by Donna McBride
It’s time to head out on an adventure! While Pinal County has so many great places to visit, my husband Mike and I recently discovered a place up in Williams about 30 minutes west of Flagstaff and approximately four hours from Pinal County.
Nestled in the heart of Northern Arizona, Williams is known as the gateway to one of the natural wonders of the world — the beautiful Grand Canyon. Williams is a quaint little town known for its Route 66 shops and restaurants that date back to the early 1900s.
And while we have been to Williams several times, we had never visited another one of its treasures — Bearizona!
Bearizona Wildlife Park has 160 acres of natural habitat in ponderosa pine forest. Depending on when you visit, you can experience all four seasons. We made the trek up the end of March when the temps were in the high 40s and hints of snow sprinkled the 20-acre walk-thru area.
I was impressed at how close we got to observe the animals. From bears, deer, wolves and buffalo to birds, otters, porcupines and badgers, they were all active throughout our nearly four-hour visit. The park is well maintained with the roads easy for both cars and RVs.
But don’t think about going in a convertible or on a motorcycle. There are some areas that require doors and windows to be shut and locked!
Guests can drive-thru as many times as desired, as well as enjoy the walk-thru area.
Another great day trip I have to recommend is the Heber-Overgaard area.
It takes three hours from Casa Grande by heading up Highway 87 to the 260 through Payson. As you make your way up the mountain to the rim area, you leave cactus for pine trees as you travel through Tonto National Forrest before landing in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
With free camping and picnic areas, this is a perfect low-cost getaway for families. The area is known for wild horses, deer, elk. We have never been disappointed to see herds of deer and beautiful horses. There’s a few local grocery stores and amazing locally owned restaurants.
Whether you are retired and looking for a nice quiet drive or a family with little ones, take advantage of all our beautiful state has to offer this summer. Just don’t forget to come back home to Pinal County!
San Francisco Peaks – Flagstaff Photo courtesy of Donna McBride