We’ve all played cowboys and Indians in our youth and dreamed of herding cattle across America’s great plains. In Arizona those dreams can become reality with a stay at one of the many dude ranches located throughout the state. Experience life in the saddle or relax in rural five-star accommodation while getting a taste of the real Wild West.
2. GET CULTURAL IN GUADALUPE
The little Native American and Hispanic town of Guadalupe makes for a great half-day trip. 13 miles from Phoenix, the Mexican influenced community will immerse you in traditional culture, cuisine, and local art. Enjoy an afternoon Margarita and fresh roadside fruit while shopping for some authentic Mexican souvenirs.
3. FLOAT DOWN THE SALT RIVER
Escape the busy city and jump into the Salt River at Tonto National Forest for a one-of-a-kind aquatic experience. Rent a tube from a local tour company, slip into a wet suit or bathing suit, and leisurely float along with the current of the river. You’ll enjoy breathtaking desert landscapes and a ‘floating picnic’ as you meander atop the refreshing mountain-stream waters of the Lower Salt River Rapids.
Ever wanted to fly like a bird and see the world from above? With a hot air balloon tour you can see Phoenix from a unique vantage point high in the sky. Most tour companies will pick you up from your hotel and whisk you to a takeoff point where you will experience an elevated overview of the awe-inspiring landscapes and rock formations only seen in Arizona.
6. EXPLORE AN ANCIENT CIVILISATION
In the 12th century the Sinagua culture constructed their home within an alcove 100 feet above the floor of Beaver Creek Canyon. The 20 room structure known as Montezuma Castle sits high above the desert floor and hosts authentic artefacts dating back 100 years before the birth of Montezuma II. This distinctive destination is a great place to stop when travelling from Phoenix to Sedona.
7. STICK EM UP IN TOMBSTONE
No trip to Arizona is complete without a visit to Tombstone. Here visitors can step into the shoes of the Earp brothers at the OK Corral; just make sure to duck when you hear the fire of gunfire! Gun fights take place throughout the day and guests can mosey up to an actual chuck wagon or wooden bar and order a sarsaparilla or beer from a bar keep. Don’t forget to visit Boot Hill cemetery where numerous gunslingers were laid to rest.
From lassoing cattle on desert plains to exploring the remnants of an ancient civilisation, there’s plenty of activities within an hour’s drive of Phoenix that will pique your interest and inspire your sense of adventure.