Carefree, Arizona
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Carefree, Arizona

Carefree, Arizona
Welcome marker
Welcome marker
Official seal of Carefree, Arizona
"The Best Small Town in Arizona"
Location of Carefree in Maricopa County, Arizona
Location of Carefree in Maricopa County, Arizona
Carefree, Arizona is located in the United States
Carefree, Arizona
Carefree, Arizona
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 33°49?38?N 111°55?25?W / 33.82722°N 111.92361°W / 33.82722; -111.92361Coordinates: 33°49?38?N 111°55?25?W / 33.82722°N 111.92361°W / 33.82722; -111.92361
CountryUnited States
 o MayorLes Peterson
 o Total8.81 sq mi (22.83 km2)
 o Land8.81 sq mi (22.81 km2)
 o Water0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2)
Elevation2,402 ft (732 m)
 o Total3,363
 o Estimate 
 o Density440.05/sq mi (169.91/km2)
Time zoneUTC-7 (MST (no DST))
ZIP code
Area code(s)480
FIPS code04-10180
WebsiteTown of Carefree

Carefree is a town in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population of the town is 3,363.[3]


Characterised as an upscale[5] residential area, Carefree was conceived in the mid-1950s by business partners K.T. Palmer and Tom Darlington as a master-planned community. Land sales commenced in 1955 and homebuilding started in 1958. Carefree was incorporated in 1984 to avoid annexation by neighboring Scottsdale.[6]


The Carefree Sundial

The Carefree sundial, designed by architect Joe Wong and solar engineer John I. Yellott,[7] was erected in the Sundial Circle plaza in 1959 and claims to be the "third largest sundial in the Western Hemisphere". The sundial, which points to the North Star, is made from a steel frame and covered in anodized copper. It measures 90 feet (27 m) in diameter. The metal gnomon, the shadow-casting portion of the dial, stands 35 feet (11 m) above the plaza and extends 72 feet (22 m).[8]

Carefree was the long-time home of Southwestern Studios, originally built in 1968 as Fred Graham Studios by actor, stunt man, and Arizona Film Commissioner Fred Graham. The sprawling 160-acre (0.65 km2) desert property adjacent to North Scottsdale featured three state-of-the-art soundstages, edit bays, 35mm screening room, make-up, production facilities, western street and back lot. In the early 1970s, Stage 1 of the studio was used for The New Dick Van Dyke Show starring Dick Van Dyke, Hope Lange, Fannie Flagg, and Marty Brill. Stage 1 also was used for the filming of one of Orson Welles' last films, The Other Side of the Wind, with John Huston, Oja Kodar, Susan Strasberg, Bob Random and Peter Bogdanovich.[9]

The studio was used for the filming of Bob Hope's last feature film, Cancel My Reservation,[10] with Eva Marie Saint, Ralph Bellamy, and Forrest Tucker. Scenes were also shot at the studio for Michaelangelo Antonioni's Zabriskie Point, such as the back-lot house explosion, for Paul Newman's scenes in Pocket Money, for Bill Cosby's feature debut, Man and Boy, specifically the western street, and recently for Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, again the western street. The short, silent feature Time River[11] was shot on Stages 2 and 3 and extensively on the back lot and western street sets.

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.

Carefree is 17 miles (27 km) west of Bartlett Lake, in the Tonto National Forest.

Gordon Lightfoot wrote and sang a song named Carefree Highway. He took the name from a section of Arizona State Route 74 in north Phoenix, to explain his mood at that time.

Geography and climate

Carefree is bordered by the city of Scottsdale to the south and the town of Cave Creek to the west. Carefree and Cave Creek are often thought of as a single community.[12] The two towns share the local landmark Black Mountain.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 8.9 square miles (23 km2), all of it land.

Carefree has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh) with hot summers and mild winters, avoiding arid designation by being located closer to the rain-catching central mountains of Arizona, so that it receives about 70 percent (around 5.3 inches or 135 millimetres) more rainfall annually than does Phoenix. There are 141 afternoons annually with highs of at least 90 °F or 32.2 °C, 63.4 afternoons of at least 100 °F or 37.8 °C, and three afternoons that exceed 110 °F or 43.3 °C. During the winter, 8.3 mornings will fall below freezing; the coldest temperature reported in Carefree is 15 °F or -9.4 °C, which occurred on January 13, 1963 and January 7, 1971. Snowfall, although infrequent can occur. The last measurable snow was February 22, 2019, accumulating 3-6" depending upon the elevation. Rainfall, is sometimes heavy during winter fronts or monsoonal storms; the wettest month on record is January 1993 with 9.37 inches (238.0 mm), which helped produce a record "rain year" total of 26.20 inches (665.5 mm) between July 1992 and June 1993; in contrast between July 1962 and June 1963 only 6.98 inches (177.3 mm) was recorded.

Climate data for Carefree, Arizona (1971-2000; extremes since November 1961)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 84
Average high °F (°C) 62.0
Average low °F (°C) 41.1
Record low °F (°C) 15
Average rainfall inches (mm) 1.70
Average rainy days 5.4 4.5 5.8 2.5 1.2 0.7 4.0 4.8 3.8 3.8 3.0 3.7 43.2
Source #1: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration[13]
Source #2: National Weather Service, Phoenix (records)[14]

Sears-Kay Ruin

The prehistoric Hohokam's built villages and defensive fortifications. The Sears-Kay Ruin is one of the many forts built by the Hohokam. The ruins of this fort is located atop a desert foothill in the Tonto National Forest on the outskirts of the town of Carefree, Az. The fort was built around 1050 AD and later abandoned only to be discovered in 1867 by soldiers on patrol who were stationed in nearby Fort McDowell. The fort had 40 rooms which housed about 100 people. The area was named after two early homesteaders. The site was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in November 24, 1995, reference #95001310.[15]


The town is served by Cave Creek Unified School District.


The Carefree Town Hall located at 8 East Sundial Circle

As of the census[17] of 2000, there were 2,927 people, 1,389 households, and 995 families residing in the town. The population density was 330.8 people per square mile (127.7/km²). There were 1,769 housing units at an average density of 200.0 per square mile (77.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.4% White, 0.2% Black or African American, <1% Native American, <1% Asian, <1% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.7% of the population.

There were 1,389 households out of which 14.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.5% were married couples living together, 3.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.3% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.44.

In the town, the population was spread out with 12.7% under the age of 18, 2.0% from 18 to 24, 15.4% from 25 to 44, 40.5% from 45 to 64, and 29.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 55 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $88,702, and the median income for a family was $105,699. Males had a median income of $61,050 versus $38,750 for females. The per capita income for the town was $62,433. About 2.0% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.2% of those under the age of 18 and 3.2% of those 65 and older.

Notable residents


  1. ^ "2018 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ "Feature Detail Report for: Kool Corner". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey.
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved 2019.
  5. ^ Personal Real Estate Investor Magazine, Nov/Dec 2006
  6. ^ Carefree born out of a desire to live in harmony with desert
  7. ^ see Solar Today, Jan./Feb. 1987 p. 4, for Yellott's biography.
  8. ^ N. America Sundials Society Archived December 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Brechner, K.C. (1986) Welles' Farewell, The Other Side of the Wind, American Cinematographer, 67 (7), 34-38.
  10. ^ Cancel My Reservation (1972) Notes, TCM website
  11. ^ Time River, Vimeo website
  12. ^ Carefree-Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce
  13. ^ Climatography of the United States No. 20: 1971-2000; Carefree, AZ
  14. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved 2013.
  15. ^ Carefree-Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce
  16. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved 2016.
  17. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved 2008.
  18. ^ Bernard, Bina (March 3, 1975). "Hugh Downs Is An Uneasy Rider in Retirement". People Magazine. Archived from the original on June 10, 2013. Retrieved 2014.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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