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Arizona summer travel ideas that are off the beaten path

By Mark Brodie
Published: Monday, June 12, 2023 - 12:18pm
Updated: Tuesday, June 13, 2023 - 7:34am

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As the Phoenix area settles into triple-digit summer highs, lots of residents are looking to get out of town at least for a few days. Peter Corbett has some ideas both near and a little farther away.

Corbett is a longtime Arizona journalist who writes the travel blog, On the Road Arizona. He joined The Show to talk about all the things Arizona has to offer for the summer travel season — especially some ideas off the beaten path.

Peter Corbett at Pete’s Gas Station Museum on Route 66 in Williams
Peter Corbett
Peter Corbett at Pete’s Gas Station Museum on Route 66 in Williams (no relation).

Interview highlights

Heading north

In Flagstaff, for example, not everybody’s gone to Lowell Observatory, and that’s a nice little tour.

The Museum of Northern Arizona has really got a quite an impressive collection. And they have Navajo and Hopi art shows during the summer.

Hiking on the Kachina Trail near the Snowbowl is really pleasant.

Down in Prescott, there are several museums there: the Sharlot Hall Museum is a great history museum, the Phippen Museum has Western art and the Museum of Indigenous People in Prescott.

For people who haven’t been to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, take the pleasant five-hour drive across the Navajo reservation through Marble Canyon and stop in at Jacob Lake. There’s a lodge there — they have wonderful cookies and ice cream there.

Kartchner Caverns tour
Nicholas Gerbis/KJZZ
A tour group at Kartchner Caverns State Park.

Heading south

Heading south can be a good idea, especially when the traffic on Interstate 17 gets busy.

In Tucson, Ignite Sign Art Museum has a really cool neon collection.

The Pima Air and Space Museum is worth a visit. And there’s the Titan Missile Museum, which is an underground facility.

Speaking of underground, in Bisbee, there’s the copper Queen Mine — that’s an underground tour. Kartchner Caverns State Park is located near Benson but can get crowded.

The Coronado Trail 

The Coronado Trail runs north from Morenci to Alpine, Arizona. It’s an amazing drive at high-altitude with like 200 curves. On a motorcycle or sports car or even a decent car, it’s a fun road to take. You can’t go that fast — but it's just in the pines over near the New Mexico border. If you get up to Alpine, there’s Hannigan Meadow, an old lodge up there. So that's something that's really off the beaten path. And I think it's just a wonderful trip. It's 8,000 feet ... so it's really cool up there.

The Turquoise Teepee in Williams Arizona
Peter Corbett
The Turquoise Teepee on Route 66 in Williams.

Route 66

There’s a popular trip that many Arizonans have not done, and that’s Route 66.

It stretches from the eastern border in Lupton, through Petrified Forest National Park, Holbrook, Winslow and Two Guns. It goes through Flagstaff and Williams, which I think is really a fun place to go because they have a lot of things to do there. And then on to Ash Fork. Seligman is a really fun Route 66 town. Then up to Kingman, and then up to Oatman where the burros wander the streets.

Burro, oatman
Stina Sieg/KJZZ
In Oatman, wild burros are a tourist attraction.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to an editing error, this story has been modified to correct the spelling of Sharlot Hall Museum.

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