Arizona is a place that has rightfully gained a reputation for great weather and plenty of sunshine. Every year thousands of people from all over the United States and abroad travel to this state to soak in the rays and bask in the stunning desert landscape. The state is also home to some of the most interesting and beautiful small towns in the nation. Hence, a vacation to Arizona's small towns will undoubtedly be a different experience if the American Southwest is something you are not accustomed to.
Straddling the Mexico border is the sleepy town of Bisbee. Taking a trip here is like taking a time machine into the Old West. Many of the older buildings from the Spanish Colonial and Western eras are still around and have been beautifully maintained.
However, do not let its outward rustic appearance fool you. Bisbee is still very much with the times. Bisbee is home to tons of great locally-owned restaurants and cafes. One of Bisbee's main attractions is its out-of-service copper mine which can now be explored via guided tours. This mine which was first constructed in 1915, served as the lifeblood of Bisbee in one way or another for over 100 years.
Tombstone has long been ingrained into the consciousness of the American public since the beginning of the 20th century, and it still enjoys its legendary status today. The contemporary town of Tombstone is just as authentic and genuine as it was in the glory days of the Old West.
It should not be too surprising to hear that Tombstone lives and breathes due to the tourism that is generated thanks to this Western aesthetic. The main strip down Tombstone, Allen Street, is still lined with the original building and shops that would have existed in the 1800s. The site of the infamous shootout at the OK Corral can also be visited. This is the perfect place to go to truly entrench yourself in one of the fascinating periods in American history.
The small town of Globe is home to some of the best-preserved Native American history in the nation. Just outside of the town limits lies the site of Besh-Ba-Gowa. This 800-year-old open-air museum contains ancient ruins from the native inhabitants of Arizona.
These ruins predate the first arrival of Europeans on the North American continent by nearly 300 years, let alone their presence in the American South West. Sites like these just go to show how intricate and varied life could be across Native American culture. Aside from ancient ruins, Globe has a surprisingly robust art scene. Despite its small population, there are tons of art galleries and museums to be enjoyed.
Cold weather and snow are something that most people do not associate with Arizona and the desert, but it is more common than you might think. The town of Show Low is located deep into the White Mountains and is frequented by other Arizonians attempting to escape the intense summer heat.
The typically lakeside activities are all available here, like horseback riding, camping, and fishing in crystal clear water. The nearby Fool Hollow and Show Low Lakes are teeming with walleye and bass. These bodies of water are also known as the resting spot of migratory birds heading north or south.
The American Southwest is best known for its Mexican/Spanish influence, and no place better represents this than Tubac. This town is awash with Latin-style homes and restaurants. Its main attraction, the town's marketplaces, is full of bright and colorful stalls with even more attention-grabbing goods to buy.
The town is a great place to go for a relaxing stroll at night. Tubac is safe and clean, and the incredibly hospitable locals are more than accommodating to outsiders. Spas and other wellness centers are here too. Tubac is the perfect place to go if you want to spend a weekend away from the city with a significant other.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful places on earth, the outskirts of Sedona contain some of the most breathtaking landscapes and natural rock formations on the planet. Seen in postcards and screen savers around the world, there is nothing like seeing them firsthand.
Aside from the towering rock spires, Sedona is a refuge for any outdoor enthusiast looking to escape from the big city. Dozens of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails snake through the nearby valleys and hills. Even if you are not in the mood for a 10-mile hike, just taking a stroll in the wilderness will give you a new appreciation for the great outdoors.
One of the more lush and fertile parts of the vast desert that covers Arizona, Wickenburg stands as a modern-day oasis. The town is still in touch with its historic past and has done an excellent job maintaining and protecting its old building from the wear and tear of the elements.
Originally settled as a mining town, today, Wickenburg serves as a great base of operations to explore what the desert offers. The nearby Hassayampa River is a fascinating place to visit. This river is a hot spot to see local wildlife. Just watch out for the cacti.
While the desert might seem dangerous and unforgiving, these small towns and the people living in them give them life and a reason to visit. These towns are the perfect retreat to experience something completely new. The weather is warm, the locals are friendly, and a trip down here will probably get you the biggest return for your buck in the entire United States. If you have never gone before, you should start packing your sunscreen.