Main St store fronts in downtown Bisbee, Arizona in the summer. Image credit D.J. Wednesday via Shutterstock

9 Lovely Small Towns to Visit in Arizona This Summer

Arizona is a landlocked state, defined by some of the most outstanding and dramatic landscapes in the US. Home to the Mogollon Rim and the Grand Canyon, there are so many amazing natural wonders in this state that promise to make a summer vacation sensational. Fortunately, amidst all these incredible features are several lovely small towns like Sedona and Camp Verde, where visitors can relax and enjoy scintillating adventures away from the state’s often crowded summer tourist hotspots. With the sunny season already in full swing, this is a great time to hit the roads or get on the next flight to these nine cute towns in Arizona for memorable adventures.


Historic Allen street with a horse drawn stagecoach in Tombstone.
Historic Allen street with a horse drawn stagecoach in Tombstone, Arizona. Image credit Nick Fox via Shutterstock

Tombstone is a laid-back town for history buffs seeking a summer destination to explore the past undisturbed. This town is home to a handful of historical monuments like the O.K. Corral in Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, where one can watch a reenactment of an 1881 gunfight. Tombstone is also home to the Rose Tree Museum, which features the world's largest rose tree and is a museum dedicated to one of Tombstone’s oldest families. For a unique experience, visitors can even take the Good Enough Mine Underground Tour 100 feet below the ground to see a defunct silver mine.

Away from history, Tombstone offers relaxation at The Longhorn Restaurant alongside tantalizing steaks and sandwiches. While in the town, shop for antiques at the Tombstone Antique Mall. Do not leave without experiencing the Tombstone Trolley Tour, which takes you through the most interesting historic attractions in and around the town.


Wickenburg, Arizona: Original Santa Fe Depot, now Chamber of Commerce building and official Visitor's Center.
Wickenburg, Arizona: Original Santa Fe Depot, now Chamber of Commerce building and official Visitor's Center. Image credit Rosemarie Mosteller via Shutterstock

Wickenburg invites summer outdoor devotees to its charming location in Maricopa and Yavapai Counties. Particularly, it calls out to history buffs, with historical attractions such as the Desert Caballeros Western Museum, home to around 400 works of Western art. The 200-year-old Jail Tree is another historic site in this town, featuring a Mesquite tree that once served as the town’s jail.

For adventurers, Wickenburg is near the Hassayampa River Preserve, and visitors can escape to this area to enjoy the lush environment and see interesting plant, bird, and animal species. For lovers of antiques, head to the Antiques & Artisans Emporium to shop to satisfaction.

Camp Verde

Fort Verde State Park sign at the white fence during Fort Verde Days celebration - Camp Verde, Arizona
Fort Verde State Park sign at the white fence during Fort Verde Days celebration, Camp Verde, Arizona. Image credit Michael Vi via Shutterstock

Camp Verde is a lovely town in the famous Yavapai County of Arizona, situated in the Verde River Valley. It promises a unique summer vacation. While in town, start an unforgettable summer experience with a visit to Out of Africa Wildlife Park to see several animals, such as black leopards, spotted hyenas, lions, sable antelope, and black bears.

Afterward, embark on a wine-tasting experience at Salt Mine Wine, Clear Creek, and Alcantara Vineyards and Winery. For jaw-dropping sights, visit the Montezuma Castle National Monument to behold the grandeur of preserved cliff dwellings. Meanwhile, history buffs can explore the historic buildings and forts of the Apache Wars at the Fort Verde State Historic Park. When hungry, Burger King, Denny’s, and Beto’s Corner are great spots.


Aerial view of Springerville, Arizona.
Aerial view of Springerville, Arizona. Image credit Midnight Believer, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Springerville sits within the White Mountains of Arizona at 6,907 feet above sea level, making it a scenic mountain town for a summer vacation. For mountain bikers and climbers, Springerville is home to Mount Baldy, the highest point in the White Mountains, featuring the West and East trails. The West Trail is particularly exciting as it courses through a meadow along the West fork of the Little Colorado River and has awe-inspiring scenery. Springerville is also close to the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, home to 400 species of wildlife, lakes, and vast wilderness areas to explore.

Activities offered in this national forest include camping, hiking, scenic driving, mountain biking, horseback riding, and more. For history lovers, Springerville is near Casa Malpais Archaeological Park, which preserves an astronomical calendar, a kiva, rock art, and other interesting creations of the Mogollon Culture and other Native American tribes that claim affinity to the site. After the adventures, enjoy delicious meals at Safire Restaurant or Booga Red’s Restaurant.


Historic downtown in the City of Globe, Arizona.
Historic downtown in the City of Globe, Arizona. Image credit Traveller70 via Shutterstock

Globe is a former mining camp in Gila County in the valley of Pinal Creek full of natural and historic attractions that promise to keep visitors busy all summer. Once here, begin a historic tour at the 1910 Old Jail and the Gila County Historical Museum, both featuring artifacts and interactive exhibits from the area’s early days. For art lovers, the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts is near the Old Jail and has a theater and several art galleries displaying impressive local artworks.

For something different, head to the nearby Boyce Thompson Arboretum to see and learn more about the interesting flora and fauna of the Sonoran desert. The Arboretum also has a picnic area, a gift shop, and plenty of nature trails for maximum satisfaction. After the tours, kick back at the Copper Hen Bakery & Cafe or El Ranchito to enjoy delectable meals.


Welcome sign to Alpine, Arizona.
Welcome sign in Alpine, Arizona. Image credit Chris English, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

South of Springerville, Alpine is a tiny mountain town of less than 200 people that is big on tourism. This town is located 8,050 feet above sea level in the White Mountains and is surrounded by the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, making it a haven for adventures. On a summer vacation here, visitors can head to the national forest to enjoy endless adventures, from hiking to camping, wildlife watching, and more.

Luna Lake is another fascinating outdoor destination just three miles south of the town, great for fishing and camping. For more adventures, proceed to the Black River to enjoy boating, fishing, and camping on its banks. When hungry, the Alpine Grill and Still offers some of the town’s best dining experiences.


Bisbee, Arizona, USA is an old mining town that is now a popular arts colony.
Overlooking Bisbee, Arizona, in the summer. Image credit Manuela Durson via Shutterstock

Bisbee is a pretty town in Cochise County full of interesting historical attractions and sensational outdoor adventures. For starters, the Copper Queen Mine provides insight into the mining era that led to the development of the town and its surroundings. Tours are available to explore the underground tunnels, which are both historic and jaw-dropping. For similar experiences, gaze into the nearby Lavender Pit, which was once a rich copper mining pit.

Afterward, visitors can learn about the town’s mining history at the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, which has interactive exhibits that reflect a bygone era. Summer might also be a great time to get fit, and the town caters to that need at the Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb, which stretches for 4.5 miles through the city and features over 1,000 stairs. Those in town during the weekend can stop by the Bisbee Saturday Market to shop for local fresh produce and handcrafted items while vibing to live music.


Aerial view of Sedona and the surrounding spectacular landscape.
Sedona and the surrounding spectacular landscape.

Sedona is a naturally stunning town in Coconino National Forest, between Yavapai and Coconino Counties. Here, visitors will enjoy a summer vacation filled with sights of dramatic red and orange sandstone formations. Cathedral Rock is one such formation and one of the most photographed places in the town. It also offers a thrilling hike. Sedona is also home to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a Roman Catholic Chapel built into the red rock buttes and featuring a 90-foot cross.

Visit this chapel and marvel at the impressive architecture before heading to Slide Rock State Park to swim in natural pools. For a glimpse into the town’s glorious past, visit the Sedona Heritage Museum and, afterward, tour the Gallery of Modern Masters for a visual treat of artworks.


A couple in blue canoes paddling on Woods Canyon Lake on the Mogollon Rim east of Payson in Arizona
Woods Canyon Lake on the Mogollon Rim east of Payson, Arizona.

Payson is a naturally captivating town in Northern Gila County, surrounded by some of Arizona’s most stunning landscapes. On a summer vacation here, visitors are invited to the Mogollon Rim to enjoy the gorgeous sights of dense pine forests and lakes via hikes and scenic drives. Also, the Tonto National Forest surrounds this town, featuring diverse attractions, including reservoirs, the Sonoran desert, ponderosa pine forests, lakes, and lots of wildlife species.

For laid-back vibes, chill at Green Valley Park within the town to admire its beautiful lake, fish on it, and enjoy picnics. History buffs can spend time at the Rim Country Museum and Zane Grey Cabin exploring historical artifacts and publications related to Gila County. For weekend visitors, check out Payson Farmers Market to shop for local crafts, artwork, and fresh fruits.

Arizona has long been a hot spot for sensational summer vacation thanks to its small towns positioned amidst some of the state’s most-priced natural wonders. These towns are beautiful, historic, and culturally rich. Plus, the locals are welcoming, and the attractions are often untouched or at least not overrun by too many tourists. Yes, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and other larger Arizona cities can be tempting, but like most off-the-beaten path destinations, these towns promise unique experiences and unforgettable memories minus the crowds.

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