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Explore / towns

Explore / history / old west

Cave Creek &
Carefree Arizona

2 Cool Lizards travel guide

These two entertaining towns are close to one another, and just north of Phoenix. Cave Creek offers the feel of "old west cowboy", while Carefree is "upscale southwest". Both towns are close to Phoenix and offer a wide variety of restaurants, shops and activities. In Carefree, stroll through the Town Center (turn in at Sun Dial Plaza) to see one of North America's largest sun dials. The snow photo was (slide 4) was taken along N Cave Creek Rd in winter 2007.


  • slide5


Spring Bloom Arizona Desert Cross roads with names such as "Bloody Basin" and "Mule Train Road" enable a person to imagine life in a by-gone era. Besides offering interestingly named side roads, Cave Creek Rd. is very scenic. We were fortunate enough to see desert plants in bloom (see photo at right). Though we passed signs stating "Javelina Crossing" and "Deer Crossing", we did not spot any of these animals. We were lucky enough to see the desert in bloom in spring 2006.

Located at a higher elevation than Phoenix, Carefree can get snow in winter. This is a rare treat for people living in or visiting the area. We visited the area in winter 2007 and saw a beautiful landscape of snow on cacti. See slide 3 above.

Cave Creek   "Old West" is the theme of Cave Creek, Arizona. Many interesting restaurants and shops line the main road, including a restaurant that promises "real cowboy food" and shops named "The Town Dump" and "Horny Toad". Frontier Town, located along the Carefree Highway, takes one back to the days of the old west. The Grand Hotel offers "Western Theme" rooms. The Cave Creek Museum exhibits artifacts, tools and other items from the days of the old west.

Carefree   Fine art and dining, outdoor music concerts and beautiful parks can be found in Carefree. The Sun Dial Plaza provides a beautiful park, Spanish village and an English Tea House, plus many other fine shops and restaurants.

Tucked away in the hills north of Scottsdale, this is truly a beautiful community.

Fabulous reviews of nearby places:

Cave Creek Regional park
McDowell park
Camp Verde & Fort Verde
Pioneer: Living History Museum


Arthur H Norby bronze
"Scott & Loren" by Arthur Norby
Buffalo Chip Saloon Cave Creek Arizona
Buffalo Chip Saloon Cave Creek
Cave Creek Arizona
Cave Creek Arizona


Directions


From I-17, go east on Carefree Highway. Turn north (left) on N. Cave Creek Rd. and follow it into Cave Creek and then onto Carefree.

From the north loop of 101, take the Cave Creek exit. Go north on N. Cave Creek Rd. and follow directions above.

From Scottsdale, go north on Scottsdale road, then west (left) onto E. Carefree Hwy, then north onto N. Cave Creek Rd.; follow directions above.

Resources:

www.cavecreek.org City of Cave Creek: General information.

www.carefree.org City of Carefree: General information.

www.cavecreekmuseum.org Cave Creek Museum: Fees, hours and other information.


travel with children

Sundial Park Carefree Arizona Children
Frontier Town in Cave Creek provides entertainment for old west history enthusiasts of all ages. There is a large variety of restaurants to choose from in both towns, including a Dairy Queen in Cave Creek. The Cave Creek Museum operates from October through most of May and provides education about SW history. RIGHT: children's slide in the park in Carefree.

www.cavecreekmuseum.org Cave Creek Museum: Fees, hours and other information.

The Carefree Town Center has a public restroom (closed on a Saturday when we went in spring 2014 however), beautiful gardens plus park with fountains and children's play area. WARNING: That restroom was closed on the Saturday we went in 2014. The local retailers were not friendly about letting us use a restroom. We returned to Cave Creek where a very friendly gas station / convenience store owner allowed us to use her restroom. Carefree also contains one of North America's largest sun dials. The Town Center is located next to Sun Dial Plaza. Hopefully they will have an accessible, public restroom open again. We will update this post when we have new information.


accessible travel Accessibility
All roads (see map) leading to Cave Creek and Carefree are scenic and provide good navigation throughout the area. A handicap accessible public restroom is located in the Town Center (next to Sun Dial Plaza) in Carefree. WARNING: That restroom was closed on the Saturday we went in 2014. The local retailers were not friendly about letting us use a restroom. We returned to Cave Creek where a very friendly gas station / convenience store owner allowed us to use her restroom. It was not accessible, however.

With a few exceptions, both towns' shops and restaurants are handicap accessible.
travel with pets Pets
As in any town, pets are not allowed in restaurants or shops. Leashed pets are allowed in area parks. Pets can dehydrate quickly; bring plenty of water and a bowl. Allow your pet to rest in shady areas as needed. NEVER leave a pet unattended in a vehicle. ALWAYS clean up after your pet.


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