In the heart of the Verde Valley lies Cottonwood, with its distinctive historic district. While it may be known as the “Heart of Arizona Wine Country,” there is also plenty of family-friendly fun to be had. “Cottonwood is home to Dead Horse Ranch State Park which is located less than two miles from Old Town. This state landmark has earned a reputation as a favorite fishing hole, bird lover’s paradise, and hiker’s dream. With trails meandering through sycamore and cottonwood trees along the banks of the Verde River, Dead Horse Ranch State Park is a jewel in the center of Cottonwood all year-round.
Families are welcome to explore the outdoors, dine at amazing restaurants, enjoy outdoor activities at Riverfront Park, and share this affordable and accessible community with us.
“We like to say in Cottonwood, you are welcome here!” says Tourism & Economic Development Director Tricia Lewis.
Now reopened, Blazin’ M Ranch is better than ever. Here, explore a museum, enjoy a vintage tractor ride, ride & rope, or try your hand at the live shooting gallery. There is also food—from the saloon to the chuckwagon dinner—Western stage shows, and more. And, don’t forget to explore Frontier Town, a Western-themed destination with old Western shop facades. While the cowboys of yore would shop for ammo, flour, tobacco, and whiskey, here you can shop for everything from fashions to books to kids’ toys to housewares. For more information, visit www.blazinm.com.
Spend family time in nature. For those who love hiking, horseback riding, fishing, kayaking, bird watching, and camping, Dead Horse Ranch State Park is the perfect destination. In fact, it’s one of the most visited state parks in all of Northern Arizona (though it doesn’t feel like it because of its size).
The trail system is a non-motorized 20-plus-mile shared-use mix of doubletrack and singletrack. Those searching for glimpses of wildlife should keep an eye out for river otters, gray foxes, Gambel’s quail, red-spotted toads, and Coues whitetail deer, and those looking to catch fish can try for largemouth bass and rainbow trout in the Verde River.
Looking to make an overnight of it? Rent one of the camping cabins, or there are RV and tent campsites, as well. www.azstateparks.com/dead-horse/.
CHECK OUT THE LANDSCAPE
The entire family will enjoy exploring the trails in an ATV. Whether it’s a guided tour or you take the wheel yourself, there are so many places to experience. ATVs with two, four, and six seats are available. www.vortexatvrental.com
Cottonwood also has wonderful outdoor park facilities, the Cottonwood Recreation Center with an indoor pool and waterslide, convenient public transportation, and plenty of family-friendly places to eat with a lot of outdoor seating.