Sure, Phoenix is home to some superb seafood restaurants and there are a plethora of things to do, however, every once in a while we all need a change of scenery. And a night away in a desert town like Sedona or an eye-opening stay in Arcosanti might be the answer to your Arizona-inspired wanderlust. Learn more about these pretty towns near Phoenix and more below!
Starting off with a location that might not seem like it belongs on a ‘pretty towns’ kind of list, however, there is much to be admired in Arcosanti. This ongoing urban project began in 1970 and is shaping up to be a fascinating arcology. Although it’s only a prototype, a day trip to Arcosanti or night spent there is worth it for a different kind of escape.
Discover what happens when architecture and ecology come together in central Arizona. From the sounds of the bronze and ceramic windbells to the Greenhouse Guest Rooms looking out over the Agua Fria River riparian area and the Valletta Canyon, there’s much to love about this sustainable corner of the world.
🚗 About 1 hour 10 mins
What was once a goat farm is today attracting visitors in search of wellness therapy, a vibrant art scene, and one of the world’s largest desert gardens. Whether you want to stretch your legs while wandering through the historic Spanish Village for a bit of retail therapy or feel like hiking in Cave Creek Regional Park, there’s something for everyone in Carefree.
Visit some of the art galleries, let go of any built-up stress in the European-designed Kneipp hot/cold wading pool at CIVANA Wellness Resort & Spa, and be sure to call into the English Rose Tea Room for sandwiches and an array of loose-leaf teas.
🚗 About 45 mins
Bisbee, the original boomtown of Arizona, was known for its mining industry in the Mule Mountains. Today, visitors can find traces of the mining camp in Brewery Gulch, with its saloons for example. Rich in culture and boasting a vibrant atmosphere, Bisbee should be on your bucket list of pretty towns near Phoenix. Some of the highlights include the Smithsonian-affiliated Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, various festivals such as the annual Historic Home Tour and the monthly Bisbee After Five art walk, and the artisanal products at the farmer’s market every week.
🚗 About 3 hours 20 mins
Verrado offers a small-town charm that can appeal to both the romantic in you and the want to plan a family-friendly trip near Phoenix. Watch a White Tank Mountain sunset, cover hiking and biking trails, grab a bite to eat in the downtown district at the popular Ciao Grazie or Rosie’s Taco Shop, and tap into your inner suburbanite.
🚗 About 30 minutes
The perfect girls’ weekend away or couples retreat in the desert? Look no further than Sedona with its red-rock hues, renowned spas, and supposed energy vortexes. And with over 400 miles of trails, you can definitely expect to have an outdoor adventure or two here. The Sedona food scene is everything from Southwest flavors to authentic pasta. Join your favorite foodie in one of the great local restaurants, and even follow the Verde Valley Wine Trail.
Can you hear the scented oils and stone massages calling you? They echo from inside Mii amo, one of “The 7 Best New Wellness Hotels in the World” for 2023, according to Travel + Leisure. And there are many more wellness sanctuaries to be discovered in Sedona.
🚗 About 2 hours
Many of us have asked ourselves what it would be like to put on that felt hat and roam free as a cowboy or cowgirl. And in Wickenburg is where you’ll find a true taste of the Wild West. Wickenburg encourages visitors to switch off and spend quality time together while exploring nature and historic spots. Try riding a mountain bike, or horseriding, wander through the restored downtown area, and visit the Desert Caballeros Western Museum.
🚗 About 1 hour and 10 mins
Only about 20 minutes from the aforementioned Sedona, Cottonwood is in the heart of the state’s wine country. Head to the main street in Old Town Cottonwood for wine-tasting rooms, boutiques, galleries, and more. And for the more outdoorsy types, Dead Horse Ranch State Park offers plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities, hiking trails, camping spots and cabins, fishing, and more.
🚗 About 1 hour and 42 mins