Known across the country for its reasonable cost of living, four distinct seasons and attractive lifestyle features, Prescott is ideal for those who savor a relaxed pace of life combined with the excitement of being part of an evolving community. But it’s not just lifestyle and weather that make it such a great place to live; in fact, CNN Money (a service of CNN, Fortune and Money Magazine) has regularly highlighted Prescott in its annual “25 Best Places to Retire”, mentioning its plentiful sunny days, mild winters, numerous golf courses, quality healthcare, educational enrichment opportunities and revolving door of art shows, craft fairs and outdoor concerts.
CNN and Money Magazine aren’t the only lifestyle experts who’ve taken such a shine to Prescott: John Brady, the founder of TopRetirements.com analyzed and compared cities and towns across the country using 12 different retirement criteria including housing costs, access to healthcare, educational/cultural opportunities, tax rates, climate, etc. In his analysis, Prescott, we’re proud to say, ranked in the top ten best places to retire in the United States.
A dynamic community recognized as one of northern Arizona’s most vibrant regional urban hubs, Prescott Valley is nestled between the soaring Bradshaw Mountains and majestic Mingus Mountain. Sitting at just over 5,000 feet in elevation, this pristine town is located about 90 miles — albeit in opposite directions — from Phoenix and Flagstaff, about 28 miles from the shopping and artist’s colony of Jerome, just 10 miles from Prescott and approximately 60 miles from the cozy town of Camp Verde. Rich in gold mining lore and a wealth of colorful cowboy and ranching history, Prescott Valley is only about a 50-mile trip to the stunning red-rock cliffs of Sedona, and you can even make a day-trip out of a visit to the Grand Canyon.
While much of Arizona is known for its simmering desert climate, that’s definitely not the case in Prescott and Prescott Valley — in fact, the area is generally 20 degrees cooler than either Phoenix or Tucson. Close to forestlands featuring a true four-season experience, this beautiful, ecologically diverse area enjoys a very temperate year-round climate with average wintertime highs in the absolutely-perfect 50s and 60s.
Meanwhile, average summertime highs generally top out in that comfortable zone between 70 and 80 degrees, creating a year-round paradise for those who enjoy an active, indoor/outdoor lifestyle.
CNN Money has regularly highlighted Prescott in its annual “25 Best Places to Retire”, as has John Brady, founder of TopRetirements.com. Both of these retirement-area experts analyzed and compared cities and towns across the country using criteria such as tax rates, access to healthcare, climate and more…and Prescott proudly ranks in the top-tier.
When it comes to an attractive cost of living, Prescott Valley is definitely a draw for folks from all walks of life including young families, vacation-homeowners and retirees seeking high-quality yet relatively inexpensive housing, a mild year-round climate and easy access to top-notch healthcare facilities and recreational amenities.
For those who prefer indoor amenities, it’s just a short drive, and voila — you’ll arrive at the downtown Entertainment District, a high-energy area boasting a variety of restaurants, a wonderful collection of retail shops, a 6,000-seat events center, a multi-screen movie theater and much more. For those who love the outdoors, Prescott Valley is just ten minutes from the Prescott National Forest, home to numerous tucked-away lakes, campgrounds and well-maintained hiking trails. Finally, we’d be remiss if we failed to mention nearby Fain Park, where remnants of the area’s early 20th-century gold mining claims are preserved.
A little history
Awash in Old West-history, the area now known as Prescott Valley was founded in the spring of 1863 after gold was discovered along Lynx Creek.
Prescott Valley remained sparsely populated until a little over a decade later, when in 1874, William Marion Fain brought his bride, Cary, to homestead along the Verde River, forever linking the Fain’s family name with this part of Arizona.
Five generations later, the Fain family is still a prominent fixture in this big-sky area once called Lonesome Valley. One such example of the family’s legacy is the aptly named 100-acre Fain Park, home to a quaint bridge, fishing lake, ramadas and historical artifacts related to the area’s past.
Modern-day Prescott Valley
Prescott Valley’s modern economic engines consist of industrial, manufacturing, retail and service businesses. In addition, healthcare is a prime resource for residents as well as a leading employer and source of economic growth and accolades.
One of the region’s top employers — Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC) — has been recognized by Consumer Reports as one of the ten best hospitals in the country for successful surgery outcomes. The ranking was part of Consumer Reports Safe Surgery Survival Guide and YRMC was the only Arizona hospital in the top ten among hospitals that did at least ten types of surgeries on a regular basis. YRMC has a wide range of care options including an emergency department as well as surgical, laboratory, cardiopulmonary, neurology, radiology and other patient-related services.
Another provider of top-notch healthcare, Mountain Valley Rehabilitation Hospital is a 40-bed center specializing in a comprehensive variety of rehabilitation services. These new facilities complement the Del E. Webb Outpatient center, the Prescott Valley Primary and Urgent Care Clinic, and the community’s network of outstanding healthcare providers.
Along with healthcare facilities, other top employers in the area include the Humboldt Unified School District, Yavapai College (Prescott Valley campus), Lockheed Martin, Ace Hardware Retail Support Center, MI Windows and Doors, Yampa Precision Manufacturing and Prescott Aerospace.
The bottom line is that thanks to easy access to the urban centers of Phoenix and Flagstaff, a moderate cost of living (third-quarter 2013 figures for Prescott came in at 97.6 vs. the national average of 100), enviable four-season weather and outstanding healthcare facilities, Prescott Valley has become a magnet for those seeking a modern, close-to-all-kinds-of-resources, yet very comfortable, laidback lifestyle.