LoveFromPhoenixDance music.  Junk food.  Freedom.  There is nothing better than taking to the road and ending up somewhere you’ve never been.  Our country is so vast with each state offering up their own style, pizzazz, and differences.  I love trying each states signature food, talking to the locals to find what is a must see in town, and looking at homes and dreaming of a getaway house there.  While traveling this summer from Arizona to Louisiana, we pulled our car over at every interesting spot we saw, drove into towns that looked cool and got a room for the night.  However, there was so much to see and do, I wish I knew a local in every state and city.  It started me thinking, everyone should have a local to turn to.  So, if you are planning on moving to Arizona or coming to check us out, there’s some knowledge you need to help you navigate our great state.  Here are my Top 10 Tips you should know before moving to the Valley.

  1.  It’s a (Fire Breathing), Dry Heat.  Let’s be clear.  If you walk outside and it’s 110 degrees, your flip flops are melting into the asphalt, and you get into your car only to have your thighs stick and scorch into the seats, humid or dry is the least of your concerns.  This is the Devil’s work.  And yet, we really don’t mind.  Maybe its because we know the worst of it is only 2 – 3 months out of the year.  Or, we know that we only walk our dogs, golf, play softball and do outdoor activities first thing in the morning or the last thing at night.  We don’t get annoyed or bit by bugs because it’s too hot for them to live here.  Also, we are ranked #1 in America for air-conditioning our buildings, (my personal opinion).  There isn’t a building in the Valley you won’t catch a chill in.  It’s Heaven.  However, if you want to break into this gradually, make your move to the Valley on Halloween.  That’s when the weather is perfect until May.  This will ease you in.
  2. The Flood Zones are no joke!  If this is your first monsoon season, it is powerful and beautiful.  The thunder rolls across the sky and the downpour is heavy and fierce.  You will know when you have become a true Zonie when you look out your window, jump out of your seat, and gleefully scream in the office, “it’s raining”!  There will be a stampede out the front door to feel water and everyone will be laughing and smiling.  Warning: because rain rarely happens, there is someone every year that ignores the street sign that says, Flood – Do Not Enter.  Don’t be this person.  This person ends up on the 10:00 o’clock news with their truck stuck in the middle of a street filled with water up to their windows.  Not only will the Cops come save you, they will also give you a ticket called the “Stupid Driving Ticket.”  This ticket goes to anyone who ignores flood signs. Embarrassing.
  3. Don’t judge a book by its cover – or a State by its freeways.  When most people fly into Phoenix, their first reaction is, “it’s so brown here.”  Quite frankly, it’s the desert so they have a good point.  However, if you only drive on our freeways, you will miss the beauty of our state.  If pine trees are your only form of splendor, jump to Tip 10.  But, if you want to get to know the desert, hike it.  The valley is surrounded by beautiful mountain hikes less than an hour away.  The Superstition Mountains are my favorite, but South Mountain, San Tan, and Camelback will also give you a charge.  If hiking isn’t your passion, a drive to Canyon Lake and a ride on the steamboat Dolly will make you fall in love with our rugged and beautiful state.
  4. Tubing the River.  This is an iconic event for all ages.  Tubing down the Salt River has been a favorite pass time in Arizona for 50 years.  Tube rentals are available at the start of the river and they even have a tube that is sized for your cooler, (which is a must).  Floating down the river is so beautiful and relaxing.  If you get lucky, you may see the wild horses cross the river.  Biggest tips:  get water shoes to wear because if you lose a flip flop down the river, your foot will melt into the asphalt walking to your car instead of your shoes.  Only go on the weekend if you have always wanted to flash someone or you are looking to be flashed.  It’s a wild party most weekends so ramp up for that.  If cruising is more your style or if you are taking kids, the weekdays are best.
  5. Urban Sprawl:  It’s real.  With the light rail finally running from Phoenix to Mesa, our Valley is starting to feel like a real city.  Because of the vastness of our Valley, it is important to know what you are looking for before you buy.  Do you want to be able to walk to restaurants, have a big yard, good schools, close to work, or all of the above?    There is something for everyone in this city.  It’s just a matter of finding your niche.  Need some guidance?  Give me a call!
  6. Winters:  This is where Zonies start bragging.  A lot.  We have just made it through the blistering summer and our reward is Fall, Winter, and Spring.  When the rest of the country is having blizzard warnings, we are outside BBQing, golfing, playing in the parks and just plain enjoying the outdoors.  Tailgating is done in a t-shirt.  Kids are out trick-or-treating on Halloween and not one of them needs a coat.  I could go on but you get the picture…
  7. Spring Training.  We have just entered my favorite time of year.  This is when the MLB embarks on Arizona to get ready for the new season.  Baseball fans come down in droves to watch their favorite team and soak up the sun.  I am a die hard D-Backs fan, but come Spring, I will watch any team sitting on my beach towel in the outfield and cheer on the team in front of me.  The stadiums smell like sun tan lotion and happiness. There is nothing better.
  8. Golf and Cars.  If you are looking to hit the trifecta, March is the month for you.  If you plan your trip just right, in one week you can go see the top cars at Barrett Jackson, make it to the party on Hole 9 at the Phoenix Waste Management golf tournament, and relax at a Spring Training game.  Need I say more?
  9. Water – it’s worth the drive.  Being the desert, we are fascinated by water.  We don’t see it much, (see tip #2).  We’ve even tried to make a wide canal in downtown Tempe cool.  But, the natural places we do have it are breath taking.  Most of our lakes are set in canyons and if you get on a boat and take in the scenery, I promise the desert will steal your heart.  For a close lake with water skiing and fishing, head to Saguaro lake.  If you want to see wild donkeys while floating in a pontoon boat, Lake Pleasant will do it for you.  If sipping margarita’s on a pier after an informational cruise strikes your fancy, Canyon lake is your best bet.
  10. Your 2 hours away from anything.  In all my travels to different states, one thing that stands out about Arizona from the others is our vast differences in elevations.  We have everything you need in 2 hours.  Missing pine trees and want to go skiing?  Head to Flagstaff and be there in 2 hours.  Are the mighty powers of the Vortex calling your name?  There’s no better place to find your inner New Age child than the majestic Sedona – 1 1/2 hours away.  Need to see a town on the side of a cliff and do some Ghost Hunting while you’re at it?  Jerome is the spot for you – 1 1/2 hours away.  Want to get a real Southwest vibe and eat amazing Mexican food?  Head South to Tucson – 1 1/2 hours away.  Want to catch a breathtaking sunset?  Walk out your front door.  It’s seconds away.  You need something?  Arizona has it covered!