Where to Go on a Road Trip From Phoenix Arizona

Prescott, Arizona

Most people think of Arizona as nothing more than a desert metropolis, but if you’re in need of some fall feels, this state has so much to offer—from changing leaves in the mountains of Northern Arizona to orchards perfect for a day of apple picking in Southern Arizona. The best part? You don’t need to drive more than a few hours for a total change in scenery. So, get in the fall spirit and fill up your weekends with autumn-themed adventures around the state.

Arizona Snowbowl
Arizona Snowbowl


Drive time from downtown Phoenix: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Flagstaff is a must-see Arizona destination. Not only does Northern Arizona University give it a vibrant, college town vibe, it offers a great look at changing leaves, cooler temperatures and lots of outdoor activities—from hiking to the highest point in the state to biking through downtown. For a spectacular view, head over to Snowbowl prior to ski season and take a ride on the aerial lift.

Bisbee Arizona
Discover Bisbee Arizona


Drive time from downtown Phoenix: 3 hours, 15 minutes
Bisbee is an often-overlooked Arizona destination, but the historic mining town offers a look back in time at Southern Arizona through its various museums alongside art galleries and colorful, quirky buildings. The best part? You might not think to go south for sweater weather, but due to Bisbee’s high elevation, it averages 10 to 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix.

Apple Annie's Orchard
Apple Annie’s Orchard


Drive time from downtown Phoenix: 2 hours, 50 minutes
Apple picking is a quintessential part of the fall experience, and one of the state’s best orchards—the appropriately named Apple Annie’s—is located in Wilcox, less than three hours south of Phoenix. It’s the perfect place to leisurely pick produce, bite into an apple donut or even head to the nearby farm to check out the pumpkin patch and corn maze. To make a day of it, grab some Mexican food from Isabel’s South of the Border or sip wines at one of the many tasting rooms.

Visit Sedona


Drive time from downtown Phoenix: 2 hours
Sedona has been having a moment, and for good reason. This quaint mountain town is the go-to spot for red rock views, a great psychic reading or a hike to a vortex. Plus, it’s increasingly becoming an epicenter for acclaimed restaurants like Lisa Dahl’s Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill or L’Auberge de Sedona’s Cress. The town also has a surprising number of boutiques to shop, especially at the beloved Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village.

Visit Tucson


Drive time from downtown Phoenix: 1 hour, 45 minutes
As Arizona’s second biggest city, this metropolis of Southern Arizona is a hub for arts, culture, and great food. In fact, it’s got the highest concentration of local restaurants in the country. While you might not get much of a break from the heat, there’s plenty of fall-focused activities from catching a college football game at the University of Arizona to picking out a pumpkin at the nearby Marana Pumpkin Patch & Farm Festival taking place all through October.

Prescott, Arizona
Visit Prescott, Arizona


Drive time from downtown Phoenix: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Arizona’s original capitol might be a couple hours out of the city, but it’s well worth the drive—especially in the fall when you can experience crisp mountain air, see leaves changing colors, and stroll through around the courthouse plaza near the famed Whiskey Row (great for finding a bar or boutique—whatever you’re into). To fully experience the city’s scenic views, visit Watson Lake Park where you can also enjoy kayaking, fishing and hiking.

Jerome, Arizona
Jerome Grand Hotel


Drive time from downtown Phoenix: 2 hours
If you’re in the market for a Halloween-appropriate destination, look no further than the state’s best-known ghost town. It’s even called the “wickedest town in the west.” After becoming an abandoned mining town, the city’s been revitalized with ghost tours, wine tasting rooms and museums.

Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon

Drive time from downtown Phoenix: 3 hours, 30 minutes
No list of Arizona day trips is complete without a trip to the state’s best-known attraction, the Grand Canyon. Autumn is a relatively slow season for the canyon, so it’s a great time to visit if you want to avoid the tourists. Plus, sometimes you can even see a bit of snow. While hiking might not be ideal in the cooler months, there’s plenty of other options—like walking above the canyon on the Skywalk Glass Bridge or splurging for a helicopter tour.

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Jamie Killin is a Phoenix native and Arizona State graduate who specializes in lifestyle and features writing. You can usually find her at the spin studio, a concert, or trying new restaurants across the Valley. Follow her at @jamiefayekillin

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