Aerial view of one of the best small towns in Arizona

19 Best Towns in Arizona in 2023 (By a Local)

I’m an Arizona native, and I’ve spent over 20 years exploring the best towns in Arizona. 

This comprehensive list features old western settlements, high mountain getaways, and popular destinations. I also lay out a few hidden gems that you won’t find on other guides — and trust me, they’re ones you won’t want to miss! 

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19 Best Towns in Arizona


A creative, historic mining town nestled in the Mule Mountains.

The author posing for a photo at the main street of Bisbee in Arizona
Me prancing down the main street after a day of shopping and eating gelato

📍 Google Maps | Bisbee Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Bisbee on Booking

Bisbee is one of my favorite small towns in America, not just Arizona. It’s built against the steep Mule Mountains just north of the Mexico border.

There’s plenty to do in this quirky place. Shop at vintage stores and peruse art galleries. See the Cochise County Courthouse, take a tour through the old mine, and check out haunted hotels. Bisbee is a wonderful escape from the heat and the busy buzz of nearby Arizona cities.

It’s a classic Arizona destination for lowkey travelers in search of a memorable getaway. You’re guaranteed to fall in love with this charming town, no matter what you do in Bisbee.

🌼 Pro Tip: Visit during the spring to see the steep cliff sides painted with purple, yellow, and orange wildflowers.


Wander red-rock buttes and the artistic community that makes up this incredible town in the Coconino National Forest.

Scenic view at the Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock in Sedona
The site of my brother’s wedding with views of Cathedral Rock and Bell Rock

📍 Google Maps | Sedona Website | Where to Stay in Sedona | 👉 Browse Hotels in Sedona on Booking

This iconic destination is a must-visit on your Arizona itinerary. The stunning red rock formations surrounding Sedona will make you feel like you’ve landed on another planet. Families, couples, nomads, and everyone in between will be enchanted by this place.

Avid outdoorsmen, rejoice! Hike through otherworldly scenes and go cliff diving in Oak Creek Canyon. Take a horseback ride through the hills or take a helicopter tour to see the magnificent land from a unique perspective. You can also rent a Jeep for a thrilling rock-crawling experience. You could fill a lifetime with unforgettable activities in Sedona.


The homebase for some of the most incredible sights in Arizona.

The author's brother with his fiancé with the overlooking view from Lake Powell camp
My brother and his fiance taking in the views at our Lake Powell camp, just moments from Page across the Glen Canyon Dam Bridge

📍 Google Maps | Page Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Page on Booking

Page is a beautiful town surrounded by some of the best places to explore in Arizona. You can see Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and Lake Powell all in one day when you stay here. The hiking trails in this area are second-to-none. Don’t miss your chance to explore these breathtaking sites when you find yourself in northern Arizona.

Accommodations and restaurants are limited given its population of just over 7,000. Visit during the off-season so you can enjoy the natural beauty without competing with thousands of other tourists.


Southern Arizona’s wine country is set in the rolling hills just north of the Mexican border.

View during a wine tasting in Sonoita, Arizona
It doesn’t get much better than wine tasting with a view

📍 Google Maps | Sonoita Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Sonoita on Booking

Calling all wine-o’s! Sonoita is a tiny town located just over an hour south of Tucson. This is the ultimate wine country in Arizona. Spend a day exploring over 15 vineyards and tasting rooms. The people are exceptionally friendly, and the wine is bound to impress. Don’t forget your designated driver!

Immerse yourself in nature before hitting the wineries. Mount Wrightson is just west of Sonoita in Madera Canyon. This is one of the most beautiful areas in the state, in my opinion. I highly recommend taking a scenic drive through the mountain pass before settling down with a glass of red or white. Talk about a perfect day!

👉 Don’t Miss: 22 Best Day Trips from Tucson


The American Wild West comes alive in this historic cowboy town.

The author's brother with his cowboy hat at Tombstone, Arizona
My brother really got into character with his cowboy hat

📍 Google Maps | Tombstone Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Tombstone on Booking

Tombstone is all things wonderful and quirky. It’s certainly a tourist destination. But the corny shootout reenactments and over-the-top street characters don’t detract from its rich history. 

This rough-and-tough town used to be a haven for outlaws, bandits, cowboys, and criminals. The old saloons still display real bullet holes from shootouts, which were seemingly commonplace back in the day. Boot Hill Graveyard is full of obscurely-labeled headstones with eerie epitaphs labeling who killed whom and how. 

Birdcage Theater is a spooky museum displaying the work of many famous western photographers. The museum also offers thrilling stories about the town’s past. You have to make your way to this real-life frontier town if you have any interest in the American Wild West.


This central Arizona town is perched on a gorgeous hillside and is full of intriguing history.

Aerial view of a street in Jerome, Arizona
It’s a fun challenge to navigate the steep streets of Jerome (photo: Nicole Glass Photography / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Jerome Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Jerome on Booking

Jerome is one of those places you won’t understand the hype about until you get there. It’s rugged and beautiful, built into a mountainside overlooking the valley just west of Sedona. It boasts haunted hotels, rich mining history, stellar views, and cozy shops. Jerome is a very mysterious yet endearing town.

This ghostly destination was once considered “the wickedest town in the West” due to its violent past. Jerome is only a short drive from Prescott, Flagstaff, and Sedona, and is one of the best day trips from Phoenix. You can easily visit other popular Arizona destinations near this scenic area.


A historic high-desert town filled with mom-and-pop shops and a laid-back bar scene.

Aerial view of a street in Prescott during fall season
The fall leaves are unmatched in Prescott

📍 Google Maps | Prescott Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Prescott on Booking

Prescott is a beautiful old town just an hour north of Phoenix. It’s famous for its great bars housed in historic buildings on Whiskey Row. It also offers incredible natural hotspots like Watson Lake and forested mountains. Mountain bike, go boating, hiking or horseback riding in the beautiful Prescott National Forest.

This is the perfect place to escape the heat during the summer. Enjoy shady walks downtown, quaint shops, and buzzing bars at night. Don’t miss its enchanting holiday light ceremony if you visit during the snowy winter. Prescott is a magical place to get into the festive spirit, especially with the little ones!


The “Gateway to Grand Canyon National Park” is filled with natural beauty and wine.

Colorful sky over the Grand Canyon Railway at Williams Station during sunset
The Grand Canyon Railway at Williams Station at sunset

📍 Google Maps | Williams Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Williams on Booking

Williams is one of the popular crossroads to visit on the way to the Grand Canyon. You can take the Grand Canyon Railway daily to this natural wonder of the world from here. I highly recommend this unique experience if you’re taking the family to the national park, especially if it’s your first time visiting.

Williams is also close to the Verde Valley wine country in northern Arizona. Spend a day sipping on local wines while overlooking the rolling hills in this high desert landscape. 

Williams has tons of charm and plenty of quirky shops and restaurants. It’s a wonderful place to spend a few days away from the crowded cities. It’s an easy day trip from Flagstaff, located just over 30 minutes east!

🎒 Get Packing: Bookmark our Grand Canyon packing list if you’re planning a trip to this incredible destination! 


Go shopping for handcrafted gifts and indulge in delicious Mexican food.

Colorful crafts at the Nogales in Arizona
There’s an abundance of colorful crafts around every corner in Nogales

📍 Google Maps | Nogales Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Nogales on Booking

Nogales is the best border town in Arizona. Experience Mexico without crossing the border. But I recommend walking over if you do have your passport on hand. The shops on the southern side of the border are worth exploring, too. 

This colorful town offers some of the best Mexican food in the state. Order savory tamales from street vendors and enjoy fresh tortillas hot off the flat top. Nogales is one of the best places to visit in the Sonoran Desert if you crave culture and authentic Mexican cuisine.


A tiny mountain town perfect for those who prefer nature to people.

The Red Setter Inn in downtown Greer, Arizona
The Red Setter Inn is my favorite cabin in downtown Greer

📍 Google Maps | Greer Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Greer on Booking

Welcome to the highest town in Arizona, elevation: 8,356 ft. Greer is home to just over 100 year-round residents, making it the smallest by population on our list of Arizona towns. It’s set in a green valley with the Little Colorado River running through the center. Beauty persists through the changing seasons in this quaint mountain paradise.

Go fishing in the nearby reservoirs and lakes during the summer. Grab your skis in the winter and head to Sunrise Park Resort, home to the best slopes in Arizona just 30 minutes from Greer. There’s plenty to do in the great outdoors with this gem as your home base. Escape from the big city crowds and tap into your quiet side in Greer.


Hit the ski slopes and unwind in the dense woods of this forested town.

View of the author during a ski trip in Sunrise Park Resort
I take an annual ski trip to Sunrise Park Resort, set just down the road from Pinetop

📍 Google Maps | Pinetop-Lakeside Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Pinetop-Lakeside on Booking

Pinetop-Lakeside is located less than 40 miles west of Greer, the big brother to the aforementioned woodland town. This is a great place to come for larger events like family reunions or retreats. It’s a beautiful town filled with picturesque cabins. You’ll also find cozy restaurants, ample entertainment, and plenty of outdoor fun.

Pinetop-Lakeside, like Greer, is only about 30 minutes from Sunrise Park Resort. Shred on the ski slopes as soon as the first snow falls for the best skiing and snowboarding in Arizona. Check out tons of nearby hikes if you long to immerse yourself in the pines.


An adorable town built alongside the Santa Fe Railway and Route 66.

An establishment in Winslow under the clear blue sky
Such a fine sight to see! (photo: Steve Lagreca / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Winslow Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Winslow on Booking

Does the Eagles song reference ring a bell? This tiny Navajo County town is less than 60 miles southeast of Flagstaff and loaded with charm and history. It was once a major player along Route 66, but is now a humble destination in the high deserts of northern Arizona. Truthfully, there isn’t a ton to do here, so it’s best suited for crowds who don’t mind a more lowkey trip.

Winslow is home to La Posada Hotel which was and still is one of the grandest trackside hotels developed alongside the Santa Fe Railway. This is one of my favorite historic resorts to explore in Arizona, both for its aesthetic beauty and historic displays. I highly recommend perusing the halls when you stop in this endearing town.


A hidden getaway on the way to the border.

Motorbikes outside the Patagonia Lumber Co.
The historic buildings in Patagonia give the small town a unique charm (photo: Matt Gush / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Patagonia Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Patagonia on Booking

Patagonia is one of the smallest Arizona towns on this list, located just east of the beautiful Lake Patagonia. It offers an adorable community with breakfast joints and charming stores.

The lush desert comes to life with greenery in this river valley environment. Relax the days away beneath the shady walnut, mesquite, and willow trees that make this southern Arizona area so beautiful. 

Patagonia is the perfect place to unwind in nature when you want to get out of Tucson for a bit. Check out my article on the best lakes in Arizona to read more about all that Patagonia Lake has to offer.


Explore the beautiful forest and lakes surrounding this cute mountain town.

View of the a river during a hike in Payson, Arizona
One of my favorite hikes through rushing rivers after the summer rains in Payson last year

📍 Google Maps | Payson Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Payson on Booking

The “Heart of Arizona” is one of the most beautiful destinations in the state. Tonto National Forest turns electric green from summer monsoon rains. The surrounding rivers overflow into raging waterfalls.

Nearby Waterwheel Falls and Tonto Natural Bridge are some of the most popular natural attractions around Payson. It’s also super close to the lush Four Peaks Wilderness. Geographically, this is one of the most diverse small towns in the state. It’s a great home base for outdoorsmen and retirees seeking a leisurely lifestyle.


The “Yosemite of Arizona” offers incredible sights and outdoor activities in a remote forest.

The author during a hike in Portal at fall season
Fall trees and tall mountains, me for scale

📍 Google Maps | Portal Website

Portal is one of my favorite hidden gems in Arizona. It’s a gorgeous little town set against the steep east side of the Chiricahua Mountains. Some refer to it as the Yosemite of the state.

Tall pines and aspens grow dense in the valley, giving the place a lovely aroma of fresh air. There’s a myriad of outdoor activities to do in this picturesque community. Enjoy some of the best photography, hiking trails, and camping in Arizona when visiting Portal!

👉 Pro Tip: Visit during the fall to see the aspens shimmering in shades of orange, gold, and crimson.


Pick apples and peaches at the orchard, then sip on local wine in this high desert setting.

Clear blue sky over an establishment in Willcox, Arizona
The quaint city center of Willcox (photo: Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Willcox Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Willcox on Booking

Visit in May for the Willcox Wine Festival. Or come late summer to early fall to pick fruit with the little ones. Apple Annie’s Orchard is a great place to pick apples and peaches with the whole family.

Late fall to early winter is best for festive holiday events like haunted corn mazes and Christmas markets. This is easily one of the best Arizona small towns to visit for seasonal family fun.


A gorgeous woodland getaway in the middle of the state.

A hammock with a view in Pine-Strawberry
Lay back and relax in the pines in Pine-Strawberry

📍 Google Maps | Pine-Strawberry Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Pine-Strawberry on Booking

Pine-Strawberry is a quaint community located at the base of the Mogollon Rim. It’s filled with beautiful pine trees, cozy shops, and friendly locals. 

This is a wonderful getaway from the high temperatures down south. Enjoy summer days filled with hiking, fishing, and horseback riding near babbling brooks and reservoirs. End your nights with a pint at Sportsman’s Chalet, the roadside bar and grill. You can’t miss it!

The Mogollon Rim offers some of the best campsites in the state. You can also take a short drive to Sedona and Flagstaff from Pine-Strawberry. This is truly one of my favorite areas in Arizona!


Visit Arizona’s first state park in this artsy, historic village.

The Presidio San Ignacio de Tubac from the outside
Presidio San Ignacio de Tubac is the most iconic landmark in Tubac

📍 Google Maps | Tubac Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Tubac on Booking

Escape the urban scene when you enter this historic southern Arizona village. Tubac was home to a myriad of fascinating groups over the past centuries, from Native Americans to Spanish colonials. The remnants of its rich past can be explored at Tubac Presidio State Historic Park. It’s the oldest of all the state parks in Arizona

Tubac treasures creation, boasting handmade jewelry stores, crafts, and an annual arts festival. Peruse colorful stores, then enjoy lunch or dinner at a family-owned restaurant. This charming community prides itself on authentic cuisine and its endearing environment.

Stroll along the Santa Cruz River under canopies of desert willows and walnut trees. You can even splash in the water when the river is running, but be cautious after the monsoons. The flow can reach dangerous speeds after heavy rainfall!

👉 Pro Tip: If you want to see more beautiful missions and old architecture, check out nearby Tumacácori just 7 minutes down I-10. The museum there is a National Historic Landmark!

Lake Havasu City

Spend your days on the beach in this major party destination.

The London Bridge with lights at night in Lake Havasu City
The London Bridge illuminates at sunset

📍 Google Maps | Lake Havasu City Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Lake Havasu City on Booking

Pack your beach essentials — Lake Havasu City allows you to enjoy a beach vacation without having to travel to the ocean! This is one of the most fun escapes in Arizona, boasting houseboats, waterfront bars, and more. 

Anyone would enjoy a trip here, but be mindful of when you come to visit. Spring break is a high time for partying college students. Most other seasons are guaranteed to be relaxing and quiet on the lake.

FAQs About Arizona Towns

What towns are in Arizona?

Popular towns in Arizona include Sedona, Page, and Bisbee. However, there are 265 towns and cities in Arizona, so there is plenty more to explore!

What is the best small town in Arizona?

The best small town in Arizona is Bisbee, in my opinion. It offers the perfect combination of beauty, charm, personality, and entertainment.


I hope this guide provided insight into these enchanting small towns in Arizona. Happy exploring in the Grand Canyon State!

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  1. Beautiful report and I totally agree with your choices as have spent time in every town. Since I live in Payson (22+years now), I’ve been blessed and love it here.

  2. I disagree about Bisbee. There’s one street with cafes, restaurants and pseudo art galleries (child’s drawings that pretend to be high art).
    If you are from Europe, don’t go to Bisbee because all that you will see is junk.

  3. Parker? Along Parker strip is a great town!! More beautiful than Havasu and less people!

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