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Phoenix, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Tucson

Itinerary ideas? Road trip ending in Santa Fe

Looking for a road trip suggestion for about 9 days in April, 2 adults, 1 teen, 2 tweens. Regardless of the starting point, we would love to end in Santa Fe for a coupe of days, and fly out from Albuquerque. We plan to sleep in local motels along the way.

Question is: where do we start? Las Vegas, Phoenix, or Tucson? And what are some of the show stoppers you would recommend along the way? We are open to the Grand Canyon, but it's not a 'must' for this trip. We could do it another time if it's out of the way or deserves more time that we can afford. FYI- We don't like big crowds of tourists, prefer unusual attractions, and smaller natural sites.

Thanks a bunch!

3 Answers

answered by
Justin from Phoenix

I happen to like Tucson a lot (even though I live in Phoenix). One of my favorites there is the Titan Missile Museum. I recently went on a tour there, and the docent absolutely blew the minds of the teens and tweens on the tour (the were amazed by his first-hand stories of working at a missile installation during the Cold War). Kartchner, like Karla mentioned, is also pretty fun. More adventurous types might like the Wild Cave Tour at Colossal Cave Mountain Park a bit better. There's also a The Loop, a paved bike path that goes nearly all the way around Tucson. Oh, and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is excellent.

As for Phoenix ... hmm. There's a lot lot lot of outdoor stuff to do (hiking and mountain biking). The McDowell Mountain Regional Park is pretty cool ... oh, and see if any of the Maricopa County parks are holding a Scorpion Hike during your visit (a ranger leads a hike in the desert at night, and you use blacklights to find scorpions). There are a ton of threads here about food, so I'll skip recapping that. Phoenix shopping is mind-bogglingly overrated. Downtown Phoenix is getting a bit more lively, especially around Roosevelt and 5th streets. Lots of independent businesses to check out.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Titan Missile Museum (attraction)
  2. Colossal Cave Mountain Park (attraction)
  3. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (attraction)
  4. McDowell Mountain Regional Park (attraction)
2 thanks

answered first by
Karla from Minneapolis

Two interesting places in Arizona are Kartchner Caverns State Park outside of Tucson, and Tonto Natural Bridge State Park along with the Mogollon Rim outside of Phoenix.  

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Kartchner Caverns State Park (attraction)
  2. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park (attraction)
  3. Mogollon Rim (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Maria from Fort Worth

Santa Fe is a wonderful city. Visit the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum & see beautiful art & sculpture by the famed artist. This city also has several beautiful old churches including Loretto Chapel & its beautiful spiral staircase, Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis, and SAN MIGUEL CHAPEL, the oldest church in the US. All are within walking distance of each other. Try a green chile burger from Santa Fe Bite located at Garretts Desert Inn and have breakfast at Tia Sophia's. Try any dish with New Mexico green chile, red chile or a combo sauce called Christmas. Enjoy shopping in the Santa Fe Plaza. A must see in Albuquerque is the Petroglyph National Monument. Stop at the visitor center to obtain info on hiking and interpreting the Native American petroglyhs.  Eat a sopapilla with more NM chiles at Mary & Tito's Cafe, it won a James Beard Award for American Classic. More off beat places to visit are Los Alamos (New Mexico)Bradbury Science MuseumLos Alamos Historical Museum to learn about the Manhattan Project & the making of atomic bombs used in WWII. Puye Cliff Dwellings are ruins where pueblo Indians lived between 900-1580. You can tour the cliffs with a Native American guide. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Fe (city)
  2. Georgia O'Keeffe Museum (attraction)
  3. Loretto Chapel (attraction)
  4. Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis (attraction)
  5. SAN MIGUEL CHAPEL (attraction)
  6. Garretts Desert Inn (hotel)
  7. Tia Sophia's (restaurant)
  8. New Mexico (attraction)
  9. Santa Fe Plaza (attraction)
  10. Albuquerque (city)
  11. Petroglyph National Monument (attraction)
  12. Mary & Tito's Cafe (restaurant)
  13. Los Alamos (New Mexico) (city)
  14. Bradbury Science Museum (attraction)
  15. Los Alamos Historical Museum (attraction)
  16. Puye Cliff Dwellings (attraction)
1 thanks

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