When you’ve had it with 100+ degrees, plan a trip to one of these cooler destinations.
Summer is so hot in Phoenix. You’re desperate to escape. But … you are out of ideas.
If you need inspiration on where to flee the oppressive triple-digit temperatures, you’ve come to the right place. All of these destinations can be done in a recreational vehicle.
Here are six cool getaways, complete with mileage from central Phoenix and typical summer temps. (Don’t blame us if you hit traffic.)
100 miles, 85 degrees
Topping our list is an Arizona city that gets you into cooler temps in the least amount of time. Prescott sits at an elevation of 5,200 feet and the mercury rarely hits 100.
Whether you want to hike or kayak on Watson Lake or Lynx Lake or check out the art scene, the Prescott Office of Tourism has some suggested itineraries on its website.
Fans of history will enjoy strolling Whiskey Row (don’t miss the Palace Saloon, Arizona’s oldest bar) or browsing booths at the art festivals on Courthouse Plaza most summer weekends. If you want to make it a weekend trip or longer, there are plenty of RV parks and campgrounds to choose from.
174 miles, 80 degrees
The opium dens, bordellos, and other landmarks of Williams historic past are long gone. But some kinder, gentler vestiges of this town’s Wild West era remain. The town of 3,000 residents, considered the gateway to the Grand Canyon, is home to the Grand Canyon Railway, an excursion train that traverses the scenic, high-desert plateau between a historic depot and the canyon.
Williams boasts the final stretch of Route 66 to be bypassed by Interstate 40 (on October 13, 1984). Today, the town’s Main Street is a National Historic District. Its storefronts house gift shops and classic diners and motels which preserve a bygone era.
207 miles, 90 degrees
You might not think you’ll get cooler by heading to southern Arizona, but if you visit the historic mining town of Bisbee, elevation 5,538 feet, you’ll find temperatures 15-20 degrees cooler than Phoenix.
Once the largest town between St. Louis and San Francisco, Bisbee dwindled to a small town after the mines shut down. But there’s still a lot to explore. Learn about the town’s mining history by touring the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum and Queen Mine. Visit Arizona’s smallest bar, go on a ghost tour, or climb the Heritage Stairs.
Chiricahua National Monument
230 miles, 90 degrees
Situated in southeastern Arizona, Chiricahua National Monument spans an elevation of 5,124 feet at the visitor center to a peak of 7,310 feet at the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. That elevation makes it a cool mountain getaway where you can hike amid wildly eroded rock formations.
There’s no admission fee to the monument. You’ll only have to pay if you plan to camp, which costs $20 per site, $10 if you have an America the Beautiful access pass.
For a full-service RV park, base yourself in Willcox, 35 miles away. The little community is building a reputation among wine lovers for its downtown tasting rooms and numerous wineries within easy driving distance.
347 miles, 82 degrees
Southern California’s wine country made Wine Enthusiast’s 2019 list of 10 best wine travel destinations. Temecula Valley has nearly 40 family vineyards and a variety of craft breweries and distilleries.
Old Town Temecula is the heart of the foodie and event scene. Along with Shakespeare in the Vines at the Baily Winery, popular events include the Temecula Art & Street Painting Festival and Pechanga MicroBrew Festival in June, Old Town Temecula 4th of July Parade, and California Wine Month in September.
480 miles, 83 degrees
Santa Fe prides itself on celebrating all of its rich history. It recognizes its roots in Pueblo Indian culture, the Spanish colonial period, and its position today as New Mexico’s state capital and a haven for artists, writers, and other creative types.
Santa Fe means holy faith in Spanish and the city also celebrates its spiritual heritage with some of the oldest churches in the country. With its intriguing mix of galleries, restaurants, museums, and abundant outdoor recreation opportunities, Santa Fe has experiences for everyone.
“‘Heat, ma’am!’ I said; ‘it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.”