White Mountains, Arizona
Unless you're from Arizona you probably haven't heard of "The White Mountains" of Arizona but it's on the western border of Arizona, about as far north as Payson then directly west.
Show Low, Pinetop Lakeside, and Greer are the major cities in The White Mountains area. Sunrise Ski Resort also belongs to The White Mountains. We are partial to this area because we've been going since we were little and love its quaint, small-town
Our favorite activities out here are 4x4 trails through the Apache Sitgreaves forest and of course skiing/snowboarding at Sunrise.
It's about 3.5 hours from the Phoenix area, so slightly farther from Flagstaff but much less crowded. Check out the cities website for more information, http://azwhitemountains.net/.