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Discover 8 Charming Small Towns near Phoenix Arizona – 2022 Update

We found the best small towns near Phoenix Arizona that offer a relaxing life, yet are close to the big city so that you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

If you are cut out for the heat and dry desert climate, then Arizona will be your land of dreams. Home to the Grand Canyon, red rocks of Sedona, the Hoover Dam, and tons of cacti, the Copper State sure does offer a special flavor. 

That flavor is especially strong in the small towns across the desert. If you’ve had enough of the hectic, big city lifestyle, then moving to a small town near Phoenix Arizona will be a blessing.

These quaint little towns offer a slow and steady way of life so you really get to experience every moment and indulge in time spent with family and friends.

They are also a great day-trip from Phoenix for travelers looking to experience the historic charm of Old Arizona and historic mining towns that are right out of the Wild Wild West.

So, let’s dive into this guide of the best small towns near Phoenix Arizona so that you know where to relocate or visit next.

Best Small Towns near Phoenix Arizona – Methodology 

On our quest to find the best small towns near Phoenix Arizona, we used several different sources to help develop our evaluation.

First, we looked for towns that were no more than a 1 hour drive away from downtown Phoenix.

Then, we rated all the small towns within that radius on several key indicators that constitute what a good small town should offer, which include:

  • Entertainment Options
  • Arts and Culture Experiences
  • Cost of Living
  • Home Prices & Availability
  • Quality of Schools
  • Crime Rates
  • Overall Appeal

We then added up all of the scores to uncover the best towns in this part of Arizona. So, let’s see the results of our unbiased and objective evaluation of the best small cities near Phoenix Arizona.

The 8 Best Small Towns near Phoenix Arizona in 2022

8. Gold Canyon

small-towns-near-phoenix-arizona-Gold-Canyon

Population: 9,616
Distance from Phoenix: 40 minutes

Location: Check on Google Maps

Gold Canyon is only 40 minutes east of Phoenix and is situated right by the Superstition Mountains and Tortilla Flat in Pinal County. 

With a population of just 9,616 residents, it is a top choice for many homebuyers due to its vast housing market, many outdoor activities to choose from, and beautiful scenery that surround the town.

You can also relax in Gold Canyon as the crime rates here are 65% below the Arizona average.

Additionally, Gold Canyon is an excellent stop for tourists as it is home to the annual Arizona Renaissance Festival and the town is well-known for its golf courses and spa.

7. Queen Valley

Population: 712
Distance from Phoenix: 1 hour

Location: Check on Google Maps

Queen Valley is conveniently located down the road from Gold Canyon and is only one hour away from Phoenix. This tiny town of just over 700 residents is mostly known for its rural living and the Queen Valley Golf Course that is found right in the center of town.

It is also quite a safe town, as crime rates are 36% lower here than the Arizona average.

If you like inexpensive living, it’s good to know that the overall living cost is 7% lower than the Arizona average and real estate prices are 40% below average as well.

For those of you with kids, this town also offers good schools that received an A grade from AreaVibes.

It’s also pretty sunny, with 292 days of sunshine per year on average

6. Wittmann

Population: 361
Distance from Phoenix: 45 minutes

Location: Check on Google Maps

Wittmann is the smallest town on this list, making it one of the best small towns near Phoenix Arizona for those looking for a truly intimate community where you can learn everyone’s name.

This rural area is just 45 minutes northwest of Phoenix, so you can easily access all the amenities that the big city has to offer while living in a more affordable and relaxed environment.

Speaking of costs, Wittmann features real estate prices that are 100% lower than the Arizona average as well as numerous new luxury builds that offer tons of space and privacy.

If you and your family are looking to move, this wonderful place features a warm and cozy 296 sunny days per year and has excellent schools that received an A+ rating from AreaVibes.

5. Cave Creek

small-towns-near-phoenix-arizona-Cave-Creek

Population: 5,275
Distance from Phoenix: 35 minutes

Location: Check on Google Maps

Cave Creek is an affluent and Wild West-like suburb that is only 35 minutes directly north of Phoenix, making it a perfect stop for visitors as well as residents of Phoenix.

The town offers plenty of entertainment and things to do that it shares with neighboring Carefree, Arizona (which is the next town on our list).

You can enjoy a balloon ride or go hiking, biking, and horseback riding through the terrains of the Sonoran Desert.

You can also stop by one of the many local restaurants, art galleries, and western stores that are on the main street running through Cave Creek.

Not only is Cave Creek fun, but it is also safe. The city of Cave Creek has 67% lower crime rates compared to the Arizona average.

4. Carefree

Population: 3,580
Distance from Phoenix: 40 minutes

Location: Check on Google Maps

As if the name of this town didn’t speak for itself, we put Carefree pretty high on our list of favorite small towns near Phoenix Arizona.

Carefree is located right next to Cave Creek about 40 minutes north of Phoenix and is renowned for the natural beauty that is located in and around the area, including the beautiful Carefree Desert Gardens oasis right in the heart of town.

The town itself features numerous boutiques, specialty stores, and many cozy coffee shops that are always filled with local residents and visitors. 

It is also rated as one of the best places to retire in Arizona.

Meanwhile, Carefree is a good place to feel secure at all times, with crime rates that are 81% lower than the Arizona average

Finally, it surprisingly offers a strong job market that is predicted to experience some tremendous future job growth as well.

3. Superior

Population: 2,895
Distance from Phoenix: 1 hour

Location: Check on Google Maps

Life in Superior, Arizona does come with some superior benefits. This town has a population of just under 3,000 residents and is located about 1 hour east of downtown Phoenix.

The cost of living in this town is 15% lower than the state average, which is driven by real estate prices that are 57% below average.

In fact, the average price of a home here is around $150,000 to $170,000.

The best part about Superior is its easy access to nature. It is located at the base of the Apache Leap Mountains and is also near the Tonto National Forest, which provides residents and visitors with a great base for hikes and sightseeing.

This old mining town also features many things to do around town, including its quaint historic districts and the World’s Smallest Museum.

2. Verrado

Population: 3,352
Distance from Phoenix: 30 minutes

Location: Check on Google Maps

We think that Verrado is one of Arizona’s true hidden gems. This newly developed area is one of the best small towns near Phoenix Arizona to visit or relocate to due to its close proximity to Phoenix and its beautiful master-planned community.

Verrado is actually located in the city of Buckeye and is situated in the foothills of the White Tank Mountains just 30 minutes west of Phoenix.

With a population of 3,352 residents, it is a perfect choice for families who want to live in a small, tight-knit community with cozy tree-lined streets, tons of amenities, and plenty of entertainment options right outside their doorstep.

It also offers a nice change of pace for visitors looking for a place with “genuine small town charm.” There is a walkable main street district that features a handful of top-caliber restaurants, chic cafes, retail stores, and local boutiques.

There are also 78 neighborhood parks scattered across Verrado, including the central Village Green that has become a gathering place for the community to come together.

1. Wickenburg

small-towns-near-phoenix-arizona-Wickenburg

Population: 6,766
Distance from Phoenix: 1 hour

Location: Check on Google Maps

Wickenburg tops our list as the best small town near Phoenix Arizona. This historic community is located about 1 hour northwest of Phoenix and offers a surprising number of things to do for such a small place.

Wickenburg became a popular mining town in the mid-1800s and today continues to be a beautiful reminder of the Old West. This preserved community features a historic downtown district with cute restaurants, boutiques, and period shops as well as several museums and cowboy ranches.

It is also located right next to the Sonoran Desert, so it is the perfect starting point for hiking and star-gazing across its vast, light-free landscape.

Potential residents will also be happy to hear that crime rates here are 7% below the Arizona average and the cost of living is 3% below the rest of the state.

Additionally, its job market is on the rise, with job growth in the next 10 years predicted to be much higher than the US average.

Small Towns near Phoenix – Summary

It’s hard to resist the charm of all of these small towns near Phoenix Arizona. We’ve chosen the best of the best for you to check out:

  1. Wickenburg
  2. Verrado
  3. Superior
  4. Carefree
  5. Cave Creek
  6. Wittmann
  7. Queen Valley
  8. Gold Canyon

They are all close to Phoenix, so you can easily reach them if you are visiting. You can also easily make the trip to Phoenix if you decide to relocate to one of these places and get bored of small-town living.