While we don’t typically think of Arizona as lush and green, it has pockets that are just that. Tonto National Forest is the largest of the six national forests in Arizona – and full of luscious greenery. Surprising, right?
Tonto National Forest is also the fifth-largest national forest in the United States, so there’s plenty of exploring to do. The real question is, where to base yourself? Town or country? Budget or boujee? Luckily, we’ve got options to suit every taste and budget on our list of favorite places to stay near Tonto National Forest – bookable on Culture Trip.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Holder of the prestigious Best of the Rim title from a local readers’ poll, Majestic Mountain Inn has steadily and carefully built up its reputation over the years as the go-to spot for anyone visiting Payson. Staff are courteous and welcoming, there’s complimentary breakfast and the accommodation, decorated in earth tones, is relaxing and comfortable. Upgraded rooms feature bonuses such as hot tubs and patios; there’s even a stone fireplace in the king deluxe room.
Pretty far out of Africa indeed, this fantastic glamping village is located in Camp Verde, with Fort Verde State Historic Park and Clemenceau Heritage Museum being local cultural highlights. The Glamping Village itself offers eight shared glamping tents with separate dining areas and access to shared bathrooms. Local activities include Alcantara Vineyards, Agave Highlands Golf Course and the wildlife park itself – along with hiking and biking trails, horse riding and zip lining.
Quite the nature retreat, this set of two-story, two-bedroom villas look as if they’ve been carved out of the local landscape. Each villa has a fully equipped kitchen, two fireplaces, a full-size washer and dryer and a private backyard with a spa. This is a beautiful, relaxing retreat, with Cave Creek quite the backdrop – you can view a magnificent desert sunset from your private backyard spa, or simply relax in the outdoor pool.
If you’re going to Arizona for a once-in-a-lifetime trip, you might as well go all-in. This magnificent home features stunning views of Cave Creek, as well as its very own tennis court. Be the master or mistress of your domain as you gaze over sweeping desert vistas while lounging in the pool – or rest easy in the ample beds upon luxurious marble floors. It sleeps 15, so you don’t even have to choose your friends wisely.
They really have thought of everything here at Kohl’s Ranch. This lodge sits alongside Tonto Creek, surrounded by pine forests, and is 18mi (29km) from the Mogollon Rim escarpment. This retreat offers a friendly, casual atmosphere, with cozy interiors decorated with local materials. Amenities include a pool, putting green, casino, fitness center and basketball court. Nearby, you can hike, fish, bowl, boat or even shop till you drop – or you could just sit back and breathe in that mountain air.
One of the oldest continuously operated businesses under the Mogollon Rim, the first cabin constructed at Christopher Creek Lodge was built in 1950 and served as the original Christopher Creek Store and Bar. Since then, it has expanded to include everything from waterfront cabins and dorms to rustic motel-style rooms. The lodge prides itself on being an affordable place, where people can get away from the congestion of the cities and enjoy the beauty of the Arizona high country.
This luxury villa is just a seven-minute drive from Desert Ridge Marketplace, 14 minutes from Dove Valley Ranch Golf Club and just under half an hour from Cave Buttes Recreation Area. Marble floors, high-end fixtures and indulgent fabrics feature heavily in this house, as do huge comfy bedrooms with ensuites. There’s also a fully equipped kitchen, beautiful outdoor pool, built-in barbecue and gas fireplace.
Looking to incorporate a feeling of luxury and comfort into the great outdoors, this family-friendly resort is a winner. Facilities include an indoor recreation center with a heated pool, hot tub, weight rooms, lockers and showers. You can picnic or barbecue at one of the firepits, and there’s also a bocce ball court, horseshoe pit and two playgrounds for the kids to enjoy as you relax.
Looking for somewhere different? Book into one of the best hotels in nearby Phoenix, or, if you’re catching a flight, choose one of the best hotels near Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Inspire you itinerary with the top things to do in the Arizona state capital, including the best day trips. And don’t miss the best restaurants in Phoenix.
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meet our Local Insider
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WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.