Arizona End of Summer Road Trips

While the temperature outside might not seem to speak to the end of summer, it is in fact winding down. A great way to end your summer vacation is to take a road trip. The Southwest is home to some of the greatest places to road trip to. You can easily spend a weekend enjoying the breeze of cooler temperatures. It is a great opportunity to get out of the city and on the road for a little sightseeing. Here are the top Arizona end of summer road trips to cool you off this year. 

***Disclaimer, some of these summer road trips might be temporarily closed due to Covid-19 or they may have additional restrictions. Plan accordingly prior to your visit.

Kartchner Caverns
Drive Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Town: Benson, AZ

Why drive here?

Benson, Arizona is a quick drive out of Phoenix and there is a lot to do and see. In Southeastern Arizona you can experience creepy caverns, scenic trails, and tons of wildlife. There is a campground nearby for tent and RV camping. They also have new cabins for those looking for a more modern lodging accommodation. 

Just beyond the park, there are even more activities to enjoy. Benson boasts a ton of history, including the Benson Historical Museum, Gammons Gulch (movie set and museum), The Thing (tourist attraction), and the footprints of Earp brothers at the OK Corral. 

Perhaps laying under the dark night sky and gazing at the stars is something you desire. By getting out of the city, you can now enjoy more stars than ever before. The Vega Bray Observatory can be found just east of Benson. You can see stars there or from the Butterfield RV Resort Observatory. Both locations offer a great view of the nighttime sky. 

Ghost Town of Jerome
Drive Time: 2 hours
Town: Jerome, AZ.

Why drive here?

The ghost town of Jerome is a great drive for beautiful scenery and a scary experience. Once known as the “wickedest town in the west,” Jerome used to be home to thousands of miners, bootleggers, prostitutes, and gamblers. A former mining town, Jerome is now home to nightly haunted tours, Gold King Mine and a plethora of bars, restaurants and shops. Enjoy a ton of unique art, live music and an array of gift shops. 

Mogollon Rim 
Drive Time: 2 hour 10 minutes
Town: Payson, AZ.

Why drive here?
You want to drive here for one reason. Pictures! The Mogollon Rim sits above a 2000 foot drop in the Coconino National Forest that offers views of the entire state at your disposal. You can bike it, ride atop a horse, or take a leisurely stroll to see some spectacular forestry of pine trees and desert scenery. Nearby are lakes for boating, fishing, and relaxing.

Wild Wild West
Drive: 2 hours 50 minutes
Town:  Tombstone, AZ. 

Why drive here?

If you are looking for authentic, wild west fun, then Tombstone is the drive for you. The history of the wild west just oozes all over this beautiful town. Besides the usual dining, lodging and shopping you can do, there are unique attractions as well. You can witness a historic gunfight, ghost tour, mine tour and visit Wyatt Earp’s very own Oriental Saloon and Theater. You have endless activities to choose from. 

Mount Lemmon
Drive Time: 4 hours
Town: Mt. Lemmon, AZ.

Head south for an affordable road trip to the Catalina Mountain range for a visit to Mount Lemmon. Just an hour from Tucson, Mount Lemmon has scenic trails to explore, stargazing programs, campgrounds, and much cooler temperatures. You can hike, bike, rock climb, picnic and enjoy the gorgeous Arizona sunsets. There is no entry fee to Mount Lemmon and no hours of operation. Come and go as you please. 

Route 66
Drive time: Varies

Get your kicks and your end of summer road trip done on Route 66. This is one of the most intriguing and historic highways in the whole nation. It originally was the first all-weather highway that linked Chicago to Los Angeles. Discover the heritage and historic places via your automobile. Visit places along your road trip like Wigwam Village Motel #6, Jack Rabbit Trading Post, and Arizona Route 66 Museum in Kingman. 

Final Thoughts

Getting in that end of summer road trip in Arizona can easily be affordable. There are beautiful places to visit all around the state that won’t impact your budget greatly. You can choose breathtaking hikes with picturesque spots, historic museums, and even ghostly attractions.