15 Best Arizona Road Trips: Weekend Getaways & Day Trips

When travelling around America, you’ll want to make sure that you hit some of the best spots the states have to offer. Whether you’re in San Fran, LA, Alaska or Dallas, our guides have some wonderful places for you to stop off at. This guide is all about Arizona.  

Arizona is the sixth largest state in the country, and offers some of the most stunning geographical locations across the states. Southern Arizona is most known for its hot, desert climate, and Northern Arizona offers mountain ranges, canyons, beautiful national parks and forests. 

If you’re in Arizona, and looking for something fun to do, or somewhere to go that you’ve never been to before, then we have got you covered with this list of the best Arizona road trips! 

The Grand Canyon 

Of course, the Grand Canyon is on this list of places to go on a road trip from Arizona. It’s one of the natural wonders of the world, and has to be seen to be believed. The Grand Canyon spans an immense 277 miles and is up to 6,000 feet deep in some points. 

This place offers glorious views as far as the eye can see, with rock formations and canyons carved out by the Colorado River. If you want to visit one of the places with the greatest natural beauty, then the Grand Canyon should be on your bucket list. 

In Arizona, you can head to Lipon Point, for some breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon, or try out Mather Point and the Mary Colter Lookout Studio. The journey from Phoenix is about a 3.5 hour road trip to the Grand Canyon, so this is the perfect location to go for a weekend getaway. 

Tucson Mountain Park

If you’re looking for a day trip from Phoenix, then you can try visiting the Tucson Mountain Park. This place will give you a taste of the Arizona climate and landscape, with stunning views and a range of trails and hikes that are suitable for all fitness levels.  

At Tucson Mountain Park, you will find plenty of amazing trails and campgrounds to feel that little bit closer to nature. You can grab your hiking boots and get your blood pumping on the trails, or have a relaxing gaze upon the horizon at the many lookouts across the park. 

Las Vegas 

If you want a fun filled, exhilarating weekend getaway, then you can always hit the road and head up to Las Vegas! You can enjoy one of the many hotels or resorts, and have fun in the casinos. There’s so many restaurants and bars to choose from, or you can choose a show to watch for an experience you’ll never forget. 

Las Vegas can be a real treat for couples looking for a romantic getaway where you can eat, drink and be merry, or you can head up for a road trip with your friends. The road trip is about 8 hours from Arizona to Las Vegas, so make sure that you’ve got a great playlist and lots of snacks prepared for the drive! 

Los Angeles

Los Angeles is the city of angels, and is the iconic center of movies and television. Here, you can find the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive, Santa Monica, Venice Beach and so much more. You can hike up the Hollywood Hills, take a tour around the flashy homes of celebrities and movie stars or go visit the Griffith Observatory to gaze at the stars.

You’ve also got theme parks to visit, for the big kid in you, such as Universal Studios, or the happiest place on earth, Disneyland Park! It’s a great day out for couples, whole families and kids, but seeing as it’s a little bit of a road trip away from Arizona, it may be worth staying a few days or going for a nice, long weekend. 

Los Angeles is a little bit further away than Las Vegas, and it will take you about 9 hours to drive from central Arizona to Los Angeles. 

Saguaro Lake Marina

If you’d prefer to stay away from busy cities, and want a quieter getaway instead, then take a drive to Saguaro Lake Marina and enjoy the peaceful surroundings and rippling waters of the lake. 

Saguaro Lake was formed by the Stewart Mountain Dam, and is one of the last reservoirs built on the Salt River. With over 22 miles of shoreline, you can enjoy this place by sailing, kayaking, fishing, camping or boating. There’s so many water sports to participate in, and the marina is a great spot for a fun day on the water, or a relaxing getaway! 

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park is famous for its iconic and distinctive Joshua trees. These trees are instantly recognizable, as they resemble someone standing with their arms outstretched towards you. 

This National Park is the perfect, quiet spot for enjoying the Californian landscape, exploring the rugged, desert terrain and photographing the unique foliage. In the Joshua Tree National Park, you will find thousands of these spiny, spindly trees spanning across 3,200 km2, and you can hike, walk and adventure through the barren landscape to see them for yourself! 

Joshua Tree National Park is about three hours drive away from Phoenix, Arizona, so be prepared to get your road trip on, and travel to see this beautiful, natural landscape. 

Saguaro National Park

Are you a cactus lover? Then you’ll have to head to Saguaro National Park. It’s the perfect day trip from Phoenix, Arizona with a range of hiking trails for all levels of experience. Saguaro National Park has the amazing Cactus Forest Drive which would definitely pique your interest. 

This location is great for budding photographers as you can snap up some amazing shots of the giant cactus of Arizona, against the stark, barren desert backdrop. Not only that, but Saguaro National Park is a wonderful place to go for a day out as you’ll really feel connected to nature, and appreciate the stunning landscape around you. 

There are so many trails to explore, and even ones like the Signal Hill Trail that has ancient petroglyphs created by Hohokam people in the Tucson Mountain District of the park. Trust us, Saguaro National Park will be a fun day out to remember. 

Montezuma Castle

If you want to go someplace you’ve never seen or heard of before, then why not try out Montezuma Castle? This castle was originally created by the native Sinagua Indians over 600 years ago, but is so well preserved even to this day. 

The castle itself looks as if it has been hand carved into the side of the mountains, making it a very unique, interesting and fascinating historical site of Arizona. The castle lingers about 5 storeys high, nearly hanging off the edge of the cliff! 

It’s an important place to visit, and a great day out as you can take a step back into the history, and try to understand the original, native owners of the land. Not to mention that this is a sight that not many will have seen, with a castle built with 20 rooms into the actual rockface of Beaver Creek Canyon! 

The Montezuma Castle National Monument is located in Camp Verde, Arizona, and will take you about 3 hours to get there from central Arizona, so sit back, relax and enjoy the trip, or head down for a weekend! 

Bisbee 

In the southeast of the state of Arizona, you will find the Mule Mountains hidden away. What’s even more secluded and secretive is the little town called Bisbee, which is an old mining town. It’s about 92 miles southeast of Tucson, and 11 miles from the Mexican border.

Bisbee was initially a copper, gold, and silver mining town in the 1880s, and one of the very successful mining locations in the US. Bisbee today is a historic city, sometimes called Old Bisbee, that is renowned for its Victorian architecture, elegant country courthouse, and cultural significance. 

It’s still super quaint and a lovely place to visit, as you can appreciate how this once thriving copper town once functioned, and how that differs from today. However, Bisbee are very proud of their rich history, and have lots of places that can enlighten you and tell you all about their heritage.

For instance, there is the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, which can give you an insight into how this town once ruled the mining industry. There’s also the Muheim Heritage House which will give you an idea of what life was truly like for Bisbee residents during the 19th century, and really give you a taste of a real Wild West mining community. 

You can even head down the Queen Mine for a historic tour, and explore underneath the town, or hike up to Tombstone Canyon to see where the mining families resided in the desert. 

The Apache Trail

If you’re looking for a new road trip destination, then you should know about the Apache Trail. This trail is sometimes referred to as State Route 88, and showcases some of the most beautiful views and scenery. The Apache Trail begins at Apache Junction, just east of Phoenix and spans for 40 miles, winding and curving through the natural landscape. 

Although it’s one of the oldest highways in Arizona, there are ample opportunities to stop, get out of the car and behold the sights around you, or snap a picture in the wonderful wilderness. 

The road itself was created for old stagecoaches to reach the Apache Indian country, with views of the Tonto National Forest and Superstition Mountains, where many a treasure hunter has sought to find the legendary gold mine. 

The Apache Trail will truly take you back in time, and transport you to the days of our ancestors, and what life would have been like for them travelling through native lands, and desert landscapes. 

Lake Mead

Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the US, and spreads across Nevada and Arizona. It’s the perfect place to chill out and enjoy the water, as it’s a National Recreation Area, where you can fish, boat or participate in a range of water sports. 

Lake Mead resides in the middle of the desert, making it feel like a beautiful oasis paradise just a short distance away from Las Vegas! You can head down to Lake Mead for a relaxing day on the water, and enjoy Sin City in the evening for a jam-packed, fun-filled weekend away from home. 

Jerome

If you’re a fan of the wild west movies, then you’ll fit right in with Jerome, another copper mining town in Arizona. This place was once the craziest and most sin-filled town in all of the wild west, with an actual place called prostitution row. 

Nowadays, there’s no more copper to mine, and the place has become a tourist destination, where you can find out all kinds of historical information and anecdotes about the town’s rich history and sinful past. It’s almost become a sort of living museum, as there are no longer many locals, but the town itself almost looks untouched since the mining era. 

You can also visit the Tuzigoot National Monument, which is a preserved 3-story pueblo ruin, and the remains of the 12th century Sinagua Indian dwellings. 

Meteor Crater of Arizona

If you’re trying to find something fun to do in Arizona, then you must go to the Meteor Crater of Arizona! This is the site of an immense meteor that was created over 50,000 years ago. The crater itself is 1.1km in diameter and you honestly have to see this crater to comprehend its massive size and incredible impact on the landscape. 

You can also head to the Discovery Center to find out about the meteor, and engage with exhibits to learn about space, rocks and stars. It’s a fun day out for kids, adults, families and pretty much everyone can stare in awe at this thing! 

Tombstone

Tombstone is yet another touristy Wild West town, but this one is often used as the setting for old Western Hollywood movies. You can see Boot Hill Cemetery, and take part in a re-enactment of a shoot out, so it’s perfect for Western lovers, or a fun day out! 

Slide Rock State Park

At Slide Rock State Park, you can soak up the sunshine and enjoy the waters with all of the family. This location has slides formed out of the stunning red rock, and lots of creeks and rivers to paddle in. 

This place is considered one of the best swimming holes in the US, and is about 80 feet long, with lots of space to swim in the creek.You can also enjoy one of the three hiking trails in this park, but it’s one of the most populated places in the area, so be prepared to go early and nab a parking space for the day!