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We love a good AZ road trip and the Rim Country (Payson and surrounding cities) is the perfect getaway from Phoenix. Strawberry, AZ is located near the Rim between Payson and Camp Verde. I love that you can choose to go up on the I-17 through Camp Verde or up the 87 through Payson. While not an extensive list, here are some things we recommend doing, seeing, and where you can stay in Pine or Strawberry, AZ.

Where to Stay in Strawberry, AZ

Whether you’re staying for a night or a week our first pick is always The Strawberry Inn. We’ve stayed here since they first re-introduced the property and it gets better every year! You can get a tour of all the rooms at the Inn here or see a fun girls’ trip itinerary idea here. They have since added Tiny Cottages, full houses, and most recently Airstreams so there is definitely something for everyone. I love that they added a gathering place (they call it “the yard”) near the tiny cottages too since it’s a favorite spot for us to gather or play lawn games.

The Tiny Cottages have the same quaint feel as the rooms at the Inn but with a little more space for the family. They have dog-friendly cottages and options from a studio to a 2-bedroom. We stayed in the One Bedroom Tiny Cottage #2 recently and wanted to give you a little tour. You can check out a quick video tour in my highlights on Instagram too.

All the cottages have AC/Heat, wifi, a little kitchen with a sink, fridge, microwave, and stovetop burners. I love how this one is set up with the bunkbeds (my teens don’t love sharing a bed).

There’s a little yard area next to this one which is perfect for outdoor dining or to let your dog run around.

At the main Inn area, they now have a little coffee shop inside the windmill (they make great espresso) and the cutest little free library. This space gets better every time we see it! You can’t go wrong with any of the options at The Strawberry Inn!

On our most recent stay we got to watch elk come through the property, enjoyed a morning of light rain, and just had the best most relaxing trip!

Where to Eat In and Around Strawberry, AZ

If you want to prepare and eat your own food, the Tiny Cottages or houses at The Strawberry Inn have refrigerators to store your food (the studios have small ones). You can definitely have a relaxing trip without having to go anywhere if you plan ahead & that sounds good to you.

If you want to venture out and try some of the local spots here are a few of our favorites right in town. Just make sure you check hours to see who will be open and when during your trip.

There are a ton more options down the road in Payson too. My biggest tip for food is just to plan a little ahead of time with who’s open when. Some are closed a few days a week and some have shortened hours earlier in the week. If you’re in Strawberry and it’s getting late you may not feel like driving to Payson for food so just do a quick look ahead of time if you plan on eating out/ordering to go.

What to Do in Strawberry, AZ

  • Hike! I love hiking or just leisurely walking to explore the outdoors. at the end of Ernies Rd. in Strawberry if you go through the Forest Service gate you’ll find a trail that leads up to the mountain peak. If you want to make it all the way to the top check out the info here. Pine Trailhead is just outside of Pine so still very close and is a great trail/area for all types of families depending on how far you want to explore.The Strawberry Inn is such a great spot in Rim Country AZ for a girls weekend getaway
  • Fossil Creek – this one definitely needs some planning but if you’re adventurous, you’ll want to check this one out. Part of the year you’ll need a permit. During the Fall/Winter you do not but there is limited parking in the lot and it’s first come first served. From Strawberry to get to the waterfall you’ll need to park/take the Bob Bear Trailhead it’s an 8 mile round trip hike & is HOT many months of the year requiring many rescues each year so come prepared. That said, if you’re an adventurous person it’s WELL worth it. * This trail is closed for the foreseeable future because of fire damage, but definitely add it to your list to come back to later!
    Photo: Deborah Lee Soltesz/Coconino National Forest

    There is a shorter hike to Fossil Creek coming through Camp Verde, but the drive to the parking lot is a long drive on a dirt road for 14 miles where 4 wheel drive is preferred.

  • The Strawberry Schoolhouse – if open (call ahead) you can visit the oldest standing schoolhouse in AZ! You can always drive up and check it out if they aren’t open.
  • If you’re staying at the Strawberry Inn take advantage of the outdoor common areas. They have fun lawn games or just sit out and enjoy the weather.

What to Do Near Strawberry, AZ

Strawberry is a great starting point for Rim County adventures. There is so much to do in the area and things to see that make great day trips.  If you don’t mind driving during the day to explore somewhere new here are some things to do that you should check out:

    • Hiking/Outdoors – if you want to hike/walk or see different outdoor areas here are some I recommend:
      • Woods Canyon Overlook is a favorite and will get you some INCREDIBLE Rim views. It’s near Woods Canyon lake, the Mogollon Rim Visitors Center and other trailheads to explore. This whole area is fun to explore on trail or in the open camping areas even if you aren’t camping. Perfect for a picnic. ALWAYS pick up everything you take with you!
      • Blue Ridge Reservoir is a popular kayaking spot and for good reason. It’s unique and gorgeous! It’s a rough dirt road (again) and not much near the water for the kids to explore so unless you’re putting a kayak or other watercraft in, it’s better for sightseeing. You’ll pass by a parking lot for the AZ trail on the way so you can run around there.
      • Tonto Natural Bridge State Park – Tonto Natural Bridge is believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. As of right now, the trails down to the bridge are closed, but there are viewing areas to see the bridge and other things to do/see at the park. Check out their site for the most up-to-date info.
      • First, Second, Third Crossing or Water Wheel – a popular Payson area hike best enjoyed during the week if possible. This hike leads you along the Verde River usually with the goal of seeing the waterfall. Your shortest route will be to park at the Water Wheel parking lot (all lots require cash to park, it’s showing $9 online but we are pretty sure it was posted as $10 when we were just there). Any of these are great to park and explore though, even if you don’t do a full trail.
      • Horton Creek Trail – is another amazing water/creek trail that you can explore as long or as little as you want. Cool water & pine trees… it’s what you go up to Payson for right?!
    • Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery – this is always a fun stop for kids.  You can check the AZ Game & Fish site for the latest info on times it’s open etc.
    • When it’s open you’ll want to check out the Rim Country Museum.
    • Hunt for fossils at this Paleo Dig Site.
    • Shopping – if you like antiquing Payson has some great shops to peruse.

We love to be outdoors even in winter when we’re visiting Strawberry, but we also love relaxing. Lots of enjoying coffee or a glass of wine, reading, card games, and just enjoying getting away.


Allison Waken is the founder, writer, photographer, and content creator of All for the Memories and All for the Boys.

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