Arizona

10 Weekend Getaways in Arizona | Copper, Canyons, and Queso

Dreaming about the Grand Canyon or the Wild West? Say no more. Here are the weekend getaways in Arizona you can plan for your next escape.

Home to the Grand Canyon with a rich history in Old West culture, fall in Arizona is an especially wonderful time to plan weekend getaways and soak up all this stunning state has to offer. The extreme summer temperatures are transitioning to a favorite season in the desert. Abandoned mining towns used for Western movie sets, the best small town Mexican restaurants, stunning views of the desert and more than a handful of natural wonders–few things beat weekend getaways in Arizona.

When planning your Arizona weekend getaway, you can easily visit various destinations and see a vast difference in scenery. A long desert drive starting at sunrise and ending with a gorgeous sunset over Saguaros or a day spent exploring museums are the start to your Arizona travel plans this season.

Bisbee

Another mining town treasure, Bisbee is also highly known for its haunted hotels. The late 1800s brought many miners to the area and over the last century, the residential community in the mountains quickly transformed into an active travel hotspot. Seen on many ghost hunter television shows, Bisbee’s impressive architecture is well-preserved with hotels claiming to be haunted by friendly, and some not-so-friendly guests. The eclectic town has a vibrant nightlife and stellar creative community sharing their work in studios lining the narrow streets.

Where to eat in Bisbee

With live music every Friday night, Cafe Roka is a Bisbee nightlife favorite. The historic building, art deco ambiance and complex wine menu make this a restaurant not to be missed during your visit.

What to do in Bisbee

Bisbee really is a town where you could spend an entire weekend strolling from shop to shop admiring the collections of handcrafted arts. The Old Bisbee Ghost Tour gives you a great overview of the town’s history and how it became known as one of the most haunted cities in America. Riding a mine train underground is also a tour not to be missed during your Bisbee visit. The Queen Mine tour shares the history of one of America’s most productive 20th-century copper mines.

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Hotels in Bisbee

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Where to Stay in Bisbee

If spirited visitors don’t scare you, book a stay at the Copper Queen hotel. You’ll feel like you’re stepping into the early 1900s and just might see or hear visitors from that time as well during your stay. The Copper Queen is known as one of the most haunted hotels in the town so bypass it if you’re easily spooked.

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Copper Queen

8.3 Very good (960 reviews)
Excellent Location 8.9 / 10
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Copper Queen

8.3 Very good (960 reviews)

Camp Verde

Camp Verde is less than an hour from Phoenix and Flagstaff situated along the free-flowing Verde River, making it the perfect destination for outdoor recreation. The Montezuma Castle National monument is a collection of preserved cliff dwellings occupied in 700 AD and definitely should be seen during your weekend getaway. An indoor shooting range, wildlife park, and state historic park are just some of the activities you might do while visiting this small Arizona town.

Where to eat in Camp Verde

The Cliff Castle casino has an award-winning storyteller’s gourmet steakhouse. Nearby you can also find a Johnny Rockets for a more casual dining experience.

What to do in Camp Verde

The Out of Africa Wildlife Park has grown continuously and is known for rescuing animals like Li:Bi, the orphaned mountain lion. The large collection of animals in their free-range enclosures provides a great look at conservation in the desert.

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Hotels in Camp Verde

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Where to Stay in Camp Verde

Verde Valley RV & Camping Resort is a great way to explore the outdoors with an overnight stay in a cabin. A variety of cabins sleep up to six with some accommodating pets.

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Verde Valley Rv & Camping Resort

8.9 Excellent (265 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
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Verde Valley Rv & Camping Resort

8.9 Excellent (265 reviews)

Flagstaff

Snow chains are generally recommended for safe traveling in Northern Arizona winters, but fall is a wonderful time to drive north and experience vastly different landscapes from the Arizonan desert. This charming city is marked as the inspiration for art and music because of its location along the iconic Route 66. Since 1921, artists and musicians have stopped in Flagstaff on their way to California, including musician Jackson Browne who wrote the Eagles, “Take it Easy” from this Arizona destination. Flagstaff is also home to Northern Arizona University and Snowbowl, our ski resort popular during the winter months.

Where to eat in Flagstaff

The Old Town Creperie in historic Flagstaff might have the best handmade crepes you’ve ever tasted.

What to do in Flagstaff

Rock climbing is a popular sport in Flagstaff because of the many hiking trails and designated climb areas. Flagstaff Climbing has an indoor climbing gym as well as a guide service to safely take your adventures outdoors. Flagstaff Extreme is a “fun, physical and unique outdoor experience in the trees.” If you’d rather not get physical, visit the Lowell Observatory for an opportunity to learn about the stars and visit the instrument that helped Clyde Tombaugh discover Pluto.

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Where to Stay in Flagstaff

The Weatherford Hotel is rich in history and is located in the heart of Flagstaff. The historic restoration has created an incredible hotel deep in Arizona history.

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Weatherford Hotel

Flagstaff, 1.3 miles to Red Rock Scenic Road
7.4 Good (197 reviews)
Excellent Location 9 / 10
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Weatherford Hotel

Flagstaff
7.4 Good (197 reviews)

Globe

Just a two-hour drive from Phoenix, Globe is situated along the Historic Old West Highway. The drive itself is an Arizona wonder through mining towns with a fabulous view of the operating copper mine nestled in the canyon. Rich in copper history, Globe was founded in the 1880s and currently has a population just over 7,000. Globe is home to many antique stores and the best hometown Mexican food. I happily make the two-hour drive from the city to my old hometown just for the enchilada-style burro with a side of rice from Chalos.

Where to eat in Globe

The best Globe-Miami restaurant is a highly debated topic amongst former and current residents. The style of each Mexican restaurant is similar yet each has their own treasured family recipes making them stand out.

A day in Globe wouldn’t be complete without a stop by Chalos for lunch but my mom will you tell you a gollo burro from La Casita downtown is her favorite. Guayo’s on the trail makes the most amazing cheese crisps but my husband can’t stop talking about Burger House’s regular burros wrapped in orange paper. Just make sure you don’t order a “burrito” and call it a “burro” or you’ll quickly be outed as a tourist.

What to do in Globe

Stroll the streets of downtown Globe and observe the captivating architecture. The Globe Downtown Historic District includes the Gila County Court House built in 1906 and the oldest church in the county. Drive to the Pinal mountains or Roosevelt Lake for a full change of scenery and different look at this iconic mining town.

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Hotels in Globe

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Where to Stay in Globe

Stay at the Apache Gold resort where you will have access to the casino and buffet breakfast that will help fuel your exploration of this wonderful mining town.

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Apache Gold

8.0 Very good (198 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.5 / 10
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Apache Gold

8.0 Very good (198 reviews)

Grand Canyon

Courtesy of Jason Thompson, Unsplash

A weekend getaway to the Grand Canyon is a no-brainer. There’s a reason it’s celebrated as one of the world’s most incredible natural wonders with around 4.5 million visitors making a stop every year. Go during the fall to avoid some of the more oppressive heat you’d otherwise get during a summer vacation.

Where to eat near the Grand Canyon

Food services are limited at the Grand Canyon depending on where you are. The Grand Depot Cafe near the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is a great stop if you’re visiting the wonder by train.

What to do in the Grand Canyon

The north and south rim of the Grand Canyon offer very different experiences. Grand Canyon West is a five-hour drive from the South Rim and boasts the stunning Skywalk. Tours can be arranged through the Hualapai Tribe.

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Hotels in Tusayan

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Where to Stay near the Grand Canyon

Hotels are scarce in and walking distance to the Grand Canyon. An affordable, comfortable option would be the Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn at just five miles from the south rim.

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Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn

Tusayan, 94.1 miles to Skywalk
8.1 Very good (17059 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.1 / 10
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Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn

Tusayan
8.1 Very good (17059 reviews)

Lake Havasu City

Although Arizona is known for the beautiful Desert, we do have incredible lakes with water activities and sports as well. Lake Havasu City is a destination for the thrill-seekers.

Where to eat in Lake Havasu City

The Javelina Cantina brings you back to that Arizona history with Mexican dishes and innovative margaritas. With outdoor music and a view of the water, this is where you’ll want to spend your weekend evenings.

What to do in Lake Havasu City

Visit the London Bridge with pieces actually dismantled and transported stone-by-stone from London to Arizona. Then plan a full weekend of water and outdoor activities on your own or with tours. A racing track, bike rentals, lighthouses, ultimate shopping and more make this city your ultimate Arizona weekend destination.

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Where to stay in Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu City has it all from overnight boat campsites to lakeside resorts. The Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch is a short drive away but gives you a real Old West experience. This dude ranch is set up like a real Western town and will be everything you imagined in a true Arizona Western travel experience.

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Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (39 reviews)
Excellent Service 9.3 / 10
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Stagecoach Trails Guest Ranch

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (39 reviews)

Phoenix

Photo courtesy of Heather Riccobono

Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix brings you right into the center of Arizona with so many incredible experiences waiting. At just a short two-hour drive in any direction, the temperatures and scenery fully change and you’re able to discover a plethora of Arizona travel treasures known only to those of us who have lived here our entire lives. Catch a Cardinals game, visit a museum or feed giraffes at the Zoo then take a drive through the Sonoran desert for fantastic views of Saguaros you’ve only seen in epic Western movies.

Where to eat in Phoenix

If you’re looking for that iconic Western experience, Rustler’s Rooste is where you’ll find “beef and brew” with a view. The family-owned restaurant opened in 1971 and has boasted the true cowboy dining experience ever since. The sawdust-covered floors, open-air seating with a beautiful view of the city from South Mountain is an experience not to be missed. Be sure to order the rattlesnake appetizer and bring home a t-shirt saying you did.

What to do in Phoenix

Downtown Phoenix nightlife is quiet without an event, but Heritage Square during the day is an excellent place to explore. It’s the oldest residential block in the city and includes the Rosson House Museum. The museum tour gives an insight into Old Victorian history in Arizona and all the residents living in the fully restored 1895 Queen Anne Victorian house. Heritage Square also is home to the original Pizzeria Bianco known for “America’s best pizza” and the Arizona Science Center.

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Hotels in Phoenix

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Where to Stay in Phoenix

Arizona is riddled with gorgeous resorts and spas, but if you’re planning to stay in the downtown Phoenix area, the Hyatt Regency Phoenix gives you walking access to the many attractions and views of the city. The very top of the hotel is the Compass Room, a rotating room with a full-service restaurant and panoramic views of the city. Many proposals happen here and dining reservations are highly encouraged.

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Hyatt Regency Phoenix

Phoenix, 1.5 miles to Arizona Capitol Museum
8.4 Very good (2994 reviews)
Excellent Location 9 / 10
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Hyatt Regency Phoenix

Phoenix
8.4 Very good (2994 reviews)

Sedona

The red rock formations of Sedona are a natural wonder that you could easily spend an entire weekend exploring. The desert landscape has a bit of elevation to it and the crisp fall air feels refreshing. Jeep tours and hot air balloon rides are popular activities when visiting. From Sedona, you can also board a train that will take you on an Arizona adventure through the mountains.

Where to eat in Sedona

Many local restaurants boast fabulous menus, but breakfast can’t be beat at Wildflower Bread Company. Although there are other locations throughout the state, the family-owned chain’s views in Sedona are above the rest. Start your morning with “food you knead,” like the Wildflower Signature Pancakes in a variety of flavors including banana walnut and lemon ricotta. Buy some bread to take with you for the rest of your weekend exploration.

What to do in Sedona

The famous Pink Jeep Tours will take you on an adventure through the red rock country and you can get even more adventurous by booking a balloon ride with Northern Light Balloon Expeditions. The Verde Railroad is a great way to explore Northern Arizona by train.

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Where to Stay in Sedona

The Ridge on Sedona Golf Resort is a desert oasis surrounded by natural splendor and gorgeous red rock formations. You can opt for a relaxing retreat or an adventurous getaway in the backcountry, perhaps even try taking on the challenging onsite golf course. Whatever you choose, you’ll have no shortage of sunshine to play in.

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The Ridge on Sedona Golf Resort

Sedona, 7.6 miles to Oak Creek Canyon
8.4 Very good (3341 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.9 / 10
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The Ridge on Sedona Golf Resort

Sedona
8.4 Very good (3341 reviews)

Tucson

Photo courtesy of Agustin Lautaro, Unsplash

Home to the University of Arizona, Tucson has an airport to easily fly in and out of if your weekend getaway includes a stay in the city. The Spanish colonial history and Mexican culture are embraced and evident in the architecture, restaurants and art scene. With activities varying from hiking the Anza Trail, the same trail the Spanish took to colonize California, to a day spent at the Biosphere 2, the Earth’s first self-contained biome, you’ll leave Tucson with a great appreciation for Arizona.

Where to eat in Tucson

Maynard’s Market & Kitchen is a dining experience you’ll remember. The historic train depot was renovated and transformed into a fine dining restaurant with an unexpected menu. The ambiance is quite unique and your meal won’t be complete unless you order a side of the house-made bacon.

What to do in Tucson

The panoramic views of the Sonoran desert can’t be missed in Tucson. Visit the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum for walking paths to explore and learn about Arizona nature. Old Tucson is where you’ll be able to walk the same dirt roads where movies starring John Wayne and other Western classics were filmed.

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Where to Stay in Tucson

The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain is just far enough away from the city to feel like you’re truly alone in the Sonora Desert. If you’re traveling with children, go for the in-room tent experience. The resort offers guides for hiking trails, biking, and many outdoor activities along with excellent dining options and onsite amenities.

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Hotel The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (508 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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Hotel The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (508 reviews)

Williams

Close to Flagstaff but with enough activities to be a destination of its own, Williams is coined the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon®” and is the home to the Grand Canyon Railway and hotel where the Polar Express begins running in the fall. A day exploring the historic buildings, diverse shops and Arizona memorabilia are sure to send you home with souvenirs exclusive to this Northern Arizona town.

Where to eat in Williams

The Pine Country Restaurant looks more like a hometown bakery you would see in a Hallmark movie. Their homemade pies are delicious and you’ll love their “down home cookin’.”

What to do in Williams

Book a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway or make it a magical holiday season and ride the Polar Express. Visit the drive-thru Bearizona to see bears, wolves and more.

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The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is directly next to the train depot so it’s a perfect location if you’re planning to ride the train. It has an outdoor playground for children and excellent pet resort if you’re traveling with pets.

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Hotel Grand Canyon Railway

8.2 Very good (2044 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 8.8 / 10
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Hotel Grand Canyon Railway

8.2 Very good (2044 reviews)