It seems that the world is slowly returning to some sort of normal, so it’s only natural to want to do the things you’ve missed while in lockdown.
Most people got the chance to enjoy a walk around their neighborhood and visited all their closest relatives by now, which is why the next big goal is traveling. And, since we’re still wary of long distances, why not try something local?
Today we’ll talk about the most amazing day trips to take around Phoenix, Arizona, or the Valley of the Sun as locals like to call it. So, if you’re living in Phoenix or you’re currently there, have a look at the top five most amazing areas to visit:
There are a lot of fun things to do in Sedona but its landscape is the first to mesmerize newcomers. Also known as one of the most beautiful places to ever lay eyes while in the US, Sedona features a dramatic skyline sketched by towering red rocks on an almost clear blue sky.
The area is amazing for hikers and adventure-seekers, but photographers and filmmakers also find it ideal for dramatic visuals and surreal scenarios. And, once you’re done admiring the rocks (there are lots of rock formations with unique shapes) you can enjoy a day of relaxation and healing at one of Sedona’s many spas. Here you can enjoy unique treatments such as blue corn body scrubs and red clay wraps, and your evening may end with a glass of local wine.
As one of the seven wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is quite popular among tourists and locals. The landscape is jaw-dropping and you get a pretty accurate sense of just how grand Mother Nature can be.
Now, if you drive from Phoenix we recommend taking the most scenic route which starts north on Highway 17. And, if you haven’t seen Sedona, why not make a detour at Highway 179 to 89A to admire the rocky landscape while moving through Oak Creek Canyon towards Flagstaff. The trip takes about a day, but it is definitely worth it!
If you like history, there’s no better location around Phoenix than the nice city of Prescott! The old center is filled with interesting historical details and you can enjoy a delicious meal while surrounded by old buildings and monuments.
Now, if you want something a bit more adventurous, there are some amazing hiking trails around Prescott and you can even camp under the stars! If not, it’s only a two-hour drive from Phoenix, so it shouldn’t be too tiresome to drive back.
Quick tip: if you decide to go hiking, don’t miss Watson Lake – its shores are amazing for a bike ride and you can even go kayaking!
For a complete change of scenery, try the Joshua Tree National Park (named after the unique type of tree that grows here). It is a bit of a drive from Phoenix (about 3+ hours if you follow Interstate 10) and you’ll need at least a few hours to roam around, but with attractions like Skull Rock, Keys View, the Cholla Cactus Garden, and Hidden Valley there’s a lot to enjoy!
When the desert can’t steal your heart any longer, it’s time to go to Flagstaff. The city is surrounded by towering pine trees and there is snow in the winter (you can even ski on the slopes around the city). Also, there are some great hiking trails from spring until late in the fall.
If you’re not that much into sports, there are lots of cool things to see like Walnut Canyon National Monument or Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.
Situated at about 50-minute from Phoenix (by car), The Sonora Desert is a sight you can’t miss. Covering most of the south half of Arizona, this land is host to a wide range of ecosystems. In fact, you can find everything here from tundra to grasslands to forests. And, if you want more, there are a few amazing man made attractions as well (gardens, an aquarium, and the Sonora Desert Museum).
On the other hand, if you prefer adventure, there are paved and dirt roads leading to some of the most incredible landscapes.
It may be a bit of a long drive (around 2h 45 min from Phoenix), but it is a sight worth seeing at least once in a lifetime. This is where a meteorite crashed into Earth about 50,000 years ago and you can learn a lot about stars and meteorites, planets, and more from the interactive exhibits available around the crater.
Moreover, this is an excellent location for stargazing (if you stay the night)!
Placed about two hours from Phoenix (by car), the Saguaro National Park is an attraction for hikers and those who love desert scenery. You’ll see cactus-covered mountains, some wildlife (if you’re lucky), and lots of scenic landscapes.
This is the perfect location for those times when you want to be alone with your thoughts and Mother Nature.
Now it may be ruins (it’s a prehistoric structure, after all), but you can still see the house and a series of irrigation tunnels. All these were built by the natives around 600 years ago and now stand tall as a testament to the first settlers in the area. If you want to learn more, there are guided tourists almost daily, so ask around.
If you’re interested in war stories, take a trip to the Titan Missile Museum, situated about 2h from Phoenix. This is the only intercontinental ballistic missile site still standing on US territory and allows visitors to get an idea of the type of military technology available during the Cold War.
You get to see the missile up close, its silo, and the command center. Moreover, you may even participate in a simulated missile launch and enjoy a special tour, with access to restricted areas.
If you like the sun and incredible landscapes, Phoenix can easily be a fantastic place to live in the US. But if you’re not looking to settle down, it should definitely be on your list of places you must visit and stay for a while!