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Why We Love Travel

Suggest a Local Tip

From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.

Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.

Benefits of Traveling Locally

While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:

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More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.

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Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.

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Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.

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Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.

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More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.

Explore Local: Prescott, Arizona

Did you know that Prescott, Arizona was actually the former territorial capital of the state? That’s just the beginning of the hidden excitement this town has to offer. Here are some of our very favorite things to do and places to explore in Prescott, Arizona, for couples, families, singles and more.

*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.

Lynx Lake

Parks in Prescott, Arizona

The incredible diversity of outdoor recreational opportunities is easily one of the best things about Prescott. Here are just a few of the coolest state and national parks, preserves, and wildernesses in the Prescott, AZ area.

Dead Horse Ranch State Park

Its name may be morbid, but Dead Horse Ranch State Park is anything but. Teeming with life and plenty of fun things to do for the whole family, this 400+ acre wilderness is one of the best-loved outdoor destinations in the area, and perhaps in the state at large. Hike along one of its many designated trails or kick back in one of its 150 campsites. Either way, you’ll be sure to leave feeling rejuvenated, refreshed, and ready to come back to the urban world.

Jerome State Historic Park

Whether you’re a history buff, geology nerd or just a generally curious human, a trip to Jerome State Historic Park is a treat for the brain and the senses. Preserving some of Arizona’s storied mining history for present-day excavation, so to speak, this unique outdoor museum is best known for its preservation of Douglas Mansion, the home of a mining mogul back at the turn of the (last) century.

Prescott National Forest

If you love the city of the same name, then you have to make your way to Prescott National Forest, the wilderness that shares its namesake. Encompassing a sprawling 1.25 million acres of unique and scenic central Arizona landscape, this preserve is populated by mountains, forests, and a wide range of local flora and fauna to discover and explore.

Thumb Butte Recreation Area

Along with traditional terrestrial recreation opportunities like hiking, biking and horseback riding, Thumb Butte Recreation Area is also known in the more aerial set for its rock climbing opportunities. Open year round but busiest from spring to fall, this wilderness is located just ten minutes from downtown Prescott. In other words, what are you waiting for?

Verde River Greenway State Natural Area

At almost 500 acres, the Verde River Greenway State Natural Area is one of the largest such preserves in the state, and, as its name suggests, hosts a stunning and lush green river valley that snakes its way through the arid Arizona surroundings. This spot is also unique in the state for its relatively mild temperatures year-round — even in the summer, the mercury generally stays below 90 degrees F, and winters average a pleasant 55. You can’t beat it! 

Prescott National Forest

Hiking in Prescott, Arizona

In this part of the world, hiking is basically everyone’s favorite pastime — and why wouldn’t it be, given how insanely beautiful the surroundings are? Here are some of the best hiking trails in Prescott, AZ and the surrounding wildernesses.

Lynx Lake Loop

A beginner-friendly trail tucked into Prescott National Forest, Lynx Lake Loop is, of course, known for its beautiful waterside views, but it’s also a great spot for bird watching and checking out some of the local wildflowers. This trail is also partially paved, making it a good option for kids and families, and it’s also popular amongst runners (so look out and make way!).

Constellation Loop

One of the best-known hikes inside Constellation Park, Constellation Loop sees about 230 feet of elevation gain along its 2.5-mile length, making it a good easy-to-moderate option for beginners or even advanced hikers in the mood for something restful. Known for its bountiful riparian vegetation and dramatic granite rock formations, this trail is a favorite that’s also dog-friendly (provided Fido stays on-leash the entire time).

Watson Lake and Flume Trail

A more moderate venture, the Watson Lake and Flume Trail meanders more than four miles all told, and you’ll scale almost 400 feet in elevation gain along the way. Part of the hike is a scramble, and part is an easier climb, making this a great option for hikers with a bit of practice those looking to further hone their skills. Oh, and have we mentioned the outrageous views?

Granite Mountain Trail

One of the most iconic views in all of Prescott National Forest is the panorama from Granite Mountain, and Granite Mountain Trail is one of the best ways to get there. Running about eight miles altogether and seeing over 1,600 feet in elevation gain, this one certainly isn’t for the faint of heart… but it’s no Everest, either. Along the way to the top you’ll enjoy riverside views and the opportunity to spot local wildlife. The trail is accessible year round, but be advised that you may encounter some snow if you go in the winter!

Spruce Mountain via Groom Creek Loop

Another Prescott National Forest option for more advanced hikers, Spruce Mountain via Groom Creek Loop runs just shy of 10 full miles in length and sees almost 1,700 feet in elevation gain along the way. That said, it’s a beautiful, shaded trail that’s just packed with adventures to be had, and the views near the top make it all well worth the effort.

Restaurants in Prescott, Arizona

One thing’s for sure: if you’re going to keep up with all the adventure Prescott has to offer, you’re going to need a solid meal (or three). Here are some of the very best restaurants to enjoy in Prescott, no matter what you’re hankering for.

El Gato Azul

Serving both tapas (small plates) and full-sized entrees in a cozy but sophisticated atmosphere, El Gato Azul is one of the local favorites in Prescott, and has even been included on a list of the 11 best restaurants in the entire state of Arizona! With a varied menu ranging from fig & arugula pizza to southwestern-inspired stir fry, there’s surely something for everyone here.

Raven Cafe

Marketing itself as Prescott’s gathering place, Raven Cafe is known for its hearty and comforting bar fare, and don’t worry — that includes plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, too. Enjoy burgers, sandwiches, and salads for lunch and dinner or swing by during Sunday brunch hours for a delightful steak and eggs benedict. Yum!

Papa’s Italian Restaurant

Experience all of the luxury of the Old Country right here in the Old West. Papa’s Italian Restaurant is known amongst those who call Prescott home for its delicious range of Tuscan favorites, from pizza and pasta to, of course, a noteworthy list of vino to wash it all down with. Whether you’re in the mood for shrimp fra diavolo or a well-stuffed calzone, this is the place.

Ginza Sushi & Asian Cuisine

Serving a full line of sushi, including classic rolls and specialty rolls, as well as a range of delicious hot dishes like teriyaki, fried rice, barbecue beef and more, Ginza Sushi & Asian Cuisine is considered by many to be the very best Asian food available in Prescott — and all of northern Arizona, for that matter. They serve cocktails and sake bombs, too! 

Iron Springs Cafe

A totally one-of-a-kind, must-do Prescott experience, Iron Springs Cafe serves up appetizers and mains inspired by southern, Cajun, and Mexican cuisines — an eclectic menu that’s made even better by the fact that it’s all brought to you in a historical train depot. In business for more than 35 years, this joint is truly a community institution. Stop by! 

Activities in Prescott, Arizona

No matter how you’re exploring or who you’re with while you do, Prescott has some incredible things to see and experience! Here are a few of our top picks in Prescott.

For Kids and Families

Prescott is a wonderful place to adventure with the fam. Here are some of our best suggestions for kid-approved options in town. 

Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary

Formerly known as Heritage Park Zoo, the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary is more than just a place to go view some remarkable wildlife. It’s also an organization devoted to the preservation and conservation of endangered species and the education we need to ensure we can keep the world green and well-populated with critters of all kinds in the long run. Plus, what kid doesn’t love the opportunity to make some wild new four-legged friends? 

Highlands Center for Natural History

Another wonderful educational-yet-entertaining option to help kids in Prescott get amped about the outside world: the Highlands Center for Natural History, a well-known complex whose many events and activities focus around learning more about the outdoors and how to exist in it. Along with programs designed for kids and families, there are also adult programs at the center — so be sure to check and see if there’s anything you might be interested for yourself! 

At Night

While that blazing Arizona sun makes it easy to figure out what to do in Prescott during the daytime, fortunately, there’s plenty to keep you occupied after sundown, too. Here are the coolest things to do in town after night falls.

Plaza Bowl

Family owned and operated for more than four decades now, Plaza Bowl is a longstanding Prescott go-to for after-dark fun for all ages. Along with the lanes themselves, this venue also hosts a deli and a range of arcade games to keep everyone occupied for a great night of fun, whether you’re hanging out with friends or family.

The Point Bar and Lounge

Hand-crafted cocktails — easily the best in town — served up in an intimate and entertaining speakeasy setting? Yes, please… and that’s exactly what The Point Bar and Lounge has to offer. Sip on a boozy Bon Vivant or sample some local suds, and enjoy the bread service that allows you to soak it all up with some delicious artisan bread. Yum!

Cheap Things to Do in Prescott

Don’t want to spend a fortune getting to know this funky little town? You don’t have to. Here are our favorite low-cost (but high-enjoyment) options to take on in Prescott.

Museum of Indigenous People

Learning about the peoples who called the place home first isn’t just fun — it’s important. And the Museum of Indigeous People makes it their mission to bring the storied history of the southwestern Native Americans to life. Along with permanent exhibits, this museum also hosts hands-on educational series, allowing guests to learn how to build and play an Indian flute or bead a pouch!

Whiskey Row

Originally enshrined in fame after the fire that tried to burn it all down in the year 1900, Whiskey Row is a lively stretch of town along N. Montezuma Street populated by bars, restaurants, shops and more. Although sipping a flight of something smooth might be the best-advertised option, there are all sorts of things to discover along this strip… and you don’t have to spend very much at all to do it. (Heck, the people watching alone is great!) 

Free Things to Do in Prescott

It’s true: plenty of the best things to do in Prescott don’t require paying a single dime. Here are some faves.

Watson Lake Park

Nearly synonymous with the town itself, Watson Lake Park is a beautiful recreational area that’s well loved by locals for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and simply picnicking along the shores. Although it’s day use only, it offers a wide range of amenities such as restrooms, barbecue grills and horseshoe pits that make it even more attractive. While there’s a $3 parking fee, the park is free to enter on foot, and there’s no per-head price of entry either.

Willow Creek Dog Park

If you’ve got a furry family member, you can’t miss a trip to Willow Creek Dog Park, where your pup will be allowed to run free as the wind with some fun new friends. Along with ample green space, this park also features a pond for pups who are willing to get wet and wild… so be sure to bring a towel for your backseat! 

Wellness in Prescott, Arizona

Spas in Prescott

Whether it’s a skin treatment after a string of long, brutal (if fun) days in the Arizona sun or a massage to get your muscles back into their right state, sometimes, a trip to the spa is exactly what’s in order. Here are the best day spas and salons in Prescott for those times when you just need some me time.

Mind, Body & Soul 

An organization that fully understands how entwined physical and emotional health truly are, Mind, Body & Soul is a well-known day spa in the Prescott area that offers everything from massage therapy in a wide range of modalities to facials, body wraps and scrubs, reflexology, hydrotherapy, and even waxing. Specials and packages are also available to ensure you get the most for your money. Ahhhh.

A Borgata Salon and Spa

Offering every service you can imagine from men’s and women’s haircuts to a full head of highlights, not to mention manicures and pedicures, facials, body wraps, massage, aromatherapy, and waxing, A Borgata Salon and Spa will truly leave you feeling as good as you look… and you’re gonna look darn good! 

Best Gyms & Yoga Studios

Staying in shape will do much more than help you look better and ensure your clothes fit. It helps keep your mind quiet and keen and your heart calm. Here are the best gyms and yoga studios in Prescott for those in need of a quick (or not-so-quick) sweat sesh.

Fitness for 10

Sure, it can be difficult to get motivated to go to the gym, particularly when you also have to pay a small fortune to go in the first place. But at Fitness for 10, your membership costs just — you got it —$10. Which is to say, you have absolutely no excuse. You’ll thank yourself later! 

The Yoga Room

They call yoga a “practice” for a reason. Despite some misconceptions, yoga isn’t a rigidly strict set of postures you have to pretzel yourself into. It’s a meld of physical and spiritual motion, a moving meditation — a chance to strengthen your body and expand your mind all at the same time. At The Yoga Room, empathetic and knowledgeable professionals will guide you through classes personalized for your specific needs and comfort level, all in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Namaste.

Day Trips near Prescott, Arizona

It’s clear to see: you don’t have to go far from Prescott (at all) to enjoy some truly amazing sights and attractions. That said, there are some wonderful places that are within an easy drive of town, and if you’re looking for a day trip, you’re in luck. Here are some of the best nearby spots to add to your Prescott itinerary, be it for an afternoon or a weekend.

Tuzigoot National Monument

Preserving and protecting an incredible pueblo ruin built onto the top of a limestone and sandstone ridge, a visit to Tuzigoot National Monument truly combines the opportunity to geek out on history with the opportunity to thoroughly enjoy the like-no-other outdoor environment this part of Arizona has to offer. Managed by the NPS, this Monument also features a museum filled with interpretive signage to help you better understand the area, and the Junior Ranger program makes it easy for kids to get excited, too.

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Yet another incredible opportunity to see ancient dwellings preserved just miles outside of Prescott, whis today the Montezuma Castle National Monument was originally the home of the  Sinagua people, who lived here between approximately 1100 and 1425 CE. Along with the remains of dwellings and structures, the park is also home to an ancient well, and guided tours are available to help you get a better understanding of the area. 

As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Prescott that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Prescott? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.

Montezuma Castle National Monument

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