Easy to Plan Day Trips From Scottsdale

Southern Arizona is the perfect vacation destination because there is so much to see and experience. Visitors to the south end of the Grand Canyon State aren’t limited to just exploring Scottsdale or Phoenix. There are numerous tourist-friendly places bordering these popular desert cities, and many of them are closer than you’d expect. If you’re staying in Scottsdale and have some time to burn, you might want to consider taking one of these easy day trips.

The Apache Trail

One of the greatest ways to experience the desert world outside of Scottsdale is to cruise the scenic Apache Trail. Your adventure will begin at Apache Junction, which is located just 30 minutes from Scottsdale. As you navigate more than 40 miles of winding and rugged mountain roads, you’ll witness some breathtaking scenery, including deep sapphire lakes, lush forests, blooming barrel-shaped cactuses and regal saguaros. www.arizona-leisure.com/apache-trail.html

The Dolly Steamboat

If you’re interested in a less traditional tour, take the hour drive to Canyon Lake: home of the Dolly Steamboat. This cozy 103-foot cruiser floats across 10 miles of glistening water that seems to be hugged by the Superstition Mountains. As the Dolly’s captain spins fascinating tales, you’ll witness bald eagles soaring high above the volcanic canyons, and you’ll also see plenty of bighorn sheep peppering the towering mountain cliffs. www.dollysteamboat.com


Take the 2-hour drive to Sedona, and experience true relaxation. The landscape is like living poetry. Craggy, crimson sandstone formations and emerald-green plant life create the most dramatic contrast against a luminous cerulean sky. The infamous spirit-renewing vortexes are unbelievable, and the lavish spas will leave you feeling refreshed on all levels. There is a cool artsy vibe in the downtown district, so you may also want to spend some time perusing the fine-art galleries. www.visitsedona.com

Mission San Xavier del Bac

In slightly less than 2 hours, you can see one of the country’s most extraordinary cathedrals. Located in Tucson on an Indian reservation, the ornately decorated mission cathedral is a spectacular sight. From the grand Baroque entrance and crisp white stucco exterior to the imposing colonial-style bell towers, every detail is serenely mesmerizing. While you’re exploring the structure, you’ll learn about the captivating history of this 324-year-old mission. www.sanxaviermission.org

Kartchner Caverns

The beauty of the Southwest doesn’t just exist above the ground; there is a gorgeous geological wonder hidden deep underneath the desert. Kartchner Caverns is filled with an astonishing collection of mineral formations that will hypnotize you. In this living cave, you’ll see alabaster stalagmites, multilevel stalactites and calcite crystals floating in pools of water. It’s worth the 2.5-hour drive just to see the longest stalactite formation on the planet. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kartchner_Caverns_State_Park


Although this authentic Old West town is nearly 3 hours from Scottsdale, it packs a punch for tourists. Tombstone has a rich history and a connection to some illustrious gunfighters, including Billy the Kid and Wyatt Earp. While you’re there, visit the O.K. Corral to witness a reenactment of the legendary shootout. You can also investigate an underground mine, discover the mysteries of Boothill Graveyard and go on a creepy, late-night ghost tour. www.tombstoneweb.com

These day trips take very little preparation, and they include a little something for everyone. If you have the time and transportation, you can easily plan a family adventure in just minutes, or you can head out and see where the road takes you. Whether you want to soak up a bit of history, enjoy an outdoor excursion or glimpse some dreamlike mountain views, you’ll find everything you need within a few hours of Scottsdale.

Thank you for reading our blog, have a fantastic day  :)

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