Home will always have a special place in your heart, but sometimes, you crave adventure and new sights. Luckily, there are a variety of exciting getaway spots not far from Gilbert, Arizona. Book a stay at one of many Arizona vacation rentals that put you near incredible natural attractions and indoor activities. That said, take a look at the seven best weekend getaway destinations surrounding Gilbert.
Just over a two-hour drive from Gilbert, Sedona offers stunning high-end spas, red rock views, and a spiritual atmosphere. Known as America’s New Age capital, Sedona features “vortexes,” a variety of unmarked points where locals and visitors tap into the spiritual energy of the universe. If the spiritual vibe isn’t your scene, the city’s population is only about 10,000, allowing you and your family to enjoy some peace and quiet wherever you choose.
Work up a sweat by visiting the pine forests, canyons, and deserts. Take your kids to see the 36-foot-tall tribute to the Buddha at the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park. Shop for unique souvenirs at Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village, which offers Southwestern home decor, turquoise jewelry, and a wide selection of homemade knickknacks. For dinner, dine at The Hudson to try new takes on American classics, such as potpie or a triple-blend beef burger.
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A two-and-a-half-hour drive north from Gilbert takes you to Flagstaff. View the incredible beauty of Humphreys Peak, offering the highest elevation in Arizona at 12,633 feet. This stunning attraction is also one of the scenic peaks of the San Francisco Peaks, an enticing non-active volcanic mountain range. If you’re into hiking, the Humphreys Trail begins with an easy path adorned with meadows of wild flowers, but as you continue, this 4.5-mile course transforms into a challenging journey with a dense forest of fir, aspen, and spruce trees right before you reach the trail’s sister peak, Agassiz.
Hiking is sure to get you hungry, and once your stomach starts to growl, head to Tinderbox Kitchen for a large selection of American-style comfort food. If you’re craving Italian, Pizzicletta offers wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza that cooks in just a minute and a half, so you don’t have to wait long before you can chow down.
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Travel just under two hours to reach Tucson. This bike-friendly city hosts the Tour de Tucson, a 104-mile bike ride that goes through the Sonoran Desert in November. If you’re not interested in pushing your body to the limit, there are quarter-mile, one-mile, and four-mile courses that you and the kids can participate in.
Gather the family to enjoy gluten-free tamales made from a family recipe at Tucson Tamale. Voted the best tamales in Tucson by Tucson Weekly, this restaurant gives you the choice to dine in or get a take-home order to enjoy at your vacation rental.
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4. Lake Havasu City
Lake Havasu City is a playground for outdoor lovers, and the best time to visit is any time of the year other than March or April. There’s something for everyone to enjoy in Lake Havasu City, including beaches, parks, an aquatic center, stargazing, and vortex energy sites. Open in June to July and August to May, the indoor swimming pools and water parks at the Aquatic Center are a great way to cool off. While the young kids enjoy themselves in the outdoor splash area and kiddie pool, adults and older kids can swim in the lap pool or relax in the two heated pools.
Visit Juicy’s-The Place With the Great Food for home-style American food; the adults can indulge in the nightly specials and happy hours. For down-home comfort food in a woodsy setting, head to Lake Havasu City Black Bear Diner.
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5. Grand Canyon National Park
Head out toward one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon — just under a four-hour drive from Gilbert. While you’re driving along the highway, you’ll spot the beauty of this 277-mile-long canyon, which is a mile deep and 18 miles across at its longest point. You can also park the car and take a guided tour of the west or east areas or the north or south rims. The south rim is open all year, and it’s more crowded and popular; however, the north rim operates on a shorter season, but it doesn’t have as many visitors.
Grand Canyon Village, located on the South Rim, features many interesting restaurants. Eat steak and barbecue at Canyon Star Steakhouse and Saloon, or enjoy a quick meal at Canyon Village Market Place and Deli.
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Yuma is in southwestern Arizona, overlooking the Colorado River. Visit Gateway Park to explore paths and trails with amazing views of the Colorado River. Martha’s Gardens Medjool Date Farm is a family-owned farm where you can sample a date shake while learning how dates grow.
After waking up at your vacation rental, enjoy breakfast at Penny’s Diner. When the sun sets, head to River City Grill for a seafood dinner in a rustic setting.
Just east of Phoenix, Tempe features the popular Tempe Center for the Arts, which hosts dance and comedy shows and concerts. For outdoor fun, head to nearby Tempe Town Lake, where you can rent pedal boats, kayaks, and paddle boards. If you’re looking to enjoy yourself while staying inside, Wells Fargo Arena holds sporting events and concerts.
If you’re craving Italian food, Vincitorio’s Restaurant offers handmade pastas with a cozy ambiance, or journey to Culinary Dropout for American-style comfort food along with a sizeable cocktail and beer menu.
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