A thirty minute drive away from each other and nestled in the huge Tonto National Forest you can find the three beautiful northern Arizona towns of Strawberry, Pine, and Payson. This time of year the temperature in the Greater Payson Area reaches an average high of 91° F making it a beautiful escape from the concrete heat only 3 hours from Tucson, an hour an a half from Phoenix, or a change of scenery only two hours south of Flagstaff.
There are a handful of local businesses in the Payson area that can supplement your relaxing weekend with tours, coffee, and local beer. Check out these independently owned picks for your next staycation:
Where to Stay
Christopher Creek Lodge Deep inside the city of Payson's surrounding forest, Christopher Creek Lodge is located on the bank of spring fed Christopher Creek and is one of the oldest continuously operated businesses under the Mogollon Rim. Besides being less than an hour away from the Tonto Forest Natural Bridge, their cabins are surrounded by hiking trails dotted ferns, oak, fishing spots, ponderosa pine, fir, and wildlife. Visit their website here,
What to Do
Tours, Classes, & Hikes at Fossil Creek Creamery Located in Strawberry, Fossil Creek Creamery have been raising dairy goats and llamas for several years overlooking the Ponderosa Pines of the Tonto National Forest. This family friendly farm offers guided tours on Saturdays 11am & 1pm and Sunday at 11am which gives guests for fun, educational, and hands-on experience with the animals and the chance to peek inside the creamery and taste the delicious Fossil Creek cheese and fudge yourself. Fossil Creek Creamery also offers classes, check here for the schedule, and Hiking with the Llamas, click here for more information. Reservations required for tours. Visit their website here.
Payson's Farmer's Market If you're in Payson on a Saturday stop by the Farmer's Market to stock up on locally grown, fresh produce to take back home. A Farmer's Market is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture of a place and treat yourself to something special as well. Your produce purchase can benefit you and the community, where all food comes from within 100 miles and sold directly from the farm or food maker to you. They carry products ranging from produce (of course), to spices, jams, honey, dog biscuits, and meat. Visit the Payson Farmer's Market from 8am to Noon, located at Sawmill Crossing Plaza: 816 S. Beeline Hwy, Payson, AZ 85541. Visit their website here.
Where to Eat
Sidewinders Tavern and Grill Located in Pine, AZ. They offer domestic and craft beers, spirits and wine, and great food. They are well known for our BBQ Baby-Back Ribs and Blues night every Friday. In addition, they offer a full selection menu to satisfy every palette including freshly made salads, sandwiches, and specialty freshly prepared meals. Visit their website here.
Scoops Ice Cream & Espresso Located in Payson, AZ. Stop through for some sweets and a pick-me-up at Scoops, right off the Beeline HWY. They feature all coffee drinks, hand-dipped cones, smoothies, sundaes, and more. This coffee shop strives to support and uplift the local community and businesses around them. Visit their website here.
THAT Brewery Located in Pine, AZ. THAT Brewery & Pub in Pine has a full menu (including the award winning Elk and Buffalo Chili), bar, wine, sand volleyball, horseshoes and good times in the cool Northern Arizona air. They are family friendly and friendly dogs are also welcome! Delicious beer for beer enthusiasts. Visit their website here.