Nestled in the gorgeous Sonoran Desert, just north of Scottsdale for nearly 50 years, Carefree Resort & Conference Center has had an enduring reputation as one of the Valley's most venerated and charming resorts. Built in the early 1960s, it was the only destination resort in the once-remote area now known as Carefree. Playing host to some of Hollywood's brightest stars, The Carefree Inn - as it was known then - was a favorite retreat for the likes of Dick Van Dyke, Lucille Ball, and Bob Hope.
Today, this legendary resort retains much of the small-town hospitality and unique frontier heritage that guests have come to cherish. It is today, as it was when it first opened in 1963, an exquisite escape to the desert and a refreshing departure from the hum drum experience of nearby Scottsdale lodging and accommodations. To this day, couples who honeymooned at the "Carefree Inn" in the early 1960s return again and again to relive the romance of this extraordinary property and community.
The town of Carefree itself has a vibrant history. In 1958, two friends and business partners created the town, fulfilling their lifelong dream. Tom Darlington, an engineer, and K.T. Palmer, a secondhand dealer and frustrated lawyer, became friends in the 1940s and decided to establish a real-estate company. It was then that they discovered their shared vision of creating a new town in the high Sonoran Desert, and in 1955, purchased a local goat ranch for $44,000. Gradually, they acquired more than 2,000 acres of property adjacent to the ranch - forming a company they lightheartedly named Carefree Development Corporation.
With the same whimsical attitude, Darlington and Palmer took it upon themselves to name the streets of the town. As history recites, they attended a dinner party and a play one evening with friends. During the long intermission (and many cocktails), Palmer remarked that he was scheduled to present the town's map to county officials the next day, but had not yet named any of the streets. The group began to suggest many of the roads' present-day names - including Primrose Path, Tranquil Trail, Rockingchair Lane, Nevermind Trail, and the intersecting Ho and Hum roads. In fact, the first bank in Carefree still stands on the corner of Wampum Way and Easy Street!
Carefree was the long-time home of Southwestern Studios, built in 1968. The sprawling 160-acre desert property adjacent to North Scottsdale featured state-of-the-art soundstages and production facilities. In the early 1970s, the studio was used for The New Dick Van Dyke Show starring Dick Van Dyke and Hope Lange. Later known as Carefree Studios, it was razed in 1999. The Scottsdale Road studio back lot and pristine desert property was developed into retail space and residential development.
Pay tribute to the vision of these trailblazing pioneers, and treat yourself to magnificent desert and mountain views, unparalleled luxury, and thrilling recreation at Carefree Resort & Conference Center.