Exploring Arizona beyond Mirabel is easy by car – and quite rewarding. You’ll find stunning scenery, intriguing attractions and quaint towns filled with possibilities for fun and adventure. Here are our favorites:
The Grand Canyon
Aptly named among the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is more than a mile deep and 18 miles wide. It’s an easy three- to four-hour drive from Mirabel and is truly something you must see at least once.
Tonto National Forest
Established in 1905, this expansive desert landscape encompasses more than 2.9 million acres and is the fifth largest forest in the U.S., as well as one of the most visited. With boundaries of Phoenix to the south, the Mogollon Rim to the north and the San Carlos and Fort Apache Indian reservations to the east, there are plenty of breathtaking views.
Roughly two hours from Mirabel, is world-renowned for the incredible natural beauty of its Red Rock formations and its unique New Age vibe. Hiking, golf and shopping also are favorites and the 16-mile drive through Oak Creek Canyon may be the prettiest in the state.
Flagstaff is what you get if you take a little bit of Berkeley from the ‘60s, a couple of mountains from Colorado, some Route 66 kitsch and a dab of the Old West and mix them all together. Just two hours from Mirabel, it’s an ideal mountain town with a mild summer climate and lots of Alpine fun in the winter. The nine-mile hike up Humphrey’s Peak will lead you to the highest point in Arizona – just a touch over 12,000 feet above sea level.
Prescott is the former state capital and is located in the largest stand of Ponderosa Pine trees in the world just 90 minutes from Mirabel. At a mile high in elevation, it has a mild year-round climate, great antique shopping and art galleries. Its infamous Whiskey Row, just off the lovely courthouse square, is one of the most celebrated collections of Old West saloons in the state.
Payson is located at the base of Arizona’s Mogollon Rim about two hours from Mirabel. It is a former timber and ranching town surrounded by beautiful forests, trout streams, hiking and other fun outdoor activities.
Jerome is about two hours from Mirabel and was once known as the “Wickedest Town in the West.” A former mining town, it is now a thriving artist colony and a funky escape from the world at large. Built down the side of Mingus Mountain, Jerome is quite literally a “town on the move,” and a great destination for those seeking unique restaurants, art collections and the like.
Tucson, about two hours south of Mirabel, is a thriving desert city nicknamed the “Old Pueblo”. Highlights include San Xavier del Bac Mission – one of the most beautiful of the Spanish Missions – the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, Colossal Cave, and Sabino Canyon. Many visitors love to walk the streets of historic neighborhoods such as Armory Park and Barrio Historico to gain an appreciation for early Arizona architecture.
Sure, Mirabel is in the desert but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun on the water. In fact, Arizona has more boats per capita than any other state in the U.S. and boasts more shoreline than the U.S. Pacific coast. Nearby desert lakes and reservoirs provide fantastic opportunities for boating, wakeboarding, water skiing and fishing. Likewise, the many mountain lakes and streams are ideal for trout fishing and paddling.
Despite its reputation as a sun-drenched golf destination, Arizona also offers opportunities for those who enjoy snow sports, as well.
Arizona Snowbowl is located just seven miles north of Flagstaff and is just two hours from Mirabel. It offers a great variety of terrain, ranging from gentle slopes for beginners to fast, steep runs, moguls and a terrain park.
Cinch Hook near Strawberry, Arizona is also approximately two hours from Mirabel and is a terrific destination for sledding and fun in the snow.
Sunrise Park Resort
Sunrise Park Resort is Arizona’s largest ski and snowboard area and is approximately four and a half hours from Mirabel in the beautiful White Mountains of eastern Arizona.