While the Valley of the Sun attracts flocks of snowbirds during the winter, it is not a pleasant place for half the year. Luckily, in less than two hours, you can escape the brutal Phoenix summer heat. Ninety miles from Phoenix is Payson, where the summer temperatures are 20 to 30 degrees cooler than the Valley. And, while it does snow in the winter, that snow often melts away quickly. Overall, the temperatures in Payson are moderate year-round.
Often called “The Heart of Arizona”, Payson offers small-town charm with modern convenience. If you're curious about buying Payson AZ real estate, read on. We'll go over the reasons that make Payson a great place to live.
If you love the outdoor life, Payson is the place to be. Situated within the Tonto National Forest, hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, and off-roading are just minutes away. In fact, Green Valley Park is right in town, with three small fishing lakes.
But, if you want to get out of town into the wild, the Rim Country around Payson is home to seven beautiful alpine lakes. Knoll Lake, Black Canyon Lake, Woods Canyon, Willow Springs Lake, and C.C. Cragin Reservoir are easily accessed. Knoll Canyon and Black Canyon Lakes also offer nearby campgrounds.
However, Bear Canyon Lake and Chevelon Lake are much more of a challenge to access. You'll either need to hike a steep trail or take your quad. But, you'll feel like you have the lake all to yourself for a truly uncrowded experience.
Hikers and mountain bikers will also love living in Payson AZ. There are dozens of well-established trails in the area, appropriate for all levels of fitness. While the temperatures are much cooler than in Phoenix, it can still get into the 90s. Be sure to bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen as you hike and bike around Payson.
Bird watchers and rock hounds will also love Payson. From the tiny Black-tailed Gnatcatcher and kestrels to huge, gliding Turkey Vultures, the Tonto National Forest is home to dozens of bird species.
Kids will especially love rock hunting for fossils, agates, onyx, sparkling quartz crystals, and geodes. The trails and forests around Payson have a lot of fun to offer.
If you love the romance of the Old West, Payson offers plenty of that. Established in 1883, Payson continues to be home to the world's oldest, continuous rodeo. That rodeo is held in August, but there are other rodeo events held throughout the spring and summer.
Payson is also home to the Zane Grey and Rim Country Museum. The Western author made Payson his home for decades and wrote many of his beloved novels here. The museum houses all sorts of artifacts from the region, covering everything from Native American life to ranching, mining, and of course, rodeo.
In nearby Strawberry, the kids can get a feel for what school was like in the 1880s at the Strawberry Schoolhouse Museum. The log cabin schoolhouse was built in 1884 and is the oldest standing schoolhouse in the state. The beautifully preserved schoolhouse is complete with desks, blackboards, and other period details.
There are several historic structures in Payson, built by pioneer families. For example, the Sidles Mud House was built in 1882 by Henry Sidles. The mud house still stands at 505A W. Main Street. You can also dine and have a beer at the Oxbow Inn and Saloon. Built of logs in 1933, the Oxbow was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
During the winter months, the Winter Range Shooting Contest rides into town. Typically, more than 1,000 competitors participate in the national championship of Cowboy Action Shooting. Cowboy Action Shooting requires competitors to shoot with old-style lever-action rifles, single-action revolvers, and Old West shotguns. Moreover, competitors must also dress in Old West attire.
The Winter Range event also features demonstrations of Old West skills and crafts, such as a fast-draw competition and trick horses. Visitors can also peruse stalls selling period cowboy hats and clothing, reproductions, antiques, and chuckwagon BBQ. It's an event both grownups and kids will love.
If you have ever dreamed of being a cowboy, Payson is the place to be. While today, it's thoroughly modern, the Old West is woven into the fabric of the town.
While Payson has a family-friendly, small-town feel, you will not lack services. There is a Walmart Supercenter here, as well as two grocery stores, two hardware stores, a Home Depot, and a Tractor Supply store. There is also a PetSmart, and a feed store.
Payson also has the medical services you need, from family practitioners, chiropractors, dentists, and hospitals. Your pets can also be cared for by the resident veterinarians. For the most part, you'll be able to find everything you need locally in Payson.
While Payson is a family-friendly place, there are also adult things to do too. The Mazatzal Casino, owned and operated by the Tonto Apache Tribe, offers both slots, table games, and sports betting. The casino also offers fine dining, concerts, and other events.
There are also several bars, breweries, and restaurants in the Payson area that are open till later at night. While Payson is not offering 24/7 entertainment, there are places to go at night to enjoy adult fun.
Whether you fancy a mountain cabin, a suburban ranch-style home, or a rustic mansion, you can find it in Payson. There are hundreds of real estate listings available in Payson, giving you plenty of properties to browse.
Prices also range from modest to million-dollar properties. You can also find raw land if you want to build your custom dream home.
Fortunately, growth in Payson has been slow over the last two or three decades, preserving the smalltown feel. Also, being surrounded by the Tonto National Forest, it's unlikely that Payson will ever be the victim of urban sprawl.
Come see this cozy home in Twin Lakes Mobile Home Park. It is an updated 2 bedroom 1 bath. It had a new porch and roof put on in September 2022. The home is next door to ...
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