Our Weekend Exploring Chino Valley, AZ

This past weekend, Adam and I went exploring around a town in Arizona we had never visited before. Check out all of the details from our weekend exploring town, and see what there is to do in Chino Valley, Arizona!

Over the weekend, Adam and I decided to make a road trip up north to explore a part of Arizona we had not visited before. 

Northern Arizona is always raved about when it comes to places like Sedona, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon. But one part of Arizona we do not tend to hear about is Chino Valley. Chino Valley is located in Yavapai County and just an hour and a half north of Phoenix, so it is an ideal location for those seeking a weekend vacation idea that does not require a plane ticket for each member of the family. When it comes to a weekend getaway, there is plenty to do and see in Chino Valley and just outside of town. 

Our weekend staycation exploring Chino Valley was relaxing, quiet, and a breath of fresh air. Keep reading to see all of the details from our visit including our perfect stay overnight at Primrose Inn and Suites,  our burger lunch at Lucy's Bar and Grill, our wine tasting at Granite Creek Vineyards, our dinner at Pasghettis Pasta Joint, and our visit to the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary. 

After our relatively short drive up from our home in Phoenix, we arrived in Chino Valley and found a spot to stop and eat lunch. 

While we were driving around town and getting our first impressions of Chino Valley, Adam spotted a roadside bar, Lucy's Bar and Grill, that said they had the 'best' burgers in town. We both looked at each other in agreement, and then we pulled off the side of the road and hopped out. 

Lucy's Bar and Grill roadside bar was much cleaner and more friendly than I had anticipated it would be, and the bartender who was also working as the server was very kind and offered us all kinds of recommendations from the menu as well as what to do and see around town. We already knew before we entered the bar that we wanted to try their burgers--and our favorite between both that we tried was the "Drunken Cowboy." We learned that a few other favorites from the menu that are most commonly ordered include the "Dude" burger, as well as the "Bottlecap" burger. We agree that if you are headed to Chino Valley, a stop for burgers at Lucy's is an absolute must for your travel itinerary!

When our room was ready after lunch, we headed down the road and made our way over to Primrose Inn and Suites and checked into our suite. 

For our weekend staycation at Primrose Inn and Suites, we opted to indulge a little bit and we wanted to stay in their Casita Suite. Our room, the Casita Suite, had a fully stocked kitchen and a private patio, which we thought would be ideal for staying up in Chino Valley since we liked the idea of being able to run to the store to find a few groceries to prepare our own meals, lounge around in our pajamas, and just enjoy breakfast together and starting the day relaxing and taking things at a slower pace.  

We also elected to get the Celebration Package add-on that they offer at Primrose Inn and Suites (which includes fresh flowers, a bottle of cider, two glasses, and a sweet chocolate treat. Between the Celebration Package and a few other thoughtful personalized touches in our room, we felt truly welcome and like we were well-received guests of an intimate, community-run inn that has a pulse on the warm and country feel of the Chino Valley community! 

Once we got all of our bags settled into our room, we freshened up and made our way out to Granite Creek Vineyards for an afternoon wine tasting. 

Only a 5 minutes drive from Primrose Inn and Suites, we arrived at Granite Creek Vineyards to check in for our wine tasting on the property. We found out that every Saturday they have live music starting at 1pm. We suggest while you enjoy your wine tasting that you also make sure to have a bite to eat and take advantage of the lunch menu that they offer at Granite Creek Vineyards. 

Granite Creek Vineyards was the busiest place we saw in town, and it looked like a variety of locals and out-of-towners were taking advantage of the live music, the wine tasting, and the catering truck. There were a handful of wines you could do a sampling of, and Adam and I opted to get one red and one white. We made sure to try their new vintage, the Prairie Sun Pinot Gris, which was clean and crisp. For the red, we tried their 2014 Pinot Noir which we both preferred out of the two. We explored the vineyard grounds a bit, did some people watching, had a snack from the catering truck, and listened to the live music while we relaxed and took in the serene and kicked back setting.

With our bellies full from doing a bit of wine tasting and eating some snacks at the vineyard from the catering truck (and sitting for an hour or so listening to the live music), we made the quick journey back to our room at Primrose Inn and Suites. We opted to cuddle up and relax in our room and get some rest, and then we got dressed and ready for dinner.

For dinner, we had a reservation at Pasghettis Pasta Joint. Adam ordered bruschetta to start the meal, and I opted to try their stuffed meatballs. Then, Adam ordered chicken carbonara penne and I had the creamy tomato chicken. The portions were large, the wine was reasonably priced, and the food was good. While it was not our favorite meal in Chino Valley, if you are headed up to Chino Valley for a staycation, it is definitely an option for dinner if you are specifically in the mood for Italian food. 

After dinner, Adam and I went back to Primrose Inn and Suites and grabbed our smores supplies and made our way to the communal outdoor patio at the fire pit. We sat for a while talking, roasting marshmallows, and enjoying the crisp, evening air of Chino Valley. 

In the morning, we did a little bit of relaxing, but ultimately we packed up our belongings and went back out into town to do some more exploring. All around town there are numerous farms, ranches, and fields. Horses, cows, sheep, and chickens were around every corner and it was just fun to enjoy the country life here in Arizona for a couple of days! We stopped to take some photos of the gorgeous, long beautiful valley roads that go on and on for miles and sat on the roof of our car talking and enjoying our second cup of coffee. Then, we made our way over about 20 minutes to the Heritage Park Zoo Sanctuary. 

Heritage Park Zoo Sanctuary, only 20 minutes from Primrose Inn and Suites, is a non-profit wildlife sanctuary that cares for the conservation and protection of numerous wildlife. Large mammals, small mammals, hoofstock, birds, reptiles, and invertebrates make up the roster of the wildlife cared for at Heritage Park Zoo Sanctuary. A few of our favorites we had a chance to see while we visited were the peacock and the Bengal tiger. 

If you are planning on visiting Heritage Park Zoo Sanctuary, we recommend you visit between 10-11am. During our visit, we learned that this is typically when the animals are fed. Animals are usually more active, therefore easily seen, right before they are about to be fed. 

After we left Chino Valley, we agreed we both felt refreshed and that we fulfilled our wanderlust without having to pack a suitcase and jump on a plane. For anyone looking for a small town, country-vibe place to stay for the weekend, we recommend you consider Chino Valley and we highly recommend you stay at Primrose Inn and Suites! A couple of our favorite features of Primrose Inn and Suites worth mentioning include the outdoor coffee bar, as well as the relaxing fire-pit sitting area. 

At night, it was romantic and beautiful to sit by the fire with the string lights above us. Living in the heart of Phoenix, we never really remember what it feels like to sit in the peace and quiet until we remove ourselves from the city life and escape to the more rural areas. We couldn't get over how serene and peaceful it was, and we sat at the fire enjoying smores and just talking with one another for an hour or so until we retreated back to our suite.

In the morning, we had the choice to either make a cup of coffee in our suite or walk over to the outdoor coffee bar. Since we had plans to get moving and go to the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary, we opted to have coffee in our suite before checking out. But next time we come up to the area and stay at Primrose Inn and Suites, we will for sure be taking advantage of the outdoor coffee bar and sitting outside and relaxing in their comfortable courtyard area.

Adam and I have stayed at a number of smaller inns, motels, and bed and breakfasts over the years. We agree that while Primrose Inn and Suites looks like an ordinary roadside inn from the outside, it is truly a relaxing, rustic, and welcoming inn that has just enough of the modern necessities that you need to feel comfortable (while also restricting amenities larger hotels may have, so you are forced into relaxing and taking things at a slower pace). So, if you want to unplug and feel off the grid for a couple of days, hear the sound of birds chirping, and escape the city life in and around Phoenix, we recommend you consider making Chino Valley your next weekend staycation destination. 

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Thank you to everyone in Chino Valley who made us feel welcome and helped make our staycation a success--and thank you to some of these Chino Valley establishments for hosting us during our travels around town! 


  1. It sounds like you guys had such a good time! I have been wanting to go to Arizona for a while now.

  2. This would be our kind of weekend to get away and enjoy ourselves. Beautiful scenery to enjoy and explore. Great food and comfort to enjoy all the time.

  3. What a great weekend getaway! The food looks so delicious and those S'mores look amazing! Chino Valley sounds like a great place to get away from it all and enjoy a weekend exploring and getting a little R&R. Those burgers - yum!!

  4. It's been several years since I've been to Arizona, but your pictures are so pretty they make me want to plan a return trip!

  5. A friend of the family is getting married there in a couple of weeks and I can't wait to see it! I have traveled all over the state but this is one of the few places I have yet to be!

  6. We are heading to Arizona in March. I wonder if this is close to Sedona? If so, I'm so there!

    1. Oh fun! So since there isn't a freeway that directly connects the two (there are mountains in-between Chino Valley and Sedona), it would be about an hour and a half drive from Sedona to Chino Valley.

  7. It is nice when you can find a place near home to explore. Chino seemed to have it all when you want a weekend getaway.

  8. It's all so beautiful there. I don't want to downplay any of it... BUT... the only thing I can concentrate on is that burger. (I'm not kidding)

  9. What a beautiful area to explore. I love all your photos. This place looks so peaceful. I need to get here one day.

  10. This look like it was such a fun and also relaxing trip. I like the must do list!

  11. I would love to go here for a little getaway. It looks like you had a great time and that burger looks delicious!

  12. Now that would be a place I would love to visit. The food and wine looks very tempting and the nature atmosphere is amazing.

  13. Wow, these are some stunning images. I would love to go there someday. Even the food looks amazing. I would love to give that burger a try, yum!

  14. What a fun and relaxing vacation. We love visiting Arizona so many great places to check for not to mention the breathtaking scenery of the canyon and red rocks.

  15. This looks lovely. That burger has quite the hunk of onion on it. I am much more into this type of place than a beach.

  16. I am so glad you got to really enjoy this trip. Arizona is such a gorgeous state.

  17. Wow it looks pretty lovely like a really great place to see and explore! I’d love to visit! - Jeanine

  18. I'm so excited. We have a trip planned in February and I will be checking out the Primrose Inn and Suites along with a few other recommendations.


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