One of the best parts of living in Metro Phoenix is the accessibility to great day trips around the state. Outside of the Phoenix desert is a diverse array of landscapes and climates that make for some grand adventures. Luckily, most Shea Homes’ communities are located conveniently close to freeways, making the route even easier. Let’s take a look at some of the best day trips from Phoenix that will inspire a little wanderlust.

Grand Canyon National Park While many states have a national park or two, only one state in the country has one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and it’s right here in Arizona. The Grand Canyon is an awe-inspiring sight, no matter how many photos you’ve seen of it, the real thing still takes your breath away. A 3 ½ hour drive from Phoenix, it does require an early morning to make it just a day trip, but it’s well worth a bit of lost sleep. There are a variety of hikes for all activity levels, or the option to just stick at the top and enjoy the grand views. Keep a camera handy, as wildlife is known to waltz through even highly pedestrian trafficked areas.

Flagstaff – Just a couple hours north of the valley, Flagstaff offers an escape to cooler temperatures, and even snowfall in the winter months. This drive is the best example of the difference just a two-hour drive can make in Arizona. In the winter, you can drive out of 70 degrees and sunny, and arrive to 20’s and snow-covered trees. Flagstaff makes a great day trip for those who want a break from the consistently warm Phoenix temperatures, or who enjoy a bit more greenery than Phoenix has to offer. It’s not just the weather people love about Flagstaff either, their downtown is full of local shops and restaurants that give the city of 73,000 a small-town feel.

Fossil Creek – Located near the small town of Strawberry, Fossil Creek is a beautiful stream that seems to appear out of nowhere. It’s one of two “wild and scenic” rivers in Arizona and it gushes 20,000 gallons a minute out of a series of springs at the bottom of a 1,600-foot-deep canyon. After just a short hike in, you’ll come to a spectacular waterfall that is as enjoyable to swim in as it looks. Small cliff jumps and cool water make a great escape from the Arizona heat. Parking permits are required, so be sure to reserve one in advance. While many Shea Homes’ communities have luxurious pools, it is hard to beat a day trip to a running river.

Prescott – It’s another Northern Arizona city, but Prescott just cannot be left of the list. The charming downtown square draws visitors from all over the state. There is also the option of going to Watson Lake, where you can kayak, paddleboard or take a boat out and fish. It is easily one of the most scenic lakes in Arizona, with massive granite rocks surrounding the water. A considerable plan is to head to the lake early when it’s cool out, and then refuel at one of the great restaurants downtown.

Jerome – Perched on a mountainside is the former mining town of Jerome. It was abandoned and left to become a ghost town but has now found a new life through tourism. Many of the old buildings have been restored and turned into local shops or restaurants, revitalizing the area for tourists to enjoy while keeping its old western feel. You can learn more about the town’s history at the Jerome State Historic Park, or at the Mine Museum. For thrill-seekers, a night at the Jerome Grand Hotel should get your adrenaline pumping, as it is considered one of the most haunted places in the whole state.

These are just a few of the amazing Arizona day trips to consider. We’d love to know what other places you think should be on the list.

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