The Best 4th of July Day Trips From Phoenix

Celebrate an Arizona July 4th in cooler temperatures

Considering getting out of the Valley for the 4th of July weekend? Here are two of my favorite destinations within a few hours of Phoenix for a memorable weekend or day trip to celebrate Independence Day. These destinations are easy day trips from Phoenix, and they are bound to be cooler by at least 10 to 20°F, since they are farther north, at higher elevations than Phoenix.

More options for enjoying July 4th:

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    Prescott Frontier Days & the World's Oldest Rodeo

    Prescott Frontier Days 'World's Oldest Rodeo'
    ••• Christian Petersen / Getty Images

    So many people make the trip up to Prescott for the 4th of July. It takes place at the Prescott Rodeo Grounds, and this is its 129th year. Rodeo events take place from June 28 through July 4 and include saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping, team bronc riding, bull riding and Women's Professional Rodeo Association barrel racing. Tickets start at $16 per session. Besides the rodeo, there's the Prescott Frontier Days Parade (July 2, 2016 at 9 a.m.). Here are parade specifics.

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    On the Verde Canyon Railroad in Arizona
    ••• On the Verde Canyon Railroad. Judy Hedding

    The Independence Day festivities at Verde Canyon Railroad begin at 11 a.m. on the shaded patio, with an All-American outdoor barbecue, tickets for which may be purchased in advance when reserving train seats. If you are planning to drive up early in the morning, the town of Clarkdale has it’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July festivities in the Clarkdale Town Park located at 1001 Main Street from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

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    Hiker at waterfall at Tonto Natural Bridge, world's largest natural travertine bridge near Payson.
    ••• Tonto Natural Bridge in Payson, AZ. Witold Skrypczak / Getty Images

    The entire day — more than 12 hours — filled with music, games, activities, food, fun and fireworks. Did you know that Payson is about 20°F cooler than it is in Phoenix? That's perfect weather for a hike in Tonto Natural Bridge State Park.