Can’t wait for your summer vacation time to roll around? If you’re itching to get out of the city and into the wilds of the Grand Canyon State, then you might want to consider taking a quick day trip this weekend. Today, we’re checking out some easy day trips from Arizona’s three major cities (Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Tucson) so that you can explore a little more of this lovely state.
1. From Flagstaff: Travel Route 66
Since Flagstaff is located right along Route 66, you have the option of traveling east or west for this day trip! When heading east, be sure to stop by Two Guns, Meteor Crater, Standin’ on the Corner Park in Winslow, Holbrook, and the Painted Desert National Park. When heading west, you’ll want to visit Williams, Seligman, Grand Canyon Caverns, and the Hackberry General Store. Either way, you can expect to spend at least half a day driving and exploring these places before heading back home.
2. From Flagstaff: Visit the Verde Valley’s wine country
Arizona has three different wine-producing regions, and one is located about 1.5 hours south of Flag. Small towns like Jerome, Clarkdale, and Cornville are home to sprawling vineyards and enough award-winning wineries to keep you busy for a whole week! However, we suggest finding a designated driver and selecting one to three tasting rooms to visit during a day trip here so that you’re able to enjoy Arizona’s homegrown wines.
3. From Flagstaff: Learn about Arizona’s ancient history
There’s no doubt Arizona is home to some beautiful country, but did you know you’ll find quite a bit of history all over the landscape? This short road trip will take you on the Volcanoes and Ruins Scenic Loop Drive, a route that covers Sunset Crater National Monument and Wupatki National Monument. Expect to spend 3-4 hours on this trip traveling and sightseeing.
4. From Phoenix: Explore Arizona’s Western history
Arizona’s Old West identity still survives today thanks to ghost towns, historic towns, museums, and dude ranches. For an easy day trip that incorporates this aspect of the state’s identity, pay a visit to Vulture Mine, located near the ghost town, Vulture City. Here you can find the old mines, buildings that have somehow managed to continue standing decades later, and the town’s old hanging tree where 18 miners met their demise. After visiting Vulture Mine, stop by Wickenburg, which is one of the best places to experience Arizona’s Western culture. You’ll find Desert Caballeros Western Museum, the historic Henry Wickenburg home, or participate in a historic walking tour of the downtown area.
5. From Phoenix: Escape the heat for Rim Country
The drive from Phoenix to Rim Country, through towns like Payson, Pine, Strawberry, or Star Valley, can be done in just under two hours. This centrally located area of the state is home to some beautiful forested areas, peaceful lakes, and refreshing creeks, making it an ideal spot to visit in the summer months. You can enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities, like hiking, fishing, kayaking, and camping, as well as visiting the small towns for antiquing or enjoying a cup of tea on the porch of a historic home.
6. From Phoenix: Visit "ghost town" attractions
Before the temperatures get too hot, you’ll want to check out a couple of central Arizona’s ghost town attractions: Goldfield and Tortilla Flat. Both have roots as actual small towns but are better known as tourist attractions with restored and rebuilt buildings. Plus, both areas have some stunning landscapes surrounding the "towns" that make the romance of the Wild West even more entrancing.
7. From Tucson: Travel up to Mt. Lemmon
When the temperatures begin to flare up, one of the easiest and most refreshing day trips to take is up the Santa Catalinas to Mt. Lemmon. You’ll find yourself miles from Tucson in the pines where you can fish, hike, camp, or even ride a ski lift in the cooler mountain air. Just be sure to visit on a weekday when the roads and recreation areas are much less crowded.
8. From Tucson: Visit actual and revived ghost towns
Southern Arizona is filled with ghost towns in varying states of decay and neglect. Some of our favorites actually happen to be clumped together south of Tucson along Ghost Town Trail and near Sierra Vista. Towns like Fairbank, Charleston, and Gleeson are abandoned and slowly deteriorating under the harsh desert sun. Meanwhile, Tombstone narrowly escaped ghost town status, thanks in part to its notorious history, but is still an incredible place to visit.
Those seemed like some pretty easy and fun trips, don’t you think? What other day trips ideas do you enjoy from Arizona’s big cities?
Do you prefer significantly longer travel opportunities in the state? If road trips taking up an entire weekend in Arizona sounds just like your cup of tea, then you are going to enjoy reading
6 Unforgettable Road Trips To Take In Arizona Before You Die.