While Tucson offers plenty of things to do, there are times when you might want to head outside the city for fun and excitement. Thankfully, you don’t have to go far to find interesting places to visit and activities to do. The following day trips near Tucson are easy to get to, so keep them in mind for your next Arizona roadtrip.
Colossal Cave Mountain Park
Colossal Cave Mountain Park, located roughly 20 miles southeast of Tucson, provides a cooler place to visit when you’re tired of the heat. The park offers more than 3 miles of underground passages to explore. You can do classic cave tours or the more challenging ladder tour, which includes rock bridges and narrower passages. There’s also a wild cave tour for ages 16 and up that lets you explore unlit, rugged paths. When you’re not underground, you can go hiking, have a picnic, go horseback riding, and enjoy other outdoor activities in the park.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park offers two parks to visit for a day trip. Saguaro West National Park is located about 20 miles west of Tucson, while Saguaro East National Park is about 20 miles east of Tucson. Both parks provide scenic views of the mountains, cacti, and other natural surroundings. While you’re at either park, you can hike designated trails or explore the wilderness area. Camping is also available for longer visits.
Mount Lemmon is located about an hour northeast of Tucson in the Santa Catalina Natural Area. This mountain offers a much cooler place to go when you want to escape the desert heat. When you visit Mount Lemmon, you can go hiking on trails while keeping an eye out for local wildlife species. Rock climbing, fishing, and birdwatching are also available. If you head to Mount Lemmon during the winter months, you can go skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, and snowboarding. No matter when you visit, you can count on enjoying spectacular views from the mountain.
Sonoita Wine Trail
The Sonoita Wine Trail is just 90 minutes southeast of Tucson. The trail provides opportunities to visit up to ten tasting rooms where you can sample high-quality wines. Known as the Sonoita American Viticultural Area (AVA), the region offers picturesque views of hills, mountains, and grasslands.
Located about 90 minutes south of Tucson, Patagonia Lake provides a great place to visit for those who love the water. When you spend a day at the lake, you can go swimming, fishing for catfish and rainbow trout, and boating in motorized or non-motorized boats. Water skiing is allowed at certain times, and pontoon boat tours of the lake are also available. Patagonia Lake State Park also has multiple trails to explore and wildlife to see, including bobcats and white-tailed deer. Campsites are available as well if you want to stay longer than a day.
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