Arizona is famous for its desert and warm climate. What many people who have not been to the state do not know is that while there are places in the state that reach triple digit-temperatures for almost four months, and while a dry climate exists in most places, Arizona is not one big, hot desert. Phoenix, the capital city, definitely fits the hot, dry stereotypical desert. Reaching 100 degrees over 100 days per year, Phoenix gets less than nine inches of rain annually. Locals joke about having two seasons: summer, and extreme heat. While this is an exaggeration (Phoenix does go below freezing a few days each year), the weather truly is like summer for about two-thirds of the year.
However, Phoenix is not the entire state. The southern third of Arizona has weather that is as hot or hotter than the capital. In fact the record high of 128 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded in Lake Havasu City, near the California border. But, move north and the scene changes. Desert scrub gives way to the world’s largest stand of Ponderosa Pine trees. The edge of the Colorado Plateau, which is known as the Mogollon rim, runs diagonally from the northwest to the eastern edge of Arizona, and means that the northern two thirds of the state are 2000 to 5000 feet higher than the southern third. Indeed, the bottom of the Grand Canyon is higher elevation than Phoenix.
The mountainous band across the middle of the state offers a cool respite from summer heat. On weekends in summer, the major interstate highways leading north and upward out of Phoenix are often jammed with urban dwellers seeking a relief from the relentless inferno. Instead of the 110s common in the valley, Flagstaff and other mountain communities typically only reach 90 or so, with 70s and 80s being more common. Also, the low humidity means that even a day in the high 80s or low 90s feels cool.
Many Phoenix residents maintain a second home or a cabin in the woods. Alternatively, some Flagstaff residents might maintain a second home in Phoenix. However, this can be expensive, especially since recent years have seen Phoenix home prices skyrocket. A more financially sound option is to use one of the many Arizona RV parks, and only have one permanent residence. RV parks in Arizona are often located near the highways, such as the I-17 that connects Phoenix and Flagstaff, to make it easy for residents to commute back and forth.
By maintaining a permanent home, while also keeping a residence at an Arizona RV park, it is possible to enjoy near-perfect weather all year round, while keeping costs down. Although an RV will not gain value, the initial outlay is much less; furthermore, the recent housing crisis has meant that homes may not always gain value, at least over a short-term period. Thus, RVs are the way to go.