Getaways & Day Trips 150 Miles or Less from Eastmark
With school back in session for most areas of the Valley, a quick weekend get-away trip can be a perfect way to see new scenery and weather without going too far away from the Eastmark area. These areas below are under 3 hours away and easy to make a drive for a short weekend trip.
Payson – 1.25 hours – 77 miles
If your family is looking for a great way to spend time outdoors, Payson is for you! There are several areas for all kinds of outdoor activities like fishing, camping, hiking, and biking. The Tonto National Forest has a collection of almost 900 miles of National Forest System Trails that hikers, bikers, and horseback riders can enjoy. Many of the lakes like Bear Canyon Lake, Black Canyon Lake, and Woods Canyon Lake feature great spots for fishing as well as nature trails and even camping.
Payson is a fun place to see fall colors later this year, featuring cooler temperatures and beautiful views along the Mogollon Rim Country. Areas like Tonto Natural Bridge State Park (with their aspen and cottonwood trees) as well as Rim Road along the Mogollon Rim from Highway 87 to Highway 260 are perfect for a fall leaf-peeping hike or drive. The best time for fall color is mid to late October.
They also have many events scheduled throughout the year, like the NIRA College Rodeo that usually takes place in April, a summer 4th of July celebration, and an electric light parade in December. There are several antique stores in the area, as well as art galleries and western heritage and History of Payson museum. Check out their website for more detailed information on trails and drives that would work well for your ability level.
Saguaro National Park – Tucson – 1.75 hours – 100 miles
If you head south about 100 miles from Eastmark, you will run into Saguaro National Park. The park is in 2 sections, one on either side of Tucson. If it wasn’t obvious from the national park’s name, you will find large Saguaro cacti in this area that is native to this desert environment. Saguaro National Park offers several hiking trails, picnic areas, and scenic drives at both the East and West areas. There are fees to enter the national park. If you enter the park on foot, bicycle, or horseback the fee is $15 per person. A vehicle permit is $25 and an annual park pass is $45. The National Park Service also hosts Fee Free days which for the remainder of 2022 include September 24 on National Public Lands Day and November 11 on Veterans Day.
Montezuma Castle National Monument – 2 hours – 130 miles
Another National Park is about 130 miles north of Eastmark called Montezuma Castle National Monument. This area showcases a set of well-preserved dwellings in the Camp Verde area. These dwellings were used by the Sinagua people, a culture closely related to the Hohokam and other indigenous peoples of the southwest United States. It is an interesting look into early architectural engineering. Fees for entrance are $10 for adults and children 15 and under are free.
Prescott – 2.25 hours – 135 miles
A couple hours north of Eastmark is Prescott, a fun Old West town that has a great downtown atmosphere. Not only is Prescott home to the World’s Oldest Rodeo (on display during their popular Frontier Days over July 4th weekend), but Western culture is alive and well in multiple areas of this city.
The Downtown Prescott area features the historic Whiskey Row, complete with Old West saloons. With the courthouse as the centerpiece, many of the old saloons have been restored and repurposed into fantastic restaurants and shops as well as art and antique stores. There are also plenty of art museums and Western, Native American, and early Pioneer history museums in the area, like the Sharlot Hall Museum, Phippen Museum, and Museum of Indigenous People.
More outdoor adventures await at the many hiking trails in Prescott National Forest and their surrounding lakes, which are perfect for kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, and other non-motorized water activities.
Verde Canyon Railroad – 2.25 hours – 140 miles
Jump on the Verde Canyon Railroad for a unique experience in sightseeing the scenic Arizonan landscapes of Clarkdale and the Verde Canyon area. The tracks follow the Verde River north and west of Clarkdale and ends in the ghost town of Perkinsville, Arizona, then follows the same route back to Clarkdale. The goal of the train experience is to give riders a feeling of what it was like as a rugged frontiersperson. You ride in one of two FP7 locomotives that have renovated vintage cars with 360-degree views. The whole journey lasts around 3.5 to 4 hours round trip. Appetizers like fruits, cheeses, proteins, and dessert are served along the trains journey. No outside food and beverage are permitted.
The Verde Canyon Railroad also offers several special events throughout the year. They have a few wine and beer events like the Uncorked Wine Festival, Grape Train Escape, and Ales on Rails Beer Tasting, and the Chocolate Lover’s Special during Valentine’s Day, as well as the Magical Christmas Journey and Family New Year’s Eve Celebration towards the end of the year. Pricing varies, so check online for rates and reservations.
Cottonwood – 2.25 hours – 140 miles
Cottonwood is about 140 miles north of Eastmark and is known as the Heart of Arizona Wine Country. There is plenty to do here in Old Town Cottonwood, where you will find cafes, restaurants, antique shops, tasting rooms, and lodging.
You will also be able to do some wine tasting along the Verde Valley Wine Trail. The surrounding areas of Cottonwood and Jerome feature a large group of local wineries that include Burning Tree Cellars, Arizona Stronghold, Pillsbury Wine Company, Winery 101, Carlson Creek Vineyard, Merkin Vineyards Osteria, Tantrum Wines, and Provisioner Wines.
Jerome – 2.5 hours – 145 miles
Similar to Cottonwood, Jerome is about 145 miles north of Eastmark and is also featured along the Verde Valley Wine Trail. Their wineries include Four Eight Wineworks, Caduceus Cellars, The Original Jerome Winery, Passion Cellars, and Cabal Cellars, Vino Zona.
In addition to wine-hopping, Jerome is well known for being an historic copper mining town. Although the mines have since been shut down, but mining tours and ghost town tours are now all the rage. They also feature an art and wine walk on the 1st Saturday evening of every month.
Sedona – 2.5 hours – 150 miles
Sedona has it all! It is home to plentiful breathtaking trailheads, delicious restaurants, and wonderful shops. The red rocks of Sedona are like nothing else and there are plenty of hiking trails over the 400+ miles of trails that showcase their beauty. A few popular trails are Cathedral Rock, Devils Bridge, Airport Loop Trail, Fay Canyon, and Soldier Pass. Be sure to research trailhead parking and pet-friendliness before heading out.
Hiking and biking are one way to see the beautiful nature of Sedona, but there are also alternative ways to explore. Local guided tours like the Jeep tours or Trolley tours are a great way to experience Sedona’s sites and landmarks. They even offer air balloon and helicopter tours, bike and Segway tours, wine and food tours, and vortex and UFO tours.
Slide rock State Park can be found 7 miles north of Sedona. Its name comes from a natural water slide formed by the slippery bed of Oak Creek and is a popular area to visit when in Sedona. This 80 foot long and 3 foot wide natural wonder is open for swimming, wading, and sliding and is recognized as a Top 10 swimming hole in the U.S.
New Age shops and wellness are also synonymous with Sedona. From churches and places of worship, to spiritual tours, healing therapies, and psychic readings, Sedona has plenty to offer if you’re in search of spiritualty. Sedona is also well known for their vortexes and the power and energy that make people inspired, recharged, or uplifted.
Kartchner Caverns State Park – 2.5 hours – 150 miles
Another Arizona State Park that is about 150 miles south of Eastmark is Kartchner Caverns State Park. This park has a huge limestone cave with 2.4 miles of passages. The Caverns are home to several unique formations and there are Cave Tours offered daily to see them for yourself. All tours are led by a trained guide and can be booked in advance online. No items such as bags, cameras, cell phones, or water are allowed into the cave while on the tour. There are special Photo Tours on the third Saturday of every month for anyone 18+ looking to take photos underground. Otherwise, 2 main tours are offered to see either the Rotunda/Throne or the Big Room. The Rotunda/Throne tour is ½ mile in length and takes about 1.5 hours, 50 minutes of which is underground. In this tour they explain the role that water plays in creating the caverns and will show the largest column formation in Arizona. The Big Room Tour is only offered from October 15 to April 15 for attendees 7 years old and up and is also ½ mile long and takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete, 1 hour of which is underground. The park also offers RV and tent camping, and reservations can be made online for that as well.
Park entrance fees are $7 per vehicle (1-4 adults) or $3 per individual. Cave tour tickets are sold separately, in which case the entrance fees are waived. The pricing for either of the standard cave tours are $23 for adults and $13 for children 7 to 13 years old. Children Under 7 are $5 for the Rotunda/Throne Tour.
We are lucky to live in a state that has so many unique areas to visit within a close proximity to home!