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Winter is probably one of the best times to visit the beautiful and diverse desert state of Arizona. Areas like Tuscon and Phoenix will offer mild weather and sunny days, while spots in northern Arizona are just a few hours away and perfect for traditional winter activities like snowboarding. These are the 7 best off the beaten path places in Arizona to visit this winter.
1. Sedona, Arizona
This charming little town is known for its high-quality day spas, as well as the beautiful red rock formations that surround it. In the winter, temperatures get chilly here, so if you’re looking to escape the snow to the desert heat, this might not be the option for you.
However, Sedona is a beautiful city that is home to countless shops as well as day spas. And for those who don’t mind layering up with a sweater, if you’re lucky enough to visit the area after a snowfall, the red rocks that surround the city look exceptionally impressive when covered in fresh snow.
2. Flagstaff, Arizona
Snow and Arizona may seem like polar opposites to those unfamiliar with the state, but the higher elevations, as well as the northern regions, get a lot of snowfall. And if you’re into winter sports like snowboarding and skiing, Flagstaff is a great place to visit! Head to the Arizona Snowbowl to hit the slopes, then warm up with a delicious meal from Tinder Box Kitchen or explore local stores like Old Town Shops.
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3. Montezuma Castle National Monument
If you’re looking for a unique way to spend an afternoon, consider heading to the Montezuma Castle National Monument. Located about an hour and a half from Phoenix, Arizona, Montezuma Castle National Monument is home to a collection of well-preserved cliff dwellings. The park is open daily, although the visitor center closes early on holidays.
4. Tucson, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona is a great option for those looking to enjoy generally warmer weather without all the hustle and bustle that a larger city like Phoenix can bring. You can expect winter temperatures in the low 70s during the day, perfect for getting outside and enjoying the beautiful desert that surrounds you.
Located about an hour from Phoenix, Arcosanti is a truly unique place to visit. Starting as an experimental city, Arcosanti aims to explore arcology (the intersection between ecology and architecture). This goal has resulted in a community that is unique in both look and feel. Arcosanti currently houses about 70 full-time residents. However, you are welcome to visit, or even stay a few nights!
6. Tombstone, Arizona
Tombstone, Arizona is a small town that brought its historic roots into the future with a variety of Old West-themed attractions and styles. This includes storefronts that would look right at home in an episode of Lone Ranger, gunfight reenactments, and stagecoach rides. This is a great option for children and adults alike. Tombstone is located one hour and twenty minutes from Tucson.
7. Kartchner Caverns State Park
Another rather unique place to visit in Arizona is Kartchner Caverns State Park. The park is home to an expansive limestone cave, which visitors have the option to tour. Tour information is available online.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com