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  • An aerial view of a horseback riding tour in Scottsdale, Arizona
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    Scottsdale: Luxury Location, Tempting Cuisine

  • Classic signage and desert views in Tucson, Arizona
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    Tucson: Sonoran Hot Dog Central

  • Western-inspired building facades in Tombstone, Arizona
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    Tombstone: Old West Experiences

  • Overlooking the valley landscape of Bisbee, Arizona
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    Bisbee: History in the Valley

Old West re-enactors on the streets of Tombstone, Arizona
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Desert Dining and Driving: Foodie Road Trip from Scottsdale to Bisbee, Arizona

By Idoia Gkikas

  • Route distance:
    484.00 km
  • Suggested Time:
    5 days

Follow the food on a mouthwatering road trip through Arizona.

From snow-capped mountains and desert landscapes to Old West outposts and chic urban centers, Arizona is a destination that delivers on memorable experiences and diverse cuisine.

When you opt to explore on a road trip, you have even more opportunities to delve into this southwestern state’s unique personality. Bonus: You also get to sample all the tastiest, most tempting food along the way. Hop in the driver’s seat and embark on this culinary road trip from Scottsdale to Bisbee, Arizona.

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An aerial view of a horseback riding tour in Scottsdale, Arizona
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Scottsdale: Luxury Location, Tempting Cuisine

Touch down at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) and pick up a rental car. Your road trip begins in Scottsdale, a city that blends a touch of cosmopolitan with outdoor recreation and Old West history. A typical day might include a luxury spa treatment and championship golf at The Boulders Golf Club, a journey through the Tonto National Forest on horseback with Cave Creek Outfitters and a hike to the top of Pinnacle Peak to soak in bird’s-eye views of the city.

Don’t miss a few of Scottsdale’s unique dining options such as Stand, a favorite for burgers, tacos, hand-cut French fries and the positively addictive salted dulce de leche milkshakes with an irresistible salty-sweet caramel flavor. Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles brings soul food to the desert with crispy fried chicken and sweet waffles. For dessert, order an old-fashioned ice cream sundae or milkshake at The Sugar Bowl, opened in 1958. Book a room at one of the many luxury resorts before the drive to Tucson.

185 km
1.25 hours by car
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Classic signage and desert views in Tucson, Arizona
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Tucson: Sonoran Hot Dog Central

On the drive from Scottsdale to Tucson, you’ll enter the region of Saguaro National Park, a breathtaking mountainous terrain dotted with the iconic Saguaro cactus. Learn more at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which features animal exhibits, an art gallery, a natural history museum, botanical gardens and scenic hiking trails. Tucson delights in other ways too: Hike to a surprise waterfall at Tanque Verde Falls, or play in the snow at Mount Lemmon Ski Valley, the southernmost ski area in the USA.

The regional culinary specialty here is the Sonoran-style hot dog. The sausage is served in a pocket-like bun and stuffed with a variety of extras including beans, onions, salsa, bell peppers and spicy jalapeno sauce. Try one at the Ruiz Hot Dogs food cart. A few other must-sample flavors include authentic Sonoran Mexican food at The Little One, soothing coffees and build-your-own breakfast at 5 Points Market & Restaurant, and an ultra-fresh menu that changes daily at Café Poca Cosa. Up next: historic Tombstone.

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116 km
1.25 hours by car
03
Western-inspired building facades in Tombstone, Arizona
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Tombstone: Old West Experiences

Just over an hour southeast of Tucson is the old mining town of Tombstone, the frontier home of Old West outlaws and site of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Watch a re-enactment of the shootout and tour the Tombstone Epitaph newspaper building – the oldest in the state and still in print! Other pioneer-era landmarks to visit include the circa-1881 Bird Cage Theater, Boothill Graveyard and the Good Enough Mine, a silver ore mine discovered in 1878 and open for tours.

Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, the original bar that served gunslingers such as Doc Holliday and Wyatt and Virgil Earp, still serves up cold drinks. Mosey on up to the bar and order something tasty from the menu: nachos, burgers, fries and cold cocktails. Fun fact: Big Nose Kate was Doc Holliday’s girlfriend. Pack up the car and get ready for your final stop in Bisbee.

37 km
0.5 hours by car
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Overlooking the valley landscape of Bisbee, Arizona
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Bisbee: History in the Valley

The landscape grows greener as you head into the Mule Mountains surrounding Bisbee. This old mining town sits in a valley where the landscape is so steep that stairs were preferred over streets. Follow the path of the Great Bisbee Stair Climb, an annual 5K race up 1,000 steps lined with public art and murals. Don’t miss a chance to suit up in mining gear and take a tour of Copper Queen Mine, the original mine that helped build Bisbee.

When mealtime comes, order up the Blue Wally Cakes – blueberry pancakes covered with walnuts – at Bisbee Breakfast Club. This local favorite serves other diner classics like chicken-fried steak smothered in creamy gravy and big slices of homemade pie. You also have to make a stop at The Room 4 Bar, Arizona’s smallest bar with just enough room for four bar stools and a small table in the corner. (Don’t worry – you can sip your drink on the outdoor patio if it’s crowded inside.) For your return trip home, fly out of Tucson International Airport (TUS).

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