25 Best & Fun Things to Do in Payson (AZ)

Looking for the best and most fun things to do in Payson, AZ?

Payson is a beautiful city located in Arizona State in northern Gila County, United States. Due to its geographic proximity to the middle of Arizona State, it is known as “The Heart of Arizona.”

With a population of only fifteen thousand, seven hundred and eight people according to the last census, Payson is indisputably a tourist-friendly destination.

Payson is a city you have probably dreamed of due to its extraordinary collection of attractions, including historic sites, parks, malls, and more.

There are several activities to do and places to visit in this city, such as Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, Green Valley Park, Ellison Creek Waterfall, Payson Farmers Market, and so many others.

Are you planning a trip to Arizona soon? Then, make sure you’re heading towards the city of Payson. This is a list of the top things to do in Payson, AZ.

Things to Do in Payson, AZ

1. Mogollon Rim

Mogollon Rim
Credits: Hugh Hull / Shutterstock
Mogollon Rim

Mogollon Rim is an escarpment of 2-000-feet which stretches to over two hundred miles going through Arizona and heading to New Mexico.

This escarpment was named after Don Juaun Ignacio Flore Mogollón, a Spanish governor of New Mexico who was in power from 1712 to 1715.

Mogollon Rim is also known as the foundation of the hunting compartment of Zane Gery, an author, which was later demolished in 1990 by fire.

This rim contains impressive canyons, including pine canyon and fossil creek with soaring sandstone and cliff formations made of limestone.

The trails are favorable for horseback and hiking trails; Mogollon Rim is also open for outdoor activities like backcountry skiing, camping, and fishing.

2. Sawmill Theatres

Sawmill Theatres
Credits: Dmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock

Are you a movie fan? And you’re looking for a place to watch that latest blockbuster movie, booking your tickets at Sawmill Theatres is one of the best things to do in Payson, AZ.

Sawmill Theatres is a locally owned and operated movie theatre in the community offering movie fans an awesome experience.

The theatre is well equipped and designed, consisting of six large flatscreen Tvs showing at least three movies on a daily basis.

Sawmill Theatres features a great sound system and highly comfortable seats with a clean and conducive environment, which are the reasons that make this theatre stand out.

There is a concession where you can have hot and delicious popcorn, chilled drinks, and other amazing snacks.

Address: 201 W Main St, Payson, AZ United States

3. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park
Credits: Kenneth Keifer / Shutterstock
Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

At the top of your list of fun things to do in Payson, AZ, add a visit to Tonto Natural Bridge State Park for a memorable experience.

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park features a natural travertine bridge, proclaimed the largest in the world with a length of approximately 400-foot, expanding by 150 feet wide and 183 feet high.

The bridge was found by David Gowan in 1877, who is the one behind the construction of the lodge, presently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, which served as a home for his family up until 1948.

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is home to several trails scattered throughout the property around the natural bridge, such as the Waterfall trail and the 0.5-mile pine creek & gown trails.

You will also find a beautiful waterfall cave with picnic tables where visitors can sit comfortably and enjoy a meal.

There is a large recreation area consisting of a gift shop offering visitors a wide variety of gifts and souvenirs to purchase.

Tonto Natural Bridge State Park contains Goodfellow Lodge, which is available for rental for private gatherings and special events like weddings.

Address: 10 Miles North of Payson on Hwy 87, Payson, AZ 85547 United States

4. Payson Golf Course

Payson Golf Course
Credits: photoinnovation / Shutterstock

If you have never played golf, here is your chance; add a visit to Payson Golf Course to your list of fun things to do in Payson, AZ.

Payson Golf Course is one of the best golf courses in the city, offering players a chance to choose between a 9-hole or 8-hole golf course.

You don’t have to worry if you have no experience; there is a practice range where you can practice how to swing your club before moving to the main golf course.

Payson Golf Course is graced with incredible sights decorated by beautiful pine trees, green swirling hills, and different wildlife species.

The golf course offers every player the required amount of challenges and thrills; it is adequately maintained and beautiful.

Address: 1504 W Country Club Dr, Payson, AZ United States

5. Rim Country Museum

Rim Country Museum
Credits: Al_HikesAZ / Flickr
Rim Country Museum

Visiting Rim Country Museum is one of the best things to do in Payson, AZ; it was established by the Northern Gila County Historical Society.

Although Rim Country Museum is operated by the Arizona Historical Society, and it houses a large collection of exhibits focused on a well-renowned author, Zane Grey, who showcased the Old West history of the region in his works.

Rim Country Museum consists of artifacts relating to the history of Apache indigenous and pioneers in the region, and the roles played during the gold rush in the late 19th-century.

The museum is home to the World’s oldest rodeo, Payson Rodeo, a blacksmith shop, and a refurbished sawmill.

 Rim Country Museum offers guided tours to small and large groups as well as field trips for secondary school and elementary students.

Here, you get to learn more about the life of author Zane Grey, a famous and well-appreciated author for his exceptional works

Address: 700 S Green Valley Pkwy, Payson, AZ 85541, United States

6. Green Valley Park

Green Valley Park
Credits: sd81 / Shutterstock
Green Valley Park

If you want to truly explore some of the things nature offers, add a visit to Green Valley Park to your list of fun things to do in Payson, AZ.

Green Valley Park was founded in 1997, extending over thirty acres, featuring numerous natural resources.

The park contains three different lakes occupying thirteen acres of water bodies with seventeen acres of open dry land.

Green Valley Park is a winner of many awards due to its cooperative efforts toward water reclamation, which involves wastewater reuse for park civic reuse and irrigation landscape.

This park is a great place for jogging and walking; with four miles of trails spread out throughout the park, you can also go boating and fishing.

Green Valley Park comprises a good number of shaded picnic areas for those who would love to go picnicking with their loved ones.

Address: 1000 W Country Club Dr, Payson, AZ 85541, United States

7. Mazatzal Wilderness

Mazatzal Wilderness
Credits: Al_HikesAZ / Flickr
Mazatzal Wilderness

A place in Payson that offers you the opportunity to commune with nature, Mazatzal Wilderness was founded in 1940.

Mazatzal Wilderness stretches for over two hundred and fifty-two thousand acres of the Tonto National Forest and the Coconino National Forest.

The name Mazatzal (pronounced as Maz-zaht-zahl) originates from an old Indian culture in Mexico, meaning the land of deer.

 Mazatzal Wilderness features nearly forty beautiful trails perfect for hiking through the various National Forests.

 While hiking, you will sight many species of wildlife, including Mountain lions, bears, and birds, with several glamorous spots perfect for taking beautiful pictures.

 The eastern part of Mazatzal Wilderness is mainly packed with brush orpine-coated mountains with slim canyons. It is highly advisable you come with your food and water since there are no essential facilities there.

Address: 1009 E. Highway 260, Payson, AZ 85541, United States

8. Naco Paleo Site

Naco Paleo Site
Credits: Yes058 Montree Nanta / Shutterstock

For those who love to hunt for treasure, a visit to Naco Paleo Site should be added to your list of top things to do in Payson, AZ.

Naco Paleo Site is home to a large deposit of Shale-Limestone of Pennsylvania, obtained nearly three hundred years ago.

The site is open for collecting invertebrate fossils; you will find reptile fossils, contemporary fish fossils, and more.

Naco Paleo Site only requires a permit from every visitor who wants to collect vertebrate fossils according to the Bureau of Land Management rules.

There is a vast parking garage on-site for trailers, motorhomes, and vehicles; visitors are asked to come along with their tools.

Address: AZ-260, Payson, AZ 85541 United States

Are you planning an exploration of Arizona, do not miss our list of places to visit in Bullhead Cityplaces to visit in Pinetop and places to visit in Tombstone.

9. The Bealls Outlet

The Bealls Outlet
Credits: VGstockstudio / Shutterstock

To your list of things to do in Payson, AZ, add shopping at the Bealls Outlet with your family and friends for an amazing experience.

The Bealls Outlet offers a wide range of contemporary, beautiful and high-quality items for mind-blowing costs.

You can shop for shoes, home equipment, handbags, accessories, beauty products, and more.

The Bealls Outlet is one store that serves customers with the best products; they also offer massive discounts that will for sure blow your mind.

The staff is friendly and professional while attending to customers; they also offer assistance whenever a customer needs it. The Bealls Outlet is open from Monday to Saturday from 9am-9pm, and Sunday from 10am-8pm.

Address: 305 S Beeline Hwy, Payson, AZ United States

10. Shoofly Indian Ruins

Shoofly Indian Ruins
Credits: Richard N Horne [CC BY-SA 4.0], Wikimedia Commons
Shoofly Indian Ruins
Shoofly Indian Ruins features a massive dwelling complex which was onetime the home of the indigenous people of Mogollon from 1000 to 1250 A. D.

The complex is reported to contain almost eighty structures, including a gigantic two-story building fracturing twenty-six rooms that accommodated up to two hundred and fifty persons.

Shoofly Indian Ruins was uncovered initially by John Hughes, an archaeologist, in 1940, and it was later disclosed by a crew from Arizona State University in the mid-1980s.

The complex is now open to everyone for guided tours of the property as well as the buildings’ rock foundations and remnants of a massive stone wall.

 Shoofly Indian Ruins features a picnic area for those who would like to take a break to enjoy a snack, and there are conducive restrooms.

Address: 1-5 Houston Mesa Rd, Payson, AZ 85541 United States

11. Rim Country Bowl

Rim Country Bowl
Credits: Mindscape studioj / Shutterstock

Rim Country Bowl is a family-friendly fun center and a perfect place for you and your family to create new memories.

This center has one of the best bowling facilities in the city, offering hundreds of families a chance to have an amazing moment.

Rim Country Bowl consists of a pool hall with pool tables, dart boards, and an arcade section for everyone to enjoy.

They provide a safe, conducive, friendly, and exciting environment for people to come in with their loved ones to have fun.

Rim Country Bowl also features a food and drink bar that offers a wide variety of delicious meals, snacks, and drinks.

 The center is open on Monday from 12pm-9pm, Tuesday from 9am-9:30pm, Wednesday from 3:30pm-9pm, Thursday from 1pm-9pm, Friday from 10am-11pm, Saturday from 12pm-11pm, and Sunday from 12pm-10pm

Address: 1109 N Beeline Hwy, Payson, AZ United States

12. Sweet Country Charm Fudge and Gifts

Sweet Country Charm Fudge and Gifts
Credits: Arina P Habich / Shutterstock

Are you craving for some delicious treats? Then, there is a perfect place for you in Payson visit Sweet Country Charm Fudge and Gifts.

Sweet Country Charm Fudge and Gifts was founded by Rebecca Acord and has been nominated as the Best Gift Shop Rom Country in 2019 and 2021.

This store offers you the best treats you have never had before; it is open to everyone, both locals and tourists, no matter their age.

Sweet Country Charm Fudge and Gifts offers the patrons over one hundred and fifty changing fudge flavors to choose from.

There are different kinds of flavorful sweets and a large selection of gourmet chocolate for visitors to enjoy. There are also local artists available at the shop to make nice homemade gifts for any who needs it

Sweet Country Charm Fudge and Gifts also offers deliciously prepared coffee, and they are ready to offer catering services for any kind of event such as birthdays, weddings, corporate meetings and.

Address: 618 N Beeline Hwy, Payson, AZ 85541, 928-978-0640 United States

13. Ellison Creek Waterfall

Ellison Creek Waterfall
Credits: Isabel Eve / Shutterstock
Ellison Creek Waterfall

Are you an outdoor enthusiast? Then, add a visit to Ellison Creek Waterfall to your list of fun things to do in Payson, AZ.

Ellison Creek Waterfall offers access to four gorgeous waterfalls in the region, located in the middle of Payson and the Mogollon Rim.

The Creek offers visitors opportunities to go diving and swimming, with several fishing points where anglers fish for trout.

Ellison Creek Waterfall consists of numerous day-use spots jointly called the Water Wheel, and a nice place to cool off during a hot summer day due to the coolness of the river water and falls.

The Creek allows pets on the trail as well as the waterfall as long as they remain on a leash. At the trailhead, there are lavatories available.

Address: Ellison Creek, Unnamed Road, Payson, AZ 85541, United States

14. Fargo’s Steakhouse

Fargo's Steakhouse
Credits: Fargo’s Steakhouse / Facebook
Fargo’s Steakhouse

If you need a great restaurant to enjoy a meal or celebrate, add a visit to Fargo’s Steakhouse to your list of things to do in Payson, AZ.

Fargo’s Steakhouse was established in 2004 after its owners, Rick and Jeri’s stockman, departed from Tennessee to Arizona.

This is a popular meeting place for many people in the community, offering a lively and friendly atmosphere for everyone to enjoy.

Some of the meals served include Tuscan Smothered Chicken, soup du jour, Ceasar Salad Large, chocolate fudge cake, Pork Osso Bucco, Baby Back Ribs, Oysters Rockefeller, salmon sandwiches, Crab Stuffed Mushrooms, and more.

Fargo’s Steakhouse is open for reservations for groups of six persons. Make sure you visit with your friends and family.

Address: 620 East Hwy 260, Payson, AZ 85541, United States

15. Payson Farmers Market

Payson Farmers Market
Credits: Barry Neal / Shutterstock

If you want to integrate into the city and mix with the residents, add a visit to Payson Farmers Market to your list of things to do in Payson, AZ.

Payson Farmers Market was established in 2008 and officially opened on the 4th of July, 2009, to grow the city’s economy.

This market offers patrons a large variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, honey, bread, pastries, and local food.

Payson Farmers Market initially began with twelve vendors and has grown largely to over fifty vendors offering different goods and services.

Address: 816 S. Beeline Highway in Payson, Arizona United States

For a fun road trip in Arizona, do not miss exploring our checklist of in things to do in Buckeye,  things to do in Parker and things to do in Surprise.

16. Kohls Ranch Stable

Kohls Ranch Stable
Credits: Flamingo Images / Shutterstock

Why not make your cowboy dreams come true? Kohls Ranch Stable is an excellent choice for you in Payson City.

Kohls Ranch Stable is open for both beginners and professional riders, offering them the overwhelming excitement gotten during horseback riding.

 During the course of the horseback rides, visitors have to pass through a chronological forest featuring several unique points, including mountains and water bodies.

Kohls Ranch Stable lays out easily navigable trails for riders to enjoy irrespective of their skill levels; the stable is usually open from May to October.

Riders also get the opportunity to sight different species of wildlife with the beautiful natural scenery; the horses are also well trained.

Address: 202 W Kohls Lodge Rd, Payson, AZ 85541, United States

17. Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery

Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery
Credits: Al_HikesAZ / Flickr
Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery

Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery was established in 1937 and is managed by the Forest Service Hatchery program of the United States.

It is located within the scope of the Tonto National Forest with a height of over 6, 500-feet and consists of both commercial and residential structures.

Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery serves as a site for daily fishing activities, responsible for producing over 15% of trout stock in the state.

The hatchery educated the guests about the

Fish catches and production in the facility with a high concentration on cutthroat, rainbow, Apache trout, and more.

Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery is an excellent place for wildlife watching, as it features a wide variety of animals as well as birds.

You can also decide to go camping here; there are several campsites with several fishing sites for those who would like to fish.

Address: 3898 N Tonto Creek Rd # 1, Payson, AZ 85541, United States

18. Explore the Attic

Credits: Alan Levine / Flickr

Whenever you want to go shopping? Visiting Explore the Attic is one of the best things to do in Payson, AZ for a fun-filled shopping experience.

Explore the Attic has been in existence for more than thirty years now and was initially known as Granny’s Attic.

This store takes you a unique experience, starting with the beautifully decorated interiors with a touch of history which also takes you on a historical journey.

Explore the Attic offers an outstanding collection of gems from many decades ago, such as model airplanes from the 1940s, rare sewing machines from way back, ancient records, and more.

 The center features over forty vendors offering customers a wide variety of unique treasures and antiques.

Explore the Attic also offers beautiful home decor, glassware, jewelry, gadgets, and more. So when visiting, have it in mind that there is something for you.

Address: 800 E, AZ-260, Payson, AZ 85541, 928-474-2897 United States

19. Jakes Corner Bar

Jakes Corner Bar
Credits: Al_HikesAZ / Flickr
Jakes Corner Bar

Jakes Corner Bar is a lovely place to relax and have a good time in Payson; it is better when you visit with your friends and family.

This is a wonderful bar dedicated to serving people with the best meals and drinks and providing a platform for talented music artists to showcase their talents.

Jakes Corner Bar started in 1916 as an Arizona Stage and has since become a favorite destination for many locals and visitors.

Jakes Corner Bar is the perfect spot for breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals, and they also offer appetizers and desserts.

Like a typical pub, they offer a wide array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, Jakes Corner Bar is open from Monday to Friday from 10am-11pm, and Saturday & Sunday from 8am-11pm.

Address: 57564 N Az Highway 188, Payson, AZ united states

20. Payson Day Spa

Payson Day Spa
Credits: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

As much as you want to go out and have great fun, you ought to take a break and give your body an amazing treat.

Payson Day Spa is a fantastic spa that offers you only the best spa services in Payson, leaving you smiling all through.

These services offered are beneficial to the body, health, and mind; they treat every client like a king or queen, ensuring they have an unforgettable experience.

Payson Day Spa offers several massages, body scrubs, and facials, including beauty treatments such as manicures, hair styling, and more.

The staff is well trained and certified professional, well informed about all the different services they offer. Payson Day Spa is open from Tuesday to Saturday from 10am-6pm.

Address: 815 E Hwy 260, Payson, AZ United States

21. Mazatzal Hotel and Casino

Mazatzal Hotel and Casino
Credits: Virrage Images / Shutterstock

Are you looking for a good place to lodge or have fun? Then, add a visit to Mazatzal Hotel and Casino to your list of things to do in Payson, AZ.

Mazatzal Hotel and Casino is located in a facility of 5 000-square feet featuring over four hundred single slot machines.

The casino consists of poker tables, video poker games, and more. Mazatzal Hotel and Casino also hosts weekly tournaments with winners.

Fully operated by the Tonto Apache Indian Reservation, Mazatzal Hotel and Casino offers regular casino guests hotel rewards and dining bonuses.

Mazatzal Hotel and Casino offers highly comfortable rooms with incredible views of the Mazatzal Mountains and is well equipped with essential materials.

Every guest at the resort has free access to the resort’s amenities, such as a fitness center, indoor swimming pool, spa, and more.

There are two restaurants serving stylish American fares with lunch buffets for $10 and a variety of seafood. Mazatzal Hotel and Casino also hosts many exciting concerts, Dj sets, comedy, and more.

Address: Highway 87, Mile Marker 251, Payson, AZ 85541, United States

22. Rancho Tonto Catch-A-Trout

Rancho Tonto Catch-A-Trout
Credits: Maximillian cabinet / Shutterstock

Rancho Tonto Catch-A-Trout is a place for those who are interested in learning how to fish, especially with their loved ones.

The Rancho offers an all-inclusive fishing package that covers bucket rental, bait net, pole, and fish cleaning services.

This place allows you to fish however you want without any limits or restrictions; visitors are only asked to pay for any fish caught.

Rancho Tonto Catch-A-Trout offers a three-bedroom guesthouse for rentals to anglers who want to start overnight.

Address: HC2 Box 98, Payson, AZ 85541, Phone: 928-478-0002 United States

23. Macky’s Grill

Macky's Grill
Credits: Macky’s Grill / Facebook
Macky’s Grill

A place where you can loosen up and enjoy a delicious homemade meal, Macky’s Grill is one of the best restaurants in Payson.

Macky’s Grill was established by Greg and Cari Day, natives of Oregan, in 1997. Even after the death of Greg in 2016 due to cancer, the restaurant still thrives on up until date.

This family-owned restaurant is currently operated by the owners’ children offering exceptional services while keeping up with the family’s long tradition.

 Macky’s Grill offers customers an extensive food menu featuring a diverse selection of cuisines from Southwestern and American dishes.

Some of the meals offered include Saucy Cajun Burger with Cajun, ribeye steak, Texas toothpick, fish tacos, French dip, carrot cake, onion rings, chicken garden salad, mushrooms swiss dip, Buffalo chicken sandwiches, and more.

Macky’s Grill also offers a comprehensive wine and beer menu, including bud light, Blue Moon, barefoot chardonnay, barefoot merlot, and more.

Address: 201 W Main St, Payson, AZ 85541, United States

24. Verde Hot Springs

Verde Hot Springs
Credits: Greg Walters [CC BY-SA 2.0], Wikimedia Commons
Verde Hot Springs
After engaging in various thrilling activities, you definitely need a calm and relaxed place to spend time with your loved ones.

Verde Hot Springs is one of Arizona’s most famous hot springs, making it the perfect food for your soul.

Due to its location, you can stop by after hiking and wandering the region for a restful break. These pools are incredibly relaxing; don’t forget to bring your flip-flops.

25. The Retreat at Mountain Meadows

Mountain Meadows
Credits: Mountain Meadows Cabins / Facebook
Mountain Meadows

The Retreat at Mountain Meadows is one place where you would find total serenity. You can also decide to rent the whole or one of the rooms for your family reunions, weddings, and more.

There are six comfortable cabins with outdoor and indoor Jacuzzis on the property of about three acres.

It is close to Christopher Creek’s nightlife, and streams and lakes open for hiking, fishing, and so on.

The Retreat at Mountain Meadows features a 3-bedroom house consisting of an island kitchen, a large space, and gorgeous views from the balcony.

Explore more cities in Arizona, check out our list of things to do in Yumathings to do in Flagstaff, and things to do in Cottonwood for a fun time

Plan a Trip to Payson

Payson is a city with lots of goodies to offer; its geographical location and climatic variations make it stand out.

The city offers you a one-of-a-kind experience. There are many things to do, places to visit, and memories to create here.

Do visit!