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Best Day Trips from Phoenix
A popular destination for travelers who love sun and warm weather, Phoenix offers ample hiking, relaxing and sightseeing opportunities. But when you've exhausted everything the Valley of the Sun has to offer, you should explore nearby offerings. U.S. News considered sights, culture, proximity and expert and traveler feedback to determine the Best Day Trips from Phoenix. Read on below and vote for your favorite destinations to help form next year's list.
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One of the country's most popular national parks, the Grand Canyon is about a three and a half hour drive north of Phoenix. But if you hit the road early, it's worth it to be able to walk along the Rim Trail, snap photos from Yavapai Point and explore the Grand Canyon Village. The scenery here – from the deep gorges to the towering rock formations – is otherworldly.
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Sedona sits north of Phoenix and can be reached by car in around two hours or in about three hours by shuttle from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Spa lovers and adventure enthusiasts will both find fun things to do here. Plan to pencil in some time for hiking the famous red rocks and seeing the heightened energy spots called vortexes, then end your day with a relaxing massage or facial at a Sedona spa.
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Tucson – about two hours south of Phoenix – is one of the sunniest spots in the United States, seeing an average of 350 days of sun each year. What's more, temps here typically hover in the 60s or higher year-round. If the pleasant weather isn't enough to woo you, Tucson's beautiful natural and cultural sights should. Saguaro National Park (filled with cacti) and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum are two highlights.
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Montezuma Castle National Monument#4 in Best Day Trips from Phoenix
Approximately an hour and a half north of Phoenix, Montezuma Castle National Monument makes for a superb cultural day trip. Here, travelers will find a set of preserved cliff dwellings once inhabited by the Sinagua people hundreds of years ago. Visitors can explore the pueblo ruins and various archaeological sites, hike the trails at Montezuma Well and enjoy ranger talks.
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Head to Flagstaff to hike through Walnut Canyon National Monument and check out Sunset Crater National Monument. The latter, once a volcano, features interesting lava rock formations and an easy mile-long hiking trail. After a day spent outdoors, make your way downtown to relax with a meal and a local brew. Flagstaff is located about two hours north of Phoenix.
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Petrified Forest National Park#6 in Best Day Trips from Phoenix
About a three and a half hour drive northeast, this destination is quite unique. Petrified Forest National Park stretches across 200,000 acres and is home to one of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the world. Travelers recommend seeing the Painted Desert, learning the park's geography at the Rainbow Forest Museum and hiking through the park's scenic trails.
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Prescott#7 in Best Day Trips from Phoenix
A day trip to Prescott should be filled with boating, kayaking and fishing in Watson Lake, soaking up the Arizona sun. The striking blue waters of the lake are framed by granite boulders and hiking trails, which also make for great photo ops. After a day on the lake, check out downtown Prescott's historic area, breweries and eateries. This city is less than a two-hour drive from Phoenix.
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