Annika Tomlin • College Times
Pack your bags and get ready for a trip that’s memorable but won’t break the bank. There’s no need to spend all of your money on a big, extravagant trip during a break when there are plenty of wonderful places to visit right here in Arizona. Here are 11 places to go during Spring Break that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
#11 • Desert Botanical Garden
If you haven’t been to the Desert Botanical Garden, Spring Break is the perfect time to go. Three exhibits are included in general admission. Hundreds of butterflies native to the Southwest are awaiting you at the butterfly exhibit. The Elephant in the Room exhibit invites visitors to dig into rotating worldly topics and commit to reducing human impact on the natural world. Last, Wild Rising by Cracking Art is an installation of more than 1,000 animal sculptures made from colorful and recyclable plastic.
#10 • Spring Training Game
What’s Spring Break without Spring Training? Go to one of the 10 fields—Sloan Park, Camelback Ranch-Glendale, Peoria Sports Complex, Surprise Stadium, Hohokam Stadium, Goodyear Ballpark, Salt River Fields, Tempe Diablo Stadium, American Family Fields of Phoenix and Scottsdale Stadium—in which 16 Major League teams in the Cactus League play. Grab your friends and don’t forget to put on sunscreen.
#9 • Papago Park
Papago Park is on the way to the Desert Botanical Garden. It’s a beautiful walk/hike to take on a nice spring day. Near the end of the hike, there’s a hole in the mountain. Stone-carved steps lead hikers to a picturesque area and down into a mini pit that’s perfect for viewing sunsets. Make sure to bring your phone or a camera to take Instagram-worthy photos.
#8 • Jerome
The near-ghost town of Jerome was once called the “Wickedest Town in the West,” and produced more than $1 billion in copper, gold and silver. This gravity-defying town clings to the side of Mingus Mountain. The main road through the town passes several bars, art galleries, boutiques and restaurants. With a population of 450, Jerome takes its ghost town label very seriously. Don’t forget to check out the Mine Museum and trade Jerome’s history.
#7 • Show Low
This three-hour drive northeast is worth every minute. Check out the Black House Brewery that opened five years ago. It has eight beers on tap, from IPAs to ales—and root beer for nonalcohol drinkers. The grub is great at the quaint Persnikkity’s Café. This simply sweet café offers breakfast, lunch, coffee and cupcakes. There are other hiking and horseback riding places within a short driving distance as well.
#6 • Kingman
Kingman is a notable stop on Route 66. The capital of Mohave County boasts a rich history of mining and ranching. The town offers several museums that trace its history of trains, old ranchers and breweries. Make a day or even a weekend out of Kingman.
#5 • Tombstone
Perhaps Arizona’s most famous Wild West ghost town, Tombstone is the site of the world-famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1881. The shootout only lasted 30 seconds, but the “Town Too Tough to Die” lives on forever. You can witness live re-enactments, daily shows, museums and historical tours. If you’re looking to make this trip longer than one day, Jerome offers saloons, lodges and historic restaurants. Stagecoach rides are offered through the town’s main street to make guests feel like they’re on the set of the 1993 film “Tombstone.”
#4 • Globe
If you couldn’t gather already, Arizona is well known for mining and ranching. Globe is in that category. This small town is a perfect destination spot near in Eastern Arizona. Learn about the state’s history and enjoy the beautiful weather.
#3 • Sedona
This town has everything from hiking trails, wineries, fudge and the spiritual. Known primarily for its red rocks, this city is nothing short of an adventure waiting to happen. Its vortexes—where special energy is said to radiate—are part of the intrigue. The town also offers a diverse array of trinket shops where guests can buy their own crystals.
#2 • Goldfield Ghost Town
Just an hour east of Phoenix is Goldfield Ghost Town, which closed in 1898, was rebuilt in the 1980s and today has the only operating narrow-gauge railroad in Arizona. The Goldfield Ghost Town offers a 20-minute railroad ride, a mining tour, the Superstition Reptile exhibit and an hourly gunfighter show—not to mention an old-time photo studio, a shooting gallery and a zipline. Spend the day experiencing and learning about one of the old mining towns that is set against the scenic backdrop of the Superstition Mountains.
#1 • Staycation
The cheapest place to go during Spring Break is nowhere. Just stay home! Have a sleepover at a friend’s place. There’s a whole week to just relax and do nothing. Take the time to clean your apartment, do that mountain of laundry or dishes, and just reset before you have to go back and push through the remainder of the semester. The attractions listed above aren’t going anywhere (except Spring Training, which will be back next year). So, spend your time and money wisely during this Spring Break. CT