While it would be easy to consider your Scottsdale trip complete (and completely fulfilling) after simply checking out all the sights and shops right here in town, sometimes the open road calls out. Scottsdale is only a morning’s drive away from of some of Arizona’s most popular destinations, which means you can see these wonderful attractions and still sleep in your own bed that night:

  1. Scottsdale Cactus The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: Located just west of Tucson (a short trip down I-10 from Scottsdale), the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum lets guests experience the flora and fauna of southern Arizona without having to plan a hike into the backcountry. The museum combines elements of a zoo, a botanical garden and a natural history museum, and guests will enjoy searching for javelinas, prairie dogs, mountain lions and other native species in a beautiful and natural setting. Over two miles of walking trails wind through the park, so remember to bring comfortable shoes.
  2. Salt River Canyon: In a state filled with majestic canyons, Salt River Canyon often gets overlooked. Many people who are on the hunt for Scottsdale attractions don’t even know it exists, but it’s only a two-and-a-half-hour drive east — and it’s a great drive. First, fields of saguaro cactus lead you toward the towns of Superior and Globe. After that, get ready to enjoy the view as Route 60 plunges hundreds of feet toward the Salt River, winding past regal, multicolored cliffs.
  3. Payson: Located at the foot of Arizona’s behemoth Mogollon Rim, the town of Payson has a little something for everyone. For those who want to fill their Scottsdale trip with outdoor activities, Payson provides miles of hiking and biking trails, and if you’re interested in shopping for Western handcrafts, you’ll love the shops on Main Street. An amazing day doesn’t even require leaving the car. Just outside of Payson, the Mogollon Rim Road grants drivers some of Arizona’s most breathtaking views. Only an hour and a half northeast of Scottsdale, Payson is a great one-day adventure sure to add to any Scottsdale trip.

These are only three of the many great Scottsdale attractions that are right down the road. Centrally located, Scottsdale is the perfect place to serve as a base of operations for any Arizona vacation. So pack up your camera, some sandwiches and a few cold drinks, and hit the road. You’ll be glad you did.