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Discover the Phoenix You Never Knew Existed   by Caitlin Moore

Smack dab in the middle of the state of Arizona is a city known for many things; it's busy and bustling, filled with diverse activities, and as a vacation destination, it's hot in more ways than one. If you've yet to visit the Phoenix, also known as the "Valley of the Sun," then consider gracing it with your presence sometime soon in order to see what all the fuss is about.

Central Arizona may evoke images of cacti and vast stretches of dry sand, but even though this is the site of the Sonoran Desert it's not at all desolate. Dams have made it possible for recreational lakes to exist, and a few sets of mountains give the landscape a beautiful touch. Take a look around you; each direction will reveal a different, spectacular view that is surely unlike any other you currently have access to.

Most Phoenicians love, or at least have grown accustomed to, very hot weather. There's no use in pretending otherwise that this city is pretty darn steamy (especially in the summer), so if you're more of a cool, rainy day person then Phoenix may not be right for you. If you crave the feeling of warmth and sun year-round, however, this is the place to be.

Winter in Phoenix attracts golfers and cold-haters by the hundreds and allows for outdoor activities to go on pretty much unimpeded. Frost is rare and snow is rarer, meaning that Northerners will be happy to escape the cruel breath of Mother Nature for a while when they head to the Southwest. From professional sports teams to amusement parks, this city knows how to take advantage of what they have. Vacations are all about escape, and making your way to a climate that permits fun and frivolity all year round will enhance the much-sought after getaway that you certainly deserve.

For example, where else is it possible to see a Desert Botanical Garden filled with exotic flora and fauna before stopping by a historic mansion known as Mystery Castle, then finishing off the afternoon with a game of tennis and a delicious meal at a gourmet restaurant? The next day, add some culture to the mix by viewing modern and classic art, ride a rollercoaster and go for a hike on Camelback Mountain. A movie or a play will entertain you in the evening, and then a nightcap at a happening new club will ensure that wonderful feeling of stress-free contentment is achieved.

Phoenix's imposing size and ever-increasing edge as a mecca for tourists means that a number of special events can be enjoyed throughout the year. Thus, in addition to shopping, spa-going and golfing, be sure to save room in your schedule for a concert, a farmer's market, a wine tasting or an art show. There's always something going on in this desert oasis, so check the calendar to discover something that will take things up another notch.

Family fun and choices will define a trip to Phoenix, or if it's just you and your significant other, allow yourselves to be whisked away by the warmth and the energy of this haven for harried souls. Breathe deeply (you'll notice the air feels delightfully different) and be thankful for a break from the rapid pace of daily life.

To truly take advantage of this desert retreat, think about renting a vacation condo or town home. These luxurious, often affordable properties are plentiful in Phoenix and would make a lovely accent to any trip. Patios, kitchen appliances, a washer and dryer plus more than enough space in a modern and convenient setting make for the perfect home base. Explore Phoenix with a light in your eyes and a bounce in your step knowing that you have a cozy place to call your own.

When it's time for a vacation, it's time for a vacation. Treat yourself to a good trip (you know you deserve it) and make sure you do it the right way. The vibrant city will distract you from your worries and your Phoenix Vacation Rental will pamper you just the way you like. Start packing your bags, because the moment of your escape has finally arrived.

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