border, the 48th state’s landscape and offerings are plentiful — beauty diversity, climate, flora and fauna — it’s all here. With careful planning and an adventurous mindset, day-tripping your way through the dog days of summer could make for an epic bucket list. We pulled together a few places to remind you why there is no place like home.
One of the most-visited slot canyons in the Southwest, Antelope Canyon is simply other-worldly. Discovered in the early 1930s, the wave-like canyon is named after the animals that once grazed the area in the territory of the Navajo Indian Reservation. Located near the town of Page, Antelope Canyon is made up of two separate slot canyons: Upper Antelope, or The Crack, and Lower Antelope, or The Corkscrew. Upper Antelope is known for the magical light beams and is an easy walk, while Lower Antelope is a more physical adventure with narrow passageways and ladders to climb. Tickets are necessary to enter either canyon and range from approximately $90–$175, depending on the tour chosen. Formed by the wear of water rushing through the sand and limestone rocks, the canyon is considered a spiritual site that is home to the wildlife spirits of Navajo ancestors. Beware, summer may bring monsoon floods and restrictions may apply; however, tours are readily available to book online. Pro tip: to capture the magnificent light beams at their best, book between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Crisp mountain air, views for days, fishing and cabin life are all within reach just a few hours outside of Metro Phoenix. Located approximately 20 miles east of Payson, outdoor activities make this Mogollon Rim getaway a popular summer destination. Driving up for a day or staying overnight, visitors have options. Fees for the campgrounds are inexpensive at around $20 per day, while cabin rentals are available if you choose to play longer in the Ponderosa Pines. Nearby lakes call for boating and paddleboarding, while hiking trails are plentiful for those who prefer solid ground. Summer temperatures range from 80 to 90 degrees for the high, with lows in the 50s to 60s. An easy getaway and old-fashioned summer fun make Christopher Creek a no-brainer vacation and cool change from the hustle and heat of the city.
Nestled in the Verde Valley, Cottonwood is rich with charm, culture and activities. From wineries to an array of dining options, Cottonwood is a good idea for families or adults interested in a small-town feel. Old Town Cottonwood is known for antique shops, boutiques, wine-tasting rooms and great restaurants. If adventure is more your speed, head to the Verde River for kayaking, tubing, swimming and more. And why not combine experiences with the popular Water to Wine tour? This unexpected way to explore the Verde River with a group involves a guided kayak tour down part of the river. No experience is necessary as the water does most of the work, directing you as you float toward a nearby winery while taking in the scenery before hopping out to enjoy sips from the famed Cottonwood wine-growing region. The go-with-the-flow activity takes two hours, tickets run about $190 per person and vary by date. For family fun, Blazin’ M Ranch Western Frontier Town offers a throwback to cowboy days. Picture a Western town atmosphere featuring a saloon, wagon rides and shows. With much to offer and just 90 minutes outside of Phoenix, Cottonwood is one not to miss.