Kicking off our summer travels, we decided to escape the heat and head over to the Arizona White Mountains. I have never been to that area and it’s rare that the whole family gets to travel together so we were happy to squeeze in a little weekend getaway.
Arizona White Mountains
I know many of you who aren’t a native Arizonan probably aren’t aware of the Arizona White Mountains area. You’ve probably heard of and visited Flagstaff and Sedona but who knew this gem was so close to the valley?! I sure didn’t! This area has a few little towns(Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside) that we got to explore for the weekend and it was so nice soaking up the cooler temps.
If you want to skip the crowded Flagstaff and Sedona areas this summer and relax in peace, here is the low down on visiting the Arizona White Mountains.
Where to Stay
Though there are many beautiful accommodations in the area, I highly suggest checking out an Air BnB in the area. We stayed in this adorable cabin on Rainbow Lake and we didn’t want to leave. It slept up to 7-8 guests in its 3 bedrooms and boasted beautiful woodwork and a warm fireplace. Outside of the home there was a beautiful deck and was a 1-minute walk down to the dock to watch the sunset.
Places to Eat
Being that I can be a fairly picky eater, I was intrigued to see how the meals would go. The White Mountains area offers lots of American options which is perfect for meat eaters like my husband. My kids stuck to their usual but there were kid options at every location below.
The House – Delicious burgers and perfect for kids. The owner told me all about how he wanted to create a place for everyone to enjoy which showed amicably with its hammock chairs, stage, and cornhole boards for playing. The food was also delicious! I opted for a donut burger which I would never in a million years try and ended up loving it!
The Red Barn Creamery – A cute little ice cream shop right next door to The House. We all had to get a scoop or two of all they had to offer.
La Vie – The cutest little breakfast nook that you just have to check out. Everything was fresh and delicious and I would probably spend every Sunday morning there if we lived in the area.
Matty’s Place – Don’t let the name fool you, they offer an interesting variety on their menu. I opted for a spicy diablo pasta but definitely got food envy once I saw everyone’s Yakisoba Hot Noodle Bowls. They looked and smelled amazing! The owner did sit down and chat with our table for a bit which I thoroughly appreciated. He’s very friendly and great with kids!
Darbi’s Cafe – If you asked anyone local, which I did, about where to go for breakfast, they will tell you Darbi’s is the place to be. We arrived early and still had a wait. The place was packed and parking was limited so I suggest arriving before 7:30 am!
Things to Do
Spa Estique – Located next door to La Vie is this beautiful spa! I decided to take a peek around and was amazed at this secret little gem. The spa offered a hot tub, massage area, eucalyptus steam room, and an infrared sauna. Next time it will be a MUST.
Show Low Days– We arrived just in time for Show Low’s annual Show Low Days. The event offered tents of local businesses, food trucks, pony rides, a circus, and more! The boys wasted no time diving right into the festivities. We grabbed some fresh lemonade and checked out one of the medevac helicopters on site. Max loved getting to sit inside and pretend to fly. The pilot even let him have the keys for a bit.
After checking out the tents and chatting with some locals, we decided to let the boys play in the activity section before the circus started. They tackled rock climbing, jumping on the trampoline, and racing each other on the inflatables.
Once they burned off some energy, we headed into the circus. To be honest, it wasn’t that great but the boys loved the interaction the performers brought into the audience. Not to mention they were amazed by the fire breathing/eating. The cost was roughly $10 a person to get in so you get what you pay for, however, I’m totally okay with supporting local great or not.
White Mountains Nature Center – With the weekend in full swing, we headed down to the Nature Center to check out all they had to offer. All of the kids enjoyed feeling the different animal furs on one of their tables and guessing which animal it belonged to.
We decided to venture outside and go for a short nature walk with a local hiker. She informed all of the kids about the guardian of the forest and played a fun little game to help locate it. The kids really loved checking it out and seeing how high up in the sky it was.
Fool Hollow Lake – Once you’re ready to dip your toes head over to the Fool Hollow Lake recreational area to play in the water. Don’t be fooled(get it?) by the street signs, it is actually Fool Hollow and not Fools Hollow. We did some kayaking around the man-made lake which honestly, B hated. Well, I don’t think he hated kayaking as much as wearing the life vest.
Once we finished that up, we check out a pontoon boat tour around the lake via J&T Wildlife Outdoors. The tour guide was very informative and told us all about how and why the lake was created. There’s still an original dam in place that has shown one ounce of leaking to this day!
Mogollon Rim Interpretive Trail – We had our eyes on a longer trail but decided it was best to head back to reality sooner rather than later so we opted for the Mogollon Rim trail. A short and sweet hike of roughly a one-mile loop was full of informational plaques and beautifully surreal scenery. The trail was half paved and half dirt which made it a perfect hike for the kids.