5 Reasons to Visit Clarkdale This May

Photo: Clarkdale.gov “Staycation” has become a popular buzzword in the past several years. A staycation is a chance for you to become more familiar with your town, your county, and your state, so we really lucked out in the beautiful state of Arizona. A staycation gives you a chance to play tourist without getting on a plane and to keep your money where your home is.

Our state’s unique terrain and world class lodging have placed Arizona on the top of people’s travel lists for decades. Clarkdale, in the Verde Valley, is a gem in Northern Arizona between Jerome and Cottonwood. This city shines with rich history as the first planned town in Arizona surrounding the copper mines. Today, Clarkdale is a fun retreat from the big cities that has shopping, culture, nature, and more.

May is the premier time of year to experience this charming city. Here's Local First Arizona's 5 suggestions to guide your exploration:

1. The Verde Valley Wine Festival

Verde Valley vineyard. Photo: Verde Valley Wine Festival

The Verde Valley Wine Festival is Northern Arizona’s premier Culinary and Wine festival of the year, presented by Four Eight Wineworks and Made in Clarkdale. The event will be held on Saturday, May 7th at the historic Clarkdale Town Park. Tickets are still available for $100 VIP Entrance or $25 General Admission.

This festival highlights the community of Clarkdale and the Verde Valley, offering the finest wineries, breweries and restaurants committed to creating homegrown products and authentic experiences for locals and visitors.

2. The Clarkdale Kayak Company

Photo: Clarkdale Kayak

Ready for an adventure? Kayaking the Verde River at Clarkdale is a must this summer! It's a fun, interactive experience where you get to cool off and learn about the unique history of the Verde River. Hop in one of a hard-shell kayaks and cruise. These boats feature a sit-on-top design that makes them comfortable, stable and most of all, safe.

You can expect to spend 2.5 hours on the river, covering 3.5 miles of scenic riverway. As you cruise down the Verde you’ll find yourself immersed in a whole new world as you float past 900 year old ruins of the ancient Sinagua Culture. Under the cool canopy of native willow trees you'll take in the rich ecology of the forested riparian zone where over 75 percent of Arizona’s biodiversity thrives. Total trip time is 3.5 hours. Learn more about this incrediable experiance on ClarkdaleKayak.com.

3. The Copper Art Museum

Photo: Copper Art Museum

The Arizona Copper Art Museum  is perfect for a day or weekend trip to Clarkdale. This museum is a perfect representation of the history of the city. Clarkdale was founded for the mass-production of industrial copper from 1915 to 1953, which was exported throughout the world.

The museum’s collection is the “largest return of copper,” back to both Clarkdale and the “Copper State” and showcases what man created with the red-metal while it was away. The Arizona Copper Art Museum features exhibits which were made by coppersmiths, soldier artists and braziers; many of whom were masters in their trade. The history of copper is also featured and brings forth forgotten stories, legends and mysteries.

4. The Verde Canyon Railroad

Photo: Verde Canyon Railroad

Even if you've visited the Grand Canyon 100 times, you've never experienced this immersive look at the canyon until you take the Verde Canyon Railroad. From the moment you step foot on one of the refurbished train cars you and your family will feel like you’ve been transported to a simpler, more leisurely time before all the distractions of our modern world.

Breathe deep, order a drink and relax as you glide along on a 20 mile journey through 100 years of history while still enjoying modern creature comforts like climate control, comfortable seating, and thoughtful decor. This adventure starts at $64.95 for adults or guests can ride along with the conductor or in the caboose. Learn more about this one-of-a-kind trip online at VerdeCanyonRR.com.

5. Local Cuisine

Chocolate chip mocha bars with a mocha glaze. Photo credit: Violette's Bakery

It is widely accepted that small towns boast some great restaurants where people cook because they love it. From food rich in heritage at Sus Casa, big city class at 10-12 Lounge, to charming desserts made with love at Violette's Bakery Cafe there is no shortage of local home-grown places to dine during your trip. Clarkdale is also home to Four Eight Wineworks, Northern Arizona's first wine makers co-operative. Vineyards convene in and around the Verde Valley making it an excellent trip for wine lovers.

Visiting Clarkdale is a fun way to get out the city for the day or weekend and experience what makes Arizona great. Additionally, traveling in-state keeps your money working in our local economies that in turn make our communities vibrant and strong. For more ideas on traveling in Arizona check out our Weekendzona series.

Verde Valley Weekendzona Video