Wanna get away? The road to adventure is not far by car with day trips abound from the Valley of the Sun. From Bisbee to Tombstone, there is much to explore with Arizona’s history, scenery and desert to tour.
If you’re looking for a short getaway to stretch your dollar — and your imagination — check out these great day trips from Phoenix.
Two hundred miles and a three-hour drive will get you from Phoenix to Bisbee via the Interstate 10 traveling south. Founded in 1880, this old mining town is known for its rich history in copper that gave way to Bisbee Blue — the name given to the high quality turquoise that comes from the copper mines in Bisbee.
The town is also home to the historic Copper Queen Hotel, which holds the distinction of being Arizona’s longest, continuously operated hotel having first opened its doors in 1902. It is also the site of rumored ghost sightings and celebrity stays with late actor John Wayne counted among one of the Copper Queen’s former frequent visitors.
Victorian-style homes and Art Deco-architecture dot Bisbee’s cityscape, which also embraces both hilly and walkable terrain. Laid-back and a little quirky, Bisbee is a great place to people watch or just escape the bustle of the big city for a day or two.
Located 90 miles north of Phoenix, it will take day trippers just about two hours to get to Jerome by way of car on Interstate 17.
Nestled in the heart of northern Arizona, Jerome is Arizona’s most famous ghost town and considered to be the largest such town in the United States. With a population of about 450 residents according to stats and facts from the U.S. Census Bureau (not counting any ghosts), it’s not uncommon to to find tourists outnumbering the locals during peak visitation periods.
Like Bisbee, Jerome is also a former copper mining town but also earned notoriety in the early 1900s as “the wickedest town in the West” for a thriving business landscape that saw the coexistence of banks, hotels and stores alongside businesses linked to alcohol, gambling and prostitution.
Today it’s filled with tourist treasures and plenty of memorable sights and stories to make a day trip from Phoenix well worth the miles.
The stunning red rock formations and pine forests that surround Sedona consistently seem to impress even the most discriminating traveler. By car and Interstate 17, Valley residents heading northbound can find themselves amid this majestic scenery in about two hours.
Long considered sacred by Native Americans, Sedona’s renowned luxury spa facilities make the city a respite for renewal for those seeking spiritual sanctuary. And for those who prefer a little more rugged terrain to do their soul searching by hiking, biking, or off-road driving, Sedona has that too.
Home to numerous art galleries, notable arts organizations such as the Sedona Film Festival and a growing wine industry, Sedona is a must-see and do destination for day trippers traveling from the Valley..
Travel east to the Wild West of Tombstone by way of Interstate 10. A three-hour drive from Phoenix will land travelers in this historic town south of Tucson where the ghosts of gunslingers with names like the Earp brothers, Doc Holliday and the Clantons and McLaurys keep the legend of the O.K. Corral shootout alive (even though the gunfight was actually a few blocks away from the O.K. Corral).
Visitors can pay to see a re-enactment of the infamous clash between the lawmen and outlaws, or keep an eye out — and perhaps take cover — for when the town stages free “gunfights” on Old Tombstone’s main street throughout the day.
In this old frontier town where time stands still, visitors can also experience working blacksmiths, western buggies, cowboy relics and even rustic lodging in keeping with Tombstone’s dedication to preserve one of the last vestiges of America’s Old West.
Sometimes referred to as the Sedona of Southern Arizona, Tubac, located about two-and-a-half hours south of Phoenix in Santa Cruz County, is best known as a haven for artists and a sanctuary for shoppers.
Founded in 1752, Tubac is steeped in Spanish history as Arizona’s original Spanish colonial garrison. Even with a small population of about 1,200, Tubac boasts more than 80 galleries and shops that feature hand-crafted items, sculptures and paintings.
Restaurants range from elegant dining to hands-on barbecue. A cozy bed & breakfast and a large-scale hotel offer lodging options for those planning to stay over.
Access to golfing, hiking, mountain biking and off-roading throughout the Santa Cruz County area also makes Tubac the perfect getaway for Valley urbanites seeking some of the simpler pleasures of life. Travel I-10 East and I-19 South to discover and explore the treasures of Tubac.
– Suzanne Wilson, Phoenix.org