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From ranches to resorts, Arizona has a great choice of places to stay

It may be desert but resorts boast lots of pools and water features
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Many visitors come to Arizona for a reason, so they know the kind of accommodation they want. Large numbers come to play golf, so they choose a resort in Phoenix, Scottsdale or Tucson that can offer them the best championship golf course challenge. Or they want the novelty of playing golf among saguaro cactuses. There's certainly plenty to choose from, with the biggest concentration around Scottsdale, although if you're playing in hotter weather one thing to take account of is that it is usually slightly cooler in Tucson. It may be a little further south but it is also higher in elevation than the area around Phoenix and Scottsdale, which is called the Valley of the Sun.


Some other things to consider are whether your resort has its own golf course, or easy access to one adjacent to it. It's much easier if you can walk or take a golf cart quickly to the course. Many resorts have their own spas, but not all of them. Some resorts are also more family-friendly than others, with a large number of swimming pools and even water park features. If food is important to you, check the dining options. Some resort restaurants really stand out, while others offer more conventional food.


Another popular choice is the dude ranch, of which the best are around Tucson. You can certainly enjoy horse-riding and other outdoor activities, but again you should think about what you want before booking. Not all ranches are the same. Some offer a luxury lifestyle, with no camping out. Others offer camp-outs and the chance to learn a few cowboy skills. Some are better for families than others. But they will all give you a feel of what life in the west was like, and still is today for some people.


You can also find places that are historic, and provide both comfort and a feel for times gone by. You are more likely to find these in places like Tucson and Flagstaff, and at the Grand Canyon, than in Phoenix and Scottsdale where there are a great many more modern hotels.


One thing to consider if you're not familiar with American cities is that somewhere like Phoenix really sprawls. Resorts tend to be - or originally were - on the edge of the city, with pleasant surroundings in the foothills. They can be many miles through busy traffic to downtown, as American cities do not generally have good public transport. Most people drive. So if you want to spend more time exploring museums and shops, or eating out somewhere different every night, you might want to choose a hotel that's closer to the center of the city.


If you want to go on a road trip, and don't necessarily want to book your accommodation in advance, you will always find somewhere to stay. Arizona, like most of the USA, has a great number of simple roadside motels and hotels. You will see the signs by the side of the road everywhere, and the vast majority of them offer inexpensive overnight accommodation. They may not be fancy but usually they are clean and perfect for an overnight stop on the road.


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