Author Topic: AZ in December  (Read 3171 times)

fartface

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AZ in December
« on: November 25, 2014, 06:12:08 PM »
Fellow AZ Mustachians,

My family and I are traveling to Phoenix to visit family Dec. 24 - Jan 7. We are excited to be escaping two out of twelve weeks of Wisconsin winter (though it seems as though it's already arrived).

We are wondering if any AZ natives or seasoned travelers can offer good travel tips for that time of year? 

My sister-in-law has suggested we stay a few nights in Flagstaff? I don't mind footing a hotel bill for that excursion, but what's the draw? Is there more to see and do there than in and around Phoenix? Incidentally we're staying for Free in her Casita (guest house) so the more I can do in and around Phoenix - the better.

Also, I checked climate for that region (Flagstaff/Sedona) that time of year and average temperatures mirror Wisconsin temps...uh - no thanks. I've been looking into a few nights in Tuscon which is further south and still in the desert climate we want to bask in.

Any and all input about the state is appreciated. We are getting a car rental for one week (free - courtesy credit card churning) plus got $900 in airfare comped via SW Visa bonus points. So, this two week vacation (air, car rental, accommodations) has cost us very little up front. I don't mind blowing a bit of my stache on worthwhile excursions.

Appreciate any good info you're willing to share.

P.S. We have three girls ages 10 - 12 - 13 if that helps with recommendations.

Thanks!

thepokercab

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Re: AZ in December
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2014, 06:21:23 PM »
I live in Phoenix.  November thru April in Phoenix is absolutely the best- so you're picking a great time to come.

Flagstaff is north of Phoenix, and yes, it gets really cold up there and it snows.  If you're looking to escape the Wisconsin winter, I'm not sure I would do that by spending a lot of time in Flagstaff in December. However, if you're a nature buff there is a lot to see in the Flagstaff and Sedona region; hiking, camping, and of course the grand canyon.  But, its definitely going to be cold. 

In terms of what "to do" in Phoenix.  If Golf is your thing, there a ton of courses to choose from in the Metro area and you can find good deals on many of them.  Lots of hiking in the mountains around the valley (I like Camelback mountain and South Mountain). If you like to partake in a bit of gambling (i like Poker personally), than Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale is a fun place.  Those are a few things that come in mind.  Sure others have more. 

JoJo

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Re: AZ in December
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2014, 06:25:53 PM »
I've spent thanksgiving there once and it was great!

It's worth spending a day at the Grand Canyon, which is only accessible from the south that time of year.  It's cool to see snow around!  This isn't far from Williams & Oatman on route 66.

Sedona and the road thru the canyon north of there is great.

There are several native American ruins, national monuments and such.

I remember horseback riding in the mountains just east of Phoenix.

fartface

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Re: AZ in December
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2014, 05:52:45 AM »
Thank you! My new neighbor stopped over tonight, and....she used to live in AZ.

She told me to go to Flagstaff and Sedona regardless of weather - they're a must see.

When I asked her about Tuscon, she said, "Please don't go there."

So...um...yeah...this is why I ask beforehand.

Thanks for the good input.

tyd450

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Re: AZ in December
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2015, 12:32:35 PM »
How was your trip?

We are going to Phoenix  at the end of March to catch a few spring training games.  We are staying from Saturday-Tues in the Phoenix area and then driving up to Sedona for a night and then to the Grand Canyon for a night.

I got a pretty good deal on hotwire for a place in Sedona but we still need to find a hotel to stay at in Phoenix and up near the Grand Canyon as well.  If you or anyone else has recommendations on specific hotels or even just a specific area to focus my search I would appreciate it!

begood

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Re: AZ in December
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2015, 01:05:00 PM »
Froze my tail off in rainy Phoenix one December! Unusual, yes, but possible. Take layers, including fleece! Even if it's warm during the day, it can get quite cool at night.

It snowed 3' (that's feet, not inches) in Flagstaff the December we visited. And it was 10 degrees F. Gorgeous drive down Oak Creek Canyon - every branch of every conifer covered in snow! - but I wasn't prepared for those kinds of temps.

gimp

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Re: AZ in December
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2015, 01:16:49 PM »
Hope your trip was good, OP.

Not a native, but been to the area a few times.

Note that the Colorado Plateau - that is, the massive plateau that sits on the AZ/NM/UT/CO area, and is between 5000 and 8000 feet in elevation - that area that holds the grand canyon, and all the other national parks, monuments, forests, state parks, and private parks - is cold as fuck during this time. There may well be a 50 degree (F) difference between Phoenix and the grand canyon. 70 to 20. Or even more of a difference. So prepare properly for cold and high elevation. Some women and children don't do very well at the higher points (8000 feet) so be on guard for signs of hypoxia (irrational decisions, slurred speech, basically inebriation.)

Now that I've scared you - the grand canyon is actually often ~20 degrees warmer than even ten miles away, and the winter is a lovely time to hike there, very few tourists.

As for hotels - only the south rim is open, and there's really only one road to the south rim from Phoenix. There's a little town on that road that has hotels. Flagstaff will be much cheaper in the summer, the town is a tourist town. (However, right now, hotels in the tourist town are like $60 a night - pretty damn cheap considering the location.) Those are pretty much your only choices for hotels. You may find alternate lodging - campgrounds and such - but I wouldn't recommend camping in the winter in that location unless you know what you're doing. (When I slept in my car just next to the canyon, it dropped to around 15F at night and it could have been a lot colder.)

Exhale

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Re: AZ in December
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2015, 03:20:55 PM »
Desert Botanical garden - http://www.dbg.org/ => must see
Heard Museum - www.http://heard.org/
D'lish - yummy food and a delicious "Breakfast Buzz" shake
Airbnb - I had fantastic hosts

« Last Edit: February 19, 2015, 03:23:11 PM by Exhale »