Phoenix Vacations: 12 Spectacular Nearby Places

Heading to Phoenix for a vacation? Even a 2 day stay affords an opportunity to get out the enjoy the unique sights near Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, and Tucson.

Hop in your sporty convertible rental and be on your way to one of the following must-see locations! Feel the breeze…

day trips in phoenix

Old Tucson Studios: Located 125 miles south of Phoenix. Old Tucson Studios came to live in 1939 when Columbia Pictures chose this site on which to build a replica of 1860’s Tucson for the picture, Arizona. Local technicians and carpenters build the town from scratch, erecting more than 50 buildings in 40 days.

After the filming of Arizona, Old Tucson Studio lay unused until the Studio was reopened for the filming of The Bells of St. Mary, starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. In 1947 Gene Autrey starred in The Last Roundup. In 1950 Jimmy Stewart starred in Winchester 73 and Ronald Reagan in The Last Outpost.old-tucson-studios

During the 50’s, the Western movie era was in full swing nationwide and Old Tucson Studios became a favorite filming location. In the 50’s alone, such classics as Gunfight at the OK Corral, The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold, and Cimarron were filmed at Old Tucson Studios. Since then, movie’s such as Rio Bravo, McClintock, El Dorado, Rio Lobo, Have Gun will Travel, Death Valley Days and Little House on the Prairie were filmed at the Tucson Studios. With each new movie came a new construction of more buildings and additions such as the 1872 steam locomotive named the Reno.

Through the lens of the camera, Old Tucson Studios has played a prominent role in shaping the world’s perception of the old west. This is a must-see when visiting the Phoenix Valley. Half the fun of a road trip is the drive. Why not make this trip in your own Corvette Convertible or Porsche Boxster Convertible?

Sunset Crater and Meteor Crater: Located along the famous Route 66, 240 miles from Phoenix, you will find Sunset Crater. Sunset Crater dates back to 1100 A.D. This magnificent crater is the result of volcanic activity in the area. Tours of Sunset Crater are available daily. Another famous Arizona crater is Meteor Crater. Located east of Flagstaff, Meteor Crater is believed to have been created from the impact of an intergalactic meteor having collided with earth. NASA trained its first astronauts for the moon walks in this ostensibly desolate environment. Daily tours are also available here as well.

Sedona, Arizona: Two hours North of Phoenix lies the popular city of Sedona, Arizona. Noted for its beautiful Red Rock landscaping, sweeping Vistas and phenomenal sunsets, Sedona lies at the foot of Oak Creek Canyon. Visitors will find shops, art galleries, world class restaurants and beautiful resorts. On your way to Sedona make sure you stop and visit Montezuma Castle. Located in the Verde Valley sits the ancient structure called Montezuma Castle. This 5-story, 20 room cliff dwelling was believed to have been inhabited by the prehistoric Sinagua Indians between the 12th and 15th centuries. This is a National Monument and is open 365 days a year.

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Grand Canyon: The Grand Canyon is located 200 miles North of Phoenix. There are two different ways to get to the Grand Canyon if you’re driving, make sure you stop by the small city of Tusayan, which is 7 miles south of the South Rim. This is where you can visit the Grand Canyon IMAX Theater. The Hidden Secrets, which is said to be the most popular IMAX production shown in U.S. It is a thrilling and educational 34-minute film, which will help you appreciate the magic of the Grand Canyon. The second way to get to the Grand Canyon is by the Grand Canyon Railways, which is located one-half mile south of I-40 at exit 163. Here you may board a train, which uses historic steam engines and coach cars to travel the spectacular 65 miles to the canyon. The train departs daily at 9:30 am and returns at 5:00 pm. Entertainers are on board to make the trip even more enjoyable. However, beware that a possible train robbery may occur on the way!

Pima Air and Space Museum: The Pima Air & Space Museum opened to the public in May 1976 with 75 aircraft on display. Since then, the museum collection has grown to over 250 aircraft occupying 80 acres of land. The entire museum property covers about 150 acres. The museum is located outside the Tucson Arizona, 110 miles south of Phoenix and is open 7 days per week.

Prescott, Arizona: Prescott is located just 90 miles from the Phoenix Valley. Prescott was Arizona’s first state capital. Prescott is cooler than the valley and the older part of town looks a bit like New England. The Yavapal County Court House Plaza, built in 1916, is still the heart of downtown activities. One way to enjoy your Corvette or Porsche Convertible is to return to the Valley by heading west on Highway 89 to Wickenburg. Not only is it a beautiful drive, but you will encounter one of the best “sports car” roads in the state.

Saturday Night at the Pavilion: The Pavilion Shopping Center is located in Scottsdale at the corner ofPima Road and Indian Bend Road. If you enjoy old cars, Harley Davidson Motorcycles and Street Rods, then this is a must see! Every Saturday night, the local car enthusiast meet to display their personal cars. The “Pavilion’s” is the world’s largest continuous Car Show in the World. On a Saturday night, you will find over 250 cars and 100 motorcycles on display. Show starts at 5 pm and runs to 9 pm. Join the thousands of people who will visit the Pavilion’s every Saturday night. Admission is FREE!

Queen Creek and Coolidge – 129 Miles: You’ll feel like a lone star on this drive with the remote desert closing in around you as you blow out of Phoenix for this trip. This road trip is highlighted by plenty of open country complemented by mountains views. The town of Coolidge features the mysterious Casa Grande Ruins, or the “big House” one of the largest and most unusual prehistoric structures ever build in North America.

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Strawberry – 234 miles: Strawberry is a small town on SR-260 / SR-87. It is famous for it’s pie made with your favorite berries. Save room for handmade ice cream later on just down the road in the town of Pine. Then it’s on to Payson, the heart of Arizona’s Rim Country.

Guadalupe – 127 miles: Guadalupe is a Yaqui Native American and Hispanic community between Phoenix and Tempe at the base of South Mountain. The town proudly maintains a stron cultural and ethnic identity. The town is named for the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico. This beautiful drive has a definite rural feel.

Gila Bend – 179 miles: The landscape for this drive is mainly scenic desert with a mountain backdrop. Over all the roads are in good condition, primarily straight with a couple of curvy areas. Most areas are not heavily traveled, so traffic is not an issue. The town is located near a Hohokam Indian Village is a interesting place to stop.

Theodore Roosevelt Lake – 210 miles: This lake was formed by the construction of a masonry damn on Salt River in 1911, making it the oldest artificial reservoir in Arizona. This is now a major center for fishing and boating, but today it’s breathtaking views from SR-188 that await.