A Trip to Phoenix

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.

Papago Park

Papago Park, Phoenix, AZ

Hole in the Rock

Romantic spot to watch the sunset over the city – hole in the rock

1Papago 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….

4.  A full day excursion?  Escape the heat of Phoenix and head on up to Red Rock Country.  Explore the scenic town of Sedona and the surrounding area.Sedona

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 🙂


42 thoughts on “A Trip to Phoenix

  1. Wow…you tripped memory lane. Before the Botanical Gardens, before the zoo, before the golf course… way back in 1961… Papago peaks and Hole in the Rock were in my front yard!
    We lived on 52nd street and there was nothing but desert between us and those rocks. I hiked those mountains every square inch…sat in Hole in the Rock for hours…went to the oasis, which was a little spring fed stream where the Zoo is now. We moved when they started building the golf course. wow…
    Box Canyon Blogger

    • Glad I could take you down memory lane. A couple of years ago our son was looking at houses off McDowell near Papago Park. He ended up buying near the 101 and 51 partly because the houses weren’t as old, but I still visit the Park from time to time even though it’s a bit of a drive from his house. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Oh, man! I wish I had seen this sooner. We were just in that area. Probably for the best though. We were in the middle of our RV makeover, and if we were off gallivanting we probably wouldn’t have gotten it done. We are in Flagstaff now. It is so beautiful!

    • Your RV makeover looks great – congrats on a job well done. I love the pines in Flagstaff. I’m sure you gals are enjoying it to it’s fullest. That’s an area of AZ we haven’t spent much time exploring, usually due to weather but hope to explore more of in the future. Happy trails!

    • Fountain Hills is really pretty. We’ve checked out some real estate there a while back. There are so many things to do and see in the Phoenix area. We always look forward to exploring and discovering more!

  3. I love your geography and I am amazed and the depth of colors in the desert. Your photographs really are pretty awesome. Thanks, I’d love to visit but winter and spring are out for me (at least for now). thanks for sharing your adventures!

    • Thank you, appreciate the kind comment. Perhaps Spring Break in Phoenix? Great time to visit and watch the Cubs or White Sox practice. The desert is in bloom and the weather is gorgeous!

  4. I found your very interesting blog through LuAnns blog….nice to meet you. We are still working for a living…boo! But we find so much pleasure in living through others visually while they travel♥ You have given us so many visual delights just on this post…nice to meet you.

    • Thank you and thanks for stopping by. I’ll be sure and stop by your blog. I’m always inspired by other bloggers photographer 🙂

  5. Having lived in the Phoenix area and Sedona for ~25 years, I’d say you did a great job of capturing some fun sights. Great photos!

  6. Nice post with great info on the area, We have to check out Superstition Mountain next winter. Looks like a awesome place to photograph.

  7. You know we are from Phoenix, Ingrid, and I must say, you really covered it well :)! Only thing I would add is a day trip to Jerome, Arizona. Well worth the trip! A couple of awesome places to eat (according to our simple palettes) is Green (two locations in Tempe and Phoenix) and Grassroots (Scottsdale). Again, very well done, Ingrid :)!!

    • Thanks and I was thinking of you when I added old town Scottsdale. When we stayed at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, we had planned to visit Jerome, but the weather kept getting in the way. Oh well, next year. I’ll be sure and make a note of those restaurants, as Phx will be a regular for us (gotta visit our son) 🙂

  8. What a lovely tour of such a magnificent place you had to force yourself to endure..LOL… wow but you do have a life many of us envy… but then we do get to share the magnificent places we will never get to through your outstanding posts… I do love this blog…

    • Force indeed….LOL. Thanks for enjoying the ride. Right now we’re off the road taking care of responsibilities and all I can think about is getting back out there for more adventures. Your photos inspire me 🙂

    • So we can plan on seeing you back in AZ in two years??? We’re thinking beach for next winter. I want warm…..Texas perhaps. Blizzard in Colorado today 😦

  9. I was in Phoenix for a short business trip, so didn’t get to explore too much, but it was a pretty city (much prettier than the desert of Las Vegas). I really want to see that Superstition Mt. area and of coure, Sedona. That looks stunning.

    • I agree the desert in Phoenix is definitely prettier than Las Vegas. There really is a lot to see and do in the area AND some VERY pretty sites!

  10. Great post! I will have to keep this list for future reference. You’ve got some really cool things to see and do there. I remember as a child wanting to go see if I could find the Lost Dutchman mine and some gold when mom and dad drove through there out to California 🙂

  11. We missed Phoenix on our trip though to AZ. Originally, we were going to spend a month but decided Valley Of Fire was calling our name. Your travel guide will be a great help next year when we return. Your friends should have a great time if they don’t melt first!!!

    Thanks. Ingrid!

    • I recommended that Apache Trail day to some fellow bloggers. It’s a super fun day and especially if you have a 4 wheel drive…..go all the way to Roosevelt Lake.. Put Phoenix on the schedule for next winter….great places to stay, hike and explore 🙂

    • Well since I’m not traveling right now, I’d still like to blog. So when I received the email, it gave me the perfect idea for a post. Plus, that #2 idea on the Apache Trail day, I’ve recommended to several folks. Now it’s in writing and I would put that as a “must see” on any trip to Phoenix. There really is a lot to see and do in Phoenix 🙂

  12. So many nice spots…thanks for the tour! Sweet collection of photos…can tell that area is special to your heart.

  13. I’m going to keep this list for a future trip to phoenix.

    *Something went ka-pooey with your pictures or text because it was a bunch of gibberish under each heading. Check it out.

      • You had me all concerned, Lisa. Computer problems stress me out. I don’t have the knack some folks do and find myself calling daughter for help. Phoenix does have a lot to offer, but no beach for the beach lovers 🙂

  14. Went to Phoenix years ago (no camper)..I worked for a travel agent and we got $25 rooms at Tapitio Hilton for 4 nights…Even tho I was a travel agent I didn’t see near what you know of…Some great ideas!!

    • Well, when you hang around an area for a couple of months, there’s plenty of time to explore and immerse oneself in the place. It also helps that there are quite a few awesome places to park the RV. I would highly recommend Phoenix in the winter!

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