There are an almost limitless amount of destinations in the United States that would entertain and interest individuals and families alike for either an extended weekend or a full vacation. One of the best and more popular destinations for a family vacation is Phoenix, Arizona. Though the city of Phoenix has more than enough attractions in it to occupy the most diverse of families, there are still occasions that it is nice to escape the urban area of Phoenix and get out and explore and experience the surrounding area. There are some great day trips available in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Here is a look at nine of them that have the ability to turn a good Phoenix vacation into a great Arizona vacation.
Boyce Thompson Arboretum
Anyone interested in plant life, particularly the large variety of plants that grow in the desert, will be more than satisfied with a trip to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum which sits roughly an hour east of Phoenix in the community of Superior. With more than 300 acres, it can take a good part of a day to properly explore the arboretum and there are a number of great payoffs including some of the more rarely seen plants that grow throughout the desert area in small numbers.
The Famous Grand Canyon
Easily the most recognizable and famous scenic point in Arizona, the Grand Canyon’s south rim is roughly a four hour drive north from Phoenix. Visitors to the Grand Canyon have the ability to view the scenery that has attracted millions of people over hundreds of years, if not more. Most travelers will be mesmerized both by the beauty and the amazing realization that all they see before them was carved by one single river. There is also the opportunity to view the canyon floor through the glass skywalk that stretches out over the rim.
The Beautiful Sonoran Desert
Located near Scottsdale, the Sonoran Desert is as gorgeous as it is arid and hot. One of the best ways to view it though is by making arrangements with one of the many local tour companies and experiencing it yourself on an ATV. See the animals and plant life that make the desert floor something to be inspired by and respected at the very same time. A trip to the Sonoran Desert is a once in a lifetime experience for any traveler lucky enough to pay it a visit.
The Old West And The Art Community Collide In Jerome
Jerome, Arizona is home to both an impressive and diverse amount of things to see including 19th century buildings that currently stand largely as they did the day they were built and occupied as well as a decent amount of small art galleries that show the works of both local artists as well as those from outside the area. Jerome is located less than two hours north of Phoenix and is a wonderful place to visit for anyone wanting to spend some quality time in a small western town.
A Look Backwards Through History In Prescott
Long before Phoenix emerged as the state capital, the community of Prescott was Arizona’s first territorial capital. A visit to the city is now a great way to look at Arizona’s old west days as there are many historic buildings in the old downtown section. There are also a number of museums in the area that are dedicated to preserving and exhibiting artifacts and displays that detail the way of life in 1800s Arizona. Prescott has a long history related to both mining and ranching in the area which makes it that much more of a great stop for anyone looking to learn or experience more of Arizona’s history.
Visit Beautiful Sedona
While Sedona is known around the world as a hub of artistic activity, both in terms of art galleries as well as artists in residence, the biggest attraction is the scenic area that surrounds the city which is known as the Red Rock Country. The town is home to galleries, resorts, spas and many other attractions and features which make it a great destination for anyone looking for a brief change from the urban area of Phoenix.
See Verde Canyon By Rail
For a completely unique experience, visitors to Phoenix can embark on a train ride through the Verde River Canyon. The chance here for once in a lifetime experiences is huge as the train passes through areas where there are no roads or other means of travel. From bald eagles to antelope, there are a number of wildlife viewing opportunities in the Verde Canyon as well. The nice thing this day trip affords the entire family is that not one person has to concentrate on driving or navigating, the train takes care of that for them.
Tour The Historic Apache Trail
Less than forty miles east of Phoenix, travelers can begin a trip on the historic Apache Trail. The road starts in the community of Apache Junction and near the beginning visitors will be able to view the Superstition Mountains and visit Lost Dutchman State Park. When the Theodore Roosevelt Dam was built in the area during the early 1900s, a supply road was built so that supplies, machinery and men could be transported to the construction site. That road later became the Apache Trail. Along the route are some of the most remote sections of Arizona, as well as a few small communities equipped with cafes and museums. There are a number of scenic turnouts along the route that enable visitors to get glimpses of some of the most beautiful scenery in the area. Some of the other sites to be seen on the Apache Trail include Tortilla Flat, Canyon Lake, Apache Lake, Fish Creek Canyon, the Four Peaks Wilderness, the Theodore Roosevelt Dam, the Tonto National Monument and more. There are also a great amount of outdoor recreation possibilities available at various places along the route.
The Art Galleries Of Scottsdale
One of the closest getaways from Phoenix is the community of Scottsdale which is literally just minutes away. Though Scottsdale is justifiably overshadowed by nearby Phoenix, one of the biggest attractions in the city is the large amount of art galleries. It is relatively easy for anyone interested in art to find a gallery that focuses on their interests. There are galleries in Scottsdale that are geared towards world art, Native American art, Mexican art, old west or cowboy art, and more. Most of the art galleries are located relatively close together so Scottsdale is perfectly set up to be a very satisfying day trip for anyone visiting Phoenix.
While there are more than enough attractions in Phoenix to make any visit unforgettable, by leaving out the beauty and experiences of the surrounding areas, a visitor to the area may be robbing themselves of some of the best vacation memories they will ever have. One of the best ways to experience the surrounding area is by day trips to key points of interest. While the Grand Canyon is the most famous, there are a number of other historical and scenic sites that can captivate visitors to the Phoenix area. No visit to Phoenix is complete without at least attempting to experience the surrounding area.