My 15 month old is the happiest baby. He loves to smile and laugh. He waves at strangers from the shopping cart and blows kisses across the room. Until we are in the car. After forty- five minutes on the road, my sweet little toddler turns into an actual monster. He screams, he cries, he writhes. Every time, it’s like an exorcism is taking place in the backseat. It doesn’t matter how loud I crank the volume on that Moana soundtrack- there is no drowning out his displeasure.
This discovery was not a happy one for me. I love to travel. When summer begins and the temperature skyrockets, I am immediately planning our next vacation to beat the heat. Lucky for us, Arizona has a number of amazing places within a couple of hours. When my parents bought a cabin in Pine a couple of years ago, I knew we were in for a treat. Only twenty minutes outside of Payson, Pine is a small town brimming with things to do. Oh, and the big selling point? It is regularly twenty degrees cooler than here at home. Even my grumpy baby has to admit- it’s worth the ninety minute drive. If you live in the valley, do yourself a favor and journey to this beautiful little town.
Recently renovated and under new ownership, the Strawberry Inn is just outside of Pine in the town of Strawberry. The rooms are darling and affordable. Check out their website. Such a cute spot!
There are so many great rental options out there if you’re looking for a house or a cabin. This would be optimal for large or multiple family vacations.
Oh, the food here. You guys, I have to be here for at least three days to be sure that I get to eat all of my favorite meals.
Old County Inn:
Seriously, the best pizza I’ve ever had. The Old County Inn creates delicious wood fired pizza with locally sourced ingredients. They also serve delicious drinks, which after an hour listening to my one year old scream in the backseat is necessary. It is easy to see why this restaurant is so popular. My favorite pizza is the Pancho. Get it. Trust me.
The Pine Deli:
Literally every single thing I’ve tried here (and it’s been a lot) has been absolutely delicious. These homemade sandwiches and salads are to die for. I never knew bacon before I ate here. I may have eaten here three times in three days the other week. Don’t judge.
The Early Bird Café:
The perfect breakfast spot located on the main road. The Early Bird has a classic diner feel complete with hot mugs of coffee and gigantic pancake servings. This is my three year old’s favorite spot because they top his pancake with sprinkles every time. Worth the sugar high, I promise you.
There are so many amazing hiking spots right around Pine. Specifically, Tonto Natural Bridge and Fossil Creek are only a few minutes away. There are plenty of trails suitable for kids as well. Don’t feel like hiking a trail? Take a walk through town. There are so many cute antique shops along the main road.
Fossil Creek Creamery:
Take your kids here to feed the goats! My three-year-old absolutely loved going to the creamery to pet the goats. I loved going for the fudge. Either way, everyone is bound to find something they enjoy at this adorable little creamery.
Pine/ Strawberry Fire Department:
Okay, so this isn’t necessarily an outing, but every time we walk by the fire station, the crew is so nice! My son has been invited to sit in the fire trucks, turn on the lights, and wear their gear. It’s the small town charm that makes me fall head over heels for this cute little town.
If you’re looking for a quick getaway this summer, I hope that you will take the trek to Pine. Relax and recharge in this sweet little town. Let me know when you go and we’ll meet up! This is where I’ll be stationed all summer.