3 unique ways to experience the Southwest

3 unique ways to experience the Southwest

by Bee Walker

Whether you are a long-time Phoenician or a visitor to the Valley, there are a few very unique ways to experience the beauty and wonder of the Southwest within the Phoenix area. In this article, I would like to share three lesss commonly known daytrip ideas with you. These places are sure to allow you to enjoy and experience the Sonoran Desert and Arizona culture in a unique and authentic way. Take your family or your out-of-town visitors for these amazing adventures of the Southwest.

  1. Arizona Capital Museum

Few Phoenicians have visited, or even know about our beautiful State Capital and Museum of Statehood in the downtown area, which was built in 1901. The gorgeous Copper Dome is a tribute to the significance of Copper mining in Arizona. On four floors, the museum features more than 20 exhibition areas and a store showcasing some of Arizona’s finest products. Here you can learn about Arizona’s 4 Cs (Cotton, Copper, Citrus, and Cattle) and much, much more.


The museum is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located at 1700 W. Washington Street, Phoenix, Ariz. 85007.

  1. Apache Trail and Dolly Steamboat

When I talk about the Dolly Steamboat ride on Canyon Lake, many of my Phoenician friends say: “Oh yeah, I have been meaning to do that one.” It is a pretty well know attraction, but few residence of the Valley have actually taken one of these amazing boat rides. The company has been operating the boat tours since 1925. You can either go for a mid-day Nature Cruise to see amazing canyons and Arizona wildlife, or splurge to wine and dine someone special with the romantic evening Dinner Cruise. Either way, you will see one of the Valley’s most scenic areas.

To get out to Canyon Lake Marina, just take the 30-minute scenic car ride from Apache Junction on Highway 88. This section is often referred to as the Apache Trail. Parts of the Apache Trail are unpaved road, but the road up to Canyon Lake Marina is paved. If you like to use GPS to find them, the address is 16802 AZ-88, Tortilla Flat, Ariz. 85117.

az-dollyAdvanced reservations are highly recommended for the Nature trips and are required for the dinner cruise. To make your reservations, call (480) 827–9144 or visit their website and book online.

  1. Authentic Bull Riding – up close and (if you like) personal

This is truly an unknown gem in the Cave Creek area. For more than 60 years, Buffalo Chips Saloon has offered live bull riding in their back-patio area on Wednesday and Friday nights. Even after the restaurant burned down, the bull riding continued while the new restaurant was being built.

In addition to being able to see the bull riding for free, the restaurant offers live music and a great menu.

az-bullsTo find out more, visit their website or just head on out to the restaurant: Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse, 6823 E. Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek, Ariz. 85331

Bee Walker is a certified Mindfulness and Meditation Instructor, who teaches seminars and classes on mindfulness stress management. Together with her husband, Bee writes for “Keep your Paws on the Road,”a dog-friendly travel blog that shares dog training and other dog related information. For an appointment or to ask Bee to speak for your group, contact her at BeeWalkerMeditations@gmail.com or visit her website to learn more.

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2 Responses to 3 unique ways to experience the Southwest

  1. Marcie Brock says:

    You are absolutely right about the Dolly Steamboat, Bee! I know Dolly Kennedy personally (the gal for whom the steamboat was originally named), and I’ve still “been meaning to do that” for the past 17 years! Great post – thanks for the fresh perspective on my home state.


  2. Beth Kozan says:

    Thanks for this focus on Phoenix landmarks. I’d like to add my favorite: on the street level of the Wells Fargo bank tower (100 W Washington) in downtown Phoenix, there is a museum of Wells Fargo History. Along with a real Wells Fargo wagon, there is a reproduction of a Wells Fargo wagon that children can climb into, an interactive telegraph, movie theatre seats from silent movie days, and photographs of early days in Arizona. My favorite part is a room with the largest exhibit of N.C. Wyeth’s western-themed paintings. Admission is free.


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