Thursday, December 9, 2010

Show Off Our State To Your Out Of Town Christmas Company

With the down-turn in the economy, many families may be staying home for the holidays or entertaining company. I wanted to share some of my favorite places in AZ to show off or to enjoy yourselves. We have the most amazing state with many things to see and do and at reasonable prices.
I will start with one of our family favorites. Start early in the day and head north on highway 87 towards the Payson area. Continue north to Tonto Natural Bridge.

Tonto Natural Bridge is an amazingly beautiful spot that changes with the seasons. In the spring there is a lot of water running through it and it may be difficult to get too far into the opening, but later in the summer when the runoff has slowed, there are several routes you can take into the bridge.

On hot days the water can be refreshing. The falls and the bridge are beautiful and the hike to reach them is not long at all and quite easy.

After spending as much time at the bridge as you would like, get back into the car for the next adventure. Continue north until you come to highway 260 and head west on it until you come to interstate 17. Turn north as if heading to Flagstaff but instead, take the Sedona turn off. By now you may be getting hungry for lunch and if you planned a picnic there are many beautiful spots to stop to eat, or stop at “Jose’s Café” just as you are coming into Oak Creek Village. It is a great café that serves yummy breakfasts all day, or get great sandwich or burger.

After stopping for lunch, head on up into Sedona and at the main round about in town, go to the right and head on up into Oak Creek Canyon to Slide Rock State Park.

Slide Rock State Park can get pretty busy in the summer but it is a lot of fun for the kids to swim and slide in the natural setting. There are plenty of shallow areas for little ones. Again, here there is more water flowing in the spring and early summer than later in the year so bring your swim suits along if you are going in the summer time and have some fun cooling off.

Now from Slide Rock you can either head back home to Mesa if you just want a day trip, or find a hotel in the area and stay the night. Hotel prices will be higher in Sedona, but there is Oak Creek Village or Cottonwood that has more reasonable rates and both very close by.

Day two: Spend the morning in east Sedona visiting the shops and galleries. The scenery is breathtaking. Sedona is really one of the most beautiful spots in Arizona but also one of the most expensive, so just look. Save your money for later. There are also many trails to hike if your family enjoys that. After spending the morning in Sedona, drive over to the west side of town and continue out of town on highway 89A towards Cottonwood. When you get to Cottonwood, follow the signs to Tuzigoot National Monument. It is only about 10-15 minutes from Cottonwood.

Tuzigoot National Monument are some great Native American ruins. My kids used to call it the original condominium complex because that is what it looks like. The prices are $5 per person, kids under 16 are free. They are open from 8-6 daily.
This is an interesting and quick site to visit. The kids will have a great time exploring. Then back in the car and follow the signs to my favorite spot in all of this beautiful state.

Jerome is an old mining town that in the past 20 years has had a rejuvenation as a spot to visit. You can spend a few days here or a few hours. Here is where you will find everything you wanted to buy in Sedona but at half to a third less expensive. There are galleries, museums, fun shops and many markers around town to read and learn about the history of the town. Unfortunately, I read that due to budget cuts, the Jerome State Park is temporarily closed which is too bad because it is a great little museum with many historical treasures from Jerome’s past heyday.

You will still want to drive over to it so you can get a great view of the town from a distance. You will want to walk through the streets, from the former red light district to the main street and on up the hill to the asylum.

You will have fun learning about all the ghosts that inhabit the homes and streets and see the city jail that has slid down the hill over 200 feet from it’s original site. My kids have always enjoyed visiting this town. There are several good restaurants also. Then it is time to head back to Mesa, or stay in one of the great B&B’s in Jerome. For less expensive hotels, go back down the hill to Cottonwood or Clarkdale if you are going to spend more than one day in Jerome. I hope this has got you excited to start your adventures here in Arizona.


Sweet Life Garden said...

Hi Leslie, I love this day trip! We always make a fudge and ice cream cone stop at a little shop in Jerome. Keep me posted on your garden news too!

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