Our 5 Favorite Things We Did in Arizona

Our four months in southern Arizona are over!  We will always have our memories, and I have a couple more blog posts lined up, but our extended honeymoon has come to a close.  That being said, we spent much of our time in the desert exploring.  Here are our five favorite things we did while in Arizona this summer.

Hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon

We went on a really long hike

We have already blogged about our Grand Canyon experience, but if you missed it, here are some sunrise photos, and here is the complete story of our hike.

The Grand Canyon has been on my bucket list for a while.  It is one of those things that you sit and dream about, like Rome, or the Great Wall of China, or Iceland.  It is a destination I was dying to experience.  And boy did we experience it.

We got up at three in the morning to drive to the National Park and arrive in time to watch the entire sunrise over the canyon walls.  We then spent the next seven hours hiking along the rim.  Clearly it was a dream come true for this hike loving, National Park exploring, photography enthusiast couple.  The Grand Canyon is so much more than just a giant hole in the ground.

Our 5 Favorite Things We Did in Arizona

We made reading a priority

Back in North Carolina, life and busyness got in the way.  We were often running around and stressed, trying to be at every event, plan a wedding, work 50 or more hours a week, and sleep when we could.  Arizona has been much more relaxed and manageable for us.  One thing we were able to really enjoy was making reading a priority.  

Most nights you will find us reading a good book in bed before turning out the lights.  The weekend usually involves at least a few hours of dedicated book time.  And the goal has generally been to read one book a month.  This is something that I seriously hope we can continue once we get back to North Carolina.

Books I have been reading: the Harry Potter series.  

Books Will has been reading: the Inheritance Cycle, “Just Walk Across the Room” by Bill Hybels and “Ghost Soldiers” by Hampton Sides.

Chiricahua National Monument

We made some friends 

I have always said that it is the people that make or break a place.  Well the people in Arizona have absolutely made it for us.  The community we have experienced, the church family we found, and the friends we made have not only made these four months in the desert so much sweeter, but have made saying goodbye so much harder.

From the movie nights, hiking trips, lunch dates, and hotel breakfasts, we had an absolute blast with everyone.  

Our 5 Favorite Things We Did in Arizona Our 5 Favorite Things We Did in Arizona

We toured a mine and ate really good food

On one of our first weekends in Arizona, we visited Bisbee, which you can read about here.  We didn’t quite know where to go, where to eat, or what to do.  After a few hours in the hot weather, we drove back home.  But ever since then, we had a hankering to tour the Bisbee copper mine.

The weekend of Will’s birthday, a couple we met took us to the Queen Mine Tour and followed it with dinner at Cafe Roka.  I definitely recommend both things should you ever find yourself in southern Arizona.

We wore our jackets, hard hats, and flashlights in the mines and rode a train to the very back.  Our tour guide showed us how miners would drill, what drills they used throughout the years, their dynamite techniques, and other mining habits to include how they went to the restroom.  I got to demonstrate for everyone.  Who thinks this should be our Christmas card photo this year?

Our 5 Favorite Things We Did in Arizona Our 5 Favorite Things We Did in Arizona

After our tour, we went to the historic district for our reservations at a seriously delicious Cafe Roka.  We all ordered the filet on a bed of mashed potatoes and veggies.  The starters, salad, soup, sorbet, entree, and dessert sampler platter left nothing wanting.  We had a fantastic time and will definitely come back the next time we are in Bisbee.  We highly recommend it.

Coronado National Memorial

We explored a cave

Our absolute favorite adventure, despite having hiked the Grand Canyon Rim Trail, was exploring a cave in Coronado National Memorial.  It was so cool!  Caves and caverns are super fascinating, a little scary, and very very fun to explore.  This cave in particular was at the end of a short hike up the mountain and was not guided.  We climbed down a hill of rocks at the cave mouth (which distinctly reminded me of the movie “Descent,” although I tried not to think about that) and then used our headlamp and flashlight to explore its depths.  You can read more about that here.

Will and I are so excited to head back to the east coast and North Carolina!  We are seriously looking forward to seeing my family, eating my mom’s cooking, hanging out with our Taco Tuesday crew, and reconnecting with our church fam.  

Have you ever been to Arizona?  What was your favorite part?  If you enjoyed this post, give it a like and don’t forget to join our family by hitting that subscribe button if you haven’t already.

Until next time,
Jamie out

our 4 favorite things in Arizona

Happy Monday, friends! 

I super love writing favorites posts, because I get to share a little piece of what I have been loving.  My standard favorites posts from back in the day (click here for examples) would have me all up in my personal day-to-day, and you know I have been getting down with some T-Swift and Gilmore Girls these days, but what I want to share with you today are four things we have loved the most so far in Arizona!

#1—The food!

our 4 favorite things in Arizona

My new life goal is to only eat Mexican food for the rest of our time in Arizona.

No but seriously, the tacos are out of this world.  My parents grew up in southern California, I have lived in San Diego, and have been to Mexico twice.  I am well versed in consuming authentic Mexican food.  Any time I move somewhere far away from the border, I get a little sad about leaving the legit carnitas tacos and sopapillas behind!  

When Will and I found out we were temporarily relocating to Arizona, the FIRST thing I got excited for was Mexican food.  My first taco that I bit into was pork and pineapple and I never ever want to eat anything else ever again.

our 4 favorite things in Arizona

Okay well… maybe I’ll make an exception for In-N-Out, because their animal style burger satisfies my soul, and I cannot get away with a trip to this iconic California dining experience without one of their chocolate shakes.  It may stick to my hips temporarily, but it will live in my heart forever.

#2—The storms

the drive home

We are dead in the middle of monsoon season, and it is to die for.  Every roll of thunder, every crash of lightning, every gust of wind has me running to the window or outside my suite to get a peek at the incredible weather sweeping across the desert valley that we are blessed to call home.  

The air quality is so exquisite that as you drive across the plains, you can see the billows of clouds for miles and miles.  You can see a rain storm from a great distance because it looks like a great black cloud has been smudged down to earth.  

our 4 favorite things in Arizona

There is lightning almost every day, whether near by or far off, and it slices through the sky and clouds with an incredible ferocity.  Unlike Florida’s typical afternoon storms that make you feel like you need to get indoors immediately otherwise you will be drenched and electrocuted, the monsoons here are more of a spectator’s storm.  Usually.

#3—The mountains

our 4 favorite things in Arizona

Mountains vs. Beach.

I PICK MOUNTAINS!  Everywhere you go, they are different.  Will grew up in a Utah valley and I was born in Nevada, in the shadow of the Carson and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.  The desert mountains have their own unique beauty and characteristics that just scream home for us.  We both love camping, hiking, national parks, and lakes.  Mountains are just home.

our 4 favorite things in Arizona our 4 favorite things in Arizona

There are some great mountains right around us here on the Arizona-Mexico border.  We had the blessing to explore Ramsey Canyon a couple weeks ago, but we also have a great mountain right behind our hotel that we love to climb in the evenings at golden hour. 

#4—The friendly neighborhood dinosaur

our 4 favorite things in Arizona

Last but certainly not least, is this dinosaur we discovered one day as we were driving home from Tucson.  He lives outside a McDonalds in Benson and we pulled over immediately upon seeing him so that we could introduce ourselves.

According to the internet, this ravenous raptor is not the only prehistoric dino that lives at Arizona McDonalds across the state.  Apparently there is a T-Rex at a Tucson location and he has lived there since 1994, shortly after Jurassic Park came out.  I definitely think he deserves a visit next time we go to Tucson!

If there’s anything to love about Arizona, it is that the state appears to share my love for dinosaurs.  


As Will and I marvel at how fast our time in the desert is slipping by, we are definitely trying to take advantage of this opportunity to explore a new place.  There’s so much to love here!  If you have been to southern Arizona, let us know what your favorite things are!  

If you enjoyed this post, give it a like or leave us a comment about what you would like to see next.  Don’t forget to subscribe if you haven’t already and we’ll see you next time!

Jamie out.

our 4 favorite things in Arizona