Although most of these things would be perfect for a first date or a date night our next post will delve into all the fun things to do on a date night in Arizona.
Arizona is the home of the great horned owl and many other fascinating species such as snakes, mountain lions, giant lizards, and bald eagles. The more temperate climates of north and south Arizona include large populations of black bears, elk, antelope, and deer. A great spot to find a variety of fauna and flora are located at the Coconino National Forest, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, and the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, among others.
Skiing High above Tucson
Believe it or not, there is a ski resort in Arizona located above Tucson in the Santa Catalina Mountains. Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley has southernmost ski runs you can partake in all day long. After you’ve spent a full day among the fir trees, you can drive down to the pool with a palm-framed view of the mountains.
Flagstaff, Arizona is one of the snowiest cities in the entire United States. Arizona Snowbowl has over 700 acres of slopes. The runs sit at around 9,500 feet above sea level on the San Francisco Peaks, which are some of the highest points in Arizona. If you are feeling adventurous, the Arizona Snowbowl just might be right up your alley.
Fishing Adventures in Watson Lake
Granite Creek, located in Central Arizona, has a beautiful dam that was built in the early part of the 20th century. The dam was purchased by the city of Prescott in the late 90s and has been preserved for recreational use. You can spend several hours sitting on the rocks alone, but you can also fish, climb the granite cliffs, and take pictures.
Family Photos That Will Make Their Friends Jealous at Cathedral Rock
Cathedral Rock literally screams “Arizona” in Sedona because it rises to almost 5,000 feet above sea level. It’s located in the diverse Coconino National Forest. Many people will take photographs of the area, while others will hike the rock trail which begins at Back O’Beyond to explore structural gaps. This short, steep ascent is even more rewarding than taking a photo of it from a distance.
Havasupai Campground: An Astronomer’s Delight
Arizona is one of the premier destinations for observing the skies. For this reason, the International Dark-Sky Association has located their international headquarters here in Tucson. The Kitt Peak National Observatory has night programs available to the program, and overnight telescope viewing which includes a place to stay and meals. It’ll be hard to get much sleep when you have a high-powered microscope to look at, as well as the open night sky.
The Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff is one of the oldest observatories in the U.S. Pluto was discovered here in the 1930s. This observatory isn’t as high-tech as Kitt Peak but has an abundance of desert stretches and mountainsides where you can park your car, pull out a blanket, and look up at the stars. The skies are always clear and dark which provides visitors with viewing conditions that are out-of-this-world.
This spot is recommended for any avid fan of astronomy.
Rio Rico’s Totally Awesome Skate Park
You can be active a number of ways including hiking or climbing mountains. But you can participate in recreational activities too. In fact, they are a mainstay throughout Arizona. Skateboarding competitions take place every year in Rio Rico, and there is lots of open space for recreational skateboarding. You can also skydive, hang glide, cliff jump, take off in a hot air balloon, or participate in a helicopter tour.
Explore History, Petroglyphs, and Ruins with a Navajo Tour Guide in Canyon de Chelly
Canyon de Chelly National Monument has thousand-foot high sandstone cliffs, ancient cliff dwellings, pre-Columbian petroglyphs, groves full of cottonwood, and free-roaming horses. To some people, this might sound like a dream, but it is a reality here. Without a doubt, there is a lot to see and explore here.
This place has been inhabited longer than anywhere else in North America. Generations of Navajo Indians have called these gorges home along with Pueblo, Hopi, and other tribes before them, going back as far as 5,000 years. More recently, there were encounters with Spaniards and U.S. soldiers led by Colonel Kit Carson that resulted in less-peaceful endings. Fortunately, these canyons are peaceful today. A Navajo guide or a ranger can give you a tour of the monument’s over 83,840 acres.
You may have seen a lot of photos of the Grand Canyon, but nothing beats visiting it in person. The rim itself along with the canyon’s immensity is a once in a lifetime experience.
Crowds in the summertime can prove to be challenging, but the winter months from December through the month of February provide you with more access to the canyon with your car – you can drive your car west of the Grand Canyon Village instead of taking a shuttle bus. You can view all of the overlooks when it best suits your schedule, take a hike, and look down upon the 2-billion-year-old rocks and the Colorado River which is a mile below you. You can dress up in layers and wake up at the crack of dawn to watch a glorious sunrise from the canyon’s edge.
Colorado River Kayaking
Once people have traveled across the top of the Grand Canyon, they will cross it off their bucket list. What they don’t know is that there’s just as much to see at the bottom. The Bright Angel or North Kaibab Trails are great to check out if you’re starting out at the North Rim. These trails will take you down to the Colorado River. You can raft or kayak the waters for a day or as many as 25 days. Commercial trips are also available, but if you obtain a special permit, you’ll be able to take a non-commercial trip where you can come up with your own adventure.
2. Trek the Sonoran desert
A lot of people don’t know this, but much of the state’s landscape is a desert. Saguaro National Park is the go-to place to visit to explore the desert. On either side of the city of Tucson is Saguaro. The best time to visit the park is during the late winter or early spring. You’ll enjoy mild temperatures and blooming wildflowers. During the early summer, the Saguaro cacti bloom. If you want to explore the desert, but you’re not in the Tucson area, Phoenix has you covered. Hike in Pinnacle Peak. Take a relaxing float on the Salt River.
3. Explore the Old West
Arizona is full of history. When Americans initially settled the state, it was a woolly, wild west of a place. The characters you read about like Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp called Tombstone, Arizona home in real life. Today, Tombstone is less dangerous than its OK Corral days. Visit the historic buildings, mine tour and cemeteries. Oh, and there are plenty of Wild West shows at the original OK Corral you’ll enjoy too.
4. Go to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is located just south of Saguaro National Park. It embodies all the wonderful things about the Sonoran Desert. It’s beautiful because it’s part botanical garden, zoo and natural history museum. In fact, national park does a perfect job blending the things together like having the animal enclosures located around the desert landscape.
Stroll the trail and discover a coyote peeking at you from behind a Saguaro cactus. See a Ferruginous Hawk as it freely soars above your head. Walk by the Cat Canyon and hummingbird aviary.
5. Cheer on the Spring Training Baseball Teams
It happens every March. Thousands of people travel to Arizona to watch major league teams play baseball. This is pre-season sports at its best. Spring training games are a lot of fun and inexpensive. Imagine watching your favorite professional baseball team play during late winter as they prepare to start the season. It’s the best.
Some of the stadiums in the smaller Cactus League have grassy areas located behind their outfield. This allows for kids to have fun and run between innings. The best part is that many of the players are willing to toss practice balls to fans or sign autographs.
6. Partake in a Scottsdale train ride for kids
Are you ready for a train ride with a lot of adventure? For children, Scottsdale’s McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is heaven on Earth. Take a ride on the Paradise and Pacific railroad, then look at the large interior model train display. The park also has two large playgrounds and carousel that’s lots of fun too.
If you want to have fun on an Arizona train, take your pick. Hop aboard the Grand Canyon Railway or Verde Canyon Railroad. You’ll love the stunning vistas and classic train cars. The ride on the Grand Canyon Railway takes a little under three hours. During that time, you’ll have a fun-filled ride that includes a Wild West shootout. Musicians and actors walk about the train to entertain you during your frontier-style adventure.
7. Visit the Sedona’s red rocks
Viewing the splendor of Sedona’s red rocks is something that can’t truly be expressed in one or two sentences. Plenty of tours are available so you and your family can take an off-road journey through the red rocks. Go to places Chicken Point and Diamondback Gulch to view the splendor of the red rocks. During the tour, learn about Sedona’s rich geology, culture and history.
Hike in the Red Rock State Park for a little more adventure. Have a blast rushing down Slide of Rock State Park. There’s so much to explore and do in the red rocks of Sedona.
8. Visit Papago Park for the Day
The must-go-to place in Phoenix is Papago Park. Picnic, fish in the small lakes, hike and bicycle are some of things to do in Papago Park. For a great view of the city, stop by Hole in the Rock. It’s a sandstone butte that has a large hole in the middle of it. The Hole in the Rock offers the best views of Phoenix.
At the park, be sure to visit the Desert Botanical Garden. Desert Botanical Garden is a sprawling 145 acres of garden with more than 50,000 desert plants. The garden has numerous programs geared toward teaching children about the area.
The most popular place isn’t Papago Park. Instead, it’s the Phoenix Zoo. It’s an epic adventure at the zoo where you and your family can fit the Giraffe Encounter, the Arizona Trail and Monkey Village to name a few things. Bikes are allowed in the zoo. Thus, you can ride from one exhibit to another.
9. Enjoy a day at the desert lakes
You may plan to spend the day at one of Arizona’s stunning parks or take a wild ride train adventure. Make sure you add spending the day on the desert lakes to your vacation list of things to do. Yes, the summers in Arizona are more than warm. They are super hot. The best way to cool off in Arizona is by taking time boating, camping and enjoy what the desert lakes have to offer.
Spend the day at Lake Havasu. The lake straddles the border of Arizona and California. It’s a popular place to enjoy outdoor activities such as tubing, jet skiing and water skiing. Stop by the London Bridge. Yes, the original London Bridge is located in Lake Havasu City. Until the late 1060s, the bridge spanned England’s River Thames. It was dismantled at reconstructed in Lake Havasu City.
There are things to enjoy at the desert lakes. Houseboaters love sailing along Lake Powell, located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Rainbow Bridge is another place to visit. Rainbow Bridge, which has the world’s largest natural arch, is located a 1-hike hike from the desert lake.
10. The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a massive natural wonderland that is the reason Arizona is nicknamed the Grand Canyon State. The views of the Grand Canyon are breathtaking. The North Rim is more remote than its counterpart called the South Rim. In the remote South Rim, you can take a mule ride into the canyon. Hike the Bright Angel Trail to the canyon floor. For the ultimate whitewater adventure, take a ride the Colorado River rapids. If you like a little less adventure, visit the Grand Canyon Rim Trail where you’ll see beautiful wildlife.