I think everyone believes we only like to visit Europe and we never actually take the time to visit the places on my side of the pond in the United States, but that’s just not true. We love visiting North America! From my home country of Canada, to my now country of the United States, we are on a mission to see every bit as much of North America as all the rest of the world. I guess I just haven’t really shared that on the blog yet, but that’s all about to change! Today we are heading to Arizona! Phoenix, AZ to be a little more precise.

Exploring Phoenix || www.onetripatatime.com

Waterfall Trail at White Tank Mountains

And oh my goodness did we ever like Phoenix. I often ask myself when I visit different places ‘Could I live here?’ And most places, while I love to visit (Albania, Iceland, Honduras), I can’t say that I’d actually want to make a home there. But Phoenix? Yeah, we both figured we could see ourselves making Phoenix a winter home (not that we’ll ever likely be in a position to have a ‘winter’ home but it’s fun to dream) and we so enjoyed our visit there over the US Thanksgiving holiday last fall.

So what did we find to do in Phoenix you ask? Ah let me show you as I kick off blogging about our Phoenix, AZ Getaway with our Trip Summary, along with the usual sneak peek of some of the (hundreds) of photos we took.


Day 1: November 24, 2015

The first day of our trip started with my sweet boss telling me to go home early and and enjoy our trip! She didn’t have to twist my arm as L was waiting for me at home so we could get going. Well he didn’t exactly think we needed to get going to the airport as early as I did but with the possibility of catching an earlier flight we decided we’d head to the airport anyway. Worst case we’d just hang out at the lounge until our flight. Plus I’m convinced that once you are past airport security you are officially “on the trip” so I like to do that as quickly as possible.

Well we didn’t end up getting the earlier flight, but our luggage did! We ended up waiting instead at the KLM lounge where we just played around on our tablets, had a little bite to eat, and just enjoyed being “on vacation”.  The time passed pretty quickly and before we knew it we boarded our plane and were off.

Since we landed quite late in Phoenix we didn’t have time to do anything our first evening except pick up a few things to eat to take back to our Airbnb condo. And then it was off to bed to be rested for the adventures starting in the morning.

AccommodationsPhoenix Arcadia Modern Condo on Airbnb which we would recommend without hesitation.

Exploring Phoenix || www.onetripatatime.com

White Tank Mountains | Taliesin West | Pioneer Living Village

Day 2: November 25,2015

Up and at ’em and we were on our way cruising in our Mustang convertible (oh yeah we did!) to a full day of adventures. On this day we:

  • Hiked Waterfall Trail at the White Tank Mountains Regional Park to see the waterfall (not much water unfortunately) and the petroglyphs.
  • Took a step back in time to the 1800’s Old West at the Pioneer Living History Museum to stroll through the village with corrals, a schoolhouse, cabins and homesteads, and little Western shops.
  • Took a guided tour (with an awesome guide) through Frank Lloyd Wright’s creation- Taliesin West. A national historic landmark and on the tentative list to be made a UNESCO site (with other properties) this is a must-see and I can’t wait to show you around in a later post.

Read More: Hiking Waterfall Canyon Trail in the White Tank Mountains, A Visit to the Wild West at the Pioneer Living History Museum, and Taliesin West: A Beautiful Example of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Architectural Design

Exploring Phoenix || www.onetripatatime.com

Apache Trail | Roosevelt Dam | Tonto National Monument

Day 3: November 26, 2015

This was Thanksgiving Day but instead of being all about the turkey, it was all about the drive- the drive through the Tonto National Forest on the Apache Trail. With the top down on the ‘Stang we had pretty much the whole day set aside to just enjoy the drive. We stopped lots along the way, sometimes taking a little walk on a trail off the road, and even had a Thanksgiving lunch picnic at one of those stops. It was pretty much one of those perfect days.

At the end of the trail we made a quick stop at Roosevelt Dam for some photos, and then we headed to Tonto National Monument for a hike up a (very steep) mountain to visit the cliff dwellings. A big thank you goes out to a long time reader, Meredith, who gave us the suggestion to visit here. We hadn’t found this in our planning but added it to the itinerary upon her suggestion and it was right up our alley. She has lots of other suggestions for Arizona on her blog, Ponder the Irrelevant, as she shares stories of trips around her home state- all with lots of beautiful photos.

We had originally planned to take the highway back to the condo after the Apache Trail, but we liked it so much we turned around and drove it again to get back to Phoenix. A few less stops on the way back so didn’t take quite as long, and we were really glad we did drive back as the sun finally came out- just long enough for us to see it set over the mountains.

Read More: Driving the Scenic Apache Trail and Exploring Cliff Dwellings at the Tonto National Monument

Exploring Phoenix || www.onetripatatime.com

Mystery Castle | Desert Botanical Gardens | Soleri Bridge

Day 4: November 27, 2015

On the agenda for this day was a little bit of this and a little bit of that with visits to the following:

  • A really peaceful stroll through the wonderful Desert Botanical Gardens. When I used to think of the desert I didn’t think of much vegetation but there are hundreds of different types of plants to see and learn about, and these gardens were so lovely to do just that.
  • A quick stop at the Hole-in-the-Rock to see this neat geological formation. We left climbing it to the youngsters.
  • A visit to the Soleri Bridge, which is both a pedestrian bridge and a solar calendar, and then a quick lunch at Olive and Ivy nearby.
  • A guided tour of the Mystery Castle that is just full of so much stuff. I don’t think I could ever live in such a place but it has such a neat story about how it came to be.
  • Dinner at the Cheesecake Factory which filled us up so much we didn’t have any room for cheesecake!

Read More: A Serene Stroll Through the Desert Botanical Garden and

Exploring Phoenix || www.onetripatatime.com

Wesley Bolin Memorial Park | Arizona Capitol Museum | Wesley Bolin Memorial Park

Day 5: November 28, 2015

On our last day in Phoenix we were up early to make the most of a few hours before we had to check in at the airport to head home. We had enough time to take a free self-guided tour of the Arizona Capitol Museum to learn a little more about Arizona’s history and government. We also took a little time to stroll through the Wesley Bolin Memorial Park, that is in front of the museum, to see the memorials honoring prominent figures and events in Arizona’s history.

And with that it was time for us to get to the airport to catch our flights. But I don’t think Arizona has seen the last of of us!

Even though we didn’t visit Phoenix for very long, I feel like we got a good taste of the city and its surrounding parks and natural areas. This is definitely one city I wouldn’t mind returning to to explore more of what it has to offer.

Have you ever visited Phoenix? Did you love it as much as we did? 

To follow along on our adventures on our Phoenix, AZ Getaway, please feel free to check out these posts:

Next Post: Hiking the Waterfall Trail at White Tank Mountains