Arizona is a place with amazing desert landscapes and natural beauty that is waiting for you to visit. Most people think of the Grand Canyon when they think of Arizona, which is a beautiful place, but there is so much more to discover in this state.
Many small towns in Arizona that are perfect for a quick getaway and are full of Native American history, Wild West stories, and so much more. From trendy art hubs to Wild West ghost towns, small towns in Arizona are a delight for road trippers.
The most charming small towns in Arizona are always interesting, whether they are interesting artists’ colonies, historical centers, or mountain towns.
Many of the towns are in great places for recreation. Depending on the time of year, you could be hiking on the trails around Sedona, kayaking in Prescott, downhill skiing near Show Low, houseboating near Page, or horseback riding in Wickenburg.
If you like to shop and look at art, go to the market town of Tubac. Arizona has a lot of great places to see and learn about history and other times.
Here are 11 of the best small towns in Arizona, each with 11,000 people or less, to help you plan your trip through the Grand Canyon State. There’s a small town for everyone, whether you want to hike and zip line or learn about the past in interesting museums.
Check out our list of the best small towns in Arizona for more ideas. Check out these best places to visit in Arizona and the best resorts in Arizona if you must plan your vacation to this exciting city.
Best Small Towns in Arizona
Cities like Phoenix, Tucson, Sedona, and Flagstaff have world-famous museums, immaculate golf courses, and beautiful resorts and spas that draw people from all over the world. But some of Arizona’s best-kept secrets are in the state’s smaller towns with less than 5,000 people.
These small towns in Arizona have a lot to offer, from art galleries to wineries to historic sites. Check out our list of the best small towns to visit in Arizona.
Sedona is a small town in Arizona that is known for its hiking trails, spa retreats, and wilderness areas where you can look at the stars. Still, most of these things don’t happen in the town itself.
But you should stop by Uptown Sedona (the more touristy part of town) and West Sedona (the more local part of town) on an afternoon when you’re not climbing over red rocks or getting a massage, especially if you like shopping or arts and crafts.
There’s a vibrant cultural scene here, with artists and craftspeople peddling their wares in the town’s boutiques, plus a slew of restaurants and bars for post-hike refueling. One of the best towns to visit in Arizona.
Bisbee in the Mule Mountains was founded as a mining town in the late 19th century, like many small towns in Arizona. This means that there is a lot of history to learn about when you go there. Start by going underground to see the Copper Queen Mine, which not only made copper but also Bisbee Blue, a rare type of turquoise.
Then, go to the huge Lavender Pit to see an open-pit copper mine, which is a very different kind of mine. After your immersive experience, go downtown to the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum to learn more about mining, or if you’re done, stop by the Old Bisbee Brewing Company for a cold beer.
As you walk around town, you can stop in galleries and shops, look at the Victorian-style homes and Art Deco county courthouse, and maybe even go on a ghost tour in the evening. Bisbee is the best small town in Arizona.
At the beginning of the 1920s, the mining town of Jerome made more gold, silver, and copper than any other place in Arizona. It became known as “the Wickedest City in the West” because it had so many bars and brothels.
By the mid-1950s, however, the mines had closed, and the town was empty. But not for long. In the 1960s, a big project to fix up the town brought it back to life, and in 1967, it was named a National Historic Landmark. Now, it’s a little community of historic buildings filled with shops, restaurants, and bars.
Though 450 people live here now, Jerome’s ghost town days aren’t over — some say this is one of Arizona’s most haunted destinations. One of the best small towns to live in Arizona.
The shootout at the O.K. Corral, the most famous gunfight in the history of the American frontier, happened right here in Tombstone, which was a silver-mining boomtown in the 19th century with more than 100 saloons, a bowling alley, and even an opera house.
After the mines flooded in 1886, Tombstone was on its way to the grave, but it lived on as a Wild West ghost town and became a popular historical site. One of the best towns to visit in Arizona.
Today, you can see reenactments of gunfights all over town, walk a restored version of Allen Street, the boomtown’s main street, and visit museums to learn more about Tombstone’s history.
If you’re visiting the Grand Canyon, but want to stay somewhere with a little more action than Grand Canyon Village or Tusayan, head a bit further south to the town of Williams, known as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon. As the last city on Route 66 to be cut off by Interstate 40, Williams is still proud of its Mother Road roots.
The historic highway is lined with retro details, like old gas stations that have been turned into museums. But the place also has some Wild West history. To learn more, stay at the Red Garter Inn, which was built in 1897 as a saloon and bordello.
The Grand Canyon Railway ends in Williams. The historic Williams Depot is where the train leaves. But there are also a lot of modern things to do here, like a zip line and the Canyon Coaster, which will open later this year. There are also a lot of local breweries and wineries.
With its historic main street and restored 19th-century buildings, Wickenburg has done a good job of keeping the past alive. Keep an eye out for the six large bronze sculptures as you walk around town on the covered sidewalks.
The Vulture mine was the reason the town was built, and tours of the mine area and the ghost town are fun for the whole family. One of the best small towns to live in Arizona.
Nature lovers should know that one of Arizona’s most interesting river areas is close to town. Here, the underground Hassayampa River comes up and makes an oasis in the middle of the desert. Desert animals come here because the water is clean and clear and the area around it is lush and green.
The downtown area of Prescott is beautiful, with historic buildings clustered around the Courthouse Plaza. It is a great place to live. Park the car and walk along the wide sidewalks in front of shops and restaurants that cater to tourists. If you want Indian food, the Taj Mahal has some of the best in Arizona.
Prescott has a lake, which is something you don’t see in many Arizona towns. Watson Lake is a beautiful body of clear water on the edge of town. At the north end, there are big, smooth boulders and rocks. Prescott is the best small town in Arizona.
Swimming is not allowed, but stand up paddleboards, sailing, canoes, kayaks, and other watercraft without motors are. There are hiking trails all around the lake. The Watson Lake Loop is one of the best. Two of Prescott’s campgrounds are close by if you have your camping gear with you or are in an RV.
Tubac is a great place to go shopping on a day trip from Phoenix (2.5 hours) or Tucson (45 minutes). Tubac is the place to go if you want to find the perfect piece of southwest décor for your home. In this small town, there are more than 100 shops, and it’s easy to spend a whole day going from one to the next.
You can find everything here, from metal garden items to fine sculpture and ceramics. But the town isn’t just about home décor. Along with beautiful paintings, you can also find unique jewelry and leather goods.
This artsy area off I-10 south of Tucson has galleries and specialty shops, like the Tumacookery, which sells gourmet food items. You could spend a day looking at both, but make sure to visit the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, which is the site of the first European settlement in Arizona.
At night, the town quiets down and turns into a peaceful place. Walk to a nearby restaurant and order some good southwest food.
The town of Payson is in the Tonto National Forest, which has big trees and a lot of open space. You can get away from the heat of the desert and go somewhere cool and green. There are many kinds of wildlife, beautiful lakes, and great campgrounds in the forests around town.
From here, you can go hiking or mountain biking on the PATS trails (Payson Area Trail System). The Houston Loop is one of the most well-known.
There are also a number of beautiful drives in the area. As you drive along and up the Mogollon Rim on Highway 260, heading east, you’ll see some amazing views. Turn off on Highway 99 near the top to see beautiful views of the whole area. Some beautiful campgrounds, like Spillway, Houston Mesa, and Sharp Creek, are near this road.
Payson is set up well for tourists. There are restaurants, a lot of places to stay, and shops that sell everything from souvenirs to basic supplies.
The architect Paolo Soleri came up with the idea for the experimental town of Arcosanti. He called it “arcology,” which is a combination of the words architecture and ecology. The place, which looks like something out of a science fiction movie, is run by the Cosanti Foundation.
It is an active architectural lab that studies how to reduce the impact of humans on the environment. Arcosanti is only 5% finished more than 50 years after its groundbreaking start, but it’s still being built today. One of the best small towns to live in Arizona.
The people who live there are students and volunteers who spend six-week stints building the city or working in the bronze foundry where Soleri’s famous bells are made. The public areas of the town are open to visitors every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are also tours led by locals and places to stay overnight.
Page is in northeastern Arizona, close to the border with Utah. It is a great place to see some of the best sights in the area.
Lake Powell is close to town and is one of the best things to see and do in the area. At Lone Rock campground, you can pick your own spot and camp right on the water. Rent a houseboat and spend a few days going around the lake and looking at the amazing rocks along its edges.
From Page, the beautiful Antelope Canyon is just a short drive away. Here is a slot canyon with narrow, curved walls and soft lighting that every photographer should try to visit.
From Page, you can plan trips with beautiful views. Consider making a loop on Highway 89A through the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, the busy town of Kanab, and back to Page through Big Water.
This route takes you down to the Colorado River, past the Navajo Bridge, and then up to almost 8,000 feet, past giant pine trees at Jacob Lake. Along this route, the views are amazing, and the winding road is fun to drive on. The less-visited North Rim can be reached from this highway by taking road 67.
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FAQs About Most Charming Small Towns in Arizona
What is the best small town to live in in Arizona?
Sedona is one of the most beautiful small towns in Arizona, especially for those who love nature. The scenery is beautiful, with tall buttes, mountains, and cliffs that change color as the sun moves across the sky.
What is the prettiest towns in Arizona?
Most Charming Small Towns In Arizona
What is the best place to live in Arizona with peace and quiet?
Here Are The 8 Most Peaceful Towns To Live In Arizona
Huachuca City (pop. 1,811)
Florence (pop. 26,682)
Fredonia (pop. 1,318)
Somerton (pop. 15,014)
Snowflake-Taylor (pop. 9,651)
Clarkdale (pop. 4,090)
Sahuarita (pop. 26,535)
Clifton (pop. 3,499)
Where is the prettiest city in Arizona?
Even though Bisbee is small, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. Raise your hands if you think that Sedona is the most beautiful town in Arizona. Use them now to show respect to Bisbee. The Daily Meal, a website about food and drink, recently said that the mining town in southern Arizona is the most beautiful in the state.
Is Arizona a good place to retire?
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance named Mesa, Arizona, one of the best places to retire for your health in 2018. Residents of Arizona’s biggest city have access to top-rated hospitals, a lower cost of living, and plenty of ways to stay active.
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