A Payson, Arizona vacation rental puts you in the heart of the state surrounded by the beauty of the Tonto National Forest. This stunning area offers plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained. Spend your days visiting national parks, hiking trails, and taking in the scenic environment. Attend a rodeo for a taste of country charm, or make your vacation educational with day trips to local museums. After enjoying the comforts of home in your vacation rental, head out to enjoy some of these family-friendly activities in the Payson area.
1. Tour the Shoofly Village Archaeological Ruins
For a sight unlike any other, spend a day taking in prehistoric culture in Payson. Wander through the ruins that were once occupied by the inhabitants of days past who hunted rabbits, birds, deer, and elk while also growing squash, beans, and corn. You can also browse the artifacts left behind that include decorated pottery and arrowheads. The tour features historic facts about the settlers, complete with navigational signs and information boards to help you and the kids learn more about the historical significance of Payson.
2. Explore Tonto Natural Bridge
Payson, Arizona features landmarks and natural parks that are must-see attractions. The Tonto Natural Bridge is no exception. Tucked away amid a pine tree forest, this bridge features a 400-foot tunnel and spreads 183 feet high. At over 1,000 years old, this bridge leads to hiking trails so you and the kids can explore the geologic wonders on and around the bridge.
3. Hunt for Fossils
Make a scavenger hunt part of your vacation in Payson when hunting for fossils at the Paleo Site. This area was once covered by the sea, and as a result, fossils of amphibians, aquatic animals, reptiles, and even dinosaurs are abundant. Hike the area or take a leisurely walk to see if you and the kids can spot some fossils to document the historical significance of your trip.
4. Bike to Mogollon Rim
When you need a little exercise and are seeking adventure with the kids, round up your bicycles and ride the trail to the top of Mogollon Rim. Known as one of Arizona’s treasured landmarks, Mogollon Rim is located at the geographic center of the state and surrounded by grassy land and forests. Once you and the kids pedal to the top, admire the 2,000-foot drop that offers a stunning view of the landscape and neighboring towns. Along the way, keep an eye out for the ruins of settlements from days gone by. This area was once home to cowboys, farmers, ranchers, and Native Americans, and remains from their lives are scattered throughout the region.
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5. Take in a Rodeo
If your family thrives on excitement, then an evening at the rodeo is the perfect activity while vacationing in Payson. If you time your trip right, you can catch the annual World’s Oldest Continuous Rodeo celebrated in August. The yearly event includes a parade complete with activities for the kids, such as face painting, rides, and musical acts before the main event. Payson also hosts the Payson Garry Hardt Memorial Rodeo each year as well as the Jim Barrett Memorial High School Rodeo for your family to enjoy.
6. Fish for the Day
Both young and old fishing enthusiasts enjoy spending a day waterside with rods and reels in hand. Drop a line in at Rim County Lake to enjoy some downtime with the kids. The Mogollon Rim, home to the Rim County Streams, also offers great fishing, with plenty of brown and rainbow trout to catch. These streams are home to several deep pools, so you have plenty of choices when taking a fishing trip near your vacation rental.
7. Ride a Horse at Kohl’s Ranch
Prepare for an adventure with the kids when riding the trails at Payson’s Kohl’s Ranch. With 25 miles of horseback riding trails, this ranch allows the entire family to explore the beauty of Rim Country. Take a guided tour to view the scenic areas and then stop by the lodge for some western hospitality and lunch.
8. Splash Around the Natural Springs
When Arizona heats up, get wet and wild by splashing around in the Natural Springs at Fossil Creek. Each year, thousands of gallons of water, registering at 72 degrees, is pumped into this creek, flowing into the Verde River. The restored creek is the perfect place to dip your feet in the water, splash around with the kids, and admire the natural springs the area has to offer.
9. Canoe Down the Blue Ridge Reservoir
A vacation rental with a garage makes it easy to bring along your canoe and store it when not in use. Use your canoe to navigate the winding waters of Blue Ridge Reservoir, or rent a canoe from an area outfitter. The reservoir path is surrounded by a forest of canyon walls, offering picturesque views the entire way. When you and the kids are looking for an activity that combines water recreation with serenity, floating down the Blue Ridge Reservoir is the perfect choice.
10. Get a Taste of Local History
Spend a quiet day learning about Arizona’s backbone when visiting the Pine-Strawberry Museum, located in Pine just minutes from your vacation rental. This museum features artifacts related to the Native American culture as well as Anglo and Spanish settlers who resided in the area. Your kids can tour historical buildings such as the original Strawberry School and browse through documents and images that document the history of the Pine and Strawberry Valleys.
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