Still searching for what to do in Arizona in the summer?
You can stop now.
When it feels like a blow-dryer set on high is aimed at your face every second you’re outside, we can easily forget that we truly do live in a paradise. Wilderness, rare woodland animals, cool breeze and chill waters are just a few hours away. And in case you’ve forgotten, or you didn’t know, you don’t have to hop a plane to make killer memories by yourself, with friends, or with your kids this summer, and where coats and shoes are absolutely necessary. Allow us to share with you the list of our favorite things to do in Arizona in the summer.
X-treme Forest Games
Test your skill, stamina and agility as a family – the most rewarding family experience is when you face and conquer challenges together. Flagstaff Extreme offers an unforgettable bonding experience and a chance for your family to dig deep and really see what you’re amidst the rustic wilderness at Fort Tuthill County Park. Adult course has approximately 10 to 17 obstacles like hanging nets, scrambling walls, rope swings, and “Suspended surprises.” Kids courses are designed for children 7 years-old and up and include kid-sized zip lines, Tarzan ropes and plenty opportunities to test their problem-solving skills and agility.
Details: Open daily through Sept. 10. Groups start the course every 30 minutes, beginning at 8:30 or 9 a.m.
Access: Fort Tuthill County Park, 3 miles south of Flagstaff off Interstate 17.
Cost: $45 for the full course for age 16 or older | $25 for ages 7-11. Spots can be reserved online.
Contact for More Info: 1 (888) 259-0125, flagstaffextreme.com
Swimming Hole at Grasshopper Point
Counteract the valley blow-dryer-breeze by hopping in nature’s swimming hole tucked inside Oak Creek Canyon known as Grasshopper Point. An alternative to the usually busy Slide Rock, you can beat the heat and refresh your mind and your core temperature in cold water surrounded by marvelous red rock that only Sedona can supply. Wear water shoes, pack a picnic, and bring an inner-tube to float lazy-river style!
Details: Open Year-Round
Cost: $8 per day per vehicle (up to five people) | $2 walk-ins, bicycle, extra person
Access: Drive north from Sedona for about 2 miles on U.S. 89A. Grasshopper Point will be on the eastern side of the highway.
Contact for More Info: Red Rock District Concessionaire – (928) 203-2900, fs.usda.gov/wps
Volcanic Tour of San Francisco Peaks from the Top of Arizona
Take a ride to the top of an extinct volcano while taking in the magnificent scope of the San Francisco Volcanic Field as you’re taken to and dropped off at 11,500 feet in elevation (brrrrr). Observe the wildlife, take in the immaculate views of the Grand Canyon walls, volcanic cinders, and Sedona’s red rocks; or get out and take a hike. Forest Rangers are on-hand to greet you and answer questions about the region’s geology, ecology, biology, and history.
Details: Fridays-Sundays through mid-October | 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Mondays on holiday weekends.
Price: $15 for Adult Admission | $10 for 8-12 and 65-69 | Free for ages 7 and younger & for ages 71 and older.
Contact for More Info: (928) 779-195, arizonasnowbowl.com.
Lava River Cave Expedition
Pull out your best hiking shoes and pack some flashlights to head out on an awesome cave adventure. Explore on your own the underground majesty of this mile-long 700,000-year-old once lava-river turned molten rock formation. This is no commercial cave experience, so come prepared with extra lights and dress warm. Summer temps can reach down to 42 degrees.
Details: Lava River Cave is Open year-round with summer listed as best time to visit
Map: Map Link
Access: Drive 9 miles north of Flagstaff on U.S. 180 and turn west on Forest Road 245 (at milepost 230). Continue 3 miles to FR171 and turn south 1 mile to where FR 171B turns left a short distance to Lava River Cave.
More Information: Lava River Cave – a natural museum
High-Speeds and High-Altitude
Let the high-speed lifts at Sunrise Ski Resort transport you up glorious woodlands on your way to the top of Sunrise Mountain at an elevation of 10,700 ft. Spend the afternoon at the peak and have lunch at Eagles Nest Café, or spend the whole day and rent bikes to explore the twists, turns and serenity of the Arizona White Mountains.
Details: Lifts Run Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Access: About 28 miles east of Pinetop-Lakeside on Arizona 273.
Cost: Lift tickets are $10 for non-bikers | $5 for age 65 + and 12 or younger. Call for bike-rental rates. A $20 mountain-bike pass and helmet are required (bring yours or rent one).
Contact for More Info: (928) 735-7669, sunriseskipark.com
Take the Bridge to Paradise
Standing impressively at 183 feet high over a 400×150-foot (at widest point) tunnel, Tonto Natural Bridge is believed to be the largest natural tavertine bridge in the world! While running from Apaches, rancher and gold prospector, David Gowan, stumbled upon the bridge in 1877, and hiding for three days in one of the caves before setting out to explore the beautiful green valley to which he later claimed squatter’s rights to. Climb the half-mile Gowan Loop Trail down to the bank of the creek and into the valley, search for the ecological creatures unique to this mineral habitat, or simply observe the stunning natural wonders from the bridge. Wear hiking shoes and bring a jacket to explore this three-time “Best of Rim Country Award”” winning destination.
Details: Tonto Natural Bridge State Park – Summer Hours – Open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. with last entry at 4 p.m.
Access: 10 miles north of Payson off Arizona 87.
Contact for More Info: (928) 476-4202, azstateparks.com/Parks/TONA
Making the best out of our scorching mid-summer situation, valley denizens need to stick together and share ideas. Comment below with your favorite way(s) to enjoy summer in Arizona. Thanks!