I recently received an email from a friend who lives in the Midwest letting me know she and her hubby are planning a trip to Phoenix, Arizona this May. She was wondering if I’d share some ideas on things to see and do in the Phoenix area.
Since she and the hubby will be flying into Phoenix and renting a car, I need to get my head out of the RV lifestyle first….lol. Also it’ll be May in Phoenix, which means temperatures will be in the 90’s and100’s. That said, the first thing I would do is find a Wal-Mart or Target. Purchase one of those white disposable Styrofoam coolers and a case of bottled water (the 23 fluid ounce size) and a bag of ice. Staying hydrated in the desert is crucial and each person should drink a minimum of 3-4 of these bottles a day.
Ok, with the important stuff out of the way, let the fun begin…… FYI – any words in blue are linked to additional information…..just click on the words in blue for further details.
1. Papago Park is located in the center of Phoenix. The Desert Botanical Garden is a great way to familiarize oneself with the plants of the desert southwest. Even if there isn’t time to stroll the Botanical Garden, a drive around Pagago Park is still fun.
During our most recent trip to Phoenix, we managed a visit to the “Hole in the Rock”. This is a favorite spot amongst locals to watch the sunset over the city. The hike up to the hole is relatively easy. Much easier if you’re wearing tennis shoes and not flip-flops. Yep, we saw a couple of gals hiking up in flip-flops…duh!
Near Hole in the Rock is the “Tomb of Governor George Wiley Paul Hunt”. The Tomb is kind of interesting, but the view from this vantage point is pretty awesome. It overlooks the park as well as the Phoenix Zoo.
2. On the far east side of Phoenix near the town of Apache Junction is the Superstition Mountain. I wrote about this stunning site in my last post and I would rate this high on the “must see” list. How about an all day excursion? Let’s plan the day……head out in the morning (be sure to have that cooler filled with water and ice) drive toward the town of Apache Junction and head north on Highway 88 aka the Apache Trail.
First stop will be the Superstition Mountain Museum on the right side of the road, even if it’s just to photograph this chapel. Definitely worth a quick stop.
Just a couple more minutes up the road on the left is the Goldfield Ghost Town. This old gold mining town is a fun little stop to stroll around and get a sense of life in the 1800’s. If you started the day a bit late, this is also a great place for lunch, but I would recommend targeting Tortilla Flat for lunch if at all possible.
After Goldfield, continue north up the Apache Trail toward Canyon Lake. We’ll reserve Lost Dutchman State Park for the return drive. The Apache Trail is a scenic drive with lots of photo-op opportunities. So take your time and enjoy the drive. The marina at Canyon Lake offers various watercraft for rent. Perhaps a little kayaking after lunch?
The town of Tortilla Flat, population of 6, has a great little restaurant with a super fun décor and serves a great burger. Even if you won’t be dining, do step inside and check it out. Be sure and peek in the lady’s room for the painted stall doors. The general store also serves up some of the best homemade ice cream around.
Now it’s time to turn around and head back for a stop at Lost Dutchman State Park. By now it should be late afternoon with the sun in the west. This is my favorite time to photograph the Superstition Mountain. Enter Lost Dutchman State Park and walk the Interpretive Hiking Trail….super easy, informative, and great location to photograph the mountain.
On your way back to the hotel, stop at the Organ Stop Pizza for dinner. Quite the experience and it IS an experience, and the food is pretty good too.
3. A few other ideas….
The MIM – Musical Instrument Museum
- Lake Pleasant – Lunch at Dillon’s Scorpion Bay Marina on the floating pier/dock
- Retail – Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale…..lunch at Z Tejas Grill
- Meander around old town Scottsdale
- Enjoy architecture? Visit Taliesin West
- A scenic drive through South Mountain Park
- On a Friday – visit the western town of Cave Creek and have dinner at the Buffalo Chip Saloon….watch live bull riding and muting busting.
There’s no loss of things to see and do in this desert southwest city. Phoenix known as the Valley of the Sun has become a second home to hubby and me. I hope my friend and her husband enjoy their visit as much as we enjoy our visits. Safe travels 🙂