With so many restaurants and cultural events available in Mesa, Arizona, you might never want to leave this magical city. However, beyond Mesa are an abundance of exciting destinations offering unique experiences like red rock formations in Sedona and the mesmerizing views at the Grand Canyon. These great vacation destinations often take fewer than five hours of driving to reach. Book a stay at a Mesa vacation rental for a day, then embark on a short road trip to check out the rest of Arizona. Take a look at the most romantic getaway spots from Mesa.
In less than two hours of driving, you see the gorgeous red rock buttes that Sedona is famous for begin to rise in the distance. As you get closer to town, you’ll notice a stunning modern building overlooking the town from atop one of the buttes. This is the Chapel of the Holy Cross, and it’s open for tours and worth stopping before you arrive at your vacation rental. On Saturday, spend the day hiking around the area to get a closer look at the buttes, or opt to add a little adventure to your relationship with a tour from Jeep Adventure Tours. A romantic dinner awaits you at Cress on Oak Creek with its stunning views of the natural beauty.
Along the border of Mexico and a three-hour drive from Mesa, Bisbee is a small town that thrived with the mining industry and continues to celebrate those roots today. Meander through the beautiful and historic downtown area, and take care to notice the Copper Queen Hotel. This hotel is the most haunted hotel in the state. It has one other honor — John Wayne, the actor of famous Western movies, loved to stay in this hotel, and it keeps a plaque on the door of his favored room. The Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum offers a look at this town’s history. Enjoy a romantic meal at the Cafe Roka, or opt for something more casual at the Screaming Banshee Pizza restaurant with its cool name.
3. The Grand Canyon
Just a few hours away, you can reconnect while experiencing some of nature’s most beautiful offerings at the Grand Canyon. Filled with deep gorges and the raging Colorado River, the Grand Canyon is a great place for hiking, biking, rafting, and horseback riding. If you’re brave enough, you can enjoy spectacular views from the Grand Canyon Skywalk. This observation extends beyond the rim of the canyon, and as you step out onto the deck, look down and see all the way to the bottom with the glass design. Grand Canyon Village is close to all the excitement and central location to find a vacation rental and a romantic meal at the Yavapai Lodge Restaurant.
Once a thriving mining town, Jerome features a stunning historic district, small-town vibe, and a nearby ghost town. Explore the remains of a derelict mining operation and town at the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town. Although many of the buildings and abandoned cars are covered in vines and new growth, there’s plenty to see as you meander up and down the streets of this ghost town. In the Jerome historic area, enjoy an evening stroll, and stop by Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes. This small shop offers hundreds of handmade kaleidoscopes with magical patterns when held up to a light. While in town, take a visit the Douglas Maison. It was once owned by a wealthy mine owner.
Leave your desert digs behind and arrive in the mountain town of Flagstaff in about two hours. Find romance in this new terrain, when you spend a day skiing at the Arizona Snowbowl resort in the winter months. Easily rent your skis and take a lesson to get you going at this resort, and then light a blazing fire for a romantic evening back at your vacation rental. If you prefer an evening out, choose a table by the fire pit and have a meal that includes some amazing artisanal beers at Lumberyard Brewing Co. When the weather is warm, put on your sturdy shoes and take a self-guided tour at Wupatki National Monument to see the remains of several Pueblo homesites.
6. Monument Valley
The five-hour drive becomes worth it when you see the stunning rock formations jutting up in the distance on your way to Monument Valley. The national park sits on tribal land so find a Native American guide to take you on a hike and share the local tribal lore and legends about the formations. If you prefer some alone time, get a map of the hiking trails and strike out just the two of you. In the evenings, there are a couple of great places to grab a bite to eat. Pizza Edge offers carry out so you can eat back at your vacation rental or sit-down for a meal at the Blue Coffee Pot Restaurant.
7. Lake Havasu City
Tucked away in Lake Havasu City, the original London Bridge stretches across the water. That’s right! When the United Kingdom replaced the original structure, it was bought by this town and shipped in pieces to its new home. Hold hands as you walk across London Bridge and stop for some great photo ops. Out on the waters of Lake Havasu is a great place for some alone time together, and if you don’t bring your own boat, Nautical Watersports can hook you up with a rental for a day or the entire weekend. For great eats, Lake Havasu City Black Bear Diner is the hot spot in town.
Ready to go? Check out these amazing Mesa vacation rentals on Tripping.com.