Are you feeling restless? While the city of Tucson offers a never-ending list of things to do and places to explore, it’s only natural to occasionally feel the itch to get out of the city and look for new adventures. The great advantage of the day trip is that it allows you to escape the confines of the city and have new experiences without having to spend a lot, take extended time off work, or deal with the logistics of a long vacation. Whether your taste runs to tasting wine, exploring caves, or enjoying the great outdoors, there are plenty of wonderful destinations within a few hours’ drive of Tucson. Here’s a quick roundup of some classic day-trip locales that you should be sure to add to your must-see list.


Illustration of an old-fashioned gun.

Just over an hour’s drive from Tucson, Arizona’s most legendary city is a must-visit for newcomers and longtime residents alike. When you visit Tombstone, you can start by checking out the well-known sights of the Old West. Watch a reenactment of the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, wander through the notorious Boothill Graveyard, and marvel at the carefully preserved Bird Cage Theatre. If all that walking leaves you hungry, the city also offers great dining options, including the Longhorn Restaurant, Chuckwagon Eatery, and Big Nose Kate’s Saloon.


Illustration of a ghost wearing a cowboy hat.

Drive a little further after your Tombstone adventure, and you’ll find yourself in one of Arizona’s most charming small towns. A former mining community, Bisbee is now a haven of quirky shops and restaurants that you can spend a lazy afternoon exploring. Don’t forget to take some time to check out the famous Copper Queen Hotel, which many Bisbee residents still believe is haunted. If you can spare an extra day, you can stay in one of the town’s many bed-and-breakfasts.


Illustration of a saguaro painting on a wall.

If you want to find some local Arizona art, take the short drive to Tubac, located just 45 miles from Tucson. This small town provides a home for more than 100 galleries, so it’ll take more than one trip to exhaust the possibilities here. No matter where your interests might lie, you’re sure to find something to fascinate you in Tubac. The town is also the site of the annual Tubac Festival of the Arts, a must-see event that draws visitors from around the world every year.


Illustration of a snow-capped mountain.

If the heat’s got you down, the fastest way to get away from it is to head up to Summerhaven, an aptly named getaway destination nestled atop nearby Mount Lemmon. With an elevation of more than 8,000 feet and a temperature that averages a cool 30 degrees below whatever the concurrent temperature in Tucson is, it’s easy to see why Summerhaven is irresistible to Tucsonans. Located about 29 miles outside of Tucson, Summerhaven features opportunities for skiing, camping, hiking, and just about everything else you could want from an outdoor day trip.

Kitt Peak National Observatory

Illusrtation of a telescope on a mountain.

Southern Arizona might be best known for its cacti, but there’s an equally stunning natural wonder you can see every night—its pristine skies. One of the best ways to see the night sky near Tucson is to travel about 56 miles southwest of the city to Kitt Peak National Observatory. There are daily guided tours of the observatory, but you can also reserve a place at one of two nightly viewing programs. Be sure to make your reservations well before you plan to visit—the programs fill up fast.

Kartchner Caverns

Illustration of the inside of a cave.

Located just south of Benson and about an hour from Tucson, Kartchner Caverns makes for a gorgeous day-trip destination for anybody. The public section of the caverns includes a 2.5-mile route of passages that takes about 90 minutes to explore. The caverns are open every day of the week, and there are guided tours every 20 minutes. Be sure to stop at the visitor center before or after your tour to check out the gift shop and watch a video about how the caverns were first discovered in 1974.

Sonoita and Elgin Wineries


Illustration of a wine bottle and wine glass.

Sonoita and Elgin are neighboring communities located about an hour south of Tucson, and they’re treasures that all too many Tucson residents overlook. The weather’s notably cooler, but the real draw of this destination is the opportunities for wine tasting. There are several wineries to check out here, so you can spend an entire afternoon sampling the various blends in different tasting rooms. When you’re finished, don’t forget to take some time to check out the beautiful grassy hills around these twin towns.

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About the Author

Justyn - Digital Marketing Manager, Special Projects
Justyn Dillingham

Digital Marketing Manager, Special Projects

Justyn - Digital Marketing Manager, Special Projects
Adrienne Lobl

Digital Marketing Specialist, Graphic Design Onboarding Services