Many of Arizona’s best escapes can be found just a short drive away from Arcadia. 

“The numerous attractions and parks in greater Phoenix offer outdoor adventure and relaxation for the entire family,” VisitPhoenix.com Director of Media Relations Douglas Mackenzie said. “There are many fascinating cultural and educational offerings to enjoy with your family or for a great date night.”

 

Here are nine unique spots people can find around our beautiful state:

 

1. South Mountain Park/Preserve

One of the largest municipal parks in the United States, South Mountain features an unforgettable glimpse of the Arizona desert, just south of downtown Phoenix. Hike to your heart’s content, take photos, and if you’re feeling extra spry, there are horse rentals near the entrance to the park.

phoenix.gov/parks/trails/

locations/south-mountain 

 

2. Goldfield Ghost Town and Mine Tours 

This slice of the Old West is situated about 20 miles east of Mesa, at the base of the Superstition Mountains. The “ghost mining town” features mining tours, a zipline, a shooting gallery, a historical museum, shopping and free gunfighter shows every Saturday and Sunday between 12-4 p.m. 

goldfieldghosttown.com

 

3. Mesa Arts Center  

 The largest arts center in Arizona (212,755 square feet) is located in the East Valley. It features five art galleries in its Contemporary Arts Museum, workshops and classes, live music, theater and speaker shows. 

mesaartscenter.com

 

4. Sycamore Canyon Wilderness (Coconino, Kaibab and Prescott National Forests)

 You’ll find hiking, swimming, fishing and history at Sycamore Canyon Wilderness in Arizona’s Red Rock Country. About 40 miles southwest of Flagstaff, Sycamore Canyon Wilderness contains more than 50,000 acres of colorful rock formations, pinnacles and a rare desert habitat.  

fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino

 

5. Watson Lake (Prescott)

Head to Prescott for hiking, boating, fishing and picnicking at Watson Lake and its park. Visitors can also have plenty of free fun and sightseeing in Prescott National Forest, Thumb Butte Park and Prescott’s downtown historic area.   

prescott-az.gov/recreation-area/watson-lake-park

 

6. Pumpkin Spring Pool, Littlefield

Of course, we’ve all heard of the Grand Canyon. But maybe you’ve never heard of a limestone-based, pumpkin-shaped spring pool located at the bottom of the canyon that might make you want to jump in for a dip. Resist the temptation, because the arsenic-rich water is toxic – but it does make for a great photo opportunity. How often do you see a spring pool housed in a giant pumpkin? 

atlasobscura.com/places/

pumpkin-spring-pool

 

7. Aravaipa Farms Orchard and Inn, Winkelman

Okay, so this one’s not free. But it does have amazing scenery down south in the heart of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert, along with outdoor activities, garden-to-table dining, and other one-of-a-kind resort experiences for you and your friends or family. 

“Aravaipa Farms is a unique sanctuary for you to reconnect with yourself, your loved ones and nature. The draw for our guests are numerous. But I would say their top picks include our walking path through our 900 fruit tree orchard and the creek side path around our property,” Kari Madden, managing director, said.

aravaipafarms.com

 

8. Apache Death Cave, Winslow

As if Route 66 weren’t notorious enough, alongside it you’ll find a historical site known as the Apache Death Cave. Legend has it that in the 1870s, an Apache war party attacked a Navajo camp near the Little Colorado River. The Navajos exacted their revenge on the Apaches, and rumor is that the Death Cave remains haunted.  

atlasobscura.com/places/apache-death-cave

 

9. Valley of the Moon, Tucson

Valley of the Moon’s creation is credited to a U.S. postal clerk back in the 1920s. George Legler imagined a mystical realm where “peace abounds and kindness reigns.” He bought the land, and with the help of some friends, got to work on the “Land of the Moon,” complete with hidden caverns, towers, boulder walls and winding footpaths. In 1967, Catalina High School students took over the project, and that effort is now known as the George Phar Legler Society.

tucsonvalleyofthemoon.com