My 5 Favorite Things About Arizona in January


Arizona is Perfect in January

January is the perfect month to visit Arizona, particularly if you are from a northern state like Wisconsin. If you follow football at all–which I don’t–you may have heard of the Packer’s stadium as The Frozen Tundra. Aptly named, if you ask me.

Midlife finds me becoming more adventurous. Having fewer responsibilities and more time and money help when it comes to travel. I never had much opportunity to travel earlier in life and had a fear of flying. Fortunately this never got to the level where I had to take drugs to get myself on a plane. Over the past five years this has faded due flying more often.

However, there is always the typical chaos of getting to the airport on time, making it through security, and actually having a plane there to take you to your destination in a timely fashion.

Flying from Appleton, WI to Mesa, AZ is a breeze. The Appleton International Airport (International was a recent addition) has to be one of the smallest airports in the country. Parking and maneuvering the airport are a simple task. The fact that flying out of Wisconsin in January typically includes the experience of deicing the plane adds a bit of stress to the overall adventure.  

Stepping off the plane into the Arizona sunshine makes it all worth while.  Seriously, we did exit the plane outside–the Mesa Airport has to be the second smallest airport in the country. I almost bumped into Janet when I called her to see if she was at the airport to pick me up yet. 

I love Arizona and could find endless reasons to make it a travel destination. This is especially true in January when the cold winds and snow chill you to the bones if you must step outside. Obviously I am not a winter sports enthusiast either. 


My Top 5 Reasons to Visit Arizona in January


1. Sunshine

Arizona boasts 296 sunny days a year. The Phoenix area, where Janet resides, is known as the Valley of the Sun. I read somewhere this was a marketing idea created in the 1930s to attract tourists to the area. But it’s true!

Slide Rock State Park-Sedona

The sunsets are absolutely gorgeous and every one of them is photo-worthy. 


2. Natural Beauty

The scenery is simply stunning. The jagged, variegated red sandstone rock formations found in northern Arizona are breathtaking to look at and capture on camera.  

We traveled through the Prescott National Forest on our way up to Sedona from Phoenix. The roads wind through the mountains of the 1.25 million acre forest. Janet drove, and even though she is experienced driving in the mountains, I admit there were moments when I felt a bit queasy due to the twisting and turning of the roads. There are numerous opportunities to drive off a cliff . 

I became educated on cacti while I was down in Tucson for several days. This was not the reason I went to Tucson. Coincidentally my sister Beth was working in Tucson while I was in Arizona. I drove down to see her and explore the city. On the trip south I noticed how the desert filled with cacti displayed a unique kind of beauty–I was mesmerized by this new-found beauty.

Did you the saguaro cactus is found exclusively in the Sonoran Desert in southern Arizona and western Sonora, Mexico. It doesn’t produce arms until  it is about 70 years old. It is the largest cactus in the United States, growing up to 60 feet tall? They have a beauty all their own.


3. Spiritual Experience

Arizona offers many fascinating locations each with its own unique characteristics. Sedona is my favorite due to the spiritual experience it offers. Sedona has four main energy vortex locations–Airport Mesa, Bell Rock, Boynton Canyon and Cathedral Rock. A vortex is an area of intense energy that can provide visitors with a sense of serenity, healing and centeredness.

The shopping in the Sedona area is phenomenal. Downtown shopping on Main street and the Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village both offer a shopper’s paradise. You will find everything from galleries displaying local and global art for sale, boutiques with trendy styles, and cool shops carrying healing crystals and jewelry to purchase. So many gorgeous items to choose from–I purchased a beautiful, five-point rutilated quartz crystal as my souvenir. 


4. Fresh Grapefruit

I realize this may seem odd to many of you. Grapefruit is on my list because it is incredibly healthy and I love to eat them. Many people cannot relate to my affection for this fruit, possibly due to how messy they are to eat. However, anyone who enjoys a good grapefruit would agree-nothing beats fresh grapefruit picked off a tree located right in the backyard. This fruit is highly nutritious, containing a powerful nutrient combination to help maintain a healthy heart. Seriously, eating a grapefruit makes me feel healthier!

Grapefruit on a tree.


5. Janet and Phil

Visiting Janet is actually tops on my list–I just wanted to save the best for last. As some of you already know, Janet and I have been friends since childhood. Even when we don’t see each other for months we immediately reconnect, as if it were only days since our last meeting of the minds. And we really do have the best time no matter what we actually decide to do.

My Buddy Phil

Phil is a rescue dog. A number of years ago Janet’s son brought him home. Jacob had seen Phil foraging for food in a field for several weeks and knew he needed a home. At first Phil’s size may be a bit intimidating, but his friendly disposition will quickly win you over. Phil will shower you with wet kisses if you allow him to.

Phil is full of energy–he never tires of playing catch. And he makes a great bed buddy when he’s not having one of those doggy dreams where he’s chasing a rabbit or something. I’m sad to leave him when it’s time to return to Wisconsin. Phil is so sweet–just look at that face!

Do you travel to visit a friend–or their dog?! Please share your personal stories in the comments below!

Till next time,


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