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Carefree, AZ

Carefree is an unincorporated community located in Maricopa County in the foothills of Phoenix. It is particularly known for its desert gardens, shimmering lakes, and dramatic rock outcroppings.

The breathtaking landscape makes it one of the most beautiful places to live in Arizona. The cool, clean air is second to none, and the wealth of recreational amenities – from manicured golf courses to resort-style spa facilities – lets you live an active lifestyle. The social atmosphere here also allows plenty of opportunities to meet like-minded individuals.

But what really draws new residents to Carefree is its small town character. It’s impossible not to be charmed by this community’s unassuming nature. And with street names like Tranquil, Easy, and Ho Hum, you’ll find yourself easing into the rhythm of daily life in this idyllic corner of Arizona.

The 2017 US Census estimates the population at 3,783, while the community itself spans a little over eight square miles. Set amidst the unique terrain of the Sonoran Desert and with friendly neighbors at every turn, this community offers a truly carefree life.

History of Carefree, AZ

The community was founded in the early 1950s by K.T. Palmer and Tom Darlington. While whimsical street names were what initially drew the attention of home buyers, Carefree’s commitment to land planning and the protection and preservation of the surrounding desert landscape earned the respect of many outsiders.

The town experienced remarkable growth from 1959 to 1984. Landmark developments like the Sky Ranch Airport, which featured the first fly-in residences in Arizona, attracted travelers who wished to experience the captivating beauty of Sonoran Desert and purchase land in the area. Real estate projects like the Spanish Village, Carefree Inn, and International Restaurant soon followed.

High profile buyers included the likes of Orson Welles, Bob Hope, Paul Harvey, Barry Goldwater, and Hugh Downs. Newcomers saw Carefree as a desert oasis where they and their families could enjoy some downtime and participate in leisure activities like hiking, golfing, horseback riding, and swimming.

Lifestyle in Carefree, AZ

  • Sundial Circle Plaza
    Here you’ll find the famous Carefree Sundial. Standing 35 feet tall, it is one of the largest sundials in the United States. It is an engineering wonder made of steel, anodized copper, and metal gnomon created by solar engineer John Yellott and architect Joe Wong. This majestic structure stands against the backdrop of the Sonoran Desert and is a sight to behold.
  • Carefree Desert Gardens
    Situated along Easy Street and spanning four acres, Carefree Desert Gardens is the town’s crowning jewel. It is also open throughout the year. Go on a self-guided walking tour of the gardens and get the chance to see desert plant specimens up close.
  • Easy Street
    Carefree’s downtown is filled with boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. This is where you’ll find famed Arizona attractions like the Carefree Desert Gardens, Carefree Sundial, and Historic Spanish Village. But the fun doesn’t stop there – Easy Street brings you the annual Enchanted Pumpkin Garden Exhibit, Carefree Farmers Market, Community Block Party, and Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festivals.
  • Historic Spanish Village
    As one of the first structures to be built in town, this historic area is a thriving hub of artists. The likes of famed glass artist Peggy Pettigrew-Stewart and pumpkin carver Ray Villafane made stops here at various points of their illustrious careers. Here you’ll find a fantastic array of galleries, studios, boutiques, salons, and restaurants.
  • Kiwanis Splash Park
    Located on the eastern section of Carefree Desert Gardens, the crown jewel of this fun-filled splash park is a scorpion statue in the middle of the splash pad that goes by the name of “Kiwani.”

Real estate and property types in Carefree, AZ

Median home prices in Carefree have climbed steadily over the last few years, making it a great area to invest in a home. According to Streetscout.com, median home prices increased by 2.2% to $710,000 in 2017 compared to 2016.
House values continue to rise to the peak median of $795,000. The last time it reached this peak was in 2006. Carefree itself is now in Streetscout’s list of “Priciest Neighborhoods.”

Single-family homes in Carefree sit on Spanish haciendas, sprawling estates with separate casitas, lots in close proximity to the downtown center, or in neighborhoods with serene mountain views. Residences come in an array of architectural styles, from Pueblo to Spanish Revival, Contemporary to Ranch among many others.

Condos offer spectacular mountain views and upgraded features. In addition, luxury condos are also set to rise next to the site of the famed Carefree Sundial.

Choose from an excellent selection of homes for sale in Carefree, AZ with the help of Josie McCarthy. As a local expert, I can show you the ins and outs of Carefree, AZ real estate. Call me at 480.297.3922 or send an email to Josie(at)JosieMMcCarthy(dotted)com.


Available Properties in Carefree


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Josie M. McCarthy
34975 N North Valley Parkway
Building 8, Suite 152A
Phoenix, AZ 85086
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480.297.3922