Ideas for a Unique Arizona Getaway

If you’ve exhausted the usual Arizona getaway ideas, try one of these ideas. You can go hike a crater, Scotch tasting, or sample market food.

Are you looking for some unique ways to get out and explore Arizona? We’ve come up with some ideas for unique Arizona getaways, ranging from an outdoor hike or ride to a laid-back evening at an Arizona resort.

Hike and Picnic in Wupatki National Monument

If you head north of Phoenix to the 35-mile Sunset Crater-Wupatki Loop Road, you can explore both Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and the pueblo remains at Wupatki (pronounced wuh-POT-kee) National Monument.

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Explore Sunset Crater

The first part of the loop takes you past Sunset Crater and the hardened lava flow. The moonscape is rugged and unexpected, like something out of a science fiction movie. If you pull out at the Lenox Crater Trail or the Lava Flow Trail, it gives you a great look at Sunset Crater.

What to do in Arizona

Look out over Sunset Crater during your drive. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

Continue on to Wupatki Pueblo

But for the ideal Arizona getaway, the treasure is to continue on the Loop Road for another 15 miles to the Wupatki Pueblo. I've always been amazed at how the landscape is a brilliant display of color and the construction of the pueblo gives me a  look back at a unique culture.

Wupatki National Monument

Wupatki National Monument. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

After the visitor center, continue on to the Doney Mountain Picnic Area. After dinner and a glass of wine, take a half-mile hike to the top of Doney Mountain, another volcanic cone. Visit Lomaki Pueblo, down the Loop Road toward Highway 89, where there is a bit more of an isolated picnic area with more pueblo ruins to explore. It's a great spot to watch the sun getting low and casting shadows across the red rocks, but the trail does close at sunset.

Scotch Tasting at Westin Kierland

Did you know that one of your options for your Arizona getaways is to go Scotch tasting? It remains one of my favorite experiences. The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in North Scottsdale has a unique Scotch Library that celebrates the whisky regions of Scotland as a nod to the contributions of early Scottish immigrants to Arizona. The Scotch Library has a collection of more than 200 different labels, giving both Scotch aficionados and newcomers a chance to sample Scotch.

Westin Kierland Scotch Library - Arizona Getaways

You'll have plenty to choose from for your Scotch tasting. Photo courtesy of Westin Kierland

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The Scotch Library features offerings ranging from 175 single malts, 30 blends, and some rare offerings from limited run distilleries and even a distillery no longer producing whisky. There are also three super-limited vintage single malts available for tasting.

Best of all, the Scotch Library Ambassadors—experts in whiskies from Scotland—are available to help answer your questions. The Scotch Library is open from 5 pm to 9 pm nightly, serving two-ounce tastings.

Westin Kierland Scotch Ambassadors - Arizona getaways

The Westin Kierland Scotch Ambassadors add to the fun of an evening of tasting Scotch. Photo courtesy Westin Kierland

There is also a Friday “Evening of Scotches” at 6 pm, priced at $50.00 per person that includes three selections.

Music Night at the MIM

The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in North Phoenix is an interactive musical experience with more than 6,500 instruments from 200 countries around the world. There is a live performance almost every evening in the 300-seat theater.

MIM Music Theater

Enjoy a unique performance at the MIM Music Theater. Photo courtesy MIM

After exploring the museum, it's off to the concert for the evening. Entertainers in the past have ranged from singer/songwriter Jackie Greene and the folksy tones of Sarah Jarosz to the jazzy beats of Big Sam's Funky Nation or the Dirty Dozen Brass Band to the global sounds of Mariachi Flor de Toloache.

MIM Arizona Getaway

The Music Instrument Museum at dusk. Photo courtesy MIM

Let Prescott Chefs Serve You Farm to Table Cuisine

Prescott, just two hours north of Phoenix, is known for its non-profit farmer’s market. Most vendors are area farmers and growers. Held on Saturdays from 7:30 am to 12 noon in season, the market makes for a great Saturday morning outing. It’s a fun place with live music, coffee, and breakfast foods.  You’ll always come back with plenty of ingredients for your lunch or dinner to spark your foodie creativity.

Arizona Getaway Farmers Market

Freshly picked produce abounds at the Prescott Farmers Market. Photo Elizabeth R Rose

Farm Fresh Dinner

Annually, in September, local chefs get together to take ingredients from the market to put together a festive but casual outdoor fund-raiser for the Prescott Farmer’s Market. The event begins with passed hors d’oeuvres, wine, and beer from 4 – 5:30 pm followed by a seated four-course meal. Chefs plate the food onsite, providing guests with the opportunity to observe them in action.

Prescott Farm to Table Dinner

Enjoy watching the chefs prepare your four-course dinner at the Prescott Farmers Market dinner. Photo courtesy PFM

The cost per person is $150. Tickets will only be available for purchase in person at the Prescott Farmers Market.

Horseback Riding and Weekend Getaway at Hacienda Del Sol

Hacienda Del Sol opened in the desert wilderness at the foot of Tucson's Santa Catalina Foothills as a girls' school in 1929. It reopened in 1948 as a guest ranch. While once popular with Hollywood celebrities, it fell into disrepair. A group of local Tucson residents bought it in 1995 and nursed it back to its former grandeur. Today, the beautiful resort embraces its Southwest history.

Inns of Arizona

Hacienda Del Sol Fountain. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

Book one of the 32 rooms overlooking the Santa Catalina Mountains for a romantic weekend escape. The grounds – a botanical garden that brings the Sonoran Desert to your doorstep – are filled with custom artwork. Walk two minutes from the lobby to the stables for a sunset horseback ride for two. You'll wind along the dry creek bed, past massive saguaro, and climb to a high plateau to watch the sunset. After your ride, soak in the infinity pool overlooking the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding in Arizona is a must-do! Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

The Grill serves up great meals with creative dishes from local growers and ingredients from the organic gardens, which are under the careful direction of Dr. Andrew Weil.

Get Creative for Your Arizona Getaway

Arizona’s vast and varied lands and communities offer unique opportunities for a weekend getaway or evening experience. Watch the resort and attraction listings for unique events. Some are seasonal like the holiday events at the Desert Botanical Garden, while others (like the Scotch tasting) are year-round. You can escape the heat and go to the cool pine woods, spend an elegant evening at a Valley resort, or take a picnic dinner to a scenic location and watch the sunset.

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Arizona Getaways

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson. Photo by Susan Lanier-Graham

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Create Your Own Unique Arizona Getaway

Our unique Arizona getaway ideas are just the beginning to help you plan some fun days and evenings in the Grand Canyon State. For more ideas for things to do and see and Arizona, see what our area experts have come up with.

If you’ve exhausted the usual Arizona getaway ideas, try one of these ideas. You can go hike a crater at Sunset Crater-Wupatki Loop Road north of Flagstaff. Go Scotch tasting at Westin Kierland Resort & Spa. Sample market food in Prescott. Go on a sunset ride at Hacienda del Sol in Tucson. Head to the Musical Instrument Museum for a listening extravaganza.

Ideas for a Unique Arizona Getaway

Written by Susan Lanier-Graham

Founder and publisher Susan Lanier-Graham has traveled the world for the past twenty years, filling a passport or two along the way. She has wandered through the jungles of Thailand, explored the mysteries of the Great Pyramids, and shared the night with a leopard in Zambia. She sailed in the Mediterranean, sipped her way through Burgundy canals and Champagne caves. She followed Rembrandt’s footsteps through Amsterdam. Susan found her center on the red rocks of Sedona and soaked up an exquisite sunset over the Indian Ocean in Bali. Susan is always looking for wow moments around the world or across the street to share with adventure lovers everywhere. She has authored more than 75 books and hundreds of magazine articles. Susan is an award-winning travel writer and member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and International Food, Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA). She is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). Susan's work still regularly appears in print and online. Susan is an award-winning travel writer, a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and is a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS). Susan has worked as an ambassador for Travelocity and is currently a travel ambassador for Rocky Mountaineer. Her work regularly appears in print and online in a variety of publications. These include various AAA publications, Postcards for Travel Leaders,,,, So Scottsdale, Uptown, Green Living AZ, Life Refined, Modern Luxury,, WHERE Arizona, WHERE Traveler Phoenix + Scottsdale, and more.

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