From lessons in riding and leather-working to fine wine and Wi-Fi, Arizona dude ranches offer a stable of challenges and creature comforts.
Tomorrow, you may be walking funny. But are sore thighs such a steep price to pay for crisp air, rustic adventure and unspoiled Western terrain? At Arizona’s growing circle of Western-style cowboy resorts, otherwise known as “dude ranches,” visitors can saddle up and gallop across the grasslands of southern Arizona, over the White Mountains’ snow-sheeted forests, and through the hoodoo-studded hideaways of the Chiricahuas. Then ease your saddle-chapped rear into a restaurant chair for haute-ranch cuisine – or just kick back on the porch, drink in the frontier views and remember what silence sounds like.
Whether you’re a foodie, an alfresco fitness fan, a culture vulture or a science geek, there’s a Tucson getaway for you.
Locals aren’t kidding when they say Tucson feels like a small town; it’s the kind of place where familiar faces are as common as taco stands, and where the vibe is a cross-breed of San Diego chill and Austin offbeat-country charm. Despite its folksiness, Arizona’s second-largest city is crammed with recreational options for every personality type, from food fanatics and outdoorsy people to Bill Nye the Science Guy-types and arts aficionados who know more about kick lines than place kicks.
Knock out a hike and tip back a cold one in Arizona high country.
DOG RATING SYSTEM:
*** Best - An abundance of water, interesting stuff to explore, easy-on-the-pads terrain and other dogs to play with make these top-notch doggie destinations.
** Good - More challenging, longer and rougher, these hikes may put too much strain on older or inexperienced dogs.
* Fair - Only the most physically fit, booty-equipped dogs should attempt these “ruff” trails.
From Prohibition haunts to beach-side horseback-riding, plus a host of cultural and viticultural activities, this Bay Area duo serves up a bevy of traveling gems..
We nearly walk past it, which is its sly intent. It is an inconspicuous building of an indeterminate shade of gunmetal, on a shadowy street in the gritty Tenderloin. A man opens the door, and we serve him the password in giddy, giggling whispers, like schoolgirls unpocketing a gold nugget of gossip: “Dewdropper.” Nonplussed, he opens the door, and we decant into Bourbon and Branch.
Out: Cheap prime rib. In: Duck tongue tacos.
You’ve just completed one of the greatest sit-down dinners on the planet – an alchemic, 15-course opera of texture, flavor and presentation. The savory delight of the frog leg fritters lingers meaningfully on your palate. You smile at the memory of the spectacular pea soup with flan of foie gras. All of it wonderful, all of it blurring slightly behind the combined magnifying effect of the expertly-matched wine that you sipped throughout the two-hour ordeal.
Ventura, California and Channel Islands National Park combine surfing, shopping and sea lions for a sublime seaside escape.
The city of Ventura and Channel Islands National Park share a number of cultural similarities, despite one being populated mainly by Californian sea lovers and the other by California sea lions. Both are blessed with fame-worthy attractions – Ventura’s historic Main Street and surfer-studded shore, the Channel Islands’ drippingly atmospheric sea caves – yet they remain relatively unknown to Arizona travelers.
From cowboy-chic cabins and high-altitude campsites to recreation-rich mountain retreats and old fire guard stations, we've mined the Copper State for gems of nature loving lodging.
Lodging under the stars in Arizona's high country forests doesn't have to mean schlepping a tent miles into the wilderness – especially when there are plenty of drive-up, family-friendly options scattered across the state. From bare bones roadside tent lots to cushy cabins surrounded by vineyards, there's something for every comfort level. Located within short drives – or walks – from civilization, these eight destinations welcome campers of all persuasions.