7 of Arizona’s Best Budget-Friendly Escapes

By Camaron Stevenson

November 19, 2021

Need to get away? From K-pop workshops to shamanic journeys, here are some of the best stateside vacations you won’t soon forget.

Sometimes it feels good to take a trip and get out of the house for a few days—even if the destination is only a few miles from home. 

For those who have the itch to get away but aren’t in the mood for long drives or flights, The Copper Courier has rounded up some of the most unique staycation escapes that, while all in Arizona, feel like they’re somewhere else entirely.

Arcosanti Guided Tour

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Nearby lodging: 50’s Diner Backseat Bar, Motel, and RV Park ($65), Arcosanti Sky and Sun Suites ($172), Creekside Lodge and Cabins ($179)

Location: 13555 S. Cross L Rd., Mayer, AZ 86333

Cost: $20

Initially started as an experimental living community in the 1970s, Arcosanti is now studied by architecture students as an early example of a live-work community that embraces the nature around it and focuses on providing residents with a way to balance the modern world with the environment around them. Visitors can also use an Act One Culture Pass to score two free tickets.

Happy Hooves Farm

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Nearby lodging: Victory Inn Suites ($75), Holiday Inn Express ($140), Pointe Hilton Tapatio Cliffs Resort ($210)

Location: 15220 N. 27th St., Phoenix, AZ 85032

Cost: $29

Happy Hooves is a nonprofit organization that provides animal-assisted therapy with trained mini-donkeys and mini-horses. While their main guests include visitors with Alzheimer’s, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other ailments that benefit from animal-based therapy, all are welcome to relax on the farm.

Activities are open to all ages and include: brushing, grooming, braiding, and hanging out with the herd.

Emerald Cave Kayak Tour

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Nearby lodging: Railroad Pass Hotel ($75), Boulder Dam Hotel ($92), Hoover Dam Lodge and Casino ($130) 

Location: Willow Beach, AZ 86445

Cost: $60

Right at the northwest corner of Arizona, where a man named Hoover commissioned a dam, lies a hidden cave filled with shimmering green water and breathtaking views.

Emerald Cave rests a few miles from Willow Beach, Arizona, right along the Colorado River. The cave is only accessible by small water vessels, with 5,000-foot cliffs lining the way. Travelers can also expect to see a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep and bald eagles.

A kayak tour of Emerald Cave includes paddling lessons, safety equipment, and snacks. Kayaks are also provided at no additional cost.

French Crêpes Cooking Class

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Nearby lodging: Aloft Scottsdale ($119), Hotel Adeline ($159), Great Wolf Lodge Water Park ($279)

Location: Chef Arthur’s home in Paradise Valley

Cost: $65

Born and raised in the small, southern French town of Sanary-sur-Mer, Chef Arthur now lives  with his wife Jutah in the Valley, where he offers authentic French cooking classes. The class lasts one hour, and guests will learn how to prepare crêpe batter, how to properly cook crêpes, and how to prepare and serve them.

Attendees will then be treated to an all-you-can-eat crêpe breakfast and be sent home with their own batch of crêpe batter. Guests will also receive a copy of Chef Arthur’s special dairy-free crêpe recipe.

K-Pop Dance Workshop

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Nearby lodging: The Tempest Hotel ($93), Arizona Grand Resort and Spa ($129), Tempe Mission Palms Hotel ($178)

Location: 1810 W. Baseline Rd. #2, Mesa, AZ 85202

Cost: $10

After coaching for two years in Tokyo, K-pop choreography instructor Rina Ohkuma has decided to make Mesa, Arizona, her home. Ohkuma teaches out of J’s Martial Arts Performance Academy, where she offers hour-long classes featuring songs from groups like Blackpink and EXO. Guests can also have their dance filmed so they can show it to their friends!

Ohkuma also offers tutorials, tips, and lessons on YouTube and TikTok.

Plum Creek Alpaca Tour

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Nearby lodging: Antelope Hills Inn-Suites ($79), Hassayampa Inn ($134), Forest Villas Hotel ($149)

Location: 8260 E. Plum Creek Way, Prescott Valley, AZ 86315

Cost: $13

Nestled between Woodchute Mountain and Prescott National Park lies Plum Creek Alpacas, a small farm with a lively stock of chickens, ducks, turkeys—and yes, alpacas.

Guests looking to take a tour of the farm will be greeted by the Plum Creek security team: Max and Cisco, the livestock guard dogs. The tour includes a walkthrough of the grounds, where visitors will learn about Huacaya alpacas and the farm’s breeding efforts, and meet baby and adult alpacas living on the premises.

Those who fall in love with alpacas while visiting Plum Creek can take one home with them! Alpacas range in price from $2,500 to $10,000.

Shamanic Journey in Sedona Vortex

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Nearby lodging: Motel In the Pines ($95), The Star Motel ($201), Arabella Hotel ($314)

Location: The journey begins at Whole Foods: 1420 W. state Route 89A, Sedona, AZ 86336

Cost: $111

Experience the vortexes in Sedona with hamanic priestess, reiki master, spiritual growth guide, and multidimensional sonic healer Deva Vidya. Vidya begins the experience by using sacred instruments to lull guests into a theta state—an occurrence of extreme relaxation in the brain. 

Vidya then guides guests to their own sacred space, where they can release negative energy, receive guidance, and experience healing of the mind and body. She then brings everyone back to the earthly realm, where the group may discuss their experiences.


  • Camaron Stevenson

    Camaron is the Founding Editor and Chief Political Correspondent for The Copper Courier, and has worked as a journalist in Phoenix for over a decade. He also teaches multimedia journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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