My 10 favorite places in Arizona

I saw this quote in a magazine, and wrote it down in my journal.

“Get out!  Explore!  Play!  Have fun!  Don’t just sit in a room and expect ideas to come to you without doing those things regularly.  If you can’t see the world around you, your ideas will soon become stagnant.”

This quote is very true for me.  For me, getting out feeds my creativity.  I need to get out in nature, to get recharged.  To find inspiration, to experience new places, to find connection.  Sometime I choose a place near by and other times it’s a day trip.  Here are some of my favorite places:

  1.  Boyce Thompson Arboretum – this is east of Phoenix on Hwy 60 just outside of Superior.  It used to be the ‘back yard’ literally of William Boyce Thompson who was an engineer at the mine in Superior.  It’s a very peaceful place, one that I’ve hiked many times.
  2. Tonto Natural Bridge – north of Phoenix.  A beautiful day trip.  You can hike underneath the bridge, get wet, see some amazing rock formations, climb some slippery rocks and come on the other side.  Also, see Javelinas hanging out by the visitor center.
  3. Arcosanti – for some reason this place reminds me of Tatooine from Star Wars.  Arcosanti is an experimental town designed and built by Paolo Soleri, an Italian architect who recently passed away.  It’s north of Phoenix, just outside of Prescott, AZ.  Paolo Soleri coined the term arcology to combine architecture and ecology.  He believed that the two need be in sync so that human habitats not only don’t impact the environment, but they harnesses the best of the environment.
  4. Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch – on I-10 East, toward Tucson.  Talking about a petting zoo….this one is the bestest I’ve ever seen.  Feed ostriches (YES, huge birds, descendants of dinosaurs), deer, goats, rabbits, ducks and love birds.  The entry fee gets you feed for all these lovely creatures.My 10 favorite places in AZ
  5. Tortilla Flat – a few years ago, this town was for sale.  No joke.  It’s east of Phoenix, past Apache Junction.  Population 6.  It has a Post office.  A western restaurant, where $1 bills cover all the walls.  If you blink, you may miss it.  It’s a really cool stop if you want to get out of town for a little drive and lunch.
  6. Oracle State Park – this is in southeast Arizona near by Santa Catalina Mountains and the Biosphere 2 (which is also a cool place to visit).  A beautiful place to hike where the scenery can change from flat prairie like to big boulders.  Yucca, cholla and prickly pear cacti are all around.  My kids love climbing the big boulders, pretending they are some kind of warriors with their found walking sticks.My 10 favorite places in Arizona by Vesna Taneva-Miller.
  7. Red Rock CanyonHike Arizona – this is north of Pheonix, near Sedona.  The reddest sandstone you’d ever see.  Beautiful burnt orange colors.  There is a riparian habitat along the Oak Creek.
  8. If you don’t want to get out of town you don’t need to.  In the east valley there are two riparian areas with many opportunities to spot wildlife.  Check out Gilbert Riparian in Gilbert or the Environmental Education Center at Veteran Oasis Park in Chandler.
  9. Mystery Castle – ah this place is full of whimsy.  Trap doors, painted rocks, occasional cat, manequins….It’s in town, at the foothills of South Mountain.  It’s been a while since I last visited.  But the owner, Mary Lou was the tour guide years ago when I went.  She inherited the weird, exotic castle, after her father passed away.  He abandoned his wife and daughter in the 1930 after he found out he had tuberculosis.  So he came in the Phoenix desert and built the castle by himself, from mostly found objects.
  10. Grand Canyon -ah the Grand Canyon, a place on the bucket list of many, and I can say it’s almost in my back yard.  Well not really, it’s about 3-4hr drive form Phoenix and that’s to the South Rim.  The North Rim is not as easily accessible, but well worth.  We actually took the kids there in July and I think they are still young to appreciate its grandness, its beauty.  Plan to spend a few days if you go.  There is lodging in the park, and a wait list a few months out.  We stayed at Jacob’s Lake Lodge, some 30 min away and I highly recommend it.  The ultimate getaway if you want to disconnect.  No Wi-FI my loves, no connection!Grand Canyon North Rim


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