Explore N. Arizona

Day-Tripping Due North

Interstate 17 links the Valley of the Sun to a series of higher-altitude, no-attitude towns and attractions. Getting to them is easy, and one-way drive times range from an hour to three—so you can be back in town by bedtime.

Arcosanti (Exit #262)
It’s not a city yet—but if architect Paolo Soleri’s experiment works, his Arcosanti mixed-use encampment could become a prototype for a self-sustaining community. As it currently stands, the site is pedestrian-centered and quite energy-efficient; apprentice-residents offer public tours and an amphitheater hosts occasional performing arts. www.arcosanti.org

Prescott (Exit #278)
That which was the Arizona Territory’s capital city has happily spent the last 99 years as a steward of regional history. The sidewalk outside the courthouse at the center of town is etched with an Arizona timeline; more than 500 local buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places; Sharlot Hall Museum and a neighborhood of Victorian-style homes are lovingly maintained; and rough-and-tumble Whiskey Row still has plenty of saloons with swinging doors.

Jerome (Exit #287)
Once a copper-mining boomtown, this hillside hamlet offers antiques shops, cold beers and grizzled charisma with a Verde Valley view.

Sedona (Exit #298)
The ever-visible red rocks of Sedona impart a magical, mystical effect on art galleries, restaurant patios and hiking trails citywide. Shopping at Tlaquepaque and Uptown can net dirt-dyed shirts, pottery and just-pulled taffy. Oak Creek Canyon north of town is a sun-dappled alternative route to Flagstaff. 888.638.2419

Flagstaff (Exit #340)
Historic Route 66, Northern Arizona University and the Coconino National Forest account for Flagstaff’s multiple personalities. There are motels with grandfathered neon signs and a rowdy old roadhouse called The Museum Club; attractions of intellectual culture and businesses of hippie subculture; and lots of options for bike-riding, hiking and—during winter—downhill skiing.