AUTHENTIC TRAVEL: A DRIVE THROUGH THE ARIZONA DESERT TO THE QUIRKY CHARM OF BISBEE

by | Aug 23, 2023 | Travel

Bisbee, Arizona, is a town steeped in history, a mining town with origins in the late 19th century, located just 11 miles north of the Mexico border, 97 miles southeast of Tucson. With the pandemic more in our rearview mirror, what we’re seeing in luxury travel is more people, especially Millennials, seeking out authentic travel experiences. The generation raised on Instagram wants shareability. They don’t want to just stay at a hotel, sit by a pool sipping cocktails, eat at the buffet.

Related: Big boost in recreational vehicle popularity among Millennials

Part of that experience is to go to places that have a story to tell. Places that are renowned for historic charm. Southern Arizona, for one, offers so much more for those people looking to hop in a luxury car and take a road trip, and go have those experiences. There’s no better way to just disappear for days, or weeks. Disconnect to reconnect is a big theme now. Turn off the phone, turn off the news.

One of Regarding Luxury‘s focuses is what’s new in luxury cars. So we want to talk about places where you can drive those cars. In the past, we’ve covered drives down the U.S. west coast, from Vancouver to Los Angeles. We’ve covered a drive from Toronto to New York.

The natural beauty that draws travellers to Arizona

Forget about self-driving cars. Get out and drive. In the case of Arizona, hop into your sports car or SUV and head east from Tucson on Hwy 10, down Hwy 80 through Tombstone, and into Bisbee, and hit all the small towns, old bars and classic diners, markets, quirky roadside attractions, coffee shops along the way.

There’s nothing better than the clear desert skies for star-gazing. The vast, open spaces gives the road tripper a sense of freedom, flexibility. There’s no set itinerary here. Go where the wind pushes you. The reward is in the richness in those minute details when you take trips like this.

Arizona is renowned for its diverse landscapes, from the red rocks of Sedona to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon to the vast deserts, which keeps those drives interesting and captivating. Road trippers have a vast selection of outdoor activities to augment the experience even more – biking, hiking, camping, rock climbing.

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Image: Bisbee Arizona Tourism

Bisbee, Arizona: Family-oriented, picturesque, culturally rich, and best of all, hidden

When you drive into Bisbee, a town with a population just under 5,000, located in the Mule Mountains of the state, and head through its quaint downtown, you’re first struck by its Victorian-style buildings and preserved architecture, and the colourful homes built into the hillsides. It’s like driving into a time machine, tapping into Bisbee’s mining heritage, going back to the late 1800s.

For those travellers seeking out American history, first stops would be the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum and the Bisbee Restoration Museum, detailing the town’s copper-mining past. The Queen Mine Tour, which takes you underground, really gives you an up close insight into the harsh condition miners went through back then, and the process of extracting minerals.

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Image: Bisbee Arizona Tourism
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The kids will love the ghost tours that dive into Bisbee’s haunted past – a blast. These are all about stories of paranormal experiences and sightings. You’ll chill during a walk through the boutique shops, antique stores, galleries (like The Subway Gallery, established in 1986, the longest continuous gallery in Bisbee, and the Broadway Stairs Gallery and its deep dive into funky art), studios, art events and restaurants, enveloped by stunning mountain vistas.

Then there’s the vibe and atmosphere of the place – what you would expect from an authentic small town experience. Quirky, eclectic, those are words to describe it. Kind of a bohemian stopover which celebrates independence and the freedom to be yourself, be expressive. You’ll find an array of vintage clothing jewellery to handmade artwork and crafts. You see a lot of retirees, writers, artists and free spirits here. And unlike a trip to a big city, you don’t have to travel far to find them.

Eclectic, quirky energy

Community events like Bisbee Pride and the Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb are festive and attract people from all across the state. Bisbee Coffee Company features local blends. Café Roka is where you go for casual fine dining, focusing on locally sourced ingredients. The popular Dots Diner is fun for the family – featuring traditional American fare like hamburgers and milkshakes.

If you’re looking to truly detach, Bisbee is a must-stop, taking that road trip experience through the wondrous American state of Arizona.

Top image: Steve Pauken

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