Arizona is a land of many things. To the south lies the land of heat and dust, where the desert, adorned with golden hills and outcrops of cacti and mesquite, stretches as far as the eye can see. The north offers picture-perfect landscapes ranging from deep canyons to majestic mountains fringed by ancient coniferous forests. Throughout, there are vibrant cities and charming towns to explore. Arizona’s natural beauty and abundance of low-cost parks and sites is an idyllic destination. Here’s a rundown of Arizona getaways that that can be done on shoestring or luxury budget.
Trust us on this; you’ll want to bring your camera along on this trip!
1. Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village (Sedona)
Sedona, a dreamy desert town near Flagstaff, is a great place to start your wallet-friendly escapade. This enigmatic town spills over the outdoors, making awe-inspiring sandstone formations, steep canyon walls, and pine forests only a short hike away. Its mild climate and lush outskirts offer countless hiking, birding, and picnicking spots. But the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village is the star of the show as it is beating heart of Sedona’s vibrant arts community. This renowned shopping center features pueblo-style buildings nestled on the banks of Oak Creek beneath the shade of sycamore trees. The grounds, shops, and galleries are well-kept, fashioned in a way that’s in harmony with the terrain. Make sure to see the shops, galleries, and performances in the courtyard and soak up local culture when you drop by.
2. Mother Nature’s Red-Rock Temples (Sedona)
Sedona attracts all kinds of travelers, from gap-year backpackers and golfers to climbers and film aficionados. But it’s not just these types of people that are drawn to the town’s palpable energy. Thousands flock Mother Nature’s red-rock temples to visit Sedona’s vortices or powerful centers of kinetic energy that can have a profound, healing effect. These sacred sites have become the cathedral without walls for healers, spiritual leaders, and artists. And guess what, you don’t need to pay a fee or donate money to have this unique experience. You can join a lecture for a $15 fee, but you’re free to tour the sites by yourself. Follow this map to find the exact location of these sacred and powerful sites.
3. Mexican Food Crawl (Tempe, Phoenix & Mesa)
Authentic Mexican food is perhaps one of the best food that’s also easy on the pocket. Luckily, Arizona’s Mexican and Tex-Mex food scene is the real deal. Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa, as well as surrounding towns, boast a long list of street-style taquerias and cantinas, and a dizzying selection of Sonoran-style fare. Almost every neighborhood has its own assortment of homemade tamales, tacos, ceviche, consommé, pozole, tostadas, and the list goes on. Phoenix alone has over 32 Mexican restaurants, each with its unique specialty and dining experience. Get your taco fix or burrito binge on your next Arizona trip. It’s worth every dollar.
4. Taliesin West by Frank Lloyd Wright (Scottsdale)
Taliesin West is a 250-hectare estate in Scottsdale, Arizona owned and designed by the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright. It was his winter home and studio back in the day, but now serves as the main campus for the School of Architecture at Taliesin. Perched on a mesa overlooking Paradise Valley, this architectural landmark is definitely worth the $35 fee. The structure gives the nod to its Southwestern locale and the surrounding red rocks, with geometric angles and steel overhangs to express a contemporary aesthetic. Inside, you’ll feel Wright’s strong connection with the desert, represented in the sandstone masonry and Native American petroglyphs among the rocks. The south face of the building offers unobstructed views of the valley while the garden room offers a refreshing retreat from the scorching sun.
5. Birding in Cave Creek Canyon (Portal)
Portal, a small, unincorporated community in Cochise County, Arizona is a premier birding destination. Droves of birders and twitchers flock this quiet upland town to see specialties like the Mexican chickadee, elegant trogon, curve-billed thrasher, cactus wren, and Montezuma quail. Cave Creek Canyon is a popular spot for these binocular-wearing visitors. On the east side of the Chiricahua Mountains, there’s an enchanting waterfall cascading over a red rock wall – the perfect spot to cap off the short hike with a swim or picnic. It’s best to stay a night or two in Portal to witness the town’s magical night sky, so be sure to book a room prior to your visit. There are tons of B&Bs and charming cabins to choose from. End your trip with an excursion to the American Museum of Natural History downtown to soak up some Southwest knowledge for free.
6. Shoshone Point (Grand Canyon Village)
The Shoshone Point Trail is a 2.1-mile rarely-visited but easily reached trail that leads to breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon. With a $30 entrance fee per person, you can hike up or bike to this hidden gem, start the grill and have a glorious barbecue with friends. The unpaved trail is lined with beautiful wildflowers and is ideal for all skill levels. But the end of the mile-hike is what’s more astonishing – the Grand Canyon in all its glory, viewed from an angle not many people get to see. The best part about the experience is that this viewpoint is lightly trafficked, and on some days, you can have the entire place to yourself.
Arizona Getaways on Any Budget
Arizona is one of the few places in the country where you’ll witness modern life, nature, art, and spirituality perfectly intertwine – a place that’s deeply rooted in the landscape. And you can experience all these without burning through your hard-earned savings.
- Visit Arizona, https://www.visitarizona.com/
- On our site: Arizona’s Saguaro Lake: Water, Cactus and Mountain Views
- On our site: Straight Outa Old Town Scottsdale
- Also on our site: Views and Vino: Visiting Sonoma Wine Country
- Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village entrance, Sedona, Photo by AL_Hikes, https://www.flickr.com
- Sedona, Photo by Michael Wilson, https://www.flickr.com
- Mesa, Arizona, Photo by Jasperdo, https://www.flickr.com/
- Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, Scottsdale, AZ, Photo by David Silverman, https://www.flickr.com
- Hepatic Tanager, Photo by Aaron Maizish, https://www.flickr.com
- Grand Canyon National Park: View from Shoshone Point 8400, Photo by Grand Canyon National Park, https://www.flickr.com