Arizona is a place of spectacular natural beauty and desert landscapes that eagerly await your visit. While most people associate the Grand Canyon with Arizona, and we admit that it is breathtakingly beautiful, there are so many small towns in this state begging to be discovered.
Check out our list of the best Arizona small towns to visit:
Tombstone is a notorious, historic boomtown. Originally a mining hotspot, Tombstone was the largest productive silver district in Arizona. However, since that was long ago tapped dry, Tombstone mostly relies on tourism now and capitalizes on its fame for being the site of the Gunfight at the O.K Corral: a showdown between famous lawmen including Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday and the Clanton brothers.
Take a trip back to the Wild West and come to Tombstone to see the historic downtown and visit some of their saloons, immerse yourself in this frontier town and really picture what it was like to live here during the showdown. East Allen Street is worth exploring: its boardwalks are lined with shops, saloons, and restaurants. Visit the Cochise County Courthouse and gallows yard, which is now a museum.
Globe has a colorful history, punctuated by mining camps in the area. Mining still holds a significant role in the local economy, along with tourism. Come to Globe and experience a frontier-town feel—in the past, its relative isolation preserved this environment for a long time and you can definitely see the authenticity.
Globe boasts a fascinating, authentic Wild West history: murders, stagecoach robberies, outlaws, and Apache raids abound in the town stories. Take a walk through the Gila County Courthouse and Jail, which today is the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts.
The Salado Indian Ruins is a unique glimpse into native history. In the ruins you will find interpretive signs to better understand the Salado civilization. The Ethno-Botanical Garden illustrates native Arizona plants that were used in their daily lives. The Museum is said to house the largest collection of Salado pottery and artifacts in the world.
Jerome is built on Cleopatra Hill, which overlooks the Verde Valley in the Black Hills. Originally a mining town that struck it rich with copper, the population dropped off after the heyday of mining was over. Jerome began to rise again when it became a National Historic Landmark in the 1960s and the tourism breathed some life back into this town.
Enjoy the revitalized town and browse its art galleries before discussing the local art over coffee at one of the many coffee houses. Tour Jerome State Historic Park and browse the local Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum.
Caught in between the county lines of Coconino and Yavapai counties, Sedona stands firm in its own identity in the northern Verde Valley. With a gorgeous backdrop of red sandstone formations, which appear to almost glow in reds and oranges during sunrise and sunset, Sedona is a perfect destination for photographers or outdoorsy people alike.
Take in the majestic views from the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a church built on a 1,000 foot red rock cliff. Hike out to Cathedral Rock or check out the Red Rock Scenic Byway. You can always do an off-roading ATV tour at Red Rock Jeep Tours if you are feeling adventurous, or hike out along the West Fork Oak Creek Trail.
Located in Maricopa County, Cave Creek is conveniently located 27 miles northeast of Phoenix, so you’ll never be too far away from a big city, even if you’d never know it by the relaxed pace of life here. Not to be confused with the Cave Creek town that is tucked away in the Chiricahua Mountains, this one is said to have been the original town of Cave Creek and therefore has true claim to the charm of the name.
Be sure to bring your walking shoes so you can hike at Cave Creek Regional Park or head out to Bartlett Lake. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch and fishing gear for Bartlett. Enjoy getting back to nature without feeling like you’ve spent forever in travel.
There are only two places in the world
I want to live—Sedona and Paris.
—Max Ernst, Surrealist painter