One of the great things about living in Arizona is that in the winter is that we can take day trips to see the beautiful landscape of our state without being hindered by extreme weather or excessive cold. Sure, you have to be a little cautious about what the weather will be like in the high country. (We once had a slippery ride getting away from a snow trip to Flagstaff!) But, for the most part, the weather in Arizona during the winter makes being outdoors and sight-seeing fabulous!
While my daughter and her family were here for the holidays, we realized that her husband, Adrian, hadn't really seen much of the sights of Arizona. He was interested in seeing the red rocks he had heard about. So, we planned a day trip to Sedona.
Sedona is an easy trip from Phoenix. It only takes about
1 and 1/2 hours to get there. We didn't even get away from the house until around 10:30, because who wants to get up early during the holidays? You take the I-17 up to the turn off to Sedona which is exit 298 onto highway 179. You follow a beautiful scenic drive that leads to the city that many find mystical and inspiring because of the gorgeous red rock formations. My daughter, the geology fanatic, loves the striations of layers in the rocks and the formations from erosion. It is all fascinating.
We went up to The Chapel of the Holy Cross, which has the most beautiful vistas of the red rock formations the and valley below. It is a historic site in Sedona and always very busy. It is worth the trouble of finding a place to park because of the gorgeous views. Here is a slideshow of our visit.
From here, you can take the road into Sedona and then continue on 89A through Oak Creek Canyon all of the way to Flagstaff. That is a beautiful trip. In the Summer, Oak Creek Canyon is a great place to go because of Slide Rock! Slide Rock is a State Park with a natural waterslide/swimming area among the red rocks that is so much fun! In the Fall, the colors of the changing leaves in Oak Creek are magical.
In our case, we decided to go back the way we came to one of our favorite spots for a picnic. If you turn right instead of left off of the I17 at the Sedona exit, you follow a road to Wet Beaver Creek. This is one of the rare creeks in Arizona that flows all year. It is a little oasis in the middle of the high desert. There is a great swimming hole that is deep enough to jump into from the red rock ledge. It can be very crowded on summer weekends. We like to plan to go on a weekday. It is worth it to take a vacation day from work. The water is always cold and it always takes me forever to get used to it, but it is a nice relief from our summer heat. Of course, we weren't going swimming on this trip. We were just using the day use picnic site to eat sandwiches, to stretch our legs and to give our grandson some time out of the carseat. Here is another slideshow.
While we were out, we decided to go to another great destination that is only around 1 and 1/2 from Phoenix as well, and that is Prescott, AZ. Heading south on the I17 from Wet Beaver Creek, you exit onto the 169 W. and then take the 69 to drive through Prescott Valley and into Prescott. Prescott is known as Arizona's Christmas Town. The best place to start your visit in Prescott is at the Courthouse in the center of town. There is almost always something going on there. We have found craft shows and art shows there at various times and during the holidays there are beautiful decorations all around it.
It did rain on us a little in Prescott, but it just added to the holiday feel. When you leave the city, to return to Phoenix, you stay on the 69 and join the I17 at Cordes Junction.
We didn't spend a lot of money on this trip either. Just gas money and for a few drinks and snacks. We packed our picnic lunch from holiday leftovers. After seeing all three places, we were back home by 8:00 pm. It is great to take these frugal, memory making trips! If you live in Phoenix, or come for a visit, give these places a try. You won't regret it!
Creators of Hot Cocoa Bombs! (copyrighted)
Helen Reynolds: Mother of six children , grandmother to eleven! I love to cook, craft and create things and I especially love doing that with my family, So, when my lawyer daughter, Lindsey, my artist daughter, Madalynn, and I came up with the idea of Hot Cocoa Bombs, this blog was born. Then, one more daughter, with her technical and science skills, plus creativity has joined in to round us out! Read more about us here!