From our comfortable base at my aunt’s home in Prescott, Ryan and I explored two towns in the area: Jerome and Sedona. Both only solidified our unexpected infatuation with central and northern Arizona!
We planned to explore both towns in one extended day of adventuring, but ended up enjoying Jerome so much we decided not to rush it and instead to take our time. In fact, we were enjoying ourselves so much that … we failed to take almost any photos! Womp womp.
Despite the lack of photographic evidence, I assure you that Jerome is a delightful place to spend a day! It first came on our radar when our camping neighbor in Big Bend recommended it to us, and we’re so glad we checked it out.
From the 1880s – 1950s, Jerome flourished as a copper mining camp. Today it’s bustling-but-friendly artistic community, full of artists, craftsmen, musicians, writers, B&Bs and charming shops. We had so much fun exploring the shops and taking in the gorgeous views in this town, nestled high in the mountains. Highlights included:
- Delicious salsa from Jerome Ghost Pepper Co. We tasted almost every flavor, and purchased a few jars to enjoy at home.
- A phenomenal wine tasting from Cody the Wine Monk at Passion Cellars. They have a zinfandel that is now one of our favorite wines — and we may have left the tasting with a few (okay, six) bottles of wine.
- Purchasing several small pieces of art from a few of the many galleries in Jerome. We love art, but had to store most of our pieces when we moved into the camper. In Jerome we found several small pieces that we just had to have — I’m sure they’ll make an appearance in our upcoming camper tour!
We just loved Jerome, and would definitely recommend it as a stop if you’re in central Arizona! If you have time (we didn’t) the Jerome State Historic Park looks super interesting, too. And while there are many restaurants in town, there’s also a park in the middle of town that’s the perfect spot for a picnic!
While we loved exploring Jerome, we had pretty much the opposite experience in downtown Sedona. We found Sedona to be touristy and crowded and we didn’t stay long. But what Sedona lacked in downtown charm, it made up for in spades with its red rock views and amazing hikes!
We chose to hike the two-mile Devil’s Bridge Trail — and it was awesome. The beginning of trail was pleasant and easy, warming us up for the increasing steepness towards the end. We were rewarded for our effort by the views of the Devil’s Bridge itself, the largest natural sandstone arch in the Sedona area.
Ryan even convinced me to walk out on it for a photo op!
Sedona was a trip milestone for another reason as well: it marked the beginning of our return journey eastward. We camped that night at Homolovi State Park, a small state park just off I-40 between Sedona and Petrified Forest National Park.
Despite its proximity to the highway, the campground was quiet and peaceful and boasted a seemingly endless view of the horizon. It was our last night in Arizona, and the stunning desert sunset left us feeling not quite ready to say goodbye.
Campground: Homolovi State Park
- Electric site
- Cost: $15
- Pros: Gorgeous views of an endless desert sky. Nice facilities and friendly camp hosts. Wide, flat, paved sites — perfect for car camping.
- Cons: This park isn’t near much — it was a good two hours east of Sedona and an hour west of Petrified Forest National Park. It made a convenient stop-off camping spot from I-40, but I wouldn’t describe it as a destination campground. And because the terrain was so flat, it was extremely windy.