We cured the winter blues with a trip to Arizona in January and I am thrilled to share my favorite finds with you all. As always, if you have any questions as you create your own vacation - you can connect with me on Instagram or filling out the contact form on my website, just click here.
Getting There: We found an amazing flight deal to/from Phoenix and were looking for some warm weather to cure our winter blues.
Getting Around: I found Scottsdale to be pretty walkable - and they also have Bird/Lime scooters that make it easy to zip around too! Uber and Lyft were always readily available when I wanted to explore a little further out.
We did use a rental car to spend a day in Mesa - which was one of my favorite activities from this trip... I wrote a short thing up about that below.
After spending a weekend in Tucson, we decided to
Saturday We spent our second day on the eastern side of Tucson in the Rincon Mountan District of Saguaro National Park. We had opted to stay closer to town so we woke up, ate breakfast at the hotel and then hit the road for a day of exploring.
The first thing I noticed was that this side of the park is much more rocky and rugged. Start your day at the visitor center to get your bearings and then jump back into your rental car and drive the eight-mile Cactus Forest Loop Drive. This road twists and turns across a cactus forest. This is the only road through this side of Saguaro National Park, but there are plenty of hiking trails to keep you busy. We opted to do two hikes here:
Mica View Loop to Cactus Forest Loop (2 miles round trip): From the Mica View Picnic Area, head north on the Mica View Trail. At the Broadway trailhead, turn right onto Shantz trail, then a quick right onto the Cactus Forest Trail heading south. Return to Mica View Picnic Area by turning right on the Mica View Trail.
In all honesty, we got a liiiiittle lost on this one - make sure you keep your eye out for the trail signs so you know where to turn and always pack extra water!
Freeman Homestead Trail (1 mile loop): Turn toward Tanque Verde Ridge Picnic Area from Cactus Loop Drive. This is a really nice path that takes you down to the site of an old homestead foundation and there's interpretive signs about the history and plant life along the way.
We also stopped at a bunch of the pullouts and overlooks along the way. My favorite was Javelina Rocks (you'll see them about seven miles into your drive and there is a small parking lot for cars to park).
After finishing the Cactus Forest Loop Drive and all of our hiking, we decided to head back into town for lunch. Some friends of ours that went to school at the University of Arizona had recommended Lindy's on 4th and it was fabulous (thanks Jess & Ryan). Make sure you get extra Lindy Sauce for your burger!
We had worked up quite the thirst after hiking and lunch and I'm a big fan of finding some local craft breweries - so off we went to Crooked Tooth Brewing Company. They're known in the area for some pretty unusual beer recipes but they've got a great 18 Hour IPA too. They even serve their beer flights on a skateboard and also have a nice beer garden with a few lawn games in back.
We spent the remainder of our afternoon relaxing by our hotel's pool and talking about how fabulous this weekend as been. For dinner tonight, we headed back to Downtown Tucson and 4th Avenue to find a local dive bar that Ryan and Jess had also recommended. A few other options in the area are 47 Scott and Downtown Kitchen.
Sunday After an amazing weekend in Tucson, it's time to head home... but not before breakfast at The Little One and walking the Turquoise Trail. You can grab a map at the Tucson Visitors Center or the Presidio Museum (or click here to download a map). This is a really nice 2 1/2 mile loop that takes you through Downtown Tucson and highlights more than 30 historical structures/sites. Along the way, there are a number of artisan shops as well - perfect for getting some souvenirs!
This was the perfect way to end our amazing trip to Tucson. I can't believe it went so fast! I'm already looking forward to another visit - who wants to go with me? Any takers?
Stay | The Scott Resort When we first started planning this vacation, Mike really wanted to go somewhere where he could sit by a pool. We had used hotel points to stay in Tucson and decided to splurge on a hotel in Scottsdale so we could enjoy the pool he so desperately wanted. A friend of mine who lives in Scottsdale had raved about The Scott Resort & Spa - so we decided to give it a try! The rooms were beautiful and we loved spending time in their gorgeous lobby bar. It turns out that we arrived during the one weekend of winter they have, so we didn't spend much time in the pool - just one evening in the hot tub and I think everyone thought we were crazy for doing so!
In hindsight, we paid a lot more than we normally would for a hotel - and because of this, I felt obligated to spend more time there, instead of out exploring.