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We were thinking we'd take a month or so around February to get out of the cold, but not keen on going to Florida this year, as we've gone recently. So we are considering Arizona this time. Any suggestions on an area or areas to explore that are scenic, but not too cold or too crowded? We were originally thinking Sedona, but not a lot of places appear available in our preferred price range and the mountain areas around there look like they might be a bit chilly in February, which kind of defeats the purpose of going. We would like to Visit Phoenix, but probably as a day trip and probably not stay there.

We're happy with high temperatures 50's to 70's, and lows mostly above freezing, but a short cold snap wouldn't annoy us too much.
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It's a bit difficult to suggest a place without knowing more about what you'd like to do, but you may want to consider the Tucson area. Has a lot to offer.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g60950-Tucson_Arizona-Va...
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As for what we would like to do, our interests are eclectic. Some arts, dining, wineries, hiking/walking. We were considering day trips to places such as Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, South rim of the Grand canyon.

We were actually looking at Tucson as a possible alternative. Further south than we were originally thinking, but that means a little warmer. Saguaro and Organ Pipe look like they would good day trips. Lots of Native American culture to check out.

Thanks for the info.
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I live in Gilbert, AZ.

Tucson is not warmer. They are at a higher elevation, and are reliably about 5F cooler than Phoenix.

"Day trips" to the Canyon, or Petrified Forest, or many other places from Phoenix is not really practical. Arizona is deceptively large. It's about 4hrs from Phoenix to the South Rim, for example. And likely longer for Petrified Forest. It's most of the day to Monument Valley (and days are short in the winter).

Those are excellent places, but you might want to stage yourself closer to them.

Also...February...in northern Arizona it will be cold. There may even be snow (which, in the case of the Canyon, is fantastic...best time to go there is when there is snow; it is beyond gorgeous). There are times when they require chains or a 4WD, so plan ahead.

Probably your best bet for the South Rim is to stage yourself in Tusayan. Drive up, spend the night, then spend all day along the South Rim. Spend the night again, drive-out.

Monument Valley is way-the-heck on the Utah border, and pretty much isn't on the way to anywhere else. You may want to stage in Kayenta.

An example trip would be to drive to Tusayan as I described, then scoot over to Kayenta, spend the night, do Monument Valley**, another night, drive-out.

Phoenix does have some fine dining***, there is the art museum, and one of the finest museums of its kind on the planet is the Heard Museum (dedicated to native American history and artifacts). If you're into that (not everyone is).

Tucson is a college town (where I went to grad school). The University has a planetarium, and the Center for Creative Photography. Kitt Peak is a bit over an hour to the south, and they have tours assuming the road is passable (it snows at Kitt Peak). Same with the Whipple Observatory (where I worked). You would want to call ahead for either.

Sedona can be a day trip from Phoenix if you start early. It's only about 2 hours, but the days are shorter in the winter. It also will get cold there, and it can sometimes snow. But usually it is clear. Though I think Sedona is overrated, especially with all the development they have allowed there. But some people love it.

Oodles of native ruins around, if you know where to look (and are inclined towards such). Montezuma's Castle, Wupatki, Tuzigoot, Canyon de Chelly, and others.

1poorguy



**Monument Valley is on the reservation. If you want to do anything other than following the single road they have, you'll have to hire a native guide. There is not shortage of them when you get there, but just be aware.

***If you want authentic Mexican food, you can find it in Phoenix or Tucson.
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Thanks for the ideas. Given what we now know, I think our inclination will be to stay somewhere around Tucson, assuming we can find an acceptable place to stay at the right price. We've never been there and it looks like we'll be able to find things to do.

Phoenix wasn't really among our short list of places to stay, though we might spend a day or two there, at either end of our stay. To be clear, I wasn't comparing temperatures for Tucson with Phoenix, but with Sedona and the surrounding areas that we had been considering.

We lived in Alamogordo, New Mexico for 3 years about 30 years ago, so we do have an idea about the distances involved. If we stay around Tucson, we'll most likely spend our efforts exploring that part of the state and the Northern destinations would not be on our itinerary, unless on the way. We'll be coming into the state from the east along I-40, so can hit Petrified Forest, weather permitting.

We'll definitely be looking for some authentic Mexican food.
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OK...Tucson.

In addition to what I mentioned, there are Karchner Caverns and Tombstone.

Tombstone is hopelessly touristy, but you can visit Boot Hill with the real graves and the real tombstones (like "Here lies Lester Moore, 5 shots from a .44; no Les no More". Plus the Clanton gang graves. The corral itself is pay-to-enter. The "saloon" still has bullet holes in the ceiling (not from the gunfight, just from general rowdiness). They also have the world's largest rose bush, last I knew. Tombstone is worth a visit, despite the tourist trap element.

Consult YELP for recommendations of places to eat. I'm out of touch with the scene down there now. If you want some really good Mexican food, you can find it there. You'll never eat Taco Bell again. There are also other cuisines. I used to know a really good pho place, for example.

Saguaro Nat Monument is in two pieces. I think the eastern one is a bit better, but if you have time you can visit both.

If you want to do some skiing, there is Mt Lemmon.

The Sonoran Desert Museum is west of the city, and is really good if you are interested in desert flora and fauna.

Biosphere 2 is north of the city. It's an interesting tour. We did it several years ago.

1poorguy
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We'll definitely be looking for some authentic Mexican food.

Check out La Indita. :-)
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Tombstone sounds a lot like Virginia City, Nevada, some great food, interesting local history, mining, mostly, but we tried for it on the 4th of July... Forget it, jam packed, sidewalks jammed, we did a crawl through town and headed back to Carson City. Bu off of Holidays, old towns re fun to wander, maybe some gambling (slots), museums, buckboard rides... Lesson learned.. Stay home on holidays!
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The crowds aren't usually that bad. Tombstone is off of I10 east of Tucson. Not much out there except the Caverns and Tombstone. But going on a weekday would probably be better, in general.

No gambling there. Not Nevada, and not on the Res. So no gambling. But they do have staged gun battles and such.

Boot Hill was my favorite bit. Some of the tombstones are hilarious, in a dark kinda way. Lots of "hung by mistake", which makes one think...(and those are NOT hilarious, though some humor for the one where they made a poem of it: "Here lies George Johnson hanged by mistake 1882 / He was right, We was wrong, But we strung him up, And now he's gone.")

1poorguy
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February is getting into tourist season. The weather is getting nicer, baseball spring training starts mid-Feb with games in March (barring lockouts), and there are usually a lot of activities. A big crowd usually gathers for the men's PGA tournament (usually around the Super Bowl) and hotel rates are high (cheap season is the hot months starting in June and going through August).

I spent about a decade in Scottsdale. I was going to head down to Tucson but when I asked around at work most seemed to think it wasn't really anything to see. Sedona and the red rocks, north about an hr or two is nice for a day or 2 visit. Grand Canyon further north is another obvious tourism place.

Lots of golfers will be out and about (and prices will be $$$).

Lots of restaurants, resorts, etc. although in covid times, I assume the situation is quite different and depending on your perspective regarding good or bad, mask wearing is on the low side in much of Arizona.

I always figured the end of November and December were the coldest months with frost sometimes in the mornings going into part of January but by February highs are often mid 60s-80 although nights will be chilly.
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