Explore historic architecture in Tubac, AZ.

Arizona is home to many world-famous destinations, but its small towns allow visitors to embrace what traveling is all about. If Arizona is next on your travel list, check out some of the great small towns that offer historic appeal, unique charm, and quaint downtowns that you can explore. 

Sedona

Sedona is a beautiful town known for its towering red rock formations and its vibrant arts scene. Located about two hours from Phoenix, Sedona allows visitors to escape the stress of city life. For outdoor enthusiasts, the local area offers horseback riding, fishing, skiing during winter months, and many miles of hiking trails. With various historical sites, unforgettable scenery, and a charming downtown, Sedona is one of Arizona’s most treasured small towns.

Recommended Stops: Sedona Heritage Museum, Red Rock Café, Page Springs Vineyard & Cellars

Tubac

Tubac is a charming town situated on the Santa Cruz River about two-and-a-half hours from Phoenix. Its official motto is, “Where art and history meet,” and it’s easy to see why. The area has been inhabited for over 11,000 years, and it was the site of a Spanish Presidio in the 1700s. The town was also home to an art colony throughout the 1930s and 1960s. Its eclectic galleries that feature local and international artists maintain Tubac’s strong art culture. With historic adobe buildings, museums, authentic Mexican restaurants, and art exhibitions, Tubac offers a full itinerary for any visitor.

Recommended Stops: Tubac Center of the Arts, Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, Tubac Golf Resort & Spa

Bisbee

Bisbee is a historic mountain town great for relaxing or hiking, (Image via Shutterstock.com)

Bisbee is a hidden gem nestled near the scenic Mule Mountains about 90 miles away from Tucson. The historic inns and brick buildings remind visitors of Bisbee’s past as a thriving mining town. With well-preserved historic architecture and a laid-back spirit, Bisbee attracts a diverse crowd of travelers, including artists and outdoor enthusiasts. It has plenty of historic sites, outdoor recreation options, and charming boutiques and eateries.

Recommended Stops: Queen Mine Tour, Old Bisbee Brewing Company, Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum

Jerome

Known as “America’s Most Vertical City,” Jerome is a ghost town perched at 5,200 feet on Cleopatra Hill. This historic copper mining town was once a thriving community. In its heyday, Jerome produced an incredible 3 million pounds of copper per month. After demand for copper decreased over the decades that followed, the remaining residents of Jerome decided to promote it as a ghost town. Jerome was eventually designated as a National Historic District, and this former mining town is now an artist community with a population just under 500. It’s the perfect place to cozy up at an inn and take a trip into the past.

Recommended Stops: Jerome State Historic Park, Mile High Grill & Inn, Jerome Winery

Winslow

Winslow's very own homage to the song "Take it Easy." (Image via Shutterstock.com)

This Route 66 town offers historic charm, a casual lifestyle, and a strong sense of community. Winslow’s history was shaped by the early railroad history, and as a result, has brought together a number of cultures that now call this town home. With historic attractions, Native American cultural sites, and an Old West spirit, Winslow is a town you don’t want to miss on your next trip through Arizona.

Recommended Stops: Standin’ On a Corner Park, La Posada Hotel, Old Trails Museum

Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley is the place to be when you’re in need of some rest and relaxation. This affluent town near Phoenix is home to world-class golf, luxury resorts, and fine dining. Due to its location in between the McDowell Mountains, Phoenix Mountain Preserve, and Camelback Mountain, it also offers an abundance of nearby outdoor recreation. Whether you’re looking to unwind in nature, lounge at the poolside, or go golfing at a luxury course, Paradise Valley offers the perfect escape.

Recommended Stops: Sanctuary Camelback Resort, El Chorro, Camelback Golf Club

Carefree

True to its name, Carefree is a one-of-a-kind town known for its creative spirit and welcoming locals. Set against a backdrop of the beautiful Sonoran desert, this vibrant town offers cultural festivals, art shows, and galleries, and charming boutiques. It’s also home to scenic lakes, hiking trails, and over 20 golf courses. From casual eateries to fine dining, Carefree is also a great spot to enjoy award-winning restaurants. In Carefree, travelers can embrace a slower pace of life.

Recommended Stops: The Carefree Sun Dial, Carefree Desert Gardens, Club Terravita Golf Course

Prescott

Prescott has a quaint downtown surrounded by some of the country's most beautiful landscape.

With its picturesque downtown and tree-lined streets, it’s clear why Prescott is known as “Everybody’s Hometown.” Prescott offers travelers the quintessential small town experience. A trip to Prescott isn’t complete without a stroll down Whiskey Row. This historic block was once home to a total of 40 saloons. Today, the historic buildings now house bars, shops, and art galleries. Those visiting Prescott during the holiday season should also be sure to check out the Christmas festival, which includes a parade and annual lighting of the county courthouse.  

Recommended Stops: Whiskey Row, Sharlot Hall Museum, Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary