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With its outdoor recreation, relaxing spas, and amazing food, Tucson is a popular weekend destination in Arizona. But if you live in Tucson or are visiting the area for an extended time, you might be looking for a weekend getaway from Tucson to switch up your routine and explore the broader region. Fortunately, there are lots of incredible places to visit that are just a short drive away. Here are our favorite weekend getaways from Tucson.
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Within about five hours, you can get from Tucson to Lake Havasu to enjoy some outdoor recreation on the lake. Lake Havasu is a popular place for boating and other watersports, and it’s always a big hit with the spring break crowd. The London Bridge is an iconic landmark to see because it was relocated here from England in 1967. Charter boat tours are a romantic way to make a memorable weekend out of your trip to Lake Havasu.
Southern New Mexico has a lot to offer weekenders, especially if you make Las Cruces your weekend destination. You can get here in about four hours from Tucson to experience the top attractions in Las Cruces first-hand. You can spend your days checking out the exhibits at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum and learning about the footprints at the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument. White Sands National Park is an epic destination in this area and offers an otherworldly environment where you can wander among the gypsum sand dunes.
However, there’s no need to even stay in the country when you’re in Tucson because Mexico is so close by. One fun destination in Sonora is the beach town of Puerto Peñasco, which is less than four hours from Tucson. Also known as Rocky Point, this is a low-key beach getaway that offers a resort experience, small-town Mexico feel, and affordable prices. Plan to spend plenty of time at the beach in Puerto Peñasco and wander along the boardwalk to see the traditional restaurants and shops. While you’re here, you can do a tequila tasting, go on a boat tour, and check out the Seashell Museum.
There is always so much to see and do in Phoenix, which makes this an ideal weekend trip destination too. This is an easy weekend trip that really just involves interstate driving and is less than two hours away. Live it up in the big city with exciting nightlife, comedy shows, and dancing venues, and if you’re on a budget you can explore the top free activities in Phoenix. Many people from Tucson also come to Phoenix for the weekend to attend a sporting event or go shopping in the upscale boutique shops. Other local ideas here are the Musical Instrument Museum, Desert Botanical Gardens, and hiking up Camelback Mountain.
Another fun idea is to take a weekend trip to Cottonwood, Arizona for a different change of pace from life in Tucson. Cottonwood is about three and a half hours away from Tucson by car. When you’re in Cottonwood, you can check out a local winery, visit Dead Horse Ranch State Park, and spend lots of time outdoors as you hike, swim, and fish. Come here for an awesome Arizona wine experience with lots of great wineries that offer tastings and tours. Meanwhile, Old Town Cottonwood is a historic place to visit with quaint shops and restaurants for your evening dining experience.
We also love El Paso, Texas for a weekend trip destination from Tucson. El Paso is about 4.5 hours from Tucson and offers an affordable and family-friendly atmosphere. There are some talented local artists in El Paso, so make a point to check out some of the art galleries in town. There’s also the El Paso Zoo to keep the kids entertained. Other top things to do in El Paso include the Mission Trail and Ysleta Mission, Wyler Aerial Tramway, Franklin Mountains State Park, and Hueco Tanks State Historic Site.
To cool off in the hot Arizona summers and trade saguaro cacti for tall evergreen trees, plan a weekend getaway to Flagstaff. This northern Arizona destination is about four hours from Tucson and doable on a weekend. In the winter, you can come here for the weekend to go skiing at the Arizona Snowbowl. There are numerous national monuments in the area to learn about ancient pueblo life and Native American ancestors. Flagstaff has a very walkable and fun downtown that’s packed with trendy restaurants and breweries too. If you have a little more time, head to nearby Meteor Crater to see where a rock collided with earth and made a very lasting impression.
The vibrant red rocks and healing energy of Sedona draws in people from all over the world. But if you’re in Tucson, this popular destination is less than four hours away. You’ll love going hiking in the Sedona area to see the bizarre rock formations, and then treat yourself to a delicious meal at the end of your day out in all that natural beauty. Sedona is a top weekend destination for yoga and meditation retreats and spa getaways for couples, girls’ groups, and solo travelers. Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Oak Creek Canyon, and Slide Rock State Park are popular outdoor destinations that you can choose from on your weekend adventure.
Weekenders who are pressed for time love traveling from Tucson to Bisbee because it’s only about an hour and a half away. Bisbee is a small town near the Mexican border that is filled with history. You can learn about the region’s mining industry, walk through the quaint downtown, and even stay in a haunted hotel here. Some other weekend activities for your trip to Bisbee include the Lavender Pit, Bisbee Restoration Museum, and Mulheim Heritage House. Don’t miss out on the local craft beers at the Old Bisbee Brewing Company to celebrate your weekend with some great brews in a fun environment.
Many people visit the Silver City area of New Mexico from Tucson as a home base to check out the Gila Cliff Dwellings. This destination is about three hours from Tucson. But while you’re in the area, it’s also fun to check out the Silver City Clay Festival and the Catwalk National Recreation Trail. Other attractions for your weekend exploration are the Billy the Kid Homesite, Silver City Museum, and hiking in the nearby national forest.
Anyone looking to immerse themselves among stunning cacti in nature should plan a weekend trip from Tucson to Organ Pipe National Monument. Located near the southern Arizona town of Ajo, this national treasure is a little over two hours away from Tucson by car. You can camp here for your weekend in a tent or RV and explore the hiking trails. Biking, horseback riding, and scenic drives are other popular things to do in the park. It’s a favorite destination in the winter because of the hot temperatures but can get rather uncomfortable in the summertime.
A weekend trip to Tucson is like taking a step back in Arizona’s history. This town was established by silver miners in the late 1800s and is famously known for its gunfighting in the Wild West. As the silver mine profits declined, Tombstone became a ghost town. But it has since been resurrected and is a top tourist destination among people looking to learn about Wild West heritage. Mine tours, trolley rides, and reenacted gun battles are popular attractions in Tombstone. This is an easy weekend trip with minimal driving because Tombstone is only a little over an hour away from Tucson, although it feels like a whole other world away.
You can get to Yuma from Tucson in about three and a half hours to experience a different side of Arizona. This is a family-friendly destination where you can explore a historic prison, visit a children’s museum, and take off-road vehicles for a spin in the Imperial Sand Dunes. There’s a quaint Main Street in Yuma with shops that plays host to some fun festivals throughout the year. This is a popular wintertime destination because of the mild temperatures always busy with RV enthusiasts and “snowbirds” looking to escape the cold. Therefore, it’s a smart idea to book your RV site well in advance if you want to camp on your weekend trip here.