Oracle, AZ

Oracle day trip can include wildlife sightings, diverse cuisine, scenic sunsets, and high wire ziplining

Amy L. Young

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Break for wildlife in Oracle, AZJoe Sohm / Visions of America / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

By Amy Young / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ

(Pinal County, AZ) Arizona’s metropolitan areas like Phoenix and Tucson are loaded with things to do, each with many city-style activities, from professional sports games to concerts that pack arenas with fans. Sometimes, you want a more chill vibe.

Day trips are the perfect way to take a break from the hustle, whether you want to recharge or soak up the offerings of a new environment. Oracle, Arizona, is an excellent location to

The town that refers to itself as “quirky” and once housed a mine owned by Old West legend Buffalo Bill Cody is only 35 miles north of Tucson, but there’s no question that you’ve left city life behind. It sits at the bottom of the Catalina Mountains, at an elevation of more than 4,000 feet. While it can heat up in the summer months, it rarely breaks the 100-degree mark on the thermometer like plenty of other Arizona regions.

Oracle State Park is adjacent to the town, and it offers visitors plenty to do. Hiking — or biking — its trails, of course, is one way to explore the park. From short and easy treks to walks that require a little more energy and experience, there are 15 miles worth of trails. Another way you can make your way down a path at this park is by horse — look for the designated equestrian trails.

If you’re at the park at night, stargazing is an optimum choice — it’s been named an International Dark Sky Park Designation by the International Dark-Sky Association. Views of the stars here are exceptional.

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Wu Yongbing / VCG via Getty Images

Arizona Zipline Adventures provides another view of the Sonoran Desert – from the air as you slide across their high wires.

Your time in Oracle doesn’t have to include outdoor sports. Shoppers can hunt for treasures at shops like Dasch Inn Thrift Shop, Sue & Jerry’s Trading Post, or Imagination Plaza. Triangle L gift shop features a mix of locally handcrafted art and objects.

Food is probably on your trip menu, and Oracle has options to suit different tastes. The Oracle Patio Café is a breakfast and lunch joint, while Casa Rivera presents a lengthy menu of Mexican favorites. Nonna Maria’s Ristorante & Pizzeria has several classic Italian dishes, from lasagna to linguini with clams. Chile rellenos, burritos, and flautas are on the list.

Ore House Hilltop Tavern offers 16 beers on tap, focusing on Arizona breweries. Hang outside for gameplay, like horseshoes, giant Jenga, ping pong, and pool. Or kick back and enjoy the scenery.

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Biosphere 2 Ecological BiomeCamerique / Getty Images

The Acadia Ranch Museum is one way to dig into the area’s cultural history via a series of items and displays. Life Under the Oaks Lavender Farm is where you can hear live music and relax in a field of lavender. Oracle is also the home of Biosphere 2, an Earth system research facility with a unique, futuristic design. Tours may be affected by COVID-19, but guided app tours are available.

Size-wise, Oracle is one of Arizona’s smaller towns, but it offers a wealth of things to see and do when you take the journey.

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Amy Young is a Phoenix-based journalist with 10+ years of experience. Regionally, she has worked at AZCentral/Arizona Republic, Phoenix New Times, Java Magazine, and spent more than three years as the Editor-in-Chief of Echo Magazine. She has written for numerous publications including AltPress, Southwest Contemporary, Paste, PBS' Next Avenue, and Time Out New York. She has also co-hosted a weekly radio show and two podcasts.

Phoenix, AZ
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