things to do
best arizona vacations – 33 summer getaways
Things To Do
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Things To Do
Best Arizona Vacations – 33 Summer Getaways
June, 2011, Page 106
The Ranch at Fossil Creek
10379 W. Fossil Creek Road, Strawberry
Heralded for its herd of dairy goats that graze on the Mogollon Rim hills and produce tangy chevre and creamy fudge, Fossil Creek Creamery is less known for its overnight accommodations and llama treks. But it should be, because no other family vacation spot in Arizona simultaneously satisfies animal lovers, artisan cheese-heads, hikers and campers.
On a half-day hike ($65 per person), you’ll amble with the amiable Andean animals, who kindly carry your lunch through a ponderosa pine forest to American Indian ruins and a blue-green travertine spring. In the afternoons, owners John and Joyce Bittner will take you on a tour of the ranch, encouraging you to pet and milk the goats, followed by an inside look at the creamery, culminating in samples of cheese and fudge. At night, you’ll retire to a custom-made yurt – a jumbo, round tent on stilts. You’ll sleep on futons, but bring sleeping bags, food and cooking equipment – no dinner is provided, and man cannot live on goat cheese alone.
: One yurt sleeps five people and runs $85 per night. Extra activities include participating in farm chores and milking for $50 per person, or shorter llama hikes for $30 per hour, per person.
Roper Lake State Park
101 E. Roper Lake Road, Safford
Camping with the fam can be just as memorable as staying at a five-star resort, but not everyone wants to rough it. So enjoy a bit of luxury with your wilderness by reserving one of eight furnished cabins that line this 30-acre lake, and snuggle into full-size beds or bunk beds while staying civilized with electricity and air-conditioning/heating. Pets are even welcome in some of the cottages. There are no baths or kitchens, but nice restrooms and free, hot showers are within walking distance, while picnic tables and charcoal grills make for well-equipped al fresco dining.
During the day, fish in the bass- and trout-stocked lake, paddle a canoe to the day-use island, dip in the natural hot springs, spot herons gliding against the backdrop of Mount Graham, rove the five miles of trails, and send the kiddos on Junior Ranger programs through the visitor’s center.
: Cabin rentals are $55 per night for up to four adults plus two children; $5 per night/per pet fee for cabins that allow pets.
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