Travel guide for family vacation ideas in Prescott, Arizona

Travelers might take day trips to favorite nearby places of the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Williams, and Jerome. This mile high town, Prescott, has fun activities and festivals all year round including the Worlds Oldest Rodeo with their eight days of rodeo events in June-July every year.

The friendly people distinguish Prescott as a comfortable and centralized place to use on family getaways.

Affordable Vacation Ideas in Prescott, Arizona

Affordable choices of either the self-guided activities or guided day trips are available. Families may plan activities together or separate before or after the historic Rodeo during summer vacations.

An example is letting children spend two nights and three days at a guided Adventure Camp while parents choose their own activities like visiting local cultural museums or go on day trips to Grand Canyon and Sedona.

World’s Oldest Rodeo in Prescott, AZ

This Rodeo is a great Fourth of July family getaway with eight days of events. Ticket prices are from $12 – $25 per seat for each performance and a schedule of rodeo activities is found on the Rodeo website or call (866) 407-6336.

Families may stay at the Springhill Suites Marriott close to the Courthouse Square, Residence Inn Marriott located in Prescott Valley on highway AZ 69, or use the national and private campgrounds near town. There are plenty of dining choices with an estimated 100 different restaurants available. Be sure to try Prescott’s food specialty walking tour and enjoy getting acquainted with the local owners of restaurants.

Other Fun Travel Activities in Prescott

The Prescott Chamber of Commerce (800) 266-7534 located on the downtown square close to the Courthouse is a very helpful resource where families may get ideas for sightseeing and history information.

Two unusual self-guided ideas are:

  • Historic walking tours – Prescott has 700 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ask the Prescott Chamber about the schedules of these volunteer docent walking tours to see some of these buildings. If these volunteer docent tours are not available, visitors may buy a self-guided brochure for $1.00 to follow on their own.
  • Forest and Grasslands Tour – Visitors may follow self-drive tours into the central highlands of Arizona from the comfort of their own vehicle. The History of Living guide may be purchased for $5 through the Prescott Chamber of Commerce to use on trips. Tours start at the Courthouse Square and the small book guides include what items people need to take with them and what the road conditions are for specific vehicles. There are four choices of tours to take: Williamson Valley Tour, Walnut Grove Tour, Limestone Canyon Tour, and Bradshaw Mountains Tour.

Guided Excursions in Prescott, AZ

There are several different trip activities for children and parents – together and separate – that are planned by expert adventure guides through Rubicon Outdoors (800) 903-6987. These activities may include only the set up of campsites and providing equipment to entire guided excursions.

Two unusual guided options are:

  • Children enjoy Prescott Adventure Camps which begin near downtown Prescott. They continue their outdoor education with a variety of activities and adventures from mountain biking and hiking to rock climbing and canoeing in two night, three day guided programs. Groups range from six to twelve participants. Details and prices of these camps or single day adventures may be found on the Rubicon Outdoor website.
  • Parents enjoy going on guided Adventure Getaways and/or the new Northern Arizona wine tasting trips while children go to the Adventure Camps. Popularity of this wine region is increasing because of the recent hit documentary, “Blood into Wine” which Page Springs Cellars was highlighted. Information about the documentary screenings is on the Blood into Wine website. Wine highlights include Painted Lady Vineyards, Juniper Well Ranch, Granite Creek Vineyard, Page Springs Cellars and Oak Creek Vineyards & Winery, and Javelina Leap Vineyard & Winery. Call Rubicon Outdoors for prices and detailed information.
  • There are many affordable ideas for family vacations using Prescott, AZ as the central hub on fun getaways in Northern Arizona.

Food Specialty Walking Tours in Prescott, AZ

A quote from John Steinbeck in The Winter of Our Discontent, “I wonder how many people I’ve looked at all my life and never seen,” is a reminder to take the time and get acquainted with local people across USA and the world.

This is easy to do through an impromptu food specialty walking tour in downtown Prescott. A vacation experience is about getting away from daily tasks and renewing. The simple experiences of finding restaurants on a self guided walking tour in downtown Prescott around their historical Courthouse creates an opening to meeting these local people.

There is free parking in the downtown garage on Granite Street (behind Whiskey Row) and unusual sightseeing to explore. Several restaurants like the Bird Cage Saloon (928) 778-9921and Hotel and Bistro St. Michael (928) 776-1999 have distinctive buildings to see. Local people of Prescott do take their food seriously with several food events such as A Taste of Prescott in September which showcase these owners passions of independent restaurants.

Bare Bones BBQ, Prescott, AZ

It is definite the restaurant excels at making the best BBQ, when guests are asked if ribs should be dry or wet. Mike Paper, owner of Larry & Hy’s Bare Bones BBQ (928) 541-0006 on Whiskey Row and Pearl’s Place BBQ in Prescott Valley has been in the restaurant business for most of his life, starting on the east coast and Miami.

The food is delicious and don’t be surprised to see Mike actively cooking up a storm and speaking to his visitors simultaneously. Mike began his Prescott venture with Pearl’s Place featuring home cooked food. Moving this to Prescott Valley, east of Prescott, he transitioned his Whiskey Row restaurant to Bare Bones BBQ, naming it after his family. He has kept signature home cooked menu items from Pearl’s Place available because of the many requests.

An unusual food specialty to order is Tomato Plate, with French Bread, Extra Olive Oil, and Balsamic Vinegar. Choices are:

  • Just Tomato
  • With Red Onion
  • With Fresh Basil
  • With Fresh Mozzarella
  • With Feta and Olives

Or Stuffed Tomato Plates with egg salad, tuna salad, or curried chicken salad are delicious.

Favorite BBQ meats have homemade spice rubs and slowly smoked with aromatic woods of Apple, Hickory, and Mesquite:

  • Memphis Style pork ribs cut St Louis style
  • Pulled Pork
  • Cajun Andouille Sausage
  • Sliced Smoke Brisket

Don’t forget to try these specialty sauces :

  • The Original
  • Nitro
  • Dr. Pepper’s Sweet & Nice
  • Southwest Chipotle
  • Vinegar Spice
  • Jamaican Sunset
  • Carolina Mustard

El Gato Azul, Prescott, AZ

Stop in El Gato Azul (928) 445-1070 for their fabulous and wide variety of Tapas to choose and Margaritas. Located on Goodwin Street, easy walking and southwest of the Courthouse. Owned by Barry Barbe, it is the creek side dining all year round, (covered with heaters in the winter cooler months) which is fun. Barbe also owns 129 ½ Jazz Grille and is soon opening Monk restaurant near the square.

Palace Restaurant and Saloon, Prescott, AZ

The Palace Restaurant and Saloon (928) 541-1996 is a definite stop to quench the thirst, taste food, and browse the history of Prescott. When walking into The Palace, one will see the historic bar on the left in the smaller front room, and a larger room in the rear where Dinner Shows are held on Monday evenings.

The Palace has seen the likes of Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Doc Holiday, and Big Nose Kate. It was a place for men to check job notices and even the election central during the late 1800’s. When The Palace was destroyed in July 1900 fire, these local people carefully carried the 1880 Brunswick Bar across the street to the Courthouse lawn to safety (and kept drinking). The Palace was rebuilt a year later and still is a hot spot in Prescott.

The Dinner Shows have various performers for $28 per person (tax and tip not included). Barry Goldwater was quoted in saying, “I only regret is that I didn’t buy The Palace when I had a chance.”

The pictures hanging throughout The Palace displays Prescott’s history of the fire and moving the Bar, and recent movies made in Prescott; Junior Bonner with Steve McQueen and Robert Prestion (1971), Billy Jack with Tom Laughlin (1971), Wanda Nevada with Peter Fonda and Brook Shields.

Remember to add impromptu food specialty walking tours for tastes of BBQ, tapas, history, and have conversation with local people in “everyone’s hometown, Prescott, Arizona, all year round on southwest vacations trips.

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