You may be stationed at Davis-Monthan AFB, Luke AFB, Ft. Huachuca or Yuma, but no matter where you are, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about being in Arizona. Be warned, this is a state that is easy to fall in love with — even if it is hotter than almost anywhere else in the continental U.S. 

We were stationed at Davis Monthan for almost seven years and Arizona became our second home throughout that time. Being that I grew up in Ohio, the state was never on my radar. But I can tell you that it is now a high contender for where we will end up living after our 20 years of the nomad military lifestyle.

Though we have loved experiencing another country, we miss the lifestyle of the West almost every day. Whether you are outdoorsy, a traveler or a foodie, Arizona has something for you! 

Here are 10 reasons why you will learn to love Arizona!

The Grand Canyon

This 277-mile long canyon is definitely something you will want to experience at least once in your life! Whether you are there for the day to stand on the rim and just look, or you are wanting a more adventurous view, perhaps by riding a mule down, you will not be disappointed. Did you know that as a military member or dependent you can obtain a FREE pass to enter all national parks at no charge? The America the Beautiful pass normally runs $80, but it is offered free of charge to military members and dependents. Get more information here.  There are also numerous services that offer discounts to military members to explore the Grand Canyon, so make sure to check those out.

The Food

Are you craving some of the best Mexican food in the United States? Perfect! Arizona is the place to find it. Trying a Sonoran Hot Dog from Guero Canelo is a must while you are in Tucson. Make sure to visit your local carnicería for some chorizo or pollo asado. You will not be disappointed. Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles up in Phoenix is sure to please. Just make sure to get there early! There is something for everyone and the brunch scene is alive and well in both Phoenix and Tucson. Enjoy a mimosa at The Cup Cafe, inside Tucson’s famous Congress Hotel. Play some corn hole and enjoy a morning drink at Snooze in Phoenix. 

The Drinks

Did you know that there are two amazing wine regions in Southern Arizona? Wilcox County and Sonoita offer a wide array of local grapes and amazing red and white wines. A personal favorite, Arizona Hops and Vines, offers weekend camping trips and is known for pairing its wines with not so conventional foods, like cheese puffs. Jumped on the craft beer bandwagon yet? Make sure to stop by Barrio Brewing Company in Tucson to try its famous Barrio Blonde. While up in Sedona, try Oak Creek Brewery. The beer is good and the vibe is perfect for the area. 

Running, Biking and Golfing

Pick your poison when it comes to outdoor activities. The weather and landscape make Arizona the perfect place to explore how you will do on the back nine or how many snakes you can dodge on your latest bike trail. Are you a runner? Check out Arizona Roadrunners for a list of local races that benefit charities. Spend the weekend down in Tubac where you can find amazing “stay and play” deals throughout the summer months. Is biking your thing? Make sure to check El Tour de Tucson for one of the largest bike races in U.S. Not so much of an adventurous or active person? Well, I bet that will change when living in a state that offers amazing views, fantastic weather and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.

Weekend Happenings

From the 4th Avenue Street Fair in Tucson to a Cardinals games up in Phoenix, there is always something to do on the weekend. There is the Country Thunder Festival in Florence, the Tucson Festival of Books, Rodeo Week and numerous El Día de los Muertos parades throughout the state. Make sure to check out the Cardinals, the Coyotes or the Phoenix Suns if professional sports are your thing. Missing your college team while you are away from home? Check out Arizona State or the University of Arizona. They may be playing your hometown one weekend, or they are a great option for a “stand-in” team to cheer for while you are a resident.

Since Arizona is a hot tourist destination during the summer months, the resorts offer deep discounts for residents to enjoy a local stay-cation. Some of the casinos also offer free stays and discounts on food and play to the military. Make sure to take advantage of all of the benefits offered!

Road trips

Feel like spending a weekend in Sin City? Hop in the car and drive up to Vegas. Just remember you have to drive home, too! Throw the kids in the car and head over to Disneyland, a short eight-hour drive from Tucson, and even shorter from Yuma or Phoenix. Have friends stationed in New Mexico or Texas? Utilize the long weekend and drive over to say Hi! Head up to Page to do some camping and hiking for the weekend. You will never have a shortage of weekend trips while living in Arizona! 

The Weather

The summer months in Arizona are often hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, but the majority of the year the weather is almost perfect. Down in Tucson it is not uncommon for there to be a 30-degree difference between night and day, making it the perfect spot to enjoy those fall bonfires. During March, the cacti start to bloom. It’s truly is amazing to see the transformation that only lasts a few weeks of the year. Missing the snow? Take a drive up Catalina Highway to visit the snowcapped Mt. Lemmon. Make sure to grab a cookie from the Mt. Lemmon Cookie Cabin while you’re up there. The winter months make the summer months totally worth it! Besides, it’s just a “dry heat,” right? 

Tucson

Once a small hippie village, Tucson is quickly becoming a city worth living in. Home to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson is a city that is ripe with culture and full of things to do. The downtown area is being revitalized and recently introduced a downtown trolley system that makes getting from the University of Arizona to all the downtown spots easy and cheap. Home to The Desert Museum and Pima Air and Space Museum, there is always something to do and somewhere to visit. Whether living in one of the many barrios located within the city or living more in the country is your thing, Tucson real estate will have something for you. 

Sedona

Home to the famous Red Rocks, this northern city in Arizona is worth the trip no matter where you live. The Chapel of the Holy Cross is worth a visit as well as the town’s many vortexes, offering spiritual guidance and the perfect place to do some solo meditation. With many resorts to choose from and some of the state’s best golf courses, there really is something for everyone in Sedona. Make sure to take a day trip up to the old mining town, Jerome. The view is magnificent from this hillside town, and the history tour will have you thinking about the Wild West for days to come. 

Hiking

You can not live in Arizona without exploring the state’s many trailheads! Whether you are doing The Phone Line Trail in Sabino Canyon or climbing the famous Camelback Mountain, your day is sure to be filled with some good exercise, great views and a good time. Always bring plenty of water and watch where you are stepping. It’s wild out there! 

 

What do you love about Arizona?