While there is plenty to keep visitors busy right here in the Valley of the Sun, there are worthwhile destinations within a couple of hours from the Phoenix area. During the warmer months, you'll want to focus on destinations north, at higher elevations. During the cooler months, going south means you'll be only a few degrees cooler than Phoenix, but going north could mean snow.
Here are some ideas for great day trips from Greater Phoenix, with a focus on places that are uniquely Arizona.
More Phoenix Area Activities and Attractions for All Kinds of People
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The red rocks of Sedona will lure you and your guests if a day trip is on the agenda. You can't go anywhere better to enjoy scenic beauty than Sedona. If you plan on taking a guided 4x4 or jeep tour during the holidays or spring break, make your reservations early. After you're done marveling at Sedona's natural beauty, there's plenty of shopping and eating to be done, too.
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Arizona isn't all desert, and even if all you do is drive to Payson, the trip up the Beeline Highway is one of the loveliest. Watch the lower desert gradually turn into pine forest as you go to Payson and beyond, to Pine and Strawberry. This is what we call Rim Country. The elevation is at about 5,000 feet in Payson, so check the weather and dress accordingly. There might be snow, but it doesn't usually last very long. In the summer, Payson is where you can attend the world's oldest continuous rodeo.
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Jerome is one of Arizona's favorite towns, and the museum and surrounding area is an Arizona State Park. A scenic drive to this former mining town in Central Arizona offers a glimpse into a significant part of Arizona's history and growth. Today's commerce in Jerome centers around the artist community, so after exploring the mines and museums, a little shopping at the eclectic studios is in order. Of course, you can simply visit the museum, but if you want to spend the entire day, be prepared to do lots of walking here.
In Jerome, you can visit a few wine tasting spots, and then head to nearby Page Springs to continue that activity!Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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About one and a half hours north of Phoenix are two National Monuments that are well worth a trip. Take a walk among cliff dwellings and ancient Native American villages. It's an important part of Arizona's history, and a fun day of walking and hiking in our beautiful Arizona weather.
07 of 10One of the great features that Phoenix has to offer motorcyclists is the comfort and variety of a vibrant urban area in combination with easy access to magnificent rides with unexpected diversity. Through 6,000 ft. of elevation change, Central Arizona’s roads wind amidst lonely cacti and pine forests, introducing the rider to landscapes from sweeping southwestern vistas to steep canyon walls. Here are five day rides for visiting motorcycle enthusiasts.
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The second largest city in Arizona is Tucson, just a coiple of hours down the road. There are museums, flora and fauna, canyons, hiking, golf, great resorts, caverns, scenic drives — you won't be able to explore it all in one day or even one week. Here are some recommendations for spending a great day in Tucson.
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Love trains? The Verde Canyon Railroad in Clarkdale (about 100 iles north of Phoenix) travels through an area that was once rich in mining activity, and even prior to that, was the home of the ancient Sinagua people. The excursion covers about 20 miles and then simply turns around and heads back; the round trip is about four hours.