Top 7 Day Trips from Phoenix, Arizona

By Alice Ross | NORTH AMERICA

Aug 28

To be completely honest, spending a whole month in Arizona’s capital wouldn’t be enough to experience everything it has to offer. You must keep in mind that this is a large and very diverse city, which can make planning for day trips from Phoenix could be a little be tricky.

So, now the important questions come in. Where to go? What to see? How do you get there? How can you make the most of your time? In this article, we will do our best to answer these questions for you.

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There will be some overlap in this itinerary, but we will try to give you all the important things you should not miss. Whether you are visiting Phoenix only for a day with your friends or a solo traveler, you are certain to have an exciting experience that will make you discover the city’s history and lifestyle.

Is one day enough for Phoenix?

phoenix downtown

So, is sparing a day to explore Phoenix enough? Of course, not! However, you can surely make the most of it. Stuffing all the best places to go and best things to do in one day would  certainly not be enough! However, not getting to truly experience the beauty the place has to offer doesn’t mean you are not going to have fun on a day trip. Adding 4 to 5 attractions in your itinerary would be enough for you to truly enjoy your day.

How to make the most of your day trip?

To truly enjoy your Phoenix experience, you must try to visit the attractions at the right time to avoid the heavy flow of tourists. It is also best to plan your trip accordingly and know the distance between each destination to know which ones to do first. If you are not traveling alone, ask your companions about their interests and preferences to make sure that all of you are going to have fun on your trip.

​Attractions in Phoenix

phoenix at night

The biggest city in Arizona and the 9th biggest city in the United States, Phoenix is in the Salt River valley in a dry river basin called The Valley of the Sun. As mentioned earlier, this place has a lot to offer. But don’t be afraid to get out of the city and check out some amazing options for day trips from Phoenix. Below are some of the most top-rated attractions you can visit from Phoenix. Check them out and see which ones best suit your interests.

1. The Grand Canyon

One of the most popular attractions in North America, The Grand Canyon, is in Arizona. Coming from Phoenix, you can take a full-day trip by car to this famous attraction. But even though it is a long drive, you will surely enjoy the trip as it offers scenic views along the way. 

grand canyon

The best route to take if you are in for some scenic road trip to the Grand Canyon is the Highway 17, having a brief stopover at Highway 179 to 89A where you can see Sedona’s red rock scenery. After that, you can drive through picturesque Oak Creek Canyon going to Flagstaff. You must be aware, though, that the Oak Creek part is quite steep and narrow paved street, with switchbacks. It gets super busy during weekends and holidays seasons.

2. Saguaro National Park, Tucson

Looking for some adventures? Well, if you are a hiker or just someone, anyone who loves the desert scenery, then you will surely be going to love the idea of visiting Saguaro National Park, close to Tucson.

Saguaro National Park

Approximately 2-hour trip from the city of Phoenix, you will have scenic trips to the park, which offers gorgeous views up the cactus-filled slopes. You can also find hiking paths that offer an opportunity to enjoy the desert’s tranquility and meet some of nature and foliage up close and personal.

Going to the eastern part of Tucson, located in the Rincon Mountain District of Saguaro, which have a cemented road and some easy hiking trails. Going to the western part of Tucson, you will find the park’s Tucson Mountain District. It also features the beautiful scenery of the Sonoran Desert, which is a more primitive loop of dirt road, and quick and easy hiking trails. Not too far is Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum that is also a great stop on the way. 

3. Sedona

If you are looking for a quick day trip from Phoenix, then going to Sedona would be a great option. This is one of the easiest day trips you can have from Phoenix.

Sedona

Surrounded by outstanding red rock mountains, highlighted by the winding Oak Creek, and believed to have energy whirlpools. Sedona is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and interesting towns in the whole Southwest region. The main street has largely of restaurants and tourist shops, but not only that, but it’s also a great place to see to find fortune tellers, crystal sellers, as well as other unique retail shops that you would not be able to find simply anywhere, which includes places to get theoretical gifts or get your fortune told.

4. Flagstaff

Located at the height of more than 2,000 meters, Flagstaff has an intensely different landscape and an entirely different weather from Phoenix. Soaring pine trees all over the city, which gives it a nearly alpine fee. The downtown that has a part of historic Route 66, has many historic buildings, fascinating restaurants, as well as sports shops. Around the area, you can see the cliff of Ancient Sinagua houses atWalnut Canyon National Monument or perhaps Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument’s the volcanic scenery. 

Flagstaff

Throughout the winter season, you may want to expect to see snow within Flagstaff, and normally many of it within the neighboring mountains. Only a few kilometers outside the town, over the hills of a prehistoric volcano, is where you will find the ski hill of Arizona Snowbowl, with a height of about 3,300 meters. Once the winter storms end, you will be able to find some amazing powder here. A popular activity in this area is hiking, from the spring season until the fall season when the snow starts to melt in the area.

5. Montezuma Castle National Monument

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Constructed into a wall made of limestone, this Native American cliff structure is one of the best cliffs you will find around the area of Phoenix. Even though you could not get within the abodes, you are able to see it easily below, and because it is quite close to the wall, getting to close to the wall shouldn’t be a problem. It is also very easy to access.

The location is located just next to Interstate 17, around 1 and a half hours to the north of central Phoenix. This memorial is a great place for those who want to have some picnic or just want to relax under big trees that offer a lot of shade and relaxing areas.

6. Prescott

Another place that makes for an amazing destination for people looking for a quick day trip from Phoenix is the city of Prescott. This is a great place for those who are interested in the old city center and have a nice lunch or for people who want to experience some great outdoor activity. The neighboring district gives off the exceptional set with outstanding hiking trails, and chance to do some camping. The Watson’s Lake boulder-strewn shores is a great area for strolling and riding a bicycle. If you are in for it, you can even do some kayaking.

7. Tortilla Flat

Last, but not the least, on this list is the Tortilla Flat. Even though Tortilla Flat has a bit more than just a bunch of buildings with a low number of populations, this place attracts a lot of day-trippers who visit the area mainly for an unforgettable road trip and amazing meal

Tortilla Flat

Approximately a 1-and-a-half-hour drive eastern from Phoenix throughout State Route 88, the road embraces the hillsides as it goes to the Superstition Mountains and beside Canyon Lake before you get to the location. This Old West town used to be a stagecoach stopover to theHistoric Apache Trail. Coming here, you can have some meal, enjoy a delicious gelato at any of the shops, choose a keepsake, and make a stop at the small museum situated in an imitation of a single-room schoolhouse that used to run within the town.

Going for day trips from Phoenix is surely be something you must consider if you ever happen to visit Arizona’s capital. Hopefully, this article gave you an overview of what to expect on your trip and how to make the most of it. If you have other questions regarding this topic, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comment box below. If you find this article helpful, make sure to share it with your friends and family to also let them know about day trip options available for you from Phoenix.

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Alice Ross, a long-term traveler who left the corporate world to travel the world. I chose to live life on my own phase and live day by day while immersing myself in new experiences, new knowledge, and new people in a different walk of life I met along the way.

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