If you live in Arizona, there’s a good chance the summer heat has its oppressive boot squished against your neck. And you want to know how and where to beat the summer heat in Arizona, someway, somehow. I have some tips for all of you who are afraid of getting heatstroke on the way out to the mailbox.
That’s right. Curling. The Coyotes Curling Club has a legitimate, for-real curling barn – none of this playing-on-hockey rinks crap. It’s always cool in there. Just sign up for one of its ever-more-frequent Learn to Curl sessions. Better yet, talk your employer into doing a Learn to Curl session for your company. Call it team building while cooling off. The club has all the gear you need. Just wear a good pair of pants that allow freedom of movement and won’t show your buttcrack. (This is pretty much the only item on the list that involves staying in town. Do you really need a blogger to tell you to do obvious stuff like go to a movie, a public pool or an ice-skating rink? No.)
Get Out of Town
There are plenty of places around the state to beat the summer heat in Arizona. Here’s a quick roundup of them.
Prescott – The problem with Prescott is that its summers are warmer than they used to be. But the temperatures are still lower up there, and you’ll probably get an afternoon monsoon storm to cool things off. You’ll find plenty of hiking and mountain biking, but you can also just lounge around near the old-school courthouse area if you’re more sedate. No matter what, I no longer consider a trip to Prescott complete without a visit to Granite Mountain Brewing Company. Its own beers are great, and you’ll often find mead from Superstition Meadery on-tap, too (if you’re never had mead, this is the place to try it). I also love the Ploughman’s Lunch. There’s a lot of places to catch live music, too, and they’re walking distance from each other. Just one thing – NEVER go to Prescott anywhere near Independence Day. It’s a madhouse.
Flagstaff – The obvious choice. Cooler than Prescott, more funky, even more outdoor stuff, more culinary variety. It takes longer to get there, though. But it’s worth a little extra time. I haven’t gotten to Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Park yet, but … an aerial obstacle course? How could I not love it? I’m also a huge fan of the Lava River Cave. If you have some time and energy, you can hike to the summit of Mount Humphreys, Arizona’s highest point at 12,600 feet and change. And you should can also think about shorter-but-still-cool hikes like SP Crater and Red Mountain. If you like microbrew and top-quality espresso, Flagstaff is silly with it. I’m partial to Fire Creek Coffee Company – they serve beer there, too.
Greer/Pinetop/Show Low - I’ve combined these three towns. Greer is off by itself, while Pinetop and Show Low are nestled together. Look, you’re not going to find great nightlife or dining here. The mountain biking is pretty stellar, though, and the area is the closest thing Arizona has to a rain forest. If your goal is to beat the summer heat in Arizona, this is the place to trounce the triple digits. One of my highlights – going for a bike ride and having a herd of elk romp right past me.
Tombstone - OK, I admit that Tombstone is ridiculous Old West kitsch rampe straight to 11. But it’s also in one of Arizona’s wine-growing regions. If you’re into wineries, this is as good a place to base yourself as any. It’s also far cooler than you might expect, with some nice afternoon drizzle during the monsoon season. Bisbee is also nearby, and pretty funky-cool. I need to hang out there a bit more to give a more thorough rundown … or if anyone reading this knows Bisbee and wants to do a guest post, well, consider the welcome mat out.