Visit Flagstaff in the summer and you'll wonder about the gorgeous sweet smell that fills the air. It's a blend of butterscotch, baking and vanilla, and it comes from the massive Ponderosa pine trees that surround the town – the world's biggest forest of them - which emit the scent in hot weather. But there's more - Flagstaff is also a brilliant skiing destination with an awful lot of snow.
Room 54 at the Weatherford Hotel is haunted by the ghosts of a newly-wed couple murdered there.
Downtown 'Flag' is home to a load of excellent micro-breweries, following a worldwide trend for quality beers.
It might be in the desert but this city has four distinct seasons to enjoy, just like home. And it's famously friendly. Here are three cool things to do.
Tour the longest intact stretch of Route 66
Visit the Lowell Observatory
Experience the spooky Meteor Crater 35 miles away
Take in all three to understand why the quirky people of Flagstaff are so friendly, supportive of each other and often wonderfully eccentric.
Mountain Areas From £1929.00 (inc flights and hotels)
Gaze across the Mojave Desert at the dazzling vistas of electric Las Vegas, hike through Mammoth Lake and Yosemite, and prepare to be stunned by the natural wonders of Death Valley. A spectacular, once in a lifetime adventure awaits.
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Flagstaff living is all about high altitude, 7,000 feet above sea level, nestled at the foot of Mount Elden. Mountain climbing is enormously popular here, but it's just the tip of the attractions iceberg. 300 days of annual sunshine make it a prime outdoors destination.
More than 50 miles of unpaved cycling and hiking paths to explore
Play disc golf at any of four local courses
Visit the town's famous Santa's Grotto in December
Enjoy rock concerts and the Pickin' in the Pines Bluegrass Festival, parades and fireworks for 4th July, there's a year-round calendar of local events to hook up with. The annual Firefly Gathering in June is a favourite with hippies, a feast of new age and spiritual stuff.
"A researcher with the Arizona Cryptozoological Research Organisation claims that a toenail found in Northern Arizona near Flagstaff is “definitive proof” of the presence of an unknown primate species in the local forests" - Movoto
Feeling brave? Enjoy Hardcore Parkour at the Extreme Adventure Obstacle Course, a place where every obstacle to negotiate is anything from 15 to 60 feet above the ground. And all you have to do is raise your eyes skywards at night to see a billion stars - this is the planet's first ever International Dark-Sky City. The Wupatki National Monument is a set of fascinating Native American ruins. The brilliant Arizona Snowbowl is an alpine ski resort just 7 miles north of the town, featuring an amazing scenic chairlift. And the Museum of Northern Arizona is stuffed with fascinating anthropology, biology, geology and fine art.
Flagstaff delivers such a wide variety of natural and man-made attractions. Walnut Canyon National Monument is a remarkable cliff formation rich in the ancient remains of native settlements, fascinating for anyone who loves archaeology and enjoys exploring ancient cultures. And Lava River Cave is a lava tube cave in the beautiful Coconino National Forest, three quarters of a mile long. Love old steam trains? You'll adore the Grand Canyon Railway, a passenger line running between the town of Williams and the Grand Canyon National Park, a brilliant way to take in the desert and mountain scenery. The town's Arboretum is splendid too, with 200 acres of gardens, wildlife, rare plants and nature trails to relax in. Add a suite of excellent eateries and it all adds up to an unbeatable and unusual state-side holiday.
Dedicated California experts with a passion for the Golden State and the USA
Our team have all had their own California adventures, ask them for a few stories!