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Great Escapes Arizona

Cover of Great Escapes ArizonaArizona native Teresa Bitler loves her state and her guidebook, Great Escapes Arizona, will make you fall in love with it too.

This compact, easy-to-read travel guide is the perfect companion if you want to do day trips or weekend getaways to this fascinating southwestern part of the U.S. And Bitler makes it all easy. She’s taken the work out of planning and finding the best places to visit in Arizona.

Great Escapes Arizona is divided into five regions: Northern Arizona, North Central Arizona, the Phoenix area, the Tucson area, and Southern Arizona. Within each region, Bitler offers adventures along with all the details that make them easy and doable. For instance, on her chapter on visiting the Grand Canyon, she tells of her disappointment in wanting to take a helicopter tour over the canyon, but failing to make advance reservations. She not only gives sage advice about advance planning, she lists the tour companies with phone numbers and websites so you can research each and book the best tour for you.

A bird's eye view of the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon never fails to impress. It’s grand!

She also gives readers plenty of interesting context for different adventures. In her chapter on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen West and his other important building designs in Arizona, she gives background and details about Wright and his buildings that informs and educates the reader and makes the adventure more meaningful and enjoyable.

Travelers will appreciate the wide range of great escapes Bitler offers. Whether you’re looking for great golf, architectural wonders, historic sites, cultural offerings, or places to shop, it’s all here. She writes about rodeos, dude ranches, meteor craters, hot air ballooning, river tubing, galleries, botanical gardens, cowboys and Indians, and more. She includes things you’ve probably heard of like the Grand Canyon and Route 66 and escapes you’ve never imagined like olive farms in the desert.

Perhaps even more importantly is Bitler’s friendly, personal writing style. Unlike many guidebooks that read more like impersonal telephone books, this guidebook author isn’t afraid to use the first person and talk about her impressions and musings. In her Sedona chapter “Romance Among the Red Rocks,” she writes, “I sipped my Diet Coke on a patio overlooking L’Auberge de Sedona and wondered how to best represent this small, scenic city. As I sat there, my thoughts kept returning to the romantic side of Sedona. That’s when I realized that above all, Sedona was the ideal place to spend time with a loved one.” In her chapter on the Herd Museum and Rawhide, she writes, “As kids growing up in Arizona, we played “cowboys and Indians,” even when it was more popular to play Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica.” These diversions into her own story and process make it seem like you’re being guided by an warm and personable old friend who happens to be a local expert in Arizona.

Real bottom line: If you’re headed to Arizona, no matter what your interest, you’ll surely find great escapes in Great Escapes Arizona. – BH

Great Escapes Arizona is available on Amazon or in retail bookstores.

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Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor

RFT co-founder Bobbie Hasselbring has been a travel junkie her entire life. An award-winning writer and editor for more than 25 years and author of the regional food-travel bestsellers, The Chocolate Lover’s Guide to the Pacific Northwest and The Chocolate Lover’s Guide Cookbook, Bobbie is editor-in-chief at realfoodtraveler.com.