Family Day Trip to Northern Arizona: Filled with Fun (+ a Few Fails)


Northern Arizona

Last week, my family and I decided to head up North for a day trip. I love that there are so many great places to visit in Northern AZ (Sedona & Flagstaff are my faves) within a few hours of the Valley!

On this trip I wanted to visit our family’s cabin to see what shape it was in for future overnight trips, so we decided on the Payson area as our destination. My grandparents bought the cabin (located in Pine) about 30 years ago and it hasn’t been used a lot in the last 10 years or so. We planned on grabbing food in Payson and then heading to the cabin. I thought it would be fun to check out the Strawberry School House and a goat farm while we where there.

Fun: The day started off great. After a smooth drive, we had lunch at a cute café in Payson called the Mogollon Moose. My girls especially loved their almond milk hot cocoas (because it was a chilly 78 degrees, lol)!

Fun: The cabin was our next destination. The girls enjoyed playing in the forest amongst the squirrels and loved the cabin and its “old fashioned” charm (the furniture and the TV are right out of the 90’s). Probably time for an update, or at the very least a cleaning to make this cute cabin overnight ready.


Fun: Next up on the agenda was the  Strawberry School House, which was really neat! As the oldest school house in Arizona, it was built by pioneers in 1885 and students attended until 1916. Luckily, a nice lady was driving by because she had the key to let us in. It turns out her husband’s grandmother attended the school as a child. He saved the building from being torn down when developers came to Strawberry. The girls enjoyed exploring the classroom and learning about the silly school rules, like “teachers may not dress in bright colors.”

Fail: Earlier in the week, I had called the Ranch at Fossil Creek to see if they’d be open that day. They told me they would be, so we headed there after the school house. When we got there the gate was closed and a sign said they’d be back at 2:00pm. There was also a for-sale sign on the property. 

Fun: While we waited, the kids had fun running around in a beautiful wildflower field while we all enjoyed the gorgeous weather. We asked a neighbor about the farm and he thought it had been sold. After waiting about 30 minutes, we decided to head out. We talked with the kids about how sometimes when you go on adventures things don’t go as planned and we were impressed with their ability to be flexible and roll with the situation. 

Fun: When the last plan failed, we were happy to find an ice-cream shop and the adorable Pine Public Library with a kid’s section. The girls loved reading books and making arts and crafts.

Fun: On our way out of Pine, we stopped at one of the river banks of the East Verde River. The girls loved seeing the water up close and we all enjoyed the scenic views.

Fail: As we got in the car to drive home, my stomach started hurting. Oh no! Not good timing for an IBS flare-up! I was in pain the whole drive home, but we made it and I felt better once we got home. We gave the girls a quick bath and they were out like a light (so that was a win!).

Fun: All in all, the day was fun despite a few hiccups along the way. The kids had a great time and that’s what really matters!

Check out these posts for more fun day trip ideas in Northern AZ:


    • Yes, it was beautiful! I agree, it’s so nice to do things that are fun for the whole family. 🙂

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