The fact you’re attending ESTO is a pretty good indication that you’re a traveler.
Not a tourist or a sightseer. Not a run-of-the-mill conference-goer. But an industry-honed traveler.
Somebody who knows the rewards of lingering longer, staying up later, walking just a little farther. Somebody who’s not afraid to take a big bite of something new. Somebody who doesn’t just preach the virtues of travel but lives by them.
Lucky for you, Arizona is a destination for travelers. Road-trip excursions and bucket-list experiences beckon from every corner of the Grand Canyon State. To not heed their call while you’re in Phoenix for ESTO 2018 would be a pity, if not a crime.
Below are a few ways you might extend your trip to Arizona this summer. Many more are available at visitarizona.com.
So go forth. Make some memories. Be a traveler.
SEE THE WORLD'S GRANDEST CANYON
Inarguably breathtaking, the Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and Arizona’s most visited attraction. If you’ve never seen it in person, it’s time to rectify that.
Stretching 277 miles from end to end, the canyon’s multihued rock walls descend more than a mile to the Colorado River below. There are several ways to see the Grand Canyon, from scenic rim overlooks to hiking trails to air tours.
A favorite day hike: South Kaibab Trail to the aptly named Ooh-Aah Point. It’s a 1.8-mile roundtrip, and Ooh-Aah-Point is a great place to take photos and relax for a snack before heading back to the rim.
The drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon takes about 3.5 hours, but it’s worth extending the trip to see the famous red rocks of Sedona or wine country of the Verde Valley.
WANDER THROUGH WINE COUNTRY
As Arizona’s reputation for quality wines grows, so does the popularity of the Verde Valley. This green-and-gold river valley—one of three wine regions in the state—is home to seven wineries and eight tasting rooms.
The trail winds through lush canyons with stops in Cottonwood, Jerome, Sedona, Clarkdale and Cornville. The Verde Valley is about an hour-and-a-half drive from Phoenix, and be sure to designate a driver or hire a shuttle if you plan to hit every winery on the trail.
If you want to mix in some outdoor fun and wildlife watching with your wine sipping, a “Water to Wine” tour is a great option. It begins with a leisurely 1-hour float trip down the Verde River in an inflatable kayak and ends in the shade of giant Cottonwood trees at the Alcantara Vineyards, where you can sample award-winning wines inside a Tuscan farmhouse.
SAVOR SMALL-TOWN SOUTHWESTERN CHARM
Any road trip is more memorable when it includes little towns with big personalities. Arizona has got those in spades.
Several such towns are located along Route 66, which snakes across northern Arizona. Fans of the hit-making band the Eagles will appreciate “standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.” Down the road, in Kingman, day-trippers will find classic cars, neon signs and the Historic Route 66 Museum.
Another cool escape north of Phoenix is the mile-high city of Prescott. It’s famous for Whiskey Row, a collection of saloons that sprung up during the gold rush to quench the thirst of miners, gamblers and outlaws. The town is filled with Victorian architecture and boasts 700 buildings listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Southern Arizona is also home to a famously charming mile-high town: Bisbee. USA Today named Bisbee America’s best historic small town, and Frommer’s declared it one of the “Best Places to Go” in the world in 2018. This former mining camp is now populated by artists and free spirits whose wares fill shops and galleries on Main Street. Off the main drag, murals adorn alley walls and sculptures decorate the tiny yards of Victorian homes.