Experience unique cultural events and trendy shopping and dining opportunities with a getaway in Phoenix, Arizona. When you’re craving a less bustling destination with a small-town vibe, take a short road trip from your Phoenix vacation rental for an unforgettable weekend getaway. Check out the seven best vacation spots situated a short distance from Phoenix.

1. Bisbee

arizona tombstone canyon bisbee
Source: Flickr/Clay Gilliland

After about a three-hour drive, you can spend a weekend in Bisbee, a quaint small town that retains its charm from its days as a mining village. Located near the Mexican border, this city offers a rich history and an active art scene. As you wander around the historic downtown area, stop in at the Copper Queen Hotel. This hotel is notorious for its haunted status and its connection to John Wayne. This famous actor often stayed at the Copper Queen Hotel, and you can see the room where he spent many nights. Find a unique souvenir to take home at Finders Keepers Antiques on Main Street, or learn more about the local history at the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum.

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2. Flagstaff

an francisco peaks flagstaff
Source: Flickr/Don Graham

In a mere two hours, you can leave the desert behind and learn a little about mountain life with its lush green trees and brisk air. Pack your snowsuit, and visit the Arizona Snowbowl in the winter months. Rent skis at the resort to spend your day zooming down the mountain in the fresh, powdery snow. The Wupatki National Monument is home to several prehistoric Pueblo sites. This national park provides trail maps so your family can take a self-guided tour. One evening, stop by the Lumberyard Brewing Company for a family meal in this former lumberyard. If the weather is cool, opt for a table on the patio by the fire pit, and enjoy the stunning views while you eat.

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3. Monument Valley

monument valley
Source: Flickr/Daxis

Monument Valley sits on the border of Utah and takes a little over five hours to reach by car, but a weekend of hiking and exploring the natural world makes it worth it. The park sits on Native American lands, and you can find several local guides willing to take your family on a day hike to get a closer look at the iconic rock formations. Guides relay local legends and ensure you don’t miss a thing. Tired after a day of hiking? Grab a pie from Pizza Edge to eat back at your vacation rental, or sit down at the Blue Coffee Pot Restaurant for a quick bite of your favorite comfort foods.

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4. Lake Havasu City

london bridge lake havasu
Source: Flickr/Ken Lund

It only takes three hours by car to get to the original London Bridge. In Lake Havasu City, you can photograph and walk across the bridge that was brought here in pieces when the British replaced it. Nautical Watersports rents boats for an afternoon or entire day of fishing or sightseeing. In the evening, the adults in your group can visit the Havasu Landing Casino to try their luck at the gaming tables or slot machines. If you prefer a family-oriented spot, try the Lake Havasu City Black Bear Diner with its classic American fare, such as hamburgers, pot roast, and turkey.

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5. Jerome

jerome arizona aerial view
Source: Facebook/The Historic Town of Jerome, AZ

When you think of small-town life, you may have a picture of Jerome in your mind with its historic district, eclectic blend of shops, and narrow alleys. After your two-hour drive, stop at the Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes store. Inside, browse the handmade kaleidoscopes that local artists put together with varying themes, colors, sizes, and price points. Learn more about life in the early 20th century at the Jerome State Historic Park, and take a tour of the Douglas Mansion, built by one of the mining magnets during the town’s heyday. Then visit the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town with its abandoned buildings, mining equipment, and cars for some spooky fun.

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6. Sedona

valley of fire
Source: Flickr/Don Graham

Surrounded by towering red rock buttes, the town of Sedona is a stunning vacation destination. After your two-hour drive from Phoenix, start your visit with a tour of the Chapel of the Holy Cross with its picturesque views from the top of one of the buttes. Wake up Saturday morning and hit the road with Jeep Adventure Tours. Climb into a comfortable four-wheel vehicle for a little off-roading. Discuss with your guide if you want a wild-and-crazy ride through the desert or something a little more sedate before heading out. If you prefer to explore on foot, the Red Rock State Park offers hiking trails for all skill levels.

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7. The Grand Canyon

grand canyon
Source: Flickr/screaming_monkey

Filled with deep gorges and rushing rivers, the Grand Canyon is a great spot to spend a weekend exploring the power and beauty of the natural world that surrounds us. Enjoy stunning views over the edge of the cannon if you’re brave enough to step out on the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped observation platform made of glass and extending over open air. Get a vacation rental close to the Grand Canyon Village to use as a starting point for hiking in this national park. With gorgeous views of the canyon, the Arizona Room is a great place for a seat-down meal with the family featuring steak and barbecue.

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