As the days lengthen and the temperature climbs, it’s time to ring in the lazy days of summer. But if you’re local to Phoenix (or just in for a visit), you might find yourself retreating anywhere with air-conditioning to escape the blazing Arizona heat. Some may love the desert heat, others might prefer their fun in the shade, rather than the sun. Luckily, Phoenix not offers only activities for the whole family, but plenty of things to do both inside and outside. Even if you’re not a fan of the triple-digit dry heat, you and your family won’t be in danger of boredom.
What’s the best way to beat the heat? Getting wet and wild—whether at the Wet N Wild Water Park, or elsewhere—usually helps. If you’re looking to cool off with a swim minus the lines, Saguaro Lake might be your top choice. While there are quite a few lakes in around the Phoenix metro area, Saguaro Lake boasts gorgeous desert scenery and lakeside views (including several of the Saguaro cacti that give it its name). Boating and kayaking rental deals, waterskiing and fishing are all on offer, though for folks who prefer to kick back a little more, the sights might best be enjoyed by river cruise.
Outdoor adventurers and aspiring wilderness experts will make a beeline for the mountain with one of the highest peaks in Phoenix, Camelback Mountain. Rising roughly 2,700 feet above Phoenix’s city skyline, the mountain’s spectacular summit provides some of the most panoramic views of the city and surrounding landscape you’ll find—plus, the 1.2 mile Echo Canyon Trail is no beginner’s trek (it might as well be the place where the term “uphill battle” was coined). For families with small children or for beginning hikers, easier trails etch the mountain side, but be sure to bring plenty of water.
Some days, you and your family might find yourself looking to retreat, rather than beat, the heat. Luckily, Phoenix’s many museums and indoor play centers provide recreation and fun for the whole family. Visit Makutu’s Island for an indoor play adventure featuring a giant oak tree full of mole holes, tunnels and 35-ft slide, or cool off in the summer sunshine with a trip to one of the city’s many water parks. Explore over 300 interactive exhibits in the Arizona Science Center, or spend a day getting cultured at the Musical Instrument Museum.
What better way to cool off than tubing in one of the nation’s largest national forests? You can take a journey to Tonto National Forest for a weekend of camping and tubing, or make it a day trip with a bus ride to one of the river’s three drop off points. Parents can crack a cold one or two on the ride, and kids will get time to splash, play and cool off.
If your kids are looking to pan for gold with prospectors, watch gunslingers face off in the central square, or explore the recesses of an abandoned mine, you and your family can’t miss the old ghost town just by the Superstition Mountains. The abandoned mining town has been converted into an Old West attraction, complete with rides, reenactments, a historic museum and plenty of Western adventure–even a mysterious shack where lamps hang from the ceiling from 45 degree angles, and water runs from faucets seemingly disconnected from any water pipes.
By: Jeremy Alderman, ZOG Digital