Plan a Weekend Adventure with These Road Trips from Phoenix

Sep 10, 2013 by

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Sunset Crater
Sunset Crater, outside of Flagstaff, is one of the volcanoes in Coconino National Forest. Photo by: Noel Reynolds, via Flickr CC BY 2.0

Open an atlas to the state of Arizona and you’ll discover a bounty of exciting-sounding places to visit: Two Guns, Skull Valley and Robbers Roost to name just a few.

Those particular towns offer danger in name only. If you’re looking for some real weekend adventure in the Valley of the Sun, check out these themed road trips from Phoenix, within just a couple hours’ driving distance.

Tune Into Nature

Sedona Vortex and Cococino Volcanoes
Drive Time: About 2 hours from Phoenix

meditating in sedona

In Sedona, it’s thought that spiritual energy can be felt more easily. Photo by: Daniel Parks, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

In Sedona, you just might find yourself suddenly calm and at peace with the world. As legend goes, Sedona is host to multiple vortexes, sites where positive spiritual energies converge, according to an article by the Sedona Chamber of Commerce. Just like water or wind can create a cyclone, it’s believed these areas amplify energy and help people connect more strongly to thoughtful powers of prayer, meditation and healing.

Vortexes not your thing? How bout some camping, hiking or fishing in the area’s Coconino National Forest? This forest spans 1.8 million acres, and you can find just about every type of terrain possible within its quarters, including creek beds, rugged mountains, plains and even dormant volcanoes! The Coconino forest is also home to Arizona’s largest natural lake, Mormon Lake.

Explore Astronomy

Lowell Observatory and the Meteor Crater
Drive Time: Just over 2 hours from Phoenix

lowell observatory

The former planet Pluto was discovered at Lowell Observatory in 1930. Photo by: VasenkaPhotography, via Flickr CC BY 2.0

The Lowell Observatory was founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell. Astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh made perhaps the most famous discovery at the site in 1930: Pluto. Its discovery was made in February 1930 and Pluto became the ninth planet in the Solar System. Pluto remained a planet until 2006 when astronomers downgraded Pluto to a dwarf planet, according to the Library of Congress.

Scientists and astronomers continue to use the observatory every day to look for signs of life, undiscovered planets and stars and the great unknown. The public is invited to tour the facility, watch presentations about solar discoveries and use the telescopes to look at the skies.

Meteor Crater, about a 30-minute drive east of Flagstaff near the city of Winslow, is often called the “best preserved meteorite crater on Earth.” The nearly mile-wide, 550-foot-deep impact site is privately owned and open to the public daily. At the site, families can learn more about how the crater came to be by viewing it through indoor and outdoor observatory areas, watching a 3-D movie and taking a guided tour.

Relive the Old West

Drive Time: About 3 hours from Phoenix

allen street in tombstone

A stroll along Allen Street in Tombstone will transport you back to the wild, wild west, where riding in a horse-drawn coach and catching a gunfight at high noon is common practice. Photo by: Grombo, via WikiMedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

The Wild Wild West awaits in the city of Tombstone. You’ll be greeted by character actors who patrol the main thoroughfare of Allen Street.

Tombstone prides itself on its ruggedness and ability to survive. In fact, its nickname is the “Town Too Tough to Die.” A walk along the themed main drag is like walking into another world. Streets are dusty, old men perch along the sides of buildings with a piece of straw hanging from their mouths and 10-gallon hats sit low on their heads.

Here, you can relive the infamous gun fight at the O.K. Corral. The shoot-out, which was believed to have lasted only 30 seconds, is rooted in Old West folklore and involved two of the baddest cowboys of them all, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday.

In addition to re-enactments of the gun fight, Tombstone offers family fun such as museums, costume shops, old timey photo studios, Jeep tours and a ghost tour.

Recommended by the Editors:

If you ask most people, they will say they are a good driver – great driver, in fact. Then, may I ask, who are all these bad drivers on the road? Well, that got us to thinking. Would each of us pass a simple driver’s education test if we were to take it right now? That was the charge of a quiz we posed to readers of the Allstate Blog throughout February. Check out the results below, and ask yourself seriously: Would I have passed?

(Note: blue text denotes the correct answer)

 1. When a yellow signal light is shown, you should…

  • Prepare to stop if you have not already entered the intersection 98%
  • Brake hard to a complete stop 1%
  • Continue through the intersection 1%
  • Speed up before it turns red 0%

Good to know: Drivers are required to stop at a yellow light unless he or she is too close to the intersection to stop safely. One rule of thumb is that if you are 100 feet or less from the intersection, you have passed the “point of no return” and cannot stop safely before the intersection. Therefore, it is best to continue at your current speed through the intersection, but be cautious as you pass through.

2. Holding your foot over the brake pedal is called…

  • Riding the brake 72%
  • Covering the brake 26%
  • Slipping the brake 1%
  • Adjusting the brake 1%

Good to know: Avoid “riding” your brakes.  It’s better to slow down with moderate pressure and then releasing the brake to cool, than riding the brakes and overheating them. On steep grades consider downshifting to save your brakes (when traction conditions are good). Keep your wheels and braking system clean. Clean brakes work better and keep temperatures down. Use a good wheel cleaner which you know if safe for your wheel finish.

3. When driving past vehicles parked on the right, you should position your vehicle…

  • Be at least one car door’s width away 59%
  • No less than 8 feet away 30%
  • Close enough to prevent a person from opening a door in front of you 7%
  • Within an arm’s length of the vehicles 4%

Good to know: When passing a parked vehicle you should always try and leave a space of at least the width of an average car door. This is to safeguard against a vehicle unexpectedly pulling out or a car door suddenly opening. Creating this space will also help you see children moving out from between parked cars to cross the road. If such space can’t be created and you are forced to pass closer to the parked vehicles then reduce your speed and be ready to stop. When passing a series of parked cars, you should maintain a straight path. Don’t weave in and out of them. Maintaining a straight path will allow other road users to clearly see your intentions.

4. Roadways are the most slippery…

  • The first rain after a dry spell 79%
  • After it has been raining for a while 11%
  • None of the above 5%
  • During a heavy downpour 5%

Good to know: Slow down at the first sign of rain, especially after a dry spell. This is when many roads are the most slippery, because oil and dust have not washed away. A slippery road will not give your tires the grip they need. Drive more slowly than you would on a dry road.

5. At what speed can hydroplaning occur?

  • 10 miles per hour 38%
  • 30 miles per hour 28%
  • 20 miles per hour 20%
  • 40 miles per hour 14%

Good to know: In heavy or persistent rain, as the rain pools on the surface of the road hydroplaning can become a serious risk. Hydroplaning is when the tires skid on the top of the pooled water and lose contact with the road, resulting in a loss of traction. You can tell this is happening if, when driving in a wet environment, your steering suddenly appears to be very light.

The way out of a hydroplane is to gently release the accelerator, slowing your car and allowing the tires to regain contact with the road surface.


How Do You Measure Up?

  • 64% of drivers rate themselves as very good or excellent.
  • 89% say they have driven faster than the posted speed limit
  • 40% say they’ve driven more than 20 miles per hour over the speed limit.
  • 45% say they’ve driven while they’ve been excessively tired.
  • More than one-third say they’ve sent a text message while driving.
  • 53% have had a moving violation.
  • 7 in 10 people surveyed say that due to distracted driving, they have slammed on their brakes or swerved to avoid an accident

The survey of 1,000 American adults was conducted for Allstate July 13, 14, 16 and 17 via landline and cell phone and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent. Of the 1,000 adults, the survey identified 848 drivers who hold a license and drive at least occasionally. The survey was conducted by Financial Dynamics (FD) for Allstate.

Even good drivers can get into accidents — make sure you’re prepared. Visit or more information on safe driving and proper insurance coverage.

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