From the Sonoran Desert to sprawling lakes and Ponderosa pine forests, the state of Arizona is a treasure trove of magnificent attractions and points of interest. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing escape or a low-key wilderness adventure, here are some of the best places to find Arizona vacation rentals for an unforgettable weekend getaway.

1. Sedona

Sedona

Waiting just under two hours away if you’re driving from Phoenix, Sedona is a popular vacation destination set against jaw-dropping red rock canyons. A weekend visit gives you plenty of time to sample some of the more than 100 hiking and mountain biking trails of Red Rock State Park. There, you can snap photos in front of Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, and other natural monuments. For some Sedona-style relaxation, check out one of the luxury spas with canyon views on a Saturday afternoon, and head out at night to enjoy fine dining at one of the Western and Latin-inspired bistros. You can also stroll through eclectic art hubs such as Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village, Son Silver West Gallery, and Exposures International Gallery of Fine Art.

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2. Tuscon

Tucson

This vibrant city north of the border sits just an hour and 50 minutes from Phoenix by car. Visitors can spend the weekend gazing at the Mission San Xavier del Bac, walking through DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, or marveling at the colorful adobe houses in the Barrio Historico. Tucson is also a hub of Mexican dining with favorites such as El Charro Cafe serving up homemade enchiladas. Looking for the best way to take in the area’s desert beauty? Explore the 97-acre Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to see native flora and wild coyotes. You can also hike through Saguaro National Park or drive along the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway.

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3. Flagstaff

Flagstaff

Take a two-hour drive north of Phoenix to reach this mountain town near the San Francisco Peaks. An elevation of 7,000 feet makes Flagstaff a cool weekend getaway if you’re looking to beat the heat, and the Historic Downtown and Railroad District offers up craft breweries, cafes, and boutiques. Be sure to do some stargazing at Lowell Observatory when night falls. Vacationers also enjoy seeing cultural treasures at the Museum of Northern Arizona or spending a day of hiking at Sunset Crater Volcano and Wupatki National Monuments. If you’re really feeling adventurous, set aside one of your days to drive to the south rim of the Grand Canyon for unbeatable views.

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4. Prescott

Prescott

This northern Arizona town attracts visitors with lakes, granite mountains, and Ponderosa pine forests. Situated an hour and 45 minutes from Phoenix by car, Prescott is home to Whiskey Row, a spot that once held 40 old-fashioned Western saloons. You can still get a swig of whiskey at one of the historic dining establishments on the vibrant downtown block, or you can sample some craft beer at Prescott Brewing Company or Granite Mountain Brewing. For a bit of culture, gaze at Western art at the Phippen Museum, or take in Native American art at the Smoki Museum. You can also spend a weekend afternoon cruising Watson Lake, fishing Goldwater Lake, or strolling through Heritage Park Zoo.

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5. Jerome

Jerome

A two-hour drive from Phoenix brings you to this historic mining town nestled on the slopes of Cleopatra Hill. Here, you find historic ghost towns alongside charming art galleries. Chow down at one of the all-American grills housed in historic buildings, such as the local favorite Haunted Hamburger. A weekend also gives you time to walk through the Douglas Mansion at Jerome State Historic Park, see the artifacts at the Mine Museum, and enjoy some fishing on the Verde River. Jerome also houses a number of inviting wineries such as Caduceus Cellars and Cellar 433.

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6. Roosevelt

Roosevelt

Drive an hour and 45 minutes out of Phoenix to reach this area along the shores of Theodore Roosevelt Lake, a popular getaway for city inhabitants looking to cool down. The 17,000-acre lake is a great spot to fish for large and smallmouth bass, but you can also go for water sports such as jet-skiing, water skiing, and wakeboarding with equipment from one of the marinas or nearby rental hubs. After snapping photos in front of the dam, be sure to explore the ancient cliff dwellings at Tonto National Monument.

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7. Cave Creek

Cave Creek
Source: Flickr/Jeff Shewan

Located just 45 minutes from downtown Phoenix, Cave Creek is a town of Old West charm where you can enjoy horseback riding or hiking through Spur Cross Conservation Area. Traveling with kids? Cave Creek also hosts family-friendly attractions such as Frontier Town and the Cave Creek Museum. During your weekend getaway, consider embarking on one of the hot-air balloon rides, or grab a drink at Debs Wild West Memories and other old-fashioned saloons. Be sure to spend an afternoon meandering through Sergio Ladron de Guevara Fine Art and Saddle Up Gallery as well as enchanting antique stores such as Un Jour En France.

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8. Apache Junction

Apache
Source: Flickr/Dave Bezaire

Apache Junction is a mere 35-minute drive from Phoenix, but the Superstition Mountain wilderness seems to lie in a world all its own. Enjoy some hiking or horseback riding, or catch a night of live music at Barleens Dinner Show. Spend a weekend afternoon at Apache Creek Golf Course, or head to Goldfield Ghost Town for family-friendly fun. Apache Junction is also home of the Arizona Renaissance Festival, an annual favorite where you can watch stunt performers while feasting on turkey legs.

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