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The 5 Best Day Trips in Arizona

The 5 Best Day Trips in Arizona

Arizona is a beautiful state with so many different places to see and explore. It can be hard to determine one particular spot to visit with so many options. That’s why it’s a great idea to plan some Arizona day trips while on vacation. You can take a couple of hours to drive to enjoy a full day in a unique and exciting destination. In Arizona, the sights are always worth the journey!

Grand Canyon National Park

Number one on the list of day trips in Arizona is the wildly popular and stunningly beautiful Grand Canyon National Park. Worth a drive from any destination, the park is located in Northern Arizona between Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Enjoy the breathtaking views and be sure to pack a camera to take plenty of photos.

Another popular thing to do at the Grand Canyon National Park is to take a mule ride down into the canyon to see the rock formations up close. You can also take a helicopter tour to get a whole new perspective on this picturesque natural wonder.

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park is less than a two-hour drive from the popular city of Phoenix and is located in Pima County, Arizona. This park preserves and protects an expansive saguaro cactus forest that sprawls across the valley. Beyond looking at the impressive cacti, the park offers a number of exhibits and activities to enjoy while visiting. Take a close look at prehistoric petroglyphs or watch for wildlife like coyotes, desert tortoises, Mexican spotted owls, deer, and more.

Start at the district’s visitor center to browse the exhibits and shop at the Western National Parks Association Bookstore. From there, you can choose to take a scenic drive around the park, bring your hiking gear for a scenic hike in the more than 170 miles of trails, or participate in the “Art in the Park” workshops.


Located between Prescott and Flagstaff, Jerome is set on Cleopatra Hill overlooking Verde Valley. While it was once inhabited by over 15,000 people, the mines closed in the early 1950s during the Great Depression. Now it has been reopened as America’s largest ghost city, with a population of just over 400.

Less than two hours from Phoenix, Jerome is a great Arizona day trip. Enjoy the peace and quiet along with the rich history of the area. Pop in and out of the small shops that line the streets and explore the many ruins including the famed traveling jail. There are also actors and historians that roam the streets recreating scenes from the town’s rich gold mining past.

Coconino National Forest

Just south of Flagstaff, Coconino National Forest is a true paradise for nature lovers. While the forest is filled with many incredible pine and juniper trees, it is so much more than that. Visitors will delight in the widely diverse terrain including large sandstone formations and the alpine tundra.

We recommend you bring a picnic lunch to enjoy while admiring the scenery. Go hiking, biking, or even just driving through the forest. Be sure to stop at the headquarters to pick up a trail map. The rangers can also help guide you to various trails or areas of interest during your visit.

Petrified Forest National Park

Last on the list of day trips in Arizona is the Petrified Forest National Park in northeastern Arizona. Unlike most forests, this park doesn’t have vibrant green trees growing everywhere. Quite the contrary, it’s a barren landscape with numerous beautiful petrified logs. Not only that, you can take in stunning views of the Painted Desert and its vibrant skyline.

The park features two Visitors Centers where you can view exhibits, learn about the area’s history, and peruse the gift shop. The park also boasts numerous walking trails where you can walk along the logs, ancient petroglyphs, and a 16th-century hut built from petrified wood. This gorgeous area is a must-see when visiting Arizona.

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