Fun in the Desert!

I’ve been to Florence, Italy, and now I can say I’ve been to a Florence, Arizona. Both beautiful in their own unique way. How we ended up in Florence , AZ is was somewhat random, but when on vacation you just go with the flow.

In the days leading up to our family getaway, I searched Arizona events online and came across the Desert Lantern Festival in Florence. By the looks of the pictures on the website, it looked like something right out of the movie Rapunzel. How cool would that be?

Once in Arizona, we decided to make the hour journey to Florence for the festival, but we also looked up other adventures we could partake while there. This was when we came across AZ Rentals and More, an outfit that rents ATVs for half and full day use. Bring it on!!!

We rented a Polaris RZR XP 1000 and headed toward Box Canyon. Box Canyon is a unique narrow steep walled canyon that use to be a stagecoach route. Not knowing what to expect, we headed out with a blurry map and a full of gas.

Cruising down Price Road at 35 miles per hour had the wind pressing firmly against our faces. Once on the trail, the wind wasn’t the concern, but rather the dust. Clive had the need for speed, and donuts! As a backseat driver to the core, I was surprisingly calm as he showed his ‘man’ strength spinning out in the desert. Cara, on the other hand was less than impressed, while JT cheered his dad on.

Hills and cactus lined the trails along the way to Box Canyon. Definitely a sight I’ll never forget.

Box Canyon itself was absolutely beautiful. The trail was rocky and the walls were steep, but the sight was unlike anything I’ve ever seen.

If ever in Florence, AZ, be sure to trek to Box Canyon.

As mentioned, the Desert Lantern Festival was something I came across by fluke and I’m so happy I did as its unlike anything I’ve seen.

Our stomachs were grumbling when we arrived so we be-lined for the food trucks. Coincidentally one smell lead us all to Gibson’s Smokehouse. The kids got smoked mac and cheese, while Clive had smoked mac and cheese with brisket and I had smoke mac and cheese with pulled pork. OMG, it was beyond delicious! Who would’ve thought… my mouth is watering just thinking about it. I’ll definitely be trying to recreate it once we’re back home.

We had fun designing our lanterns. We wrote our wishes and dreams for the future, special designs and and messages to family and friends no longer with us.

After decorating our lanterns, the kids headed toward the bouncy castles and Clive and I found a spot near one of the 100 tiki torches and watched the fire show happening on the stage.

Just after 7 o’clock, instructions were given on what to do and once the okay was given by the Fire Marshall, families were lighting their lanterns and sending them up into the sky.

Lighting the lanterns with the tiki torches presented a couple challenges. They recommended two people work together to lite the lanterns, but I think 3 or 4 people would make it easier. We learned that the hard way when the side of one of our lanterns caught on fire. Next time I’d wait until most of the lanterns are up in the sky before doing mine because I really didn’t get to enjoy much of the view.

A long day, but definitely one we’ll never forget. Thank you Florence, AZ for a great visit!

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