Located in the Southwest, Arizona is steeped in history and beautifully diverse landscapes. A combination of these two elements are found throughout the state in the form of historical, scenic towns that will truly impress. From former mining town gems, to dessert beauties and mountain charmers, here are ten of the most beautiful towns in Arizona.
Established in 1880, Bisbee is a charming town with a mining history located in Southern Arizona. Once known as ‘The Queen Of The Copper Camps’, the present-day area is home to a lovely community among the Mule Mountains, notably popular with artists and retired folk. Neighborhoods with Victorian and European-style homes rest on the hillsides, while many unique shops, art galleries, and cafés reside in redesigned former saloons. Attractions sure to interest visitors include the Queen Mine Tour, which explores a former copper mine, and the Old Bisbee Ghost Tour, which takes paranormal enthusiasts to the most haunted buildings in the area.
With its past in gold mining, Cave Creek is a scenic town not far from Phoenix and Scottsdale which, even though it is close to a metropolis, has never lost its Old West charm. With something for everyone, Cave Creek offers visitors a taste of the past through the many saloons and attractions such as Frontier Town, a replica of an Old West town. The surrounding landscape offers outdoor adventurers a host of recreational opportunities from hiking to horseback riding. The Spur Cross Conservation Area is also a place nature lovers will not want to miss. The friendly town is home to many eateries, galleries, and boutiques. Visit the nearby Carefree — Cave Creek’s sister town — for even more picturesque landscapes and unique destinations.
In the heart of Southern Arizona, at the foothills of the Pinal Mountains, sits the former mining camp known as Globe. Founded in 1876 and incorporated in 1907, this lovely town is brimming with century-old buildings, cottages, and hillside houses. The historic downtown area is perfect for leisurely strolls and shopping for antiques, while the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts is a great spot to explore and experience the talent of some incredible artists. Other areas of interest include the Besh-ba-Gowah Archeological Park, which features stunning partially restored ruins of a Salado pueblo, along with an accompanying museum.
Located high in the White Mountains in Eastern Arizona near the New Mexico border, Greer is a picturesque mountain valley which is a true paradise for outdoor lovers. With four distinct seasons, this is a true year-round destination for adventures in beautiful surroundings. From forests to the Little Colorado River, lakes to local wildlife, the area is not only great for hiking, fishing, camping, and skiing, but also a prime location for budding or professional photographers wanting to capture a wide range of material. As for culture lovers, the Butterfly Lodge Museum, which is on the National Register Of Historic Places, is a must-visit with its displays of original furnishings and artifacts.
A charming National Historic Landmark on Cleopatra Hill, Jerome is a former mining town located in Northern Arizona. Meandering around the hilly, winding streets, guests will discover galleries and art studios as the area is brimming with artistic talent. Not forgetting its past, Jerome offers history buffs a wealth of experience through the Mine Museum, displaying artifacts representing the town’s past and present, and the Jerome State Historic Park, home to the Douglas Mansion which is now a museum. The town also hosts many events throughout the year, including the Jerome Historic Home And Building Tour, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary from May 16-17.
More of a small city than a town, Prescott is set among gorgeous landscape in Northern Arizona making it a great place for adventure seekers and culture lovers alike. With everything from granite mountains to ponderosa pine forests and lakes, recreational activities including hiking, rock climbing, and mountain biking are plentiful. Head into Prescott to discover many historic landmarks and experience a host of cultural highlights including The Phippen Museum, an art space specializing in Western art. Another must-visit destination is Whiskey Row which used to be home to over 40 saloons and is now a vibrant downtown area brimming with restaurants and other cultural delights.
One of the most beautiful places in the USA, Sedona is another Northern Arizona stunner. Millions of people flock to Sedona annually to explore the breathtaking scenery, which includes the magnificent Red Rock State Park; relax at one of the many spas; or experience the energy flowing throughout the area. The alluring landscape also makes it an ideal location for artists who seek inspiration for their work due to the vast variety of art, from Native American to modern, available in a variety of media. There is also no shortage of outdoor activities waiting to be discovered. From hiking to kayaking, outdoor lovers can find it all in this town.
Once a small city during its mining heyday, Tombstone is now a National Historic Landmark District. Located in Southern Arizona, it contains many preserved buildings from the 1870s and 80s. Founded in 1877, the community is a wonderful destination for anyone interested in the Old Wild West. Guests can visit the infamous O.K. Corral to see reenactments of famous gunfights, or head to the Bird Cage Theater, which once doubled as a saloon, gambling hall, and brothel. With such a rich history and an often violent past, it is no wonder that Tombstone also attracts ghost hunters as it is believed to be one of the most haunted places on the planet.
Another scenic village in the southern region of the state, Tubac is, as the town’s motto states, ‘where art and history meet.’ Established as a Spanish Presidio in 1752, but inhabited for over 11,000 years, the area is steeped in history, which can be explored in Arizona’s first state park named Tubac Presidio State Historic Park. Located in Old Town, the park features a museum along with historic adobe buildings, including the Otero Hall, one of the state’s original school buildings. Tubac is also a popular art town as sites, such as the Tubac Center Of The Arts, provide incredible exhibitions and host popular events such as The Festival Of The Arts. With natural and cultural beauty everywhere, it is a village that will interest and delight all kinds of people.
Located on the Historic Route 66 in Northern Arizona, Winslow is a must-see destination when visiting this part of the state. Situated on the high desert plains in the Little Colorado River Valley, the scenery is stunning. The town itself is equally charming with a historic downtown that is perfect for strolling and discovering Winslow’s past. Other must-see places include La Poseda Hotel and The Standin’ On The Corner Park. This park pays homage to the Eagle’s hit song, Take it Easy, as the lyrics include ‘standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona’. Built in 1929, La Poseda Hotel was in danger of being demolished several times. But instead it underwent major renovation and now features beautiful gardens and stunning art.
By Marcelina Morfin