Exploring our unique state is something everyone should do, and it’s easy with these ongoing attractions near Phoenix. This is our list of our favorite, must-see attraction,s and must-do adventures suitable any month, every day, and (almost) every weekend of the year.
Ongoing Attractions Near Phoenix
Arizona Horseback Experience
In the beautiful mountainous grasslands of Sonoita, we discovered a fun adventure that brings the Old West to Arizona’s Modern West. Arizona Horseback Experience has created a one-of-a-kind tour that takes you on horseback through canyons and hills you could not see any other way. Stop along the way and take in spectacular views, and the cherry on this ride is a delicious lunch and a tasting of some of Arizona’s best wines. Kick back enjoy your wine and Arizona Horseback Experience will safely drive you back.
Details: 3-hour scenic tours start at $96 per person ($80 in the Summer) (Private ride add $50); Full day rides, wine tasting rides, Horsemanship classes, and overnight rides are available and go up from there – visit here for rates and Summer discounts. Closed Sundays. 520-455-5696 | www.horsebackexperience.com.
Big Lake itself is worth the trip by itself, with breathtaking panoramas overseen Arizona’s White Mountains. At 9,000 feel in elevation, the cool temperatures at white lake are exhilarating during late spring, summer, and early fall. Four campgrounds ring the lake, and several others are a few miles away. Campsites accommodate everything from a two-person tent to an 82-foot rig. Fishing in Arizona’s best fishing lake, you can hook Apache, rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout, and hiking opportunities abound. Motors are limited to 10 horsepower.
Details: The lake is in the Big Lake Recreation Area of Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, off Arizona 261 about 26 miles southwest of Eagar; biglakeaz.com
Explore Tombstone’s Old West shops and attractions during the city’s new monthly Tombstone at Twilight events.
The wooden boardwalks of Tombstone come alive at night as people pack the historic Arizona town. Women in dresses laced of taffeta brush through the crowds of camera-toting tourists. This monthly event takes place the 4th Saturday evening of each month. You can shop late, dine and be entertained as many residents stroll Allen Street draped in 18th- and 19th-century clothing. Experience the flash of gunfire with classic mock shootouts in the streets, featuring the Blood at Dusk Gunfighters. For every purchase made after 5 p.m., shoppers will receive a raffle ticket for one of three prizes in the evening.
Details: The event is held on the last Saturday of each month.
Along Allen Street in Tombstone. Free. www.facebook.com/TombstoneAtTwilight.
Hoover Dam Tours
One of Western Arizona’s most striking features is the Hoover Dam, the 726-foot-tall stopper of the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada. Built during the Great Depression, the massive structure was dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Sept. 30, 1935.
Tours of the dam are 1 hour and power plant tours are 30 minutes. Tours begin with a 70-second elevator ride down 54 stories to one of the tunnels built to divert the river away from the construction site. It takes you to the Nevada wing of the power plant that houses eight generators used to power Southern California.
The visitor center offers interactive exhibits and a visual and audio history of the dam’s construction.
Visitor Center: Open 9:00 a.m. — Close 5:00 p.m. (Tickets must be purchased by 4:15 p.m. for access)
Directions: About 75 miles north of Kingman on U.S. 93. 702-494-2517,www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam.
Grand Canyon Railway Tour
Rock layers of the Grand Canyon showcase nearly two billion years of the Earth’s geological history. The massive formation truly is one of the most spectacular sites in the world. The guided tour allows you to see as much of it as you possibly can, while learning about the canyon’s rich stories, wildlife and history. The environment-friendly Grand Canyon Railway’s historical steam locomotive No. 4960 departs daily at 9:30 a.m. from Williams, Arizona, which is about 30 miles west of Flagstaff, just off Interstate 40. The train travels almost due north to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, arriving at 11:45 a.m.
Keeping the story of early settlement in the Valley alive, the 17-acre Sahauro Ranch Historic Area preserves one of the Valley’s oldest and most magnificent ranches, featuring 13 original buildings. Stare at 100-year-old date palm trees as the historic orchards take you back in time. The Sahuaro Ranch Historic Area offers exhibits, activities, and guided tours. Learn the history of the first settlers as you tour the Main House Museum that was built between 1891-98.
Details: Grounds open 6 a.m.-sunset. Tours 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 1-4 p.m. Sundays. Sahuaro Ranch Park Historic Area, 9802 N. 59th Ave., Glendale. Free. 623-930-4200, glendaleaz.com/srpha.
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