5 Favorite Arizona Road Trip Destinations for Summer
Summer is the season of road trips—the perfect time to explore all the beauty that Arizona has to offer. From awe-inspiring desert panoramas and the endless forest of Ponderosa pines to quaint yet vibrant historic towns, there’s no shortage of things to experience here in the Grand Canyon State.
Here’s our list of must-visit Arizona destinations and the top driving tips you need to know before you hit the road.
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most popular road trip destinations for local and tourists alike, and for good reason. The endless vista of layered red rock and the winding Colorado River are nothing short of breathtaking. Plus, from simply taking in the views to embarking on a strenuous hike, there are amazing experiences for just about anyone to enjoy.
To avoid the long entry line, consider parking outside of the entrance and taking a shuttle from there. If you plan to take your car with you, be sure to arrive early so you can find parking. You’ll also need to be extra cautious while driving, as you’re likely to encounter congested roads and parking lots full of drivers eager to see this natural wonder.
Flagstaff is an ideal road trip destination, with relatively mild temperatures and endless scenic spots to check out as you make your way down Route 66. From the world’s largest continuous Ponderosa pine forest to local downtown eateries and museums, the variety of this historic mountain town draws visitors not just during the summer but year round.
There’s no shortage of easy-to-access destinations, but depending on what you want to do during your stay, you might need to do some off-road driving. Plan ahead of time and research the conditions of the roads, trails, or lookout points you want to explore.
Bisbee is a gem in the middle of the desert—and a road trip destination you don’t want to miss. Once a successful copper mining town, Bisbee is now known for its quirky character, sprawling art scene, and unique historic buildings.
If you’re heading to Bisbee from Tucson, the nearest major city, you can take the most direct route along Highway 80 and check out other southern Arizona towns along the way. For a more scenic route, take a detour onto Highway 83 through the hills of Sonoita. No matter which way you go, ensure you’re not getting distracted by devices or other passengers as you head down the relatively straight, flat roads.
Once known as the “wickedest town in the west,” this historic mining town was the fourth largest city in all of Arizona back in the 1920s, before turning into a ghost town just 30 years later. While many still see Jerome as a ghost town because of the small local population, it’s also a bustling tourist destination.
If you’re coming up from Phoenix, you’re in for a scenic drive no matter which route you take. However, if you take the elevated roads behind Mingus Mountain, you’ll run into tight, hairpin turns, so make sure you don’t get distracted as you pass by the desert plants and Ponderosa pines.
A relatively short drive from Jerome, Prescott is the perfect next stop on your Arizona road trip. From lakes and streams to mountains and rolling meadows, Prescott has everything a nature lover could want, but there is plenty to do for those that prefer urban activities, like a gallery walking tour in the quaint downtown area.
Like the drive to Jerome, you’ll need to employ caution on the journey into Prescott, which may include twists and turns depending on the direction you’re coming from. If you’re more comfortable on straight, flat land, avoid the route through Quartz Mountain. If you do opt for the winding journey, check the weather conditions before heading out. While you won’t run into snow this time of year, you don’t want to get caught in the rain.
No matter where summer takes you, you can stay safe on the road with the right driving skills. Contact us today to find the driving course that’s right for you.