Six places you should go visit in Arizona this year
This year, your first new year’s resolution needs to be that you’ll get out and visit the many wonderful hidden treasures of Arizona that get ignored because of the dramatic competition of the Grand Canyon.
These are places that take a little driving, of course, but they’re also places to brag about to your friends and unique sites that will impress your visiting snowbird relatives.
These huge caverns are nine miles south of Benson and west of the San Pedro River. You need reservations ($23 for adults) in advance for ranger-led tours that can take an hour or two.
Kartchner has been called one of the world’s top 10 caves because of its fantastic formations. It was only discovered in the 1970s and was kept secret for years.
This bridge is believed to be the largest natural travertine arch in the world. It’s tucked in a tiny valley surrounded by pine trees on Highway 89 near the town of Pine. The area is loaded with beautiful hiking trails.
It costs only $7 for an adult to visit. You do have to go down a stairway to experience this site.
La Posada’s Turquoise Dining Room
My suggestion is to take the scenic back route from Payson to Winslow. Once there, you’ll find the meticulously preserved La Posada — once a famous Fred Harvey railroad hotel, designed by famous architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter.
If you can’t spend a night in one of the uniquely decorated rooms, sample great Southwest cuisine in the picturesque Turquoise Dining Room.
If you’re tired of the traffic and crowds you’ve encountered in California’s wine country, give Patagonia, Elgin and Sonoita a chance. You’ll experience a warm welcome from winemakers who are slowly building a reputation for their vintages.
There are lots of bed and breakfasts available and beautiful scenery to drive through.
This historic area in the Navajo Nation has rim drives, overlooks and one public trail. There are motels and campgrounds — that’s important because you want to spend at least one full day in this national monument.
Take the drives and snap photos at the overlooks on your own, but tours can be worthwhile. One of the most breathtaking ancient sites is the White House ruin probably built between 1060 and 1275 A.D. It gets its name from the white plaster that coats the wall in the upper dwelling.
Navajo guides drive big off-road vehicles with tourists down to the White House. It’s a long trek, of course, from central and southern Arizona to get to the canyon. It’s located on Highway 191 near Chinle.
The top of Arizona Snowbowl
It’s reached by chairlift at the ski resort near Flagstaff, but don’t do this when there’s snow. Ride to the top in autumn after the aspens have turned a magnificent gold. From the peak, you also get great views of Sedona’s red rocks.
Chairlift tickets are $19 to $24 for adults. In fall, the lift is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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