Cottonwood Arizona welcomes visitors with its historic charm, its unique shopping opportunities, and its numerous restaurants. These aren’t the only reasons to consider including this small city on your Arizona vacation itinerary, however. There are plenty of interesting things to see and do in the area surrounding the town of Cottonwood, especially when you consider how close it is to a number of other inviting cities and outdoor attractions. Prescott is just 35 miles to the southwest, for example, and Sedona and its enticing shopping and unique vortexes lies less than 30 miles to the east.
Cottonwood Arizona was founded in 1879 and got its start as a farming community. Over time a number of businesses moved in, and by 1917, the town was booming. A certain amount of lawlessness was evident during these booming times, and Cottonwood eventually developed a reputation as a bootlegging hot spot. In fact, it was once known for having some of the best bootlegging booze in the general region. People came from as far as Phoenix and even Los Angeles to purchase alcohol here.
For a while, Cottonwood Arizona was known as the "Biggest Little Town in Arizona." This should give you an idea of how busy the city was in the early 1900's. While things have changed over time, Cottonwood is still a very busy place—minus the bootlegging, of course. In its Historic Old Town district alone there are more than 60 different businesses, and many of these are craft-style shops that sell things such as beads, yarn, jewelry, clothing, antiques, and home furnishings. In other words, Cottonwood Arizona can be a good place to go if you like to shop and are looking for uniquely Southwestern souvenirs to bring home from your trip.
Cottonwood’s location in the heart of the Verde Valley is hard to find fault with. The surrounding mountains lend to the beauty of the city’s overall setting, and visitors don’t have to go far to find good hiking trails when they want to be close to nature. Among the best trails in the region are those in the Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Area, but Cottonwood’s location inside the beautiful Cococino National Forest means that the list of trails to try is nearly endless. The town is also close to several state parks, such as Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
As for other ideas for things to do during a visit to Cottonwood Arizona, two more nearby attractions include the Tuzigoot National Monument and the city of Jerome. The Tuzigoot National Monument is home to well-preserved pueblo ruins that are hundreds of years old. Jerome, on the other hand, is a National Historic Landmark town that is simply not to be missed when in the area, particularly if you want to try one of the legendary local ghost tours. There are several golf courses in the region as well, and even the Grand Canyon can be visited in a day trip from Cottonwood.
There are many other reasons why Cottonwood can make for an excellent Arizona vacation destination. Among these reasons is the affordable nature of the local hotels. The Best Western Cottonwood Inn is arguably the best hotel of the bunch, and its rates are certainly reasonable. If you are looking to spend even less money when it comes to the Cottonwood hotels, then motels such as the View Motel and the Pines Motel offer even cheaper accommodations. If you don’t mind staying in nearby Jerome, there are lodging options there as well. Among the best Jerome hotels is the Grand Hotel, which hosts some of the ghost tours.