We are looking at a probably move to the Pheonix area late summer or early fall. This will be a brand new area of the country for us to live in. We are excited, but I would appreciate any advice. I will be looking for a pediatrician who is ok with not vaccinating, local health food stores, raw milk sources, we will be looking for a church and home school groups. We have no idea yet where we will live - likely the Scottsdale area. Anything you want to share would be great!! Thanks!
Questions about Pheonix Area
I grew up in Scottsdale and now live in Tucson.
The Phoenix area is generally politically conservative. It is hotter than hot in the summer, there isn't much water and there are green lawns EVERYWHERE.
I don't know if there are many secular homeschool groups (someone on the unschooling forum said they were having a hard time finding one.) However, my estranged brother lived in Yuma and would go to Phoenix to be involved in a Christian homeschool group in the Phoenix area.
Winters are nice. There is the Scottsdale McCormick railway park, the Phoenix Children's Museum. The Phoenix Science Museum. There's a lightrail that goes through Tempe into Phoenix (a great activity for my little kids in the hot summer months.)
Scottsdale is a wealthy city so we just went to the public pool (ElDorado Pool) that had a great water structure for little kids. They have a nice library system. When I grew up there in the 70s, I lived a pretty sheltered life.
I can't answer most of your specifics because I haven't lived there in 30 years, but I do visit about once a month.
There's Trader Joe's, Sunflower Market, and Whole Foods if you're looking for natural foods.
Thanks so much to both of you. That helps a lot. We are not sure exactly where we will live. Scottsdale is the only place in the area we have ever been, so we lean toward that, but we need to look around a bit. We have visited in July, so we got a taste of your "dry" heat. We are coming from South Florida - so heat is nothing new, but we are used to "wet" heat. I can't decide yet which is actually "hotter." Either way, we will definitely spend summers inside or by the pool! Thanks for the information.
My husband worked in Fort Pierce (so right on the coast) for a couple years. He commuted between AZ and Fl. In the summers we would take the first batch of kids to FL for several weeks. It was so cool there, we loved it. Being at the beach, at the pool, or on field trips was so easy in July and August. Not like Tucson (which averages about 5 degrees cooler than Phx.)
So, if you are on the coast of FL you are likely to find Phx MUCH hotter. However, I know nothing about Fl weather away from the coast. Maybe it's warmer inland.
We do live on the coast, just a mile from the beach. We will likely really miss that. The temperature here is definitely cooler than Pheonix, but the humidity brings the "feel" up quite a bit. We have gotten used to it, I guess - we do get out and about in the summer. It is beautiful here where we live and though this is not where I am from, it is where we have raised our kids - we'll miss it, but we are excited about a new chapter in life!
Whole Foods is probably your best bet for a wide selection of natural foods/products. There is a Scottsdale location even, and that's the one I frequent.
As far as an "alternative" parenting community, I have to say it's a little dry. You can find others with similar views, it's just difficult. Or at least it has been in my experience.
I work in North Scottsdale and my husband works some days in Downtown Scottsdale, so any questions, feel free to PM and I'll try my best.
Its so freaking hot here right now. I'm sorry but there is no way to describe this weather other than 'oven like'. Really going to the grocery store takes planning. I either go before 8am or after 9pm. When you walk outside you can literally feel the heat from the pavement coming up. These next 3 months are going to be brutal. Its so dang hot my DS does NOT want to go to the pool until the sun goes down. That being said, I love November to April in the valley.
Scottsdale is $$, you are paying for the zipcode.
The phoenix area has a whole foods chain, sprouts market (which I love) and many of the grocery stores have an organics section.
Homeschooling is great here, no reporting, no testing, just a simple affidavit and no one ever bothers you again!
Hi! I have lived in AZ my whole life. Started out in Tucson, went to school in Flagstaff, came to Phoenix. Been living around the Phoenix area for 12 years now. Yes, summer through October is ridiculously hot! November is just hot and then overly warm;)
Aside from weather, from my experience, Scottsdale is actually one of the better places to do more natural living. That's the plus side. The downside is that you pay for it. I have been looking for a decent more naturally minded pediatrician for a few years. They are truly hard to find here. I have one, but I don't necessarily recommend her as she is one of those docs you can easily hate. However, I did find one up in North Scottsdale that is supposed to be pretty good, more natural, and is good about parents making their own vaccine choices. It's Desert Ridge Children's Center. The only reason I haven't been there is because it's minimally a 45 min drive from my house. But my friend and I have been really wanting to try them out. There really are some good choices in the Naturopathic area, however I don't do that either, simply because of funding since none of them take insurance.
I have met people that do raw milk and I know there is someone in Scottsdale who sells it, but I have no idea who. I don't think it will be hard to find once you get here. Wholefoods, Sprouts and my personal favorite, Sunflower are the stores of choice for natural here.
There are a ton of homeschooling groups here as I have had information from friends that homeschool and love doing it in AZ. I don't know what church you go to, but I don't think you'll have to worry about finding one in Scottsdale.
My husband, father and stepmother all work in Scottsdale, and if you can afford it, it's great for the more natural living. The other cities have some options, but not nearly as many. I tend to go to Scottsdale a lot for many natural reasons.
The others are right that this is definitely a more conservative state and it seems hard to find a good natural community, but if you're thinking Scottsdale, it's a pretty good choice for what you're wanting.
All my best and good luck with the move! If I can answer any questions, I'll be happy to help. Just send me a message.
I've lived in metro Phoenix off and on since the mid 80s. Most PPs are spot on. I just wanted to throw out that there is a great meetup group 'Gentle Moms' in the East Valley. They've expanded a lot, and now we have meetups all over. (I'm in North Phoenix.) I think you have to 'know' somebody to get approved as a member, so you can email me nsuhomer at yahoo dot com if any of you are interested. There are always great recommendations for all of the above mentioned (homeschooling, pedis, raw milk, etc) from the various group members.
Hello! Thought I'd add my 2 cents in..
For natural living, and I believe a better community feel I'd go with Tempe rather than Scotts. It's a college town-next to ASU- and you get a great mix of people and most of them are very health concious. I'd also recommend Whole foods and Sunflower market. Both are great, but Whole Foods in Tempe actually has a raw food section which is amazing to say the least. Sunflower is a little cheaper but still has all the organics. Tempe is great, its a lovely feeling there. You will easily find communities in tempe. Scottsdale is a little.. well, a lot more hmmm.. stuffy ;) thats a term that might work. Theres local art in tempe, street art, a music scene, and many other nice features. As I mentioned before, it's a college town so it has all the perks, including a lot of alternative food spots such as a raw restauraunt (Blue Nile), Vegetarian restauraunts and such.
Let us know when you move so we can all make you feel welcome :)
Scottsdale is nice but big and spread out. I was born in Phoenix and have lived and worked all over. For a growing family, I love, love, LOVE the Anthem area just north or Phoenix. It is kind of separated from the big metropolis that is Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, Glendale, Peoria etc....and has a realy small hometown feel--except that in most small hometowns you pretty much must be born there to be accepted.....in Anthem, everyone is from somewhere else, more than half from out of state. There are a lot of parks and activities for kids. The public school system has its weaknesses, like most Arizona public schools. (One of our primary/elementary is pretty good, but I still prefer private.) We have a couple great private schools and quite a few charter schools as well. We have a lot more churches than bars....actually we don't have any actual bars....except the restaurants that have that sports bar/pub feel to the...and we still have many more churches. We also have 3 performing arts groups that attract kids 6 and older, and some do adult programs as well. This is not to mention our big community part and community center.
It's not as affluent or ritzy as Scottsdale, but I love it. Also, with the market being what it is, there are some really great deals here....lots of bank owned homes also that you might not see on a traditional listing service. Feel free to pm me with questions!!!! Some of the neighborhoods and subgroups of Anthem are more neighborly than others...so it depends on how much privacy or interaction you want!
I have spent the majority of my life in Arizona. I grew up in Scottsdale. I lived in New River (on the other side of Anthem on a beautiful acre property), Gilbert and now Tempe. I prefer Tempe hands down to the others. I like that there are enclaves of unique houses. Good food is widely available as a previous poster said. It feels much smaller. I see familiar faces every day. Our family homeschools and there are quite a few options for secular hsing groups. In fact so many that the hsing community at times feels rather fractured. It is definitely hot here, but our family swims and spends time outdoors in the morning or evening. We also really take advantage of the cooler months here. As far as the state goes, there are so many places to explore with a lot of amazing historical gems. Good luck.
Hi Mom to Five -
Did you end up moving here?
I recommend the Central Phoenix area. It's rich with art, great local restaurants who are devoted to supporting local farmers and lots of great churches. As for finding like-minded parents, you just have to poke around a little and you'll meet them. Usually in the same places you find local food - like farmer's markets and some churches.
Hope you love it here. I've been here 36 years and don't want to ever move. :)