Now that Phoenix is warming up and we have officially been met with 100-degree weather (did it come too quickly for anyone else, or just me?), staying inside is key to not overheating. Unfortunately, it’s extremely easy to get stir crazy, and traveling out of state isn’t quite an option at the moment.
However, that doesn’t mean that traveling is out of the question completely. There are many different day trips that you can take to escape the heat and get a change of scenery.
These are the best day trips to take from Phoenix!
Known as the”rim country” thanks to the Mogollon Rim, Payson is only a short 1.5 hours away from Phoenix. It has a mix of swimming holes, hiking, and dramatic mountain views. The minute you arrive, you’ll instantly feel like you’re no longer in the desert.
- Boulders Loop Trail: At 4-miles in length, Boulders Loop Trail is known by locals as one of the most beautiful hikes in Arizona. Along the way, you will see massive boulders, Stewart Creek, and Arizona Cyprus trees.
- Horton Creek Trail: This 8.5-mile hike is definitely an all-day activity. However, it’s worth walking along the creek and even taking a dip on a hot day.
- Bear Canyon Lake: Bear Canyon Lake is a great remote lake, tucked in behind tall pine trees and blue spruce. You do have to take a quarter of a mile hike down to the water from the campground so be prepared to carry anything you may want for a day on the water.
- Tonto Natural Bridge: Tonto Natural Bridge is known to be the world’s largest natural travertine bridge. There are 4 different trails that you can take, each offering differently angled views of the bridge.
Flagstaff will forever be one of my favorite day trips from Phoenix. The 2-hour drive up is a piece of cake, there’s so much to see and do, and the weather is typically 10-20 degrees cooler than the valley.
- Macy’s Coffee House: Macy’s Coffee House is a staple in Flagstaff. Whether you’re visiting in the fall and you want to enjoy a hot apple cider or you’re visiting in the summer and you need an iced coffee and a scone, Macy’s is the go-to spot.
- Snowbowl: Mostly known for its skiing and snowboarding, Snowbowl offers so much more. Hike around to see the beauty of the San Francisco peaks and wildflowers or set up a picnic and just enjoy the view.
- Mother Road Brewery: Visit this local brewery to enjoy some local brews. Whether you choose to sit on their patio or grab beers for your picnic, Mother Road is a must during any Flagstaff trip.
- Bear Jaw Trail: This 7-mile hike is located right outside of Flagstaff and is a great way to cool off and see bright yellow sunflowers during the summer.
Jerome is a town full of history. It’s even coined the nickname “wickedest town in the west.” Founded in 1876, it was a mining town that has now turned into a ghost town full of haunted hotels and shops. If you have the time, stop by Prescott on your way home. Or even turn it into a camping trip!
- Jerome Historical Society Museum: If you want to fully understand the history of the mining town of Jerome, a visit to this museum will help you learn. You’ll learn how the city went from 15,000 people to a ghost town in the matter of years.
- Jerome State Historic Park: This former home of James S. Douglas, the developer behind the Little Daisy Mine, has become a museum of Jerome’s history.
- Jerome Grand Hotel: If you’re a ghost hunter and you want the chance to come face to face with Jerome’s former residents, visit the Jerome Grand Hotel. This hotel is so well-known for its ghosts that it was even featured on the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures.
Ahh, Sedona. Another one of my favorite go-to spots when I feel like getting out of Phoenix. With plenty of hikes, creeks, watering holes, shopping, and restaurants, Sedona is a truly magical spot.
- Grasshopper Point: Grasshopper swimming hole is one of the best places to cool off. It’s a short walk down a trail and once there, you find a fairly private and quiet swimming hole that includes cliffs to jump off and rocks to sprawl out on and tan.
- Devil’s Bridge: During spring and summer days, this hike can be exceptionally busy. It’s a moderate hike, lasting about 2 miles (1 mile each way). Although I am extremely afraid of heights, a walk to the middle of the bridge is well worth it.
- Slide Rock: This state park gets its name from the natural water slide created from the slippery bed of Oak Creek. Although it is open year round, the best time to spend time in the creek is May – August when the water is at it’s warmest temperatures. Along with the natural water slide, there are cliffs you can jump off and hiking paths.
- Bell Rock: Bell Rock is one of the easiest hikes in Sedona, sitting at 0.75 miles. The ground is extremely flat and it forms a loop, making it quick. If you like a little more adventure, there are areas where you can climb up bell rock and look over Sedona.
Located two hours south of Phoenix, Tucson is a melting pot of culture. A visit will allow you to experience tastes of Mexican, Sonoran, western culture, and more. It’s a combination of a college town and beautiful desert scenery.
- Saguaro National Park: Split into 2 sections on both sides of the city of Tucson, the park got its name from the plants only found in a small part of the US. On the western side, you can find petroglyphs from the Hohokam people. On the eastern side, you can find striking landscape views.
- San Javier Del Bac Mission: This Catholic Mission gets its name from a Christian missionary, Francis Xavier. A visit here is a a visit to a small piece of Arizona history.
- Mount Lemmon: Sitting at over 9,000 feet, Mount Lemmon is 30-degrees cooler than Tucson, something that is much needed in the summer months. You can hike trails, fish, and camp all within the park.
What would a day trip list be without the Grand Canyon? Located 3.5 hours away from Phoenix, seeing one of the seven Wonders of the World is well worth the drive. You can camp, hike, stargaze, or just admire from afar.
Located in Page, Arizona (about 4 hours from Phoenix), Horseshoe Bend is one of the most magical places on Earth. Walk up the 1.2-mile trail to this overlook to feel like you’ve been transported to another planet. During the summer months, be sure to pack plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat.
If you have the time (aka more than one day), stay in Page for the evening and enjoy Lake Powell. It’s a great spot for water sports and boating.
Bisbee is an eccentric mining town located a little over 3-miles southeast from Phoenix. While it may not seem like the most exciting destination, it’s a great place to get away for bit.
- Copper Queen Mine: Because Bisbee is an old mining town, it’s no surprise that one of its main attractions is the old mine from the late 1800s. A tour through the mine takes you deep into the mountain to see what it was like back in that time.
- Main Street: If you’re a vintage antique lover like myself, you will love Main Street. It’s lined with shops selling vintage goods, modern art, and everything in between.
- Old Bisbee Brewing Company: Located in the heart of old town Bisbee, this microbrewery is the perfect place to cool off with an ice cool beer. If you’re not a big drinker, you can also partake in their old fashioned root beer.