Travel Nursing Stories: My Favorite Parts About Living In Arizona
By Alex McCoy, Contributing Writer, Owner of Fit Travel Life
When people ask me what my favorite travel nurse assignment location has been so far, I always tell them Phoenix. We have now been lucky enough to spend two winters in the southwest and do not regret circling back to this location one bit. From hiking to good food to national treasures, there is an abundance of activities to keep you busy no matter what the season.
Even as it begins to heat up, we have still found plenty to do, and even joked that Phoenix would be the one place we may have considered settling down permanently. Here are just a few reasons we really love this area of the country.
You can experience a variety of climates within a short distance.
While Phoenix winter can’t be beat (75 and sunny 95% of the time–what could go wrong?) it does get pretty toasty during the summer, with temperatures already creeping into the double digits in mid-May.
However, just take a short trip up to Flagstaff or Sedona (about two hours away) and you will find temperatures are back to a much more comfortable range. In the winter months, you can even head that direction for skiing and other cold-weather fun if that’s your thing. We love the fact that we’ve been able to take a break from warm weather one day then go back to soaking in the pool the next day.
There are trails galore–even in the cities.
While a lot of states are known for hiking, Arizona is particularly impressive in that you do not have to drive all that far to experience some awesome hiking. In Phoenix alone there is South Mountain Park, Camelback Mountain, and Piestewa Peak in the actual city limits.
Take a drive down any major highway and you will find that there are opportunities to get out and explore in just about any direction. From the Painted Desert to the Superstition Wilderness to Grand Canyon National Park, no matter which area of the state you visit you will have no problem finding somewhere to get out and move.
There are a ton of delicious local restaurants.
Some of the best food I have ever eaten has been during our times in Phoenix. Of course you can find amazing Mexican food and margaritas, but the culinary experiences don’t end with the delicious Mexican food.
Simply look at the list for the Arizona Restaurant Week coming up and you will see that just about any palate can be satisfied by the local fare in the area. On our trip to Tucson, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the neighboring city followed this trend. While I expected there to be a variety of food as in any big city, I have been blown away by the quality of just about every place we have eaten on our nights out.
It is an easy drive to a lot of fun cities and attractions.
Some of the best photo ops in the country can be found in the state of Arizona. Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and the Grand Canyon are within an hour or so of each other. Zion National Park is just across the Arizona-Colorado border. The beautiful falls of Havasupai are also close (if you can snag a permit) and this doesn’t even touch on all of the scenery in some of the protected areas like the Tonto National Forest.
And if you aren’t big into the outdoors, San Diego or Las Vegas are also a quick weekend trip away. Whether you are craving sunshine, beach life or some gambling time, Arizona is a great centrally located spot to mix up your entertainment on your days off.
The people are friendly.
While Phoenix and Tucson have a lot of the perks of big cities, the people there haven’t shifted into the larger city coolness I have experienced in other large cities.
My husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed our coworkers while living in Arizona, and have also found it easy to make friends both at work and outside of work. We have been lucky enough to stay pretty busy with our social lives and have been active in our gym, met coworkers for evenings out, and joined sports leagues while we were here with ease. As a travel nurse, living away from familiar faces can be tough so it’s always nice to live in an area with people who are willing to embrace the newbies as they come along.
My biggest takeaway is don’t let the heat or desert life scare you away.
Living in Arizona has shown me that there is so much more to the southwest than cacti and sand. The landscape is actually quite varied and beautiful, there are a variety of climates to experience, and the food can’t be beat.
Whether you are looking for a fun, thriving vibe in a travel location or a great place to connect with the outdoors, Arizona has something to offer you. You will stay busy on your days off and feel welcomed by staff, which are two things we have greatly appreciated during our time here.
Alex McCoy currently works as a pediatric travel nurse. She has a passion for health and fitness, which led her to start Fit Travel Life in 2016. She travels with her husband, their cat, Autumn and their dog, Summer. She enjoys hiking, lifting weights, and trying the best local coffee and wine.
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