Escapes: Where to Beat the Valley Heat

Nothing beats a cool escape — whether it takes you a few hours from home or halfway around the globe. There are a handful of spots to outrun heat, boredom, or cell phone reception in the Valley — and, of course, hundreds worldwide — but we're keeping it to five. Here are a few escapes on our wish list this summer. 

Greer: If you're looking to get back to basics and escape the crowds, Greer is just the place. The little town is in the heart of the White Mountains, and just a few miles north of Pinetop. Don't look for cell phone reception or a Wi-Fi hotspot in this town — it's all about nature. For the avid outdoorsperson, Greer is home to hidden campgrounds, quiet lakes, and trails. And if you're looking for a little more comfort, there are plenty of cabins for rent, ranches that offer horseback riding, and neighborhood bars that'll pour you a pint to soothe your high-tech withdrawals. 

Also in the Summer Guide:

Unusual Cocktails: Put Down That Jack and Coke This Summer

Ethnic Eats: Five Restaurants to Tantalize Your Palate

Summer Movies: Joss Whedon and Much Ado About Nothing

Summer Movies: What's Coming Up

Boutique Fitness: More Than a Boring Old Treadmill

Salvaged Style: What's Old Is New Again

Palm Springs: Nothing beats the summer blues like a good junk hunt, and if you're in the game for a few antiques and some serious design, head to Palm Springs. Just across the Arizona/California border, Palm Springs is a mecca for modern design (it's home to Jonathan Adler-designed Parker Hotel and boasts its own kitschy Ace Hotel). The city has countless antique malls, vintage shops, and storefronts that just might hold your next retro coffee table or irresistible spice rack. And if you're not an avid shopper, there's plenty of hiking (that'll be a little cooler than home) and people watching by the pool. 

Tucson: Forget that old putdown "Nothing-to-Do, Son," because the city has a few gems that are a catch-all for the family and worth the drive (and the stay!). Catch street art and murals painted by a collection of local artists, including Joe Pagac, and visit the growing gallery scene near the warehouse district. Hear live music at the Rialto Theatre, whose lineups rival those of major venues around the country. Check out vintage toys and Mexican folk art on Broadway Road. Chow down on some of the best Mexican food north of the border. And stay in the historic Hotel Congress, which has tile, fixtures, and décor that'll have you drooling before you hit the bar. 

Jerome: Hit the road north if you're looking for a cool art town to wander through. Jerome is home to a winding main street of galleries, restaurants, and saloons that are owned and run by a variety of colorful locals. A stop into Nellie Bly Art Glass is a must, if only to see what the "world's largest kaleidoscope store" is absolutely stocked to the ceiling with, and a breeze through Copper Country Fudge will satisfy your sweet tooth after checking out the incredible views and entertaining community in this mountaintop town.

Antarctica: Sometimes you really need to escape. Antarctica is not for the faint of heart or the easily chilled, but is an absolute must for the true adventurer. Thanks to the travels of Swedish-American explorer Lars-Eric Lindblad in the 1960s, the area has become a destination for those who really, really want to experience the world around them. The trip can range from $3,000 to $30,000, depending on your route, travel company, and overall desired level of comfort, but is well worth the cost if you'd like to do some true pioneering of your own. The continent is reachable by a number of sea cruises, private yachts, and by helicopter, and can include skiing, mountaineering, and trips to the South Pole.

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Claire Lawton
Contact: Claire Lawton