Water, Water Everywhere! The Best of Southern Arizona’s Water Spots

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If you do not live in Southern Arizona, it may be hard to believe that in this vast desert we find ourselves with lots of access to some of the best water spots around. From fishing to swimming, Southern Arizona is home to some of the most picturesque and quiet water spots around.

If Arizonans know how to do anything well, it’s cool off on long hot days. Winters in Southern Arizona quickly give way to early, warm Springs, and there is no better time to take advantage of the picture-perfect weather than to indulge in some water activities.

Keeping the range within two hours of Tucson, here are the best spots to dive head-first into all the beautiful and bountiful water that Southern Arizona has to offer.

Romero Canyon Pools, Tucson

Nestled deep in the beautiful Santa Catalina Mountains of Tucson you’ll find Romero Pools, a series of rock-lined swimming holes that are simply breathtaking to behold and loaded with greenery.

While some of the swimming holes require just a quick hike to reach, some of the most beautiful ones can only be reached by tackling some challenging switchback trails first, making them generally quieter than the rest. Spring rains and monsoon storms fill up these pools, so the best time to go is just after a storm.

Rose Canyon Lake, Mt. Lemmon

High atop Mount Lemmon in Tucson is a gorgeous little 6-acre lake complete with campgrounds and seemingly year-round perfect temperatures. This is the place to go for fishing in Southern Arizona, and you should seriously consider spending the night in one of Tucson’s most scenic campgrounds before waking up early to catch your limit.

Seven Falls, Tucson

Another need to visit watering hole in Tucson is the Seven Falls spot in Sabino Canyon, one of Tucson’s favorite spots to ditch the heat of summer. Not only is it located just minutes away from all the amenities of Tucson, but when the water levels are up, this waterfall spot is truly breathtaking, and can quickly become your new favorite spot in the Old Pueblo.

Patagonia Lake, Nogales

Tucked away in the always gorgeous Patagonia Lake State Park just about an hour south of Tucson lies Patagonia Lake, one of the best fishing spots in all of Arizona. With the bass, flathead and channel catfish, sunfish, crappies, and bluegills always biting, it should be no surprise that Patagonia Lake is a must-do for the avid fisherman.

The nearby Lakeside Market is the place to rent your boat and load up on supplies before you head off for a day of fishing. Who knows, you might just catch the biggest catfish since the 56.2 pounder one lucky fisherman caught in the lake in 2014.

Fossil Creek, Phoenix

A lush water spot in a city known for its desert landscape, Fossil Creek is just a short hike down a trail, and you won’t be sorry you went. Because of the spot’s immense popularity and subsequent disrespect by the hundreds of visitors who made the 5-mile hike in and out of Fossil Creek, Park Services have made the spot ‘permit only,’ reserving exactly 9 parking spots per day for visitors to enjoy the swimming hole as it was meant to be enjoyed, and keep the area clean for years to come.

Four National Parks You Need to Experience

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There are a lucky few who get to spend their weekends adventuring. Far too many people, by contrast, find a million little reasons not to get outdoors and experience the world around them.

This year, don’t let your million little excuses stop you from taking part in and witnessing some of the most magnificent, splendid, and breathtaking places on Earth.

Dive head-first into adventure with a trip to one of these incredible National Parks, and do it up right. No quick half-day trips, no walk-and-talks with the office, no settling for anything less than a full-blown National Park adventure that you and your family will never forget.

1. Yosemite, California

Ten minutes in Yosemite will yield you a lifetime’s worth of awe-inspiring beauty and wonder, but don’t let that stop you from really exploring all that this huge national park has to offer.

At 2,424 feet, Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America and the sixth largest one in the world. Find your way to the Sierra Nevada mountain range and take in one of the most beloved waterfalls anywhere in the world.

It doesn’t get more picturesque than Tuolumne Meadows, a Bob Ross-style painting come to life. This is the place to camp, hike, and explore among a tremendous variety of tree and plant species, and all set against a backdrop of majestic mountains and the Tuolumne River.

Cathedral Peak, part of the Cathedral Mountain Range that runs through Yosemite, is a must-not-miss sight. This granite peak soars 10,911 feet into the air, and deserves a visit.

Don’t miss out on the rafting, fishing, camping, rock climbing, and endless hiking opportunities that Yosemite has to offer.

2. Olympic, Washington

Rainforest, mountains, pristine coastlines – there is nothing Olympic doesn’t have to offer visitors. Animal lovers would be remiss to skip Olympic’s furry offerings either. Elk roam the parks, sea lions and seals spot the coastlines, and this is the place to spot America’s pride and joy, the American bald eagle.

Sol Duc Falls is one of the most resplendent waterfalls in the United States, so it should be no surprise that so many photographers scramble to catch perfect shots of it year after year. Hiking to the falls is an easy trip loaded with some of the most fairy-tale like scenery you have ever encountered. See for yourself just how magical it really is!

When you’re done hiking the falls, take a relaxing stroll on Kalaloch Beach at the southern end of the park. Kalaloch Beach is a marine life sanctuary, and you can spend an entire day on the beach animal watching and experiencing the lapping waves from the Pacific.

You have your choice of two rainforests at Olympic – the Quinault and the Hoh. These wet, green, flourishing spots are home to some of the oldest trees in the world, including big Sitka, the 1,000-year old spruce that is 191 feet tall.

3. Saguaro, Arizona

If you have not experienced the grandeur of the majestic Saguaro cactus, it is high-time you pack a bag and head off to explore this national park treasure. Guardians of the Sonoran Desert, Saguaros are the ambassadors of the sprawling desert before them. Reaching over 50 feet in height and living as long as 200 years, the Saguaro is the pride and joy of Saguaro National Park and the Southwest.

The National Park was created around Saguaro Forest, protecting the acres of twisted and prickly trees that call this land their home. Before you think that Saguaro National Park is just a couple of interesting cacti and nothing more, think again.

The Saguaro National Forest is teeming with life, including black bears, white-tailed deer, packs of javelina, and countless varieties of migrating and permanent birds from spotted owls to quail to woodpeckers.

If you are a flower lover, you need to see and explore Saguaro National Forest when it is brimming with wildflowers including marigolds, Mexican gold poppies, and the gorgeous white flower blossoms of the Saguaro cactus that open only at night and last just a few hours.

4. Smoky Mountains, North Carolina & Tennessee

The Great Smoky Mountains are the most visited national park in the U.S. for a reason. There is nothing quite like the endless hidden corners, surprise gems, and winding hiking trails of the Smoky Mountains – and that’s just a small part of the 522,000 acres that make up the park.

The striking mountain vistas are reason enough to go for a long, extended weekend at Smoky, but while you’re there, don’t miss out on experiencing the countless outdoor activities available in the parks.

Fancy yourself a fisherman or fisherwoman? Interested in getting your pulse racing with some whitewater rafting, kayaking, or canoeing? Grab your gear and dive on into all the water that the Smoky Mountains have to offer.

Not only can you hike, drive, and off-road ride through the Smoky Mountains, but you can also take a train through all that expansive wilderness! When you hop off the train, you have the great outdoors at your fingertips, where you can chase some waterfalls, explore the history and culture of the native Cherokee people, and even go mining for gems. When you’re done doing as much as you can at the end of the day, get a good night’s rest in your sleeping bag and wake up in the morning to another day of adventures.

There are thousands of things that there are to see and do in our favorite National Parks, but the only way that you’ll ever discover what you’ve been missing is to grab your backpack and see them for yourself.

Arizona’s Best Spots for Nature Photography: Part Two

The Wave Arizona

It is profoundly hard to beat Arizona when it comes to the magnificence of the natural landscape. For thousands of years this land has been drawing in people of all cultures and creeds to witness her beauty first-hand, and that means that Arizona has become a mecca of sorts for those who specialize in the art of natural beauty.

Any nature photographer worth their salt has spent time exploring the varied and vast Arizona regions for the chance to capture a moment of all this beauty with their cameras. Thankfully, Arizona offers countless opportunities for nature lovers to land the perfect shot.

In Part One of this blog, we explored some of the locations in Arizona that are begging to be photographed by professionals and amateurs alike including Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Havasu Falls, and the always amazing Sedona.

If you have an interest in nature photography, you need to make it a point to stop by these excellent Arizona locations to fill your portfolio with some stunning nature photography. Here are five more places that you do not want to miss as you tour Arizona grabbing picture after picture.

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument

In northern Arizona, on Colorado Plateau, there is a national monument so unbelievably impressive that it has to be seen with your own eyes to truly be real. The Vermilion Cliffs National Monument includes the areas of Coyote Buttes and The Wave, both incredibly popular spots for landscape photographers.

This remote national treasure has been able to remain pristine due to the limited number of people allowed to visit. To see the Vermilion Cliffs up close, you need a permit and a sturdy vehicle (some paths are only accessible with a four-wheel-drive vehicle) capable of making through the unpaved deep sand path to get to the Cliffs.

Monument Valley

On the Navajo Nation land lies Monument Valley, one of the most oft-photographed locations in the world. The remarkable sandstone formations are some of the easiest to recognize landmarks in the country, towering upwards of 1,000 feet in the sky.

The colors, structures, and honestly the entire landscape surrounding them, are ready to be photographed from all angles. Since the site is protected, some access points are only accessible via Navajo-guided tours to preserve the beauty for thousands of years longer.

Sonoran Desert National Monument

If you are looking for vast and splendid mountains, perfect cacti, and the most expansive stretch of starry skies you’ve ever laid your eyes on, head to the Sonoran Desert National Monument. The monument protects a portion of the Sonoran Desert that is the most biologically diverse section of desert anywhere in North America.

A saguaro cactus forest, three mountain ranges, valleys of wildflowers, clear skies, and historic trails are all waiting for your keen eye to snap some memorable photographs that perfectly capture life in the Sonoran Desert at that one moment in time.

Saguaro Forest National Park

The giant saguaro cacti, the largest of its kind in the U.S., finds its home in Tucson, Arizona. These regal plants can only live in a small section of the country, and they can live to be hundreds of years old, which is why they are a nationally-protected species.

With 128 miles of trails, Saguaro Forest National Park is the place to be to snap some photos of wildlife, especially colorful desert birds who make their home in the cacti. Wrens, warblers, owls and purple martins make interesting subjects, and the scenery all around them is pretty hard to beat. Don’t leave before sunset or you will miss out on one of the most breathtaking sites around.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Within the Navajo Nation land also lies Canyon de Chelly National Monument, which houses the main point of interest for photographers, Spider Rock. Spider Rock, which can be seen from the South Rime Drive of the monument, is a narrow, shockingly 750-foot sandstone spear in the middle of a vast canyon.

When the sun hits Canyon de Chelly National Monument just right (which is pretty much all day long), you can take photographs that you will treasure for a lifetime. Go during the rainy season and be on the lookout for rainbows, which have a habit of aligning perfectly with the spire, much to the delight of every photographer with a camera on hand.

Arizona’s Best Spots for Nature Photography: Part One

shutterstock_292893329From every corner of the globe, people flock to experience the majesty and iconic beauty of the Arizona landscape, and it is easy to see why. Our picturesque vistas, stunning mountain views, and seemingly endless desert sprawls is hard to beat, and our state offers tons of adventuring opportunities to get visitors up close and personal with all that nature.

One of the most enthralling ways that people connect with nature is through photography, and it should come as no surprise that Arizona offers natural photography opportunities in spades.

If you are planning a visit to Arizona, whether you head up north to Flagstaff and Sedona or down south to Tucson and Phoenix, you will find a whole lot of photographable places that are begging for your attention.

Yes, the Grand Canyon is a remarkably beautiful and needs to be experienced, but don’t let your trip end there!

Don’t pass up these must-see and world-famous locales that will turn your photography hobby into a full-blown nature photography obsession. We promise you don’t have to be a National Geographic photographer to get the best out of Arizona’s beauty. Her glory is ever-present; you need only look around you to see it.

Antelope Canyon

A very recognizable location, Antelope Canyon is far and away one of the most beautiful and oft-photographed places in the world. Not only do these canyons boast some of the most impressive views anywhere in the world, but they are only accessible by guided tour as they are on the Navajo Nation land and are a part of the history and stories of the native peoples of Arizona. This helps preserve the location so that everyone can experience its beauty.

Horseshoe Bend

About twenty minutes from Antelope Canyon you’ll find Horseshoe Bend, which is a portion of the Colorado River. This spot offers visitors some of the best water-meets-rocks photographs anywhere in the world. A photographer’s dream, there’s no guard rail at this rock cliff, allowing you to grab some wide-angle shots that you will be bragging about for years to come.

Havasu Falls

On the Havasupai Indian Reservation lies Havasu Falls, hidden ten miles from the nearest drivable roadway. The name Havasupai comes from the waterfall itself, and is translated as “people of the blue-green water.” Tucked away in the heart of the mountains is a blue-green waterfall careening off a cliff surrounded by desert greenery, making Havasu Falls a dream come true spot for any nature photographer.

Sedona

As the spiritual epicenter of the United States, it should be no surprise that tens of thousands of visitors flock to Sedona each year to experience a profound connection with the remarkable landscape. The red rocks are as iconic as they are impressive, and no matter how many people shoot photo after photo of Sedona, no two are ever alike. Sedona’s varied landscape is a combination of rock, sand, fertile soil, and lush greenery, making it a photographer’s holy grail.

There are a lot of picture-perfect locales in Sedona that require a little (or a lot) of off-road excursions, so strap on a helmet and grab an off the beaten path ATV tour that will yield spectacular photo ops.

Make This Year a Year of Adventures

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You probably tell yourself that one day, someday, you will begin to live life to the fullest. There are always a million little things that prevent us from going after our dreams with gusto, from not having the money to live the way you want to prioritizing other people and things before yourself.

The problem with one day, someday, is that it allows us to constantly put ourselves and our dreams on the back burner. What if this year was the year that you did things differently? What if this year, you conquered your own reservations about starting your journey of adventures by taking some small, but strong steps toward becoming a badass world traveler?

We yearn to adventure because the human heart and mind were not designed to sit still. We have a natural call to the wild, a deep-seeded connection to nature, and a boundless spirit that drives us to push ourselves further, faster, and ever higher.

You can get there. Just follow these guidelines.

1. Make Your Bucket List

Traveling the world is about diving head-first into adventure, but you still have to get to your destination first, which requires quite a lot of planning. If you haven’t already, start creating your vision board for travel. Everything that interests you, from exploring the ancient city of Angkor Wat in Cambodia to tackling the dizzying (literally!) heights of Africa’s Kilimanjaro, needs to start making its way to your bucket list of adventures.

If you really want to adventure like a pro, remember to tackle the four elements: water, earth, air, and fire.

Water can be anything from scuba diving with whale sharks in Belize to hitting the Salt River in an inner tube. Earth is just as much exploring the ancient ruins of the desert on an ATV as it is climbing down into the earth on a spelunking trip. Air including hang gliding, hot air ballooning, and even jumping out of planes. Fire burns brightest of all, so be sure to challenge yourself with this one. Anything that terrifies you, from jet skiing to visiting Tierra del Fuego National Park (in the city of Ushuaia only 1000 km away from Antarctica) makes your fire burn bright, so be sure to pack your list with plenty of fire-worthy adventures too.

2. Think Big, Start Small

A bucket list is everything—big and small—that excites you about traveling. Be sure to include the big stuff, of course, but don’t forget how important the small stuff is too. It may not be Everest, but undertaking a massive weekend yoga retreat in Sedona, the spiritual epicenter of the United States, can fill you with just as much joy.

Think about your home state or a state you’ve always wanted to visit. Dollywood may not be for everyone, but if the thought of visiting makes you smile, don’t leave it off your list. Always wanted to road trip to the Grand Canyon? Make this the year that you make time to hone your traveling skills by conquering New Orleans during Mardi Gras! Catch a local ghost tour in a nearby city, or visit a historic place that has stories all its own to tell.

Jump on a bus and see where it takes you and what you can find along the way. Make it a point to find and appreciate the small adventures, and you will soon find that you can’t possibly resist making the huge ones happen.

3. Start Saving Smartly

Yes, adventuring costs money, but not having any extra cash to travel right now doesn’t mean that you can’t have enough soon to start funding your small travel adventures. Part of your new adventurous life can be saving money by shopping locally, ditching the car for alternative transportation methods, or having a weekly yard sale until you get rid of everything you are not using to fund your first milestone adventure.

Need help figuring out ways that you can make your travel adventure dreams a reality when you’re low on dough? Check out World of Wanderlust’s blog about how she tackled the cash-strapped life and turned her thrifty skills into a life of traveling the world and getting paid to do it.

4. Take Advantage of Adventure Opportunities

Have an opportunity to visit Middle of Nowhere, Randomstate for a not-so-thrilling work trip? Never pass up the opportunity to grab an adventure when it presents itself. Do your research on anything and everything that you could possibly do within 50 miles of Middle of Nowhere, and you will undoubtedly find adventure.

5.  Don’t Be Afraid to Go It Alone

Yes, we all want our friends and family to join us on every adventure, but if you wait around for your friends travel goals to match your own at the exact same time, you may be waiting forever. Find the strength within yourself to go where your heart takes, one adventure at a time, and that will become the greatest adventure of all.

Tucson’s Breweries and Distilleries, Part Two: Distilleries

Tucson distilleriesAfter spending the day riding ATVs, Tucson is a great city to spend the night adventuring, and the thriving city has recently undergone a resurgence of local businesses. From this resurgence, a whole lot of craft breweries and distilleries that have put their mark on the Tucson drink tasting scene, including several beer and liquors that have made an impact nationwide.  

In our last blog, we shared the very best of Tucson’s beer breweries that you should check out when visiting Southern Arizona. If whiskey, gin, and spirits are more to your tastes, a distillery tour of Tucson is hard to beat. Most distilleries offer tasting rooms, cocktail hours, and tours to fully immerse you in the experience.

When you’re ready to unwind after a long day riding through some of them most exquisite desert landscapes in the world, be sure to taste the local flavors that are putting Tucson on the map. Local spirit fare includes craft whiskeys, gins, and rums, and there are even more distilleries coming to Tucson soon, like Flying Leap Vineyards and Distilleries.

Once again, riding ATVs and drinking do not mix. Be sure to indulge in one of these fine Tucson distilleries tastings AFTER  you finish your ATV ride.

Hamilton Distillers

Named one of the top twelve distilleries in the United States by Eater magazine, Hamilton Distillers produce some of the finest whiskey to be found. Known for their Whiskey Del Bac line, this single malt distiller has launched a major success with their mesquite, pepper, and spice-smoked whiskeys. Created with the natural flavors of Southern Arizona, Hamilton Distillers’ flavors are the perfect end to a day exploring the desert.

Three Wells Distilling Company

If you are looking to sample some delicious gins, Three Wells Distilling Company in Sahuarita has got you covered. Not only can you head over for their signature gin cocktail hour, but Three Wells co-founder and distiller also offers a Build-a-Gin workshop where he will explain not only the history of gin making but also teach visitors how to make their own unique gin themselves and choose just the right flavors to complement their signature gins.

Independent Distillery

The Independent Distillery just celebrated their one-year anniversary in Tucson the only way a distillery should, by releasing their signature gin, Batch. Using several different botanicals to create some really tasty gin, the Independent has received nothing but rave reviews since its opening. The tasting room’s space is all-the-more charming when you learn that the interior of the Independent is furnished with local Douglas fir salvaged from Tucson’s Mount Lemmon, making it truly feel like it was born and raised in Tucson.

Old Pueblo Distilling

Old Pueblo is undergoing a renovation of their facilities, but their rums and whiskeys can be found at festivals all around Arizona. Look forward to treating yourself to hand-crafted spirits including three whiskeys like their Arizona Rye and Arizona Bourbon Whiskey, as well as another three rums, like the Four Monkey Gold Rum and Regalo de Vida.

 

Tucson’s Breweries and Distilleries, Part One: Beer!

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People come from all around the world to explore the deserts and mountains of Southern Arizona and have the experience of a lifetime riding some killer ATVs through the gorgeous landscapes. Once you have wrapped up your day traversing the splendor of the beautiful trails on our ATV tour, you may find yourself looking for something to do when you head back into Tucson for the night.

If you are in the market for another adventure while visiting Tucson, you would be remiss to skip touring and tasting your way through Tucson’s renowned (and infinitely cool) breweries and distilleries. Tucson has long been on the map as a booming city of culture and life, and over the past few years Tucson has only been upping its game as a leading locale for a fun-filled adventure with the rise of some notable and not-to-be-missed local breweries and craft distilleries that are making their mark on whole Southwest.

Drinking and driving ATVs do not mix, so be sure to check out these recommendations AFTER your ride.

Breweries

There are beers, and there are beers. The mouthwatering, full-flavored, perfect-with-any-kind-of-food beers that makes your heart and tongue sing and are perfectly crafted with love and dedication to quality right in the heart of the Old Pueblo. Though there are dozens of local breweries to choose from, there are some standout places that you should take the time to see and taste for yourself after a day of ATV adventuring. 

Nimbus Brewing Co.

Tucked away inside an industrial park a short drive away from the hub-bub of Downtown Tucson is one of the city’s oldest breweries. Founded in 1996, Nimbus Brewery Co. began as an easy-going tap room and evolved into a big-time brewery that has made a name for itself in the Southwest.

Beers to choose from include an English pub, an oatmeal stout, and brown, red, pale, and blonde ales. Locals head on over to hear live music and wolf down traditional burgers and bar food.

Thunder Canyon Brewery

This Tucson microbrewery has only been in Tucson for a few years, but it has made a big name for itself with visitors and locals alike. This 8,000-square-foot restaurant and brewery has something for everyone in the family, and their food is as highly-spoken about as their beer.

Thunder Canyon Brewery is a powerhouse, serving 40 beers including pilsners, wheats, porters, amber, cream and IPA ales, and of course, seasonal treats. Thunder Canyon also features cask-conditioned beers which are fermented and aged to perfection.

Ten Fifty Five Brewing

This cozy and warm brewery may not serve food, but that means that all the focus is on the beer. This is the kind of brewery you want to hit when you are looking for a night of good tunes, intimate spaces, and really, really good beer. The better news is that it is right next door to Nimbus Brewery, so you can pop on over and sample some of their competition and compare.

Beer options include pale ale, a stout, a double IPA, and a wheat beer.

Barrio Brewing Co.

Barrio Brewing is about the beer first, but their restaurant is just as impressive. Built to resemble and industrial space with exposed pipes and factory finishes, the brewery is bound to be hopping every day of the week. Don’t skip on ordering food here either; Barrio has everything from impressive salads to Mexican specialties.

There are nine beers at Barrio Brewing Co. including a wheat, a stout, and seven ales (pale, IPA, blonde, Scottish, raspberry, amber, and white IPA). 

Arizona Winter Festivals and Events: Part Two

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Winter in the desert is a magical time, and for those in the know, it is also a terrific time of year to take part in the numerous festivals and events that make their way to Arizona every year.

No matter what your personality or interests, you are bound to find something wonderful to do this winter. Even at their coldest, temperatures in Arizona are mild, and the possibilities for fun and adventure are endless.

Tlaquepaque Festival of Lights – Sedona, Dec 10

Every year, Sedona looks forward to one magical event – the lighting of thousands luminarias. The celebration kicks off the winter festivities, and takes place in the Tlaquepaque’s courtyards and walkways where locals all light up their luminarias at 5 pm, setting the neighborhood and arts village aglow with 6,000 lights.

The lighting ceremony also brings in tons of holiday cheer with carolers, local choirs, and entertainment for the whole family. This event is for one night only, and if you are visiting Sedona, it should not be missed!

Arizona National Livestock Show – Phoenix, Dec 27 – Jan 1

Arizona might seem like nothing but sand, but that is far from the truth. Arizona is positively brimming with ranches and farms, and with everything from bulls to chickens, you had better believe that Arizona is host to one of the biggest livestock shows in the country.

The Arizona National Livestock Show is has been drawing people to Arizona since 1948, and it features everything from horse riding exhibitions to Western food cook-offs. There is something for the whole family to enjoy, and each day of the Livestock Show brings new and thrilling spectacles and programing that you should see at least once in your lifetime.

Annual Litchfield Native American Fine Arts Festival – Litchfield, Jan 13 – 15

For 25 years, the Litchfield Native American Fine Arts Festival has been showcasing the very best in Native American art and entertainment, offering visitors from all around the world the opportunity to learn all about the long-lived Native cultures of the Southwest.

Events include demonstrations, presentations, and Native artists who display their work and artistry for all to see. Paintings, dances, pottery, sculptures, jewelry, and textiles are just a part of the show, so look forward to a fun-filled weekend celebrating the native cultures.

Dillinger Days – Tucson, Jan 22-23

This annual Tucson event is bound to bring out the gangster in you! John Dillinger, “public enemy number one” in 1930’s America, famously met his fate at the historic Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson. On January 22, 1934, after a series of bank robberies, Dillinger and his gang ran to Tucson to lay low from the law. The events of that day led to his capture in Tucson, forever cementing Tucson’s legacy as the city capable of capturing the criminal who eluded the FBI for so very long.

During Dillinger Days, crowds gather in the street around historic Hotel Congress dressed in their 1930s gangster best, and watch the two-day event including re-enactments, walking tours, artifact exhibits, a vintage car show, and of course, a Speakeasy fundraiser.

Annual Tubac Festival of the Arts – Tubac, Feb 8-12

The Festival of the Arts is Southern Arizona’s longest running arts festival, and it draws in crowds by the thousands each and every year. Hundreds of artists come from all around the world to display their work, network with their contemporaries, and create magnificent outdoor artist studios to host demonstrations and craft festivals for all.

The juried art show consists of 175 booths displaying a wide range of artwork from glass to leatherwork. Horse-drawn carriages, international food offerings, and tons of craftworks are just a part of what makes the Tubac Festival of the Arts so spectacular.

Sedona Yoga Festival – Sedona, March 9-12

Everyone knows that Sedona is a very spiritual place, so it should be no surprise that it is also host to the Sedona Yoga Festival: A Consciousness Evolution Conference. This three-day intensive yoga festival is designed to teach, enhance, and share the practice of yoga and mindfulness to guests through seminars, classes, personal sessions, and demonstrations.

This festival has been a hit since day one, and every year the festival grows and transforms into an energizing and connected experience for thousands of guests. Activities include yoga, meditation, hiking, and energy work, and is open to anyone who wants to experience it, regardless of skill level.

Arizona Winter Festivals and Events: Part One

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On any given day in Arizona, there are hundreds of events, festivals, and other things to keep everyone entertained. From art walks to farmers’ markets, Native American festivals to a booming music scene, Arizona is positively overflowing with culture and adventure.

Winter in Arizona draws in crowds by the thousands, not only for our unbeatable weather and outdoor adventures, but also for our unique and exciting winter activities. Whether you’re an Arizona native or a just visiting us between November and March, you will never be short on ways have fun and explore the culture and creativity of the people of the Grand Canyon state.

Many Mouths, One Stomach All Souls Procession – Tucson, Nov 5 – 6

Since 1990, visitors have been flocking to Tucson every year to witness and take part in the annual All Souls Procession. The annual festival and walk is a local tradition to honor those we have lost and the magic of life itself.

As Tucson’s Dia de los Muertos, the All Souls Procession is a living and breathing public ceremony which includes installations, extravagant costumes, and stunning performances, and draws more than 150,000 visitors and participants annually. Whether you’re walking or just witnessing this event, bring your camera and capture some of the most gorgeous sights around.

American Heritage Festival – Queen Creek, Nov 17 – 19

The annual American Heritage Festival celebrates the diverse and unique history of military enterprise in America, and this interactive festival is one of the largest living history events in the U.S. The aim of the festival and presentations is to educate and connect everyone young and old to our storied past.

The American Heritage Festival uses reenactments, dramatic presentations, and demonstrations to share the history of civilian and military life from Colonial times through the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the emerging Old West, two world wars and Vietnam to recreate the events, people, and battles that helped form American life.

Goodguys Southwest Nationals Car Show – Scottsdale, Nov 18 – 20

This November, Goodguys will be hosting the 19th Annual Southwest Nationals Car Show, and it is guaranteed to make any and every gearhead smile. Loaded with over 3,000 custom, classic, and muscle cars, this can’t-miss event is a must for anyone who loves everything about cars.

Presented by Meguiar’s, the Southwest Nationals is the who’s who of car enthusiasts, and you are guaranteed to be impressed by the best of the best in cars and tricked-out trucks anywhere in these United States.

El Tour de Tucson – Tucson, Nov 19

Arizona is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S., and our El Tour de Tucson pay homage to bicycle riders everywhere with this annual event. El Tour is for people of any age and ability who want to partake in the largest perimeter bicycling event in America.

El Tour has the honor of hosting nearly 10,000 cyclists annually, and has been named “best cycling in November” by Bicycling Magazine. If you are ready to gear up and hit the winding roads through dozens of local neighborhoods, join El Tour. Participants can choose between 106, 76, 54, 37, or 28-mile trip distances, or take part in the family Fun Ride for 11, 5, or ¼ miles.

Phoenix Festival of the Arts – Phoenix, Dec 9 – 11

If you are on the lookout for a large arts festival that brings together painting, muralists, poets, singers, dancers, performers, and all forms of art exhibition, you need to check out the Phoenix Festival of the Arts. Hundreds of vendors hit Phoenix for this community-based art event that is the perfect place to find your inner artist, gather inspiration, and get your creative juices flowing.

Many would argue that cooking is an art unto itself, and the Festival of the Arts agrees! Each year, the very best in food trucks and chefs gather share their passion and food with visitors who come from all around the world to experience this beautiful arts festival.

 

The Real Story of Tombstone

Tombstone StagecoachYear after year, thousands of visitors flock to Tombstone, Arizona to see the very streets where the infamous Old West town was “too tough to die.” Tombstone had the chance to be just another dusty town that helped build the West, but instead, today it lives in infamy because of a few lawmen, a few outlaws, and one unforgettable fight at the notorious OK Corral.

In 1877, a prospector named Ed Schieffelin spent his days scouting and looking for rocks while he was working at Camp Huachuca. Because of the Chiricahua Apache threat, Scheffelin had been warned not to venture into the rough country. As the story goes, the soldiers that he worked with told him “the only stone you will find out there is your tombstone.”

As luck would have it, Ed found a beautiful, shiny rock that turned out to be pure silver. Ed suddenly had a prospecting town on his hands, and when it came time to name it, only one name seemed appropriate to name the town that was what the soldiers said he’d find: Tombstone.

When word got out about the silver strike, the town saw a tremendous influx of prospectors, businesses, ranchers, and adventurers. By the mid-1880s, Tombstone’s population grew to nearly 20,000 people. You’re probably only familiar with two of the town’s residents, though.

Two names are as famous at Tombstone itself, and those names are Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

Wyatt Earp and his brothers Virgil and Morgan Earp set up shop in Tombstone in the late 1870s. After traveling from town to town selling his services as gunslinger, saloon keeper, gambler, and eventually lawman, Wyatt Earp found himself as deputy town marshal of Dodge City, Kansas. It was in Dodge City that Earp became friends with the infamous gunman and gambler Doc Holliday.

In 1879, Earp moved to Tombstone where his brothers, both lawmen, had taken up residence. Two years later, Earp’s old friend Doc Holliday came to stay in Tombstone at Earp’s request. Doc Holliday, stricken with tuberculosis and notorious for his Faro game and his deadly shot, and was the furthest thing from a lawman.

Beyond Earp, Holliday had nothing but contempt for the law. Holliday was fond of his friend Earp, however, and had lent his notoriety and skilled shooting to the Earp brothers who helped keep the town in order. It is said that Doc Holliday never turned down a gunfight.

The Earp clan weren’t the only ones in Tombstone who fought for control of the town. Another group of men who called themselves the Cowboys (who operated as stagecoach bandits) had frequent run-ins with the Earps, and had threatened the brothers for interfering with their business.

On October 26, 1881, the feud between the Cowboys and the Earps erupted into the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral. Actually, the fight took place in the vacant lot behind the OK Corral, but the Corral’s prominence in the town became synonymous with the shootout, and the story changed a bit.

Ike and Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury, and Billy Claiborne, the Cowboys, had come into town and encountered Cochise County Sheriff John Behan. Behan knew that the Earps were gunning for the Cowboys, and he went to the Earps to relay a message that the Cowboys wanted to leave town peacefully. The Earps disagreed with the offer, and set out to confront the gang with Doc Holliday in tow.

Though no one knows who shot the first round, the shootout at the OK Corral lasted for less than 30 seconds. In that time, three of the Cowboys were killed and Virgil, Morgan, and Doc Holliday were all shot. None of Earp’s group were killed.

After the gunfight, which Sheriff Behan attempted to prevent, he arrested the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday and charged them with murder. One month later, a Tombstone court Justice of the Peace dismissed the Earps and Holliday, stating that the group was “fully justified in committing these homicides.”

The Earps and Doc Holliday were released, and with them, the legendary story of the gunfight at the OK Corral was also released into the world. To this day, Tombstone is a thriving community that celebrates not only the famous OK Corral, but the rich and storied history that has built up around the town ever since.

 

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