Hipmunk Hotels: Offbeat Attractions in Flagstaff, Page, Yuma, and more

This post was originally published on Tripper by Sandra Henriques on June 29, 2016.

By means of a strange acculturation process while growing up, I’m more connected to the American culture than I am to the Portuguese. As a result, the United States is high on my list of countries to visit (and the list of offbeat attractions grows with it). I’m still in the romancing phase, but I’m already liking my odds in Arizona and in Pasadena. I have my eye on several attractions in these areas and more, and I’m interested in the best hotels in each area.

1. Experience Space, the Final Frontier in Flagstaff (Arizona)

I love a good alien story, especially if it mixes an “X-Files” vibe with some futuristic storytelling like H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”. However, you can visit some “other-worldly” attractions without leaving this planet. The Lowell Observatory and the Cinder Lake Crater Field are two offbeat must-sees in Flagstaff. I wonder if I can find an alien-themed hotel in Flagstaff? Or at least one with a mysterious alien story behind it.

Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona

Photo by James Jones via Flickr.

2. The Most Famous Canyon in Page (Arizona)

The Antelope Canyon is hardly a secret and it’s very high on my list of beautiful sights. The most photographed rock formation in the American Southwest is one guided tour away when you visit Page. To continue exploring the scenery beyond the Canyon, check with your hotel in Page for tour recommendations.

Antelope Canyon in Page Arizona

Photo by Todd Petrie via Flickr.

3. A Bridge (Not) Over Troubled Waters in Yuma (Arizona)

Do you know the Talking Heads’ song “Road to Nowhere”? Well, in Yuma, things go a little further with a “bridge to nowhere”. No, it’s not a metaphor. The Gila River was diverted in 1968, and today the McPhaul bridge crosses (oddly) over sand and rocks. I have a series of postapocalyptic-themed photos for that bridge in mind, meaning the visit could be emotionally draining. Finding a hotel in Yuma for some well-deserved R&R would do the trick.

4. London Bridge in Lake Havasu City (Arizona)

Did London Bridge really fall down like in the nursery rhyme? Technically, it was sinking due to structural problems, and in the late 1960’s, the City sold the bridge to the highest bidder — a local entrepreneur in Lake Havasu City. Booking a romantic stay at a Lake Havasu City hotel and a stroll on the bridge shipped overseas, block by block, sounds like a great story to tell.

London Bridge in Lake Havasu City

Photo by Ken Lund via Flickr.

5. Doc’s House and Strange Sodas in Pasadena (California)

Hoverboards are not a real thing (yet) but Dr. Emmet Brown’s house is. Fans of “Back to the Future” wouldn’t the Gamble House be an offbeat must-see? This could (probably) only be topped by a Buffalo Wing soda. I’m not entirely sure I would handle the sugar rush at the Rocket Fizz, the place where these strange soda flavors come from. Tasting wouldn’t be a problem; narrowing down the weirdest ones to taste would. How do you top this off? Perhaps with a stay at a Hollywoodesque hotel in Pasadena, where you can pretend to be a star with a quirky taste for strange sodas.

The Gamble House in Pasadena California

Photo by Ken Lund via Flickr.

The Unforgettables: What You Need to Pack for a Trip to Arizona

For a world traveler, I am a notoriously bad packer. I over pack and curse my sore muscles and inconvenient baggage fees even before my trip starts. One of the things that helps is to make a list of the activities I plan to take part in and pack accordingly.

Arizona is another bucket list region I have spent time in, but I need to do a revisit because it has so much to offer. From the beautiful scenery to the physical activities and cool Wild West history, it makes for a packing challenge that, with some planning, I think I can conquer.

Phoenix, Arizona

A start in Phoenix, Arizona, is a must, not just because it’s the biggest city. It is a diverse city with access to amazing activities without getting too outside the comforts of modern life. It has so much including shopping, if you forget something, but I would make sure I pack my best golf clothes for this leg of the trip. Phoenix and its suburbs have some of the most beautiful golf courses in the United States. To play your best, you have to look your best, so pack the collared polos and coordinated shoes to spend the day at the links in Phoenix.

fixedw_large_4x3Photo provided by Mark Nuttelman via Trover.com

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona, is the spot where you can enjoy the outdoors. The beautiful terrain offers hiking trails for people of all skill levels. Most of the trails are easy to follow and offer the most breathtaking views imaginable. If you plan a visit to Sedona, make sure you pack your hiking boots. They are called hiking boots for a reason, and you will enjoy the experience if you pack these staples for your outdoor adventure.

fixedw_large_2xPhoto provided by Mariah Dennis via Trover.com

Tucson, Arizona

You would be hard-pressed to find a place in Arizona that doesn’t have a beautiful sunset, but Tucson, Arizona, has the best. There’s something about the desert and the way it reflects off the sun in this city up in the mountains. It will be over all too quickly, so make sure you pack a camera to enjoy the beautiful sky with all its colors long after the sun has gone down.

fixedw_large_42Photo provided by Tatiana Tomich via Trover.com

Prescott, Arizona

You may be ready to shed the signs of the town and rough it for a while. Pack your camping gear and check out Watson Lake in Prescott, Arizona. Watson Lake offers campgrounds, hiking, horseback riding, and boat rental. It’s a well-known destination for Arizonans, who flock to Watson Lake during the summer months when it’s sweltering in the city. Visit during the fall and winter for pleasant temperatures in the off-season, too.

fixedw_large_3Photo provided by Heather via Trover.com

Yuma, Arizona

To add a little history to my Arizona adventure, I have to make a stop in Yuma, Arizona, to visit the Yuma Territorial Prison. This working prison was under continuous construction from 1875 to 1909. It housed several notorious criminals, including women. The original structure stands today, so pack your ball and chain and see how criminals lived in the late 1800s.

fixedw_large_4xPhoto provided by Paul Cloutier via Trover.com

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