Casa Grande Ruins
South of Phoenix in the town of Coolidge, the ruins hold an ancient Sonoran farming community and great house, as well as a small visitor center with historical artifacts.
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the nearest rim to Phoenix, though it is still about a 4-hour drive. So, it can be done in an (exhausting) day trip from Phoenix, it would probably be more enjoyable to spend the night at a South Rim hotel. Another option is to take an organized tour so you don’t have to drive yourself. Visit nps.gov for more information.
Just a little over two hours north of Phoenix, Flagstaff is a popular quick destination for a year-round change of scenery. In the winter, the locals head here to see snow, ski, or go snow tubing and, in the summertime, to escape the heat and enjoy some hiking and rock climbing! Northern Arizona University gives rise to that small college-town feel and vibe.
Located in the far East Valley of Arizona, Saguaro Lake is great for boating, fishing, and swimming. Best to head out early when the weather is nice, as the lake gets FULL very quickly.
Kartchner Caverns State Park
Home to the world’s largest stalactite formation and Arizona’s tallest natural column formation below ground level. Tours must be booked in advance, and you’re expected to arrive one hour prior to your tour time.
Lost Dutchman State Park
Located at the base of the Superstition Mountains and just 40 miles east of Phoenix, this State Park is named after the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, a famous gold mine legendary among the tales of the Old West. Visit azstateparks.com for more info.
About an hour and half north of Phoenix, Montezuma Castle features one of America’s best-preserved cliff dwellings. Dating back to the 12th century and used by the Sinagua civilization, this five-story structure of 20 rooms resembles an ancient high-rise apartment complex. An ideal place to stop and stretch your legs if traveling from Gilbert to Sedona.
Surrounded by stunning red rock formations and national forests, Sedona is popular with outdoor enthusiasts who like to hike, bike and ride off-road vehicles through scenic terrain. Considered sacred by Native Americans, Sedona is also a place to visit to become spiritually renewed or to indulge in luxury spa treatments. Located just 115 miles from Phoenix.
"Lost Dutchman State Park is a can’t-miss! Hiking trails and guided informational hikes lead by Park Rangers make for a fun day trip when you just want to get out and explore!" – Arron H.