Chances are… if you are here in the Phoenix area, you may have some time at some point during the year, or have family coming to visit.
If you are, and you are stumped for things to do, taking a day-trip is always a great option – thankfully we have more than a dozen places you can drive a few short hours, to see some beautiful views, learn some history, and wow your visitors.
From far Northern Arizona to all the way South to Bisbee, there is definitely something for everyone – even those of us with small children. We love road trips, and we have done many of these ourselves – some are on our list of things to do when the kids get a little older.
Obviously there are MANY more that didn’t make this list ~ maybe one day we’ll expand the list to include those, but for now, we thought we were pretty generous in giving this list a good variety.
Don’t forget to check out the FREE National Park Entrance Days!
Casa Grande Ruins
Just south of Phoenix in the town of Coolidge is the Casa Grande Ruins – it’s open all year (except for Christmas and Thanksgiving) and is FREE if you go on National Park FREE Entrance Day. The ruins holds an ancient Sonoran Farming Community and Great House, as well as a small Visitor Center with historical artifacts.
Fees are $5 per person over the age of 16, all others are FREE.
Located in Northern Arizona, Havasu Falls is 5-6 hours from Phoenix – to get there, you travel 65 miles North of Rt. 66 on Indian Road 18. It’s probably not the best place if you have small children, but is great if your kids are out of the house & you are looking for a day trip with your spouse.
Located in the far East Valley of Arizona, travel 27 miles north on State Highway 87 to the Bush Highway (Forest Road 204), and turn right to go an additional 4 miles.
The Lake is open January to December, and admission is $6 per vehicle. You can boat, and fish out there – but when the weather is nice the lake gets FULL very quickly (so it’s best to head out early in the morning!)
They also have the Desert Belle Cruise out there which you can take – but reservations must be made in advance.
Grand Canyon – South Rim
Head north of Williams and the 1-40 just 60 miles, on highway 64. The rim is open 365 days per year – it goes get congested, so plan in advance. Reservations for lodging are encouraged.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Open daily from 8 – 5 p.m., except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s – you can hike (self guided) or take a scenic drive. May through Labor Day you can participate in a Ranger Led Program, and should you wish for a canyon tour there is a fee.
To get there, take 1-40 East to 191 North (from Flagstaff) – it’s located 3 miles north on Route 191 in Chinle. Admission is FREE.
Mission of San Xavier del Bac, Tucson
The OLDEST in tact European Structure in Arizona, the Mission of San Xavier is 9 miles south of Downtown Tucson off of the 1-19 on exit 92. There is NO charge for admission
Kartchner Caverns State Park
The world’s longest stalactite formation, the caverns are Arizona’s tallest natural column formation below ground level – and a popular place to visit for a day trip in Arizona.
Take a self-guided tour for 1 1/2 hours, admission is $23 for adults 14 + and $13 for youth 7 – 13 years of age. Tours must be booked in advance, and you must arrive at least 1 hour before your tour time.
Montezuma’s Castle, and Montezuma’s Well
Travel north on the 1-17 to exit 289 (90 minutes north of Phoenix) and exit there, to the right, then head 1/2 mile (past two traffic circles) and hang a left on Montezuma Castle Road. You’ll drive down the hill to see the Cliff Dwellings & Archaeological Remains.
The Well is just a few more miles north of Montezuma’s Castle, off the 1-17 and exit 293.
The Well and Castle are open 364 days per year (closed on Christmas) from 8 – 5 p.m. Fees are $5 for ages 16 and above to see the Castle. There is no fee to enter the Well.
Petrified Forest & Painted Desert
Just north of the Meteor Crater, East of Flagstaff on 1-40, is the Petrified Forest… exit 285 into Holbrook then travel 19 miles on Highway 180 South to the park’s south entrance. Drive the 28 miles north through the park to return to Interstate 40.
The Forest has self-guided tours, guided tours, and more -admission is $10 per vehicle.
The Petrified Desert is not too far from the Petrified Forest – 26 miles east of Holbrook. If you go from the Petrified Forest to the Painted Desert you will pass the edge of the Wupati National Monument Indian Ruins.
The Painted Desert is 93,500 acres and stretches 160 miles.
A 100 Year old Mining Town, the city is full of antiques and old mining equipment, that is 5,000 feet above sea level in Yavapai County.
Jerome sits atop what (once) was the largest copper mine in Arizona – when the mine closed, the town became one of the largest ghost towns in America.
You can visit the Winery, eat at a Restaurant or shop for Antiques. Visit Prescott the same day to make it a fun day trip – while in Prescott you can walk down Whiskey Row.
Jeff Barchi has been a REALTOR® and one of the best real estate agent Arizona expert and managing homes for sale in the Greater Phoenix area since 1999. He is ranked in the top 1% of all real estate agents in Arizona in Greater Phoenix, a top 40 Realtor AZ under 40 award winner, and the top 3% of all agents nationwide. In 16 years Jeff, as a leading Arizona real estate agent, has participated in over 800 transactions, i.e. homes for sale in Arizona, averaging approximately 50 per year. To put this number in perspective, the average Realtor AZ closes 11 transactions per year. If you are looking for the best real estate agent Arizona expert, Jeff Barchi is your guy. His real estate firm has been praised as the best Phoenix real estate company, he has been a very successful Scottsdale real estate agent and Paradise Valley Realtor.