Are you ready to explore Arizona?
Are you ready to see what else Arizona has to offer? We have lived in Arizona for 8 years now and love learning all there is to know. We take every opportunity we have to explore and find new ways to love Arizona. I have compiled lots of suggestions for your one day road trips from Phoenix. I have compiled trips North, Northeast and South but lets start with this map.
Head North for your one day road trips from Phoenix
Campe Verde, Arizona
I can go on and on about how beautiful Sedona is! There are some great places to eat and shop in the center of town. It is home of the famous “Red Dirt Shirts”. Slide Rock State Park is a must-see. Bring swimsuits or even just towels to explore. If you want to camp make sure you read my post of AZ Campgrounds. Oak Creek Canyon is amazing place to camp but you can stay in a hotel or rent a cabin on the river. Don’t forget that you can easily take it all in on your one day road trip from Phoenix.
In addition to the Bearizona drive through wildlife park, Flagstaff is home of the North Pole Experience every winter! No matter what the season is, you’ll definitely want to check out the Meteor Crater just outside of town! In Winter, flagstaff is the closest place to go sledding or skiing to Phoenix. They have two sled parks and you can ski at SnoBowl
The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon: Of course no Arizona road trip is complete without a trip to the Grand Canyon National Park. On the drive to The Grand Canyon you can make a stop in Williams Arizona. This small town is closest to The Grand Canyon and the famous Route 66 runs right through it. Around the holidays, make sure to sign up (early!) for The Polar Express.
Home to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon are both amazing landmarks! I used to think you’d have to travel into Utah for these beautiful rock formations, but we have some right here in Arizona! Page is also the closest city to Lake Powell. Lake Powell is a reservoir on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona, It is a great place to rent a houseboat and stay awhile to explore what the reservoir has to offer! But, lets get back to your road trip!
Southern Arizona Options to explore more of the State
Head South to Explore your one day road trips from Phoenix
Depending on the season, Tucson has different things to offer! If you’re driving through in the Spring, look up the local rodeos! Spring and fall offer the Gem Shows, and if the weather isn’t too hot or too cold, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is the place to see! Check out my post of how to spend the perfect day in Tucson listing fun activities to keep you busy.
You will need to head a little further south of Tucson to get to Tombstone on your road trip. Don’t let your road trip end without a visit to the O.K. Corral, Good Enough Mine Tour, or Big Nose Kate’s Saloon for lunch! Don’t miss the iconic gun fight!
Mt. Lemmon, Arizona
Just northeast of Tucson, you’ll find Mt. Lemmon–a skiing, sledding, biking, rock climbing haven. Averaging 30 degrees cooler than Tucson, it’s the place to be when the temperature rises. I’ve been told to not skip the Cookie Cabin for pizza and homemade cookies at the top of Mt. Lemmon. During the winter there is usually a wait, but apparenty worth it!
Heading East on your One day road trips from Phoenix
Petrified Forest National Park
Petrified Forest National Park is in northeastern Arizona. In its south, the Rainbow Forest is full of colorful petrified wood. It’s home to the Rainbow Forest Museum, with its paleontology exhibits and many trail access points. In the park’s center are the petroglyphs of Newspaper Rock and the ruined village of Puerco Pueblo. To the north, the Painted Desert Inn, a 1930s adobe building, is a museum with Hopi murals.
Payson Arizona is about an hour drive Northeast up the Beeline Highway (Highway 87). It is part of the Mogollon Rim. Payson has an annual rodeo and some cute shops to check out.
From Payson, you can head east about 30 minutes to Woods Canyon Lake. It is in a beautiful forest on the edge of the Mogollon Rim. The temperatures are ~10 degrees cooler than even Payson. You can rent little boats to get around the lake or there is a trail to walk around the lake.
If you head west from Payson you can check out Tonto Natural Bridge. It is believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. The bridge stands 183 feet high over a 400-foot long tunnel that measures 150 feet at its widest point. There are three hiking trails, a picnic area, and a group use area. Goodfellow Lodge at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park is a one-of-a-kind rustic hideaway in the middle of some of the most picturesque scenery in Arizona’s Rim Country.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument:
A bit of a drive but wanted to mention this lesser know park.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a vast park in northeastern Arizona, on Navajo tribal lands. Its prominent features include Spider Rock spire, about 800-feet tall, and towering sandstone cliffs surrounding a verdant canyon. Inhabited by several Native American peoples for millennia, the area is dotted with prehistoric rock art. The White House Ruins and Mummy Cave are remains of ancient Pueblo villages.
I really enjoyed our time in Canyon de Chelly. It may be a good stop if your on your way to Colorado or Utah or if you stay in Flagstaff too.
If all these places aren’t enough to keep you busy, let me know! 🙂
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