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.
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.