Member Spotlight: Tour Our Great State

If you could kick back in a cool, comfortable motor coach while someone else does the driving and be guaranteed to see the hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path spots in Arizona, wouldn't you sign up in a heart beat?

Meet Karen Walter, your guide to amazing and beautiful locales in Arizona. She is owner/operator of Sonoran Excursions, a new tour company based in Casa Grande. For the past seven years she has been exploring and discovering every corner of her adopted home of Arizona. Now she is ready to show you the best of what she has discovered.

Karen hails from the East Coast and has found love in Arizona: the amazing landscapes and variation in climates that can satisfy every outdoor enthusiast. When she was looking to leave Maryland behind, she narrowed her search to outdoor states in the West. After a two week trip, Arizona became her adopted home. Among the appeals of Arizona are its proximity to Mexico where she and her mother can access the Caribbean foods they miss since moving to the States. She appreciates the varied climates allowing a person to snow ski and return to the heat in one day.

When asked about her top five favorite places in Arizona she laughs, saying, "Surprisingly, Yuma." This, from a self-identified New Yorker! Having a food scientist for a father, Karen has a deep appreciation of agriculture and marvels at the fact that Yuma is the top U.S. producer of lettuce. Her Yuma trips also include a walking trip into Mexico for dining and shopping.

Another highlight of her excursions is Canyon de Chelly where the native people welcome visitors sharing their beautiful culture and amazing landscape. "This is a true hidden gem," she states, "and is quite accessible."

A few of her in-state tours coming up for your get-away enjoyment are:

  • Grand Canyon day tour with stop in Sedona, July 21
  • Sedona day tours, May 12 & June 6
  • Southern Arizona Wine day trip from Phoenix and Tucson visiting local wineries and vineyards and tasting some of AZ finest 'juice'. Trip to art village of Patagonia for lunch round out the experience, May 31 & Aug 11.
  • Tucson day trips from Phoenix includes trip to AZ-Sonora Desert Museum & Old Town Artisans, May 1 and June 26.
  • Phoenix day trips from Tucson highlight points of interest including Paradise Valley and Wrigley Mansion as well as shopping in Old Town Scottsdale, May, June, July & August

Traveling is the best part of Karen's job, she says, and the people she meets run a close second. Tucson takes the cake for most fantastic people, according to Karen. There she has found incredible support and encouragement from people she often doesn't even know. Tucson also made it to Karen's list of top five places she loves best in Arizona, thanks to the people and the awesome Asian markets.

Book a tour with Karen soon. You will be glad you did.