Its name says it all. Carefree AZ is definitely carefree and laidback. Located located about 30 miles north of Scottsdale, its population is less than 4,000 residents of which many make Carefree a second vacation home. This is a peaceful place of tranquil beauty set in the middle of the Sonoran Desert accented with large granite boulder outcroppings and forests of the stately Saguaro Cactus.
The lovely little town got its start as an upscale residential neighborhood aimed at attracting wealthier folks, thus its strange name and the strange (but pleasant) names of several of its streets – Tranquil Trail, Easy Street, and Ho-and-Hum Roads. Homes here typically set on larger acerage surrounded by wide open spaces. Much of the land is protected preserve with views that can only be described as spectacular.
Carefree is pretty much summed up in the town’s playful motto “Home of Cowboys and Caviar, Where the Old West Meets the New,” which hints at its Western heritage while remaining true to its quiet and laidback atmosphere. Carefree and its next door neighbor of Cave Creek, Arizona combine to create an "odd couple" relationship.
Whereas Carefree is substantially more upscale, Cave Creek still maintains its old west charm from its early frontier days. when it was founded in the 1850s by gold prospectors and cattlemen. Together they play into Carefree's motto of "Home of Cowboys and Caviar" and "Where the Old West Meets the New".
One of the landmark icons of Carefree is the gigantic Carefree Sundial that was erected in 1959. The downtown area was created with the pedestrian in-mind giving easy access to its many boutique shops and art galleries. Most of the town’s shops are somewhat touristy, but this definitely doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to find a perfect piece of local art or a handmade craft for someone back at home. Many an afternoon can be spent lazily strolling from shop to shop.
The Carefree Desert Gardens is a community area that opens its arms wide to visitors from around the globe. Situated just outside of town, the garden boasts a surprising variety of desert flowers and cacti, and is home to a large amphitheater. It you make it into town during one of the many performances held here, you owe it to yourself to stop in for a peek. Local and regional music is a mainstay at the amphitheater and local arts shows are held every now and again.
So Many Restaurants
One of the most surprising aspects of Carefree is its successful restaurant scene. It actually has the most restaurants per resident in the Phoenix metropolitan area. There are a few cheaper options for budget-minded travelers, but most of the restaurants are on the pricier side. Slide down the road in Cave Creek for a different dining experience with its cowboy-style cooking, country music and dancing.
Sightseeing and Recreation
There's plenty to do and see in and around Carefree. Go west and enjoy to feel of the old west in Cave Creek. Head east and visit the ancient Sears K Ancient Indian Ruins or visit Bartlett Lake. The preserves of Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area and Cave Creek Regional Park feature miles and miles of multi-use trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding.
Whether you're visiting the Scottsdale area or a local resident, a visit to Carefree will be a rewarding experience. If you're looking for luxury accommodations and want to stay in Carefree, consider the Carefree Resort & Conference Center. It is tucked into the foothills and its 23 acres is peppered with desert flora. The resort's 234 guest rooms and residential-style villas feature panoramic views of the area.