There’s nothing quite like the beauty of northern Arizona in the summertime. As the weather turns warm and the desert blooms, it’s the perfect time to enjoy the great outdoors. If you’re looking to spend your summer exploring all this region has to offer, you’re in the right place. Prescott, Clarkdale, Flagstaff, and the surrounding areas have plenty to keep you busy all summer long. From bustling summer festivals to tranquil hiking trails, these towns have a wealth of experiences waiting for you.
Want to fill your calendar? Read on to learn about some of the best things to do this summer in northern Arizona.
Celebrate the Summer in Clarkdale
For an unforgettable evening, book yourself and your family a ticket on the Summer Starlight Train Tour, a unique event that allows you to experience the majesty of the Verde Canyon under the starlight. Departing from Clarkdale each Saturday from May 27th through September 2nd, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Sycamore Canyon, wildlife, and desert scenery before witnessing a stunning sunset and starlit sky.
Also in Clarkdale is the town’s Concert in the Park. Every other Saturday from June 24th, you can enjoy a FREE evening of music and community in Clarkdale Town Park. Pack a picnic or grab a bite from a local eatery and head over to the park. This family-friendly event welcomes even well-behaved pets, making it a perfect night out for everyone.
Also make sure you don’t miss Clarkdale Block Party, taking place this year on the last Fridays in June and July. You can enjoy a lively evening of music, food, and beer with the Clarkdale community.
Finally, start your 4th of July festivities off right (and early!) at the Old Fashioned Fourth of July event, featuring live music, an ice cream social, parades, and carnival games.
Prescott: Bluegrass and Rodeos
For music lovers, you can’t miss Prescott’s Annual Bluegrass Festival on June 24th and 25th. Nestled under the American Elm trees on the grounds of the Yavapai County Courthouse, the festival boasts some of the best Bluegrass bands in the country, alongside a plethora of food and drink vendors, craft booths, and raffles.
For rodeo fans or those simply looking to experience some of the area’s history with a little bit of fanfare, you won’t want to miss the World’s Oldest Rodeo, taking place from June 28th through July 4th. Performances will be at 7.30pm each day, except July 4th. On July 1st and 4th, there will be a 1.30pm performance.
Flagstaff: Culture and Cars
June brings to Flagstaff the Heritage Festival, a celebration of the diverse indigenous cultures of the Colorado Plateau region. Held on the 24th and 25th, the festival takes place on the forested grounds of the Museum of Northern Arizona. Enjoy an artist market featuring over 100 artists, and a feast of outdoor performances, and immerse yourself in the area’s rich history and heritage.
Any chili lover won’t want to miss the Chili Festival on August 5th and 6th. Cooks come from near and far to share their chili recipes for you to sample and vote for your favorite. A strolling musician will keep you entertained as you experience the flavors.
Car enthusiasts should mark their calendars for August 19th for the Route 66 Car Show in Downtown Flagstaff. Spend the day admiring classic cars, hot rods, and more.
The Hopi Arts & Cultural Festival is a must-visit for art enthusiasts and culture seekers. Taking place on August 26th and 27th, this festival showcases a variety of talented Hopi artists, alongside mesmerizing Hopi dance performances.
Tranquil Moments & Outdoor Pursuits
For those who want to find some tranquil moments in nature away from fast-paced events, the Flagstaff Arboretum Gardens offers a respite including beautiful gardens to explore, yoga classes, and painting classes.
Both Prescott and Flagstaff have community farmers’ markets, providing fresh local produce and crafts. Prescott Farmers Market takes place every Saturday from 7.30am until 12pm at 900 Iron Springs Road from April through October. Flagstaff Farmers Market takes place every Sunday from May through October in the City Hall parking lot.
For getting out into nature, there are hundreds of trails to explore. In Prescott, explore the breathtaking vistas of Watson Lake and Flume Trail, or challenge yourself with the Granite Mountain Trail. Flagstaff has the biggest challenge, with Humphreys Peak, but there are other more relaxing options like the Buffalo Park Trail. Clarkdale certainly isn’t without its beautiful trails either, so explore Tavasci Marsh and the Mingus Rim Trails if you’re in the area.
The Perfect End to Your Days of Adventure
At the end of a day out hiking, attending a local festival, or attending a free live music event, what could be better than coming back to your new Mandalay Home? With some of the best panoramic views in northern Arizona with patios perfectly positioned to enjoy those views on dusky evenings, you won’t have to leave the house to see the beauty of northern Arizona this summer.