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Dina
Dallas

Phoenix, Arizona

Short road trips from Phoenix?

Spending a week in Phoenix for a conference but staying a few days to explore. Are there any cool places to visit outside of Phoenix? Nothing too far maybe 2 hours max. I'd love some sight seeing, hiking, anything you can think of!


8 Answers

answered by
Lynn

These are all good suggestions for quick trips out of Phoenix;  but don't overlook Jerome (Arizona)!  It's on the way north toward Sedona (get off I-17 at Clarkdale); have lunch at the Haunted Hamburger.  And speaking of on the way north, do stop off to see Montezuma Castle National Monument... doesn't take long & is quite unique. If you go to Sedona, make sure you do one of the Pink Jeep Tours; plus there are plenty of hikes up there.   If you go south to Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a must...  it's in the middle of the Saguaro National Park, and is a very nice "zoo"/museum.  And if you like stars... there is Kitt Peak National Observatory Visitor Center.  They do tours, and if you schedule in the evening, you can look through the telescopes.  Call first.  There is also a movie/TV studio set just outside of Tucson (for some reason the name escapes me... I'm old, I guess)... might be worth a visit... lots of familiar movies & TV shows were filmed there.


Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Jerome (Arizona) (city)
  2. Sedona (city)
  3. Haunted Hamburger (restaurant)
  4. Montezuma Castle National Monument (attraction)
  5. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (attraction)
  6. Saguaro National Park (attraction)
  7. Kitt Peak National Observatory Visitor Center (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
Janelle from Charleston

I love Arizona. Tucson is about a 90 minute drive from Phoenix.  It's a big city, but much better organised, in a beautiful geographic location, and much more culturally representative of Arizona (e.g. fewer chain restaurants and big-box stores, less crime/fewer bad areas, better nightlife and culture).  I'd recommend staying at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in the foothills above the city.  It's a beautiful resort that's well integrated into the desert terrain, and it's at the head of some excellent hiking trails into the mountains (great photo ops).  Sabino Canyon is a state park with a tram that takes you up into the mountains. The University of Arizona has a few decent museums. Saguaro National Park-Tucson Mountain District is excellent for hiking and desert photography as well. Even if you're not into aviation, Pima Air & Space Museum is a great aviation museum, especially for military aircraft. North 4th Avenue near U of A is Tucson's best shopping area.  Biosphere 2, about 30 minutes out of town, is somewhat off the beaten path but a very worthwhile and educational thing to do.  If you eat at just one place in town, make it El Guero Canelo for yummy Sonora style hot dogs.  Arizona Inn is an upscale, romantic restaurant.


Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Tucson (city)
  2. Loews Ventana Canyon Resort (hotel)
  3. Sabino Canyon (attraction)
  4. The University of Arizona (attraction)
  5. Saguaro National Park-Tucson Mountain District (attraction)
  6. Pima Air & Space Museum (attraction)
  7. North 4th Avenue (attraction)
  8. Biosphere 2 (attraction)
  9. El Guero Canelo (restaurant)
  10. Arizona Inn (hotel)
1 thanks


answered by
Karla from Minneapolis

SedonaPayson (Arizona) and Prescott are three of my favorites!  Lots of beautiful scenery.  Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is great for simple hiking.


Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. Sedona (city)
  2. Payson (Arizona) (city)
  3. Prescott (city)
  4. Tonto Natural Bridge State Park (attraction)
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answered by
Chris

Sedona would be great for all the things you are looking for. We take day trips up there. A common trip for us would be to hike Bell Rock Trail in the morning. Travel in through towns and grab lunch Indian Gardens Oak Creek Market. The place looks like a convenience store on the outside but they have a great deli sandwich counter that better then most of the restaurant's in town and half the price. You can grab a beer and eat behind the store in a really cool secluded garden area that backs up to a mountain. After lunch we drive a little further up the road an play in Oak Creek Canyon.  Some people love Slide Rock State Parkbut that's a little to touristy for me. Just find an small park area on the side of the road its lots of fun.


Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Bell Rock Trail (attraction)
  2. Indian Gardens Oak Creek Market (attraction)
  3. Oak Creek Canyon (attraction)
  4. Slide Rock State Park (attraction)
1 thanks


answered by
Lynn

Sedona.  Head on up  north on the I-17, exit 297 (I think)... at any rate it's Rt, 179.  Exit, turn left, & head over to Sedona. Beautiful scenery & hiking (go to the Visitors Center for maps).  On the way up, take a short turn-off to see Montezuma Castle National Monument , and old Indian Cliff Dwelling (20 min.detour).


Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Sedona (city)
  2. Montezuma Castle National Monument (attraction)
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answered by
Justin from Phoenix

If you follow Greg's advice and go to Payson, my favorite trail up there is Horton Creek Trail. It runs along a nice spring-fed stream. A warning about Payson - it's nearly impossible to find decent food there unless you go a bit further onto Strawberry to a place called THAT Brewery & Pub.
I also like hiking around Picketpost Mountain quite a bit. It's more high desert scenery as opposed to the scrub and forest around Payson.

If you want to be closer to Phoenix ... I love the big patch of State Trust Land near Pima and Dynamite roads in Scottsdale. There are multiple trailheads out there. The Scottsdale city website will have details. Only place I've ever seen a gila monster in the wild.

As a local, I can't recommend Cave Creek or Carefree at all. They used to have a certain grit, but they've just been stripped of authenticity. They're pretty much faux-Western retiree bedroom communities at this point. Check out the Roosevelt Street area right around 7th Street in Phoenix instead. Cool coffeehouses, FilmBar, and other fun stuff.


Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Horton Creek Trail (attraction)
  2. THAT Brewery & Pub (restaurant)
  3. Picketpost Mountain (attraction)
  4. FilmBar (attraction)
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answered by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

Head north up to Cave Creek-probably not even an hour from downtown.  It is up into the mountains a bit, so the temperature is slightly cooler, and the town itself is just very laid back, local, "weird".  You'll find plenty of lovely outdoor cafes to lunch in, shops to find local artistry, and a pedestrian friendly city!

Enjoy-


Mentioned in this answer:

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  1. Cave Creek (city)
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answered first by
Greg from Chengdu

I haven't been to Phoenix in years but when we lived there my wife and I like to go up to the area around Payson (Arizona),  kind of the beginning of what is known as the Mogollon Rim.  Some good hiking trails in the Tonto National Forest.


Mentioned in this answer:

VIEW DETAILED MAP
  1. Payson (Arizona) (city)
  2. Mogollon Rim (attraction)
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