At first glance, I thought that perhaps Page Springs was nothing more than a blip on the GPS. Boy, was I wrong. What our family discovered was a green oasis that is perfect for vacationing families or couples who just want to relax and discover something off-the-beaten-path in Arizona.
Our home base for our extended weekend in this town was Lo Lo Mai Springs Outdoor Resort. Also known as the “secret oasis,” one might immediately think it’s just a marketing ploy, but this is the real deal. Situated on the banks of Oak Creek, this breathtaking outdoor resort is home to the Lo Lo Mai Springs. This area had been home to the Sinagua Indians, and it’s easy to see why they chose to settle here. If fact, ruins of their lost civilization remain atop the resort’s surrounding hills. The springs are situated on an ancient aquifer of porous rock that contains water. The water from the springs forms a peaceful and picturesque backdrop, which is perfect for evening walks. There are a variety of birds and wildlife that live in the area such as ducks, eagles, heron, owl and other colorful birds that can be seen throughout the year. Some of the wildlife includes squirrels, javelina, fox, raccoons, skunk, beavers and the occasional mountain lion.
What is unique about Lo Lo Mai Springs Outdoor Resort is the matrix of camping opportunities that exist all in one place. Different areas in the resort accommodate tents, RVs and, if need be, plenty of space for large groups. There is also a collection of cabins that sleep 2-6 people. Whatever your camping preference, you can find it here.
Our family particularly liked that we could enjoy some hiking along Oak Creek, and we even discovered a secret spot with a rope swing. Of course our kids took turns swinging out and dropping into Oak Creek. The resort’s pool and spa were a generous size, surrounded by massive Cottonwood and Oak trees. There are also horseshoes, shuffleboard and lots of planned activities on holiday weekends. We have stayed at RV resorts and campgrounds across the Southwest and consider this one as among the best and most picturesque.
There is more to discover in Page Springs. We visited the Page Springs Fish Hatchery, just a few miles from the campground. There is a facility that hatches trout, 700,000 trout per year to be exact, the largest coldwater fish production facility in Arizona. There is a large feeding pond at the end of the hatchery that our kids loved. The entire property is well-maintained, welcomes picnickers and there is free to visitors.
There are also three nearby wineries. Oak Creek Vineyards, Javelina Leap Winery and Page Springs Vineyards are all just a five-minute jaunt from Lo Lo Mai Springs Outdoor Resort. We chose to spend the day at Page Springs Vineyards. With all the lush greenery and terraced hillside, you could almost trick yourself into thinking you’re in Napa Valley.
Page Springs Vineyards and Cellars is open 365 days a year and grows an abundance of Syrah grapes. Some of the wines poured at Page Springs are from grapes grown made at their vineyard wines; some are wines from surrounding wineries and some are even made from grapes from California. The tasting room does allow kids and also offers a nice variety of shared plates and small noshes, including flatbread pizzas, bruschetta and even a scrumptious barrio and fig gelato. The mood in the tasting room is anything but snobby, and the helpful staff were very attentive in explaining the wine flights we ordered.
We enjoyed the White Flight and Red Flight, both of which were well very good, but ultimately decided that we liked the 2012 Colibri Vineyards VR-5 comprised of 50% Viognier (AZ) and 50% Rousanne (AZ). You can bring your own food or you can order up a gourmet picnic basket at the tasting room and take it down to the picnic area, which is situated right over Oak Creek’s rapids. A welcome reprieve, chair massages are offered either creek side or right in the vineyard.
The Arizona wine industry has taken off in the area around Page Springs including Cottonwood, Cornville, and Jerome (about ½ hour away) which boasts no less than 16 wine-tasting rooms. If you head up to Jerome, you’ll discover some intimate tasting rooms and quaint restaurants (don’t miss The Haunted Hamburger)not to mention fantastic views!
With the wine industry gaining momentum, you just might want to head to Page Springs for a relaxing camping experience and wine discovery tour all at the same time!
Native Arizonan Lynette Carrington is an award-winning freelance writer and currently contributes to more than 30 publications in-state and nationwide. She loves Arizona and the many diverse travel and cultural opportunities our state presents to locals and visitors. Lynette is a part of the Arizona Office of Tourism's Guest Blogger Program.