12 Beautiful Road Trips From Phoenix, AZ

The American Southwest is a landscape like no other, and the city of Phoenix is perfectly poised to be the jumping-off point for an amazing Southwestern road trip. From national parks and desert retreats to urban adventures and lakeside getaways, these are the best road trips from Phoenix.


National Parks Near Arizona

Saguaro National Park

The closest national park to Phoenix is Saguaro National Park, just over 100 miles southeast of the city. Getting there is one of the best scenic drives in the Phoenix area. The park gets its name from the giant saguaro cacti that grow here in abundance, commonly reaching over 40 feet tall. 

Other highlights of Saguaro National Park include the Signal Hill Trail, which leads to petroglyphs of the ancient Hohokam people. Be sure to also explore the Cactus Forest Scenic Drive, a 10-mile loop that offers splendid desert scenery. 


Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is about 250 miles north of Phoenix and visiting this natural wonder is something of a rite of passage. It's a spectacular landscape that defies description, spanning up to 18 miles wide and stretching 277 miles end-to-end. 

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the closest access point to Phoenix, and one of the most popular viewpoints. From the South Rim you can explore Grand Canyon Village and experience the stunning views from the Grand Canyon Skywalk. 


Joshua Tree National Park

Located in the rugged landscape of Southern California, Joshua Tree National Park is only 220 miles west of Phoenix, making it a prime weekend road trip destination. The park is known for its otherworldly rock formations, and of course for the twisted, prickly trees that give it its name. 

Joshua Tree National Park also offers dozens of hiking trails ranging in difficulty from easy to strenuous. Daytime temperatures in summer can be punishing, making this a great road trip from Phoenix during the cooler months. 


Arizona Desert Destinations

Route 66

The historic Route 66, the original "Main Street of America," cuts straight across Arizona, traversing the entire state from east to west. Though some of the route has been rerouted or replaced by interstates, you can still approximate its course over a five-hour drive from the New Mexico state line to the California state line. 

Route 66 in Arizona offers dozens of unique roadside attractions. Along the way you can drive through the Painted Desert, stop for lunch in Flagstaff, and visit the Arizona Route 66 Museum in Kingman. 


Monument Valley

Just over 380 miles north of Phoenix, Monument Valley straddles the border between Arizona and Utah. This red-sand desert area is famous for its towering sandstone buttes, which you can explore on the 17-mile Valley Drive. 

Monument Valley has been a filming location for dozens of western movies and TV shows over the years, making it an instantly recognizable landmark. The valley has featured prominently in The Lone Ranger, The Searchers, Once Upon a Time in the West, and Westworld, among others. 


Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon lies just outside Sedona, about 120 miles north of Phoenix. Its proximity makes it one of the best day trips from Phoenix, especially for those in search of outdoor adventure. 

Located within Coconino National Forest, Oak Creek Canyon is best known as one of Arizona's best rock-climbing locations, with hundreds of established routes. Its landscape is also riddled with hiking trails and has been described as a smaller cousin to the Grand Canyon. 


Lakes near Phoenix, Arizona

Lake Havasu

A long, meandering reservoir on the Colorado River, Lake Havasu forms part of the border between California in Arizona. It's a little over three hours drive from Phoenix and one of the top destinations in the region for fishing and boating. 

On the eastern shore lies Lake Havasu City—often called "Arizona's Playground"—where seemingly endless restaurants and bars overlook the waterfront. 

London Bridge, moved here brick by brick from England in 1968, extends from the mainland out to an island ringed with marinas and beaches.


Theodore Roosevelt Lake

Just over 100 miles from Phoenix is Theodore Roosevelt Lake—most locals just call it Roosevelt Lake—a beloved weekend getaway near the city. Roosevelt Lake Beach is one of the closest beaches to Phoenix, and the lake is also popular for water-skiing, jet-skiing, and other water sports. 

Roosevelt Lake is known for excellent fishing as well, and anglers are often rewarded with catches of bass, crappie, and catfish. The best seasons to visit Roosevelt Lake are spring and fall when temperatures are relatively mild and the fish are most active. 


Lake Mohave

Created by a dam on the Colorado River in 1951, Lake Mohave spans over 26,000 acres. It lies on the border between Arizona and Nevada and is one of the top water sports destinations in either state. Lake Mohave is most popular in summer, its surface a swarm of boats and personal watercraft on busy weekends. 

But during the offseason, visitation numbers plummet, and it's possible to feel as though one has the lake all to themselves. Plan your trip in spring to take advantage of great striped bass fishing and spend your time kayaking the quiet coves around Willow Beach.


Cities to Visit Near Phoenix, Arizona

Las Vegas, Nevada

The drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas takes just shy of five hours, and it makes for a prime weekend getaway. Las Vegas is arguably America's leading party spot, but there's more to this city than its legendary nightlife. 

Las Vegas is also a stone's throw from Red Rock Canyon, a highly underrated hiking and rock-climbing day trip, and the city also offers museums ranging from the Las Vegas Natural History Museum to the Pinball Hall of Fame. 


Sedona, Arizona

One of the great day trips from Phoenix is Sedona, about 115 miles to the north. As easy as it is to drive there and back, Sedona might just tempt you to linger for a few nights. It's a unique art hub that has gained a reputation as Arizona's coolest little city. 

A host of local shops, eateries, art galleries, and spas provide plenty to do in Sedona's downtown but don't neglect the surrounding country. The rugged red-rock buttes around Sedona are packed with parks and trails, and the area has been noted for its relatively mild climate. 


San Diego, California

You can drive to San Diego in just 5.5 hours from Phoenix, which means that the Pacific Ocean is well within road-trip range for Arizona residents. Along the way, you'll also pass through some of Southern California's most spectacular scenery. 

Once you get there, attractions like Sea World® and the San Diego Zoo will keep you plenty busy. San Diego also has some of SoCal's best beaches, including La Jolla Cove and Sunset Cliffs. Visit between December and April to hit prime whale-watching season. 


Plan Your Phoenix Road Trip

Planning a great road trip from Phoenix requires not only choosing a great destination but also knowing where you'll rest your head along the way. Download the Wyndham Hotels & Resorts app today to start planning your adventure.

Find your stops, book your stays, hit the road. It’s the easiest way to book and go on the Wyndham Hotels & Resorts app.


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