Best Day Trips Close to the Phoenix/Scottsdale Area

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Phoenix and Scottsdale, cities sitting shoulder to shoulder in Arizona, are the central and exciting location of several Optima communities, including Optima Biltmore Towers, Optima Sonoran Village, and Optima Camelview Village. And while Phoenix boasts being the vivacious capital of Arizona, and Scottsdale prides itself in being the locus of access and luxury, these two twin cities also share another benefit in common: their proximity to countless other exciting day trips and destinations in the state.

 To help inspire your next excursion, here are just a few of the best day trips close by: 

Grand Canyon

This is a destination that needs no introduction. The Grand Canyon is just under a two-and-a-half hour drive north out of Phoenix. That’s pretty easy access to one of the world’s premier tourist attractions — a site that attracts over 5 million visitors annually. With its layered bands of red rock revealing millions of years of geological history, there’s really no wrong way to enjoy this immense natural attraction, we recommend the South Rim and the Skywalk for the best view, as well as planning to hike, ride a mule, or whitewater raft for the adventurously inclined.  

Red rock topography in Sedona, Arizona, contrasted against a bright blue sky

Sedona

A day trip to Sedona is well worth the two hour drive south from Phoenix. No doubt the drive down will be a sight to see, too — Sedona is surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls and pine forests. The breathtaking landscape is the perfect setting for outdoor enthusiasts, who will enjoy the numerous trailheads across Red Rock State Park. Whether you’re into an intense ten-mile hike, or something more mild like birdwatching and picnicking, there’s something for everyone. Once you’ve gotten your fair share of the outdoors, take a trip into town to enjoy the vibrant arts scene, New Age shops, and countless spas.

A rock formation reflected in the water at Watson Lake in Prescott, Arizona Watson Lake in Prescott, Arizona

Prescott

Further proof of all there is to see just outside of Phoenix, Prescott isn’t even a two-hour trip away. There’s so much to do here that you may even end up wanting to stay more than a day. From the historic Whiskey Row downtown, perfect for bar hopping and catching a live music performance, to the many museums worth visiting, there’s an endless list of itinerary items within the city limits alone. And like everywhere else in Arizona, Prescott also boasts an outstanding roster of hiking and outdoor recreation on its perimeter, including Prescott National Forest and Watson Lake

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