Summer vacation getaways only short drive from Phoenix area


by Gina Maravilla

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Posted on June 25, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 25 at 11:20 AM

PHOENIX -- Want to get away, but only have time for a quick road trip?

On Tuesday's Good Morning Arizona, Marjorie Magnusson from the Arizona Office of Tourism (AOT) talked about some of the best vacation spots in Arizona’s backyard. There are a lot of options. So Magnusson breaks down her picks according to how far you want to drive

If you only have time for a one hour road trip, the AOT says to consider the handful of water  destinations that are a short drive from Phoenix, including the "Chain Lakes" like Canyon Lake, Roosevelt Lake, Apache Lake and Saguaro Lake. All lakes accommodate jet skis, wakeboard boats and pontoons.

"The lakes right around the Phoenix area are perfect," says Magnusson. "It's a great place to keep cool and there are lots of activities. You can hike, you can fish, take a pontoon boat, water ski, sail."

If you're able to hit the road for a two hour drive, the AOT says you may want to head to Jerome.  Built onto the side of Cleopatra Hill, Magnusson says it is one of the most unique cities you'll ever encounter. It's known as the "largest ghost town in America" and you can find shopping, live music and fine dining. "It's a cute little town," Magnusson says. "It gets great views. You can see the whole Verde Valley over the red rocks."

A three hour drive will allow you to get your kicks along historic Route 66. Visit Williams, which Magnusson says is a picturesque mountain town with the personality of an authentic Western village. It's the "Gateway to the Grand Canyon," and sits at the end of the century-old Grand Canyon Railway line. It's also home to Bearizona.

If your schedule allows for a four hour drive, head south for a visit to Tombstone, Bisbee and Southern Arizona's wine country. For another cool alternative, Kartchner Caverns State Park is just a half hour up the road. "It's a beautiful cave and cavern that you can visit," she says.

The AOT launched its “Summer in AZ “regional campaign, and sweepstakes in an effort to market the Grand Canyon State's different destinations.You can visit the department's website for more information.

The organization says traveling locally helps the state’s economy. The industry is responsible for generating $2.7 billion in local, state and federal tax revenues, which equates to a tax break of more than $1,030 per Arizona household.