15 Amazing Small Towns in Arizona (+ Reasons to Visit!)

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Are you looking for a place to get away in Arizona that is charming and has less hustle and bustle than the cities? This guide includes some of the best small towns in Arizona!

There are many Arizona small towns worth visiting, whether they are nestled in the mountains or the middle of the desert. I included a variety of cute towns in Arizona to help you pick your favorite!

Tombstone - Best small towns in Arizona
Tombstone is one of the best small towns in Arizona

I also included a map and list of all of the cute towns in this guide if you don’t have time to read it in its entirety.

Did I miss any of the best small towns in AZ? Let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Best Small Towns in Arizona

Here is a quick list of the AZ towns covered in this guide. I have also included a map to help you see where they are and if you can add any of them to your Arizona itinerary!

  1. Bisbee
  2. Williams
  3. Jerome
  4. Patagonia
  5. Arcosanti
  6. Lake Havasu City
  7. Tombstone
  8. Cave Creek
  9. Greer
  10. Globe
  11. Payson
  12. Winslow
  13. Tubac
  14. Page
  15. Wickenburg

🗺️  HOW TO USE THIS MAP: You can use your fingers/mouse to zoom in and out. To get more info about a place, simply touch/click the icons. Want to save this map for later use? Click the ‘⭐’ by the map title and it will add it to your Google Maps account (Saved > Maps or ‘Your Places’).

1. Bisbee

There are many reasons to visit Bisbee, a town situated in the Mule Mountains that is known for its former life as a copper-mining town.

One of the most popular attractions, naturally, is the Copper Queen Mine. This underground world will educate visitors on the town’s history while getting to see interactive exhibits of it!

Another fabulous place to visit in Bisbee to learn about the town’s history is the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum.

Bisbee, Arizona
Bisbee, Arizona

I recommend visiting both the Copper Queen Mine and Bisbee Museum before strolling throughout downtown, as it will put all the puzzle pieces together! There are plenty of art galleries, eateries, and more in Bisbee.

If you’re a nature lover, Bisbee Hill (known as ‘B’) is a great place to spend the morning. The hike isn’t too long, at around 3 miles round trip, and it’s easy to find the trailhead if you’re downtown.

At the top of Chihuahua Hill, you can find amazing views, a small chapel, and a cross. The elevation change is around 600 feet.

An alternative for outdoor enthusiasts is taking a day trip to Coronado National Monument, which is pretty close to Bisbee and offers camping and hiking opportunities.

2. Williams

Williams, Arizona is one of the cutest small towns in the state, and it is renowned for its rail history and Route 66 history.

One way to celebrate Williams’ rail history is by taking a ride on the historic Grand Canyon Railway train. This scenic journey will guide guests to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, and it is a family-friendly activity that everyone will enjoy.

Since Williams is located on the famous Route 66, you can discover many amazing restaurants, museums, and more in town!

Williams, Arizona - Jordi C - Shutterstock.com
Williams, Arizona – Jordi C – Shutterstock.com

One of the most famous museums in Williams is Pete’s Route 66 Gas Station Museum. The Route 66 Open Air Museum is also a must-visit when in town.

The Historic Brewing Barrel House is a great brewpub to stop at when you have a hankering for pub food (and beer!). 

Nature lovers should pack their hiking gear and head to Kaibab National Forest, which is merely 1.5 hours away from the Arizona town. It is the ideal day trip to experience some of the finest nature in the state!

Be sure to check wildfire risks before going, as the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests will sometimes close when the threat is too high.

3. Jerome

Another one of the most popular small towns in Arizona is Jerome, a cool place located in the Verde Valley. Like many other places in Arizona on this guide, it was also a copper-mining town that has revived itself as an arts community!

You will find plenty to do in Jerome, and I think it is a great weekend trip as a result!

Jerome State Historic State Park is home to the iconic Douglas Mansion, the 1916 home of a mining tycoon. The mansion offers stellar views over the valley and is a must-visit in Jerome. It is a state park these days.

To learn more about Jerome’s history in mining, be sure to head to the Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum. There are artifacts and historical documents discussing the community’s past and how it transformed into what it is today. 

Jerome, Arizona - Paul McKinnon - Shutterstock.com
Jerome, Arizona – Paul McKinnon – Shutterstock.com

Interestingly, Jerome is a perfect destination for those who are into haunted places (I am a bit apathetic about this as I get a bit scared). But you should take a ghost tour while there.

Not only can you take ghost tours there, but the town is somewhat classified as a haunted town in its own right, as many fires ravaged the community throughout its early days, leaving spirits wandering the streets even today!

After surviving your ghost tour, head to Caduceus Cellars and enjoy a well-deserved glass of wine.

4. Patagonia

I’m a huge fan of the Patagonia region of South America, but did you know you can still swing by Patagonia without ever leaving US soil? Welcome to Patagonia, Arizona!

Patagonia has a cute downtown area that is one of the first places you must visit on your small-town getaway! You will find many craft stores, art galleries, and small eateries. It is a great weekend trip from Phoenix or other cities in Arizona.

The Patagonia Area Historical Society is a place where you can sign up for a historical tour to learn about the history of the Arizona town. You can even see traces of the Arizona/New Mexico train tracks at the Nature Conservancy in Patagonia!

Patagonia, Arizona
Patagonia, Arizona

If the weather is not willing to cooperate, head to the Patagonia Museum, where you can learn a bit more about the town’s past, including its ranching and mining history.

While museums are great, Patagonia is known for something very different in the eyes of many people across the US. It is an iconic place for birdwatching!

The Paton Center for Hummingbirds (managed by the Tucson Audubon Society) is home to 200+ species of birds, and you can see them on the center’s trail which is only a mile long.

If birding isn’t your thing, Patagonia Lake State Park is not far away, and you can enjoy swimming, fishing, and more there.

5. Arcosanti

Arcosanti is kind of different than other places in this guide, as it is classified as an experimental town in the middle of the southwestern desert in Arizona!

The brainchild of Paolo Soleri, this ‘futuristic’ town survives in a self-sufficient manner but still contains a lot of unique things to do.

I highly advise taking a guided tour of Arcosanti before exploring on your own, as it is important to understand the community and history of the place. The Visitor Center hours are from 9am until 5pm daily, and tours run each day. Check out their website for times!

Arcosanti, Arizona - DBSOCAL - Shutterstock.com
Arcosanti, Arizona – DBSOCAL – Shutterstock.com

This 50-year-old project is an architect and urban planner’s dream destination. You will get to learn about the architecture around town and how everything was strategically planned out. The tour is led by Tomiaki Tamura, a long-time Arcosanti resident.

You will have a chance to visit the cafe at Arcosanti, which is open from Thursday until Monday (8:30am-2:30pm).

And nature lovers can take to the trails nearby. Some of the most popular ones are the Tomiaki Trail, Mind’s Garden Trail, and Valletta Loop Trail.

6. Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu City is a city in Mohave County, on the eastern shore of Lake Havasu along the Colorado River border of California and Arizona.

It’s 2.5 hours south of Las Vegas in Nevada and 4-5 hours east of the Los Angeles area. Making it a pretty easy weekend getaway from several spots!

Lake Havasu City is renowned for its London Bridge. The icon was built in 1831 in London (hence the name) and shipped to Arizona after they purchased the bridge for a pretty hefty sum.

When I was growing up, I knew about Lake Havasu City because of its spring break reputation and the beaches located in and around the area. Some of the most famous are London Bridge Beach and SARA Park.

Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Lake Havasu City, Arizona

You will also see plenty of people doing water sports, while others are just lounging and enjoying the scorching Arizona sun.

The Lake Havasu Museum of History is a great place to get acquainted with the town, and you can even see exhibits of artifacts from the Hohokam, who are the Indigenous people of the land.

While there, check out some of the top eateries in town. Sam’s Place, Peggy’s Sunrise Cafe (an amazing breakfast spot), and Black Bear Diner are among the favorites.

Lake Havasu City is a fabulous escape from Tucson, Phoenix, and other parts of the American Southwest!

7. Tombstone

Tombstone is one of the most famous names in the southwestern part of the US due to its prominent place in Wild West history. It was previously a booming settlement teeming with saloons, gunslinging, and more. Today, it is a tourist destination where you can step back in time.

The top attraction in Tombstone is the O.K. Corral. This is the place where the Earp brothers had their famous gunfight in 1881! There are reenactments today, which are pretty entertaining for those visiting.

Another famous spot in Tombstone is the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park. You can see the original Cochise County Courthouse, which held some of the country’s most notorious trials.

Tombstone, Arizona
Tombstone, Arizona

There are also gallow replicas, documents, and exhibits where you can dive into the history of the Arizona town. Be sure to stop by the Epitaph Museum after!

On your trip, you must make a quick stop at Boothill Graveyard. This is where you’ll find the gravesites of famous residents, including cowboys and outlaws. Billy the Kid even has a tombstone here (despite this being a controversy among historians).

Other top spots to visit in Tombstone are the Bird Cage Theater, the Good Enough Mine, and Allen Street (the most famous thoroughfare in town).

Tombstone is also a little coffee and cafe destination! Some of the most popular places to check out are the Undertaker’s Espresso Bar, Janes Coffee Cafe and Bakery, the Hitching Post Cafe, and OK Cafe Tombstone.

8. Cave Creek

Cave Creek (not to be mistaken with the Cave Creek town in the Chiricahua Mountains) is located in Maricopa County and conveniently located 27 miles northeast of Phoenix.

So, it’s pretty close to a big metropolis, yet life inside this town is still quite peaceful. It is one of the best day trips from Phoenix.

After spending some energy walking around town, head to the Tonto Bar and Grill for some very delicious meals. The restaurant focuses on Southwestern dishes and local ingredients.

Cave Creek, Arizona - tishomir - Shutterstock.com
Cave Creek, Arizona – tishomir – Shutterstock.com

Some of the top attractions in Cave Creek are Cave Creek Regional Park (an ideal place for hiking and biking on the park’s many trails), horseback riding, the Black Mountain Theater, the Cave Creek Museum (which discusses the early days as a Hohokam settlement), and Old Town Cave Creek.

The location of Cave Creek makes it a great place where you can reconnect with nature, without spending a considerable amount of time just traveling to the destination if you’re a Phoenix local.

9. Greer

If you want to run away from extremely high Arizona temperatures, visit Greer! It’s an unincorporated settlement in Apache County, near the White Mountains.

Surrounded by the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest, Greer has a rich history, and today, it is one of the best places to escape for an Arizona nature getaway!

Greer, Arizona
Greer, Arizona

One of the best things to do in the summer months (and winter!) is to hit up the hiking trails near Greer. Pole Knoll Trail, Butler Canyon Trail, and the Squirrel Springs Trail are some of the most popular in the area.

During the winter months, spend a weekend away at Sunrise Ski Resort. Greer is one of the most popular winter destinations in Arizona, and you can head to Sunrise to enjoy skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing.

10. Globe

Globe, Arizona is one of the best small towns in the state, and despite its size, you will find plenty of things to do there!

One of the most famous places in Globe is the historic downtown. You will find plenty of specialty shops, cafes, and art galleries.

Globe’s mining history comes to life at the Gila County Historical Museum, which is located in the old Mine Rescue Station Building. This museum will give you an insight into the foundation of Globe as an incorporated place in Arizona.

Besh-Ba-Gowah ruins in the city of Globe, Arizona
Besh-Ba-Gowah ruins in the city of Globe, Arizona

Another place to visit to learn more about the town’s mining history is the Old Dominion Historic Mine Park. You can walk through old mine shafts on trails where you can see old equipment, exhibits, and headframes.

Another famous place to visit is the Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Park. This Hohokam village dates back to 1300 AD and you can explore the ruins and learn more about the Indigenous people of the area.

11. Payson

Payson is located in northern Gila County. The geographic location of this town is near the center of Arizona, giving Payson the title of “the Heart of Arizona”.

Surrounded by the Tonto National Forest, Payson is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts all year round! Unlike Arizona’s drier desert parts, the city has a mild Mediterranean climate, making it one of the top weekend getaways in the state!

You can see the Tonto Natural Bridge (the world’s largest known travertine natural bridge), enjoy some golfing at the nearby country clubs, or test your luck at the Mazatzal Casino.

Payson, Arizona
Payson, Arizona

While nature is one of the most popular things to take advantage of in Payson, a fantastic place to visit on a rainy day is the Rim Country Museum which documents the Hohokam settlement’s history to the present day. You can see photographs, artifacts, and more.

Nearby, you can take a drive on the Mogollon Rim where you’ll be surrounded by majestic mountains and plenty of places to stop and take in the jaw-dropping views.

Some of the most popular hiking trails around Payson are the Mormon Lake Trail, Horton Creek Trail, and my personal favorite (because it is pretty easy!) is the Water Wheel Falls Trail. 

12. Winslow

Do you know the lyrics from The Eagle’s song ‘Take it Easy’? The one that goes like ‘I was standing on a corner of Winslow, Arizona…’. Well, that was of course about this beautiful Arizona town!

In the past, the ancient town of Winslow was a Route 66 community. Elegant hotels like the famous La Posada, can be found in Winslow. Winslow has retained some old-fashioned charm and hospitality despite being a little off the beaten path. 

Visit the Meteor Crater and check out the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, one of the most underrated national parks in the US. All of them are located outside the town but are certainly worth the time to get there. 

Winslow, Arizona
Near Winslow, Arizona

The desert setting is ideal for taking beautiful photos. You may always unwind at night at “Standin on The Corner Park.” It is a great stop to grab a photo and hum a little tune to yourself!

Alternatively, you can attend the annual Standin’ On The Corner street festival in Winslow if you’re lucky enough to be in Winslow during September.

Some other places to put on your Winslow itinerary are the Old Trail Museum, La Posada Hotel and Gardens (a historic hotel dating back to 1929), La Posada Art Museum (located in the same hotel), and the Winslow Amtrak Depot.

13. Tubac

Tubac was the first Spanish colonial fortress in Arizona before the O’odham Uprising. The Arizona town was repopulated by miners, farmers, and ranchers in the 1800s after the Spanish left. Today, it’s known as one of the state’s most well-known artist colonies. 

The town of Tubac is home to many things to do! Some of the best art galleries are the K. Newby Gallery & Sculpture Garden, Tubac Center of the Arts, and the Cobalt Fine Arts Gallery.

Tubac, Arizona
Tubac, Arizona

If you’re into history, be sure to check out the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park as it is one of the town’s centerpieces.

Another popular place to stop at is located about 20 minutes north of Tubac and it is called the Titan Missile Museum. The place may scare the daylights out of you if you have any knowledge about the Cold War!

About 3 miles south of Tubac is the Mission Tumacácori, another popular place to visit. It is a designated national park and you can take a guided river walk tour or simply stroll along the Santa Cruz River from Tumacácori to Tubac.

14. Page

Page is home to some pretty amazing sights and while it is a small town, it packs the punch like a large city does! It’s a great spot for adventurers to explore slot canyons, lakes, and other natural wonders.

Antelope Canyon is one of the best things to do in Page. To explore the canyon, you must take a tour, which is fairly affordable (around $40+ per person) and requires reservations. But, the views are iconic and worth the investment.

Page, Arizona
Page, Arizona

The Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon are the most well-known parts of the canyon. These are both in the same region, and it’s up to you to decide if you want to visit both or just one of them. 

Other than the canyon, you can spend a few hours kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding on Lake Powell. You can also enjoy the sunset at Horseshoe Bend, which has become quite a popular place on social media. in recent years.

For the latter, be prepared to see and “fight” a lot of crowds but it is also a nice place to see some sights near the Grand Canyon, one of the most popular national parks in the USA.

This is an easy day trip from Sedona, Flagstaff, and many other places in Arizona!

15. Wickenburg

Founded by a German man by the name of Henry Wickenburg, this town is one of those places that feel like walking straight into the past.

A gold strike on the Colorado River drew a slew of prospectors to the area in hopes of making fortunes (Henry Wickenburg was one of the first prospectors). The town is situated on the northern edge of the Sonoran Desert, just below Arizona’s mountainous country.

Wickenburg, Arizona
Wickenburg, Arizona

Overall, Wickenburg is famous for its wide-open space, fresh air, team-roping capital of the world, dude ranches, tourism, and medical services sector.

The area around the Hassayampa River drew miners from all over the world and supplied ideal soil for farming and ranching.

Now, the Nature Conservancy owns the reserve, which is a lush riparian region with year-round water flow and hiking trails that give visitors a sense of direction around the property.

Did I miss any of the best small towns in Arizona? Let me know your favorites in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “15 Amazing Small Towns in Arizona (+ Reasons to Visit!)

  1. isabelle says:

    Where precisely in Patagonia did you find this:
    “There are quaint coffee cafes, vintage cowgirl bars, and extremely unique retail establishments.”
    Patagonia: a lone uninteresting street with 1 store and 1 “art” gallery as far as I could tell. And that was before Covid hit! Did I miss a turn?

    • Evelyn McClees says:

      Loved reading about some of thee places I have been to in Az and some I have not bee too.This makes me want to return ro Az. again.

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