A fun Southwestern retreat just north of Phoenix and Scottsdale, with beautiful mountain viewsPlaying paddleball, or tennis in one of the five championship courts
Learning about the history of the resort, which was once frequented by Lucille Ball, Bob Hope and Dick van Dyke
Exploring the desert flora at the property’s on-site botanical garden or the nearby Carefree Desert Gardens
Driving out to Phoenix, Sedona or the Grand Canyon for the day
What To Know
The resort has beautiful grounds with a pool area, fire pit, and desert landscape
Rooms could use a little updating, but are clean and have a cowboy feel
A room with your own private balcony or patio at a laid-back resort in the sun-kissed Arizona desert
Yes, there’s an Arizona town called Carefree, and yes, its thoroughfares have names like Tranquil Trail and Lazy Lane. Get a taste of the happy-go-lucky living at what was the first destination resort in town and once hosted such luminaries as Lucille Ball, Bob Hope and Dick van Dyke. Carefree Resort & Conference Center may be located on Mule Train Road, but with its extensive array of leisure offerings and activities, it could just as well be on Easy Street (which is, incidentally, just a few blocks away). Five lighted championship tennis matches, a wildflower-studded botanical garden and a serenity-inspired pool all appear on this property, and there are even paddles for pick-up games of pickleball.
You’ll also find a desert-inspired spa on these 23 acres, as well as a restaurant and bar that serves burgers and brews. For more help in the relaxation department, a private balcony or patio is included with every accommodation. And then there’s the rest of Carefree, which really is a place to forget your troubles and get happy. You can visit yet another botanical garden, the all-new Carefree Desert Gardens, showcasing hundreds of cacti, or watch for wildlife at expansive Bartlett Lake. Take a light, one-mile walk through the ruins at Sears Kay or a more strenuous trek around Cave Creek Regional Park. Within an hour are the red rocks of Sedona and the Phoenix mountains, too, if you’re up for a day trip – just set out towards Rambling Road, and you’ll be on your merry way.
Good to know
Please note that a resort fee of $12 (plus tax) per room, per night is payable directly to the hotel. The resort fee includes Wi-Fi in rooms and common areas, access to the fitness center, complimentary USA Today newspaper and a local, hourly shuttle within a three-mile radius.
Each of the 218 rooms at Carefree Resort boasts its own private patio or balcony, with fantastic views of the desert landscape. For your convenience, a tea- and coffeemaker and complimentary Wi-Fi are also included.
Chow down on Southwestern fare at Lariat Restaurant and Lounge, which is open for three meals a day, every day. Steaks, burgers and beers are all on the menu here, along with several seafood options. Come on a Saturday night to catch the piano stylings of Jay Steinberg, an accomplished musician and composer.
You can pamper your mind, body and spirit with a massage, body treatment or skincare therapy at The Spa at Carefree.
Pass your days in the desert at 23-acre Carefree Resort’s championship tennis courts, swimming in one of the pools, wandering around the botanical gardens or playing pickleball with the paddles that it keeps on hand. Or, take a trip around this historic artist’s colony, stopping at such destinations as Bartlett Lake; one of the 200-plus local golf courses; or the Spur Cross Stables, for a horseback ride. A bit farther out are the red rocks of Sedona, with Phoenix less than an hour away.