Scottsdale is just northeast of Phoenix, Arizona but some say a world apart. With its hip night scene, art galleries and outdoor recreation, Scottsdale is a great place for family fun and desert adventure. There are several family-friendly Scottsdale hotels and resorts in the region including the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch, which is itself a vacation destination. With 27 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens, golf courses, tennis courts and 10 swimming pools including a 2.5-acre water park, you and your family will never have a dull moment. Click here to start booking your next family vacation!
The Sonoran Desert has a lot to offer hikers who want to see the beauty of the desert up close. The Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve offers 200 miles of trails that range from leisurely strolls, ADA-approved pathways and challenging climbs in the McDowell Mountains. If desert trekking and mountain biking are your ideas of a great vacation, you won’t be disappointed.
Another way to see the beauty of the desert is on horseback. Whether you have never been on a horse or are an experienced rider, there is the horse and guide for you. The trails lead to gorges, lush desert washes and through the foothills.
Imagine gliding over the desert at sunset, or any other time, in a hot-air balloon. You will feel the gentle breeze as your guide takes you high and low for expansive views and a close look at local wildlife and vegetation.
Within one hour of Old Town Scottsdale, there are eight lakes and rivers where you can enjoy a variety of water sports, including kayaking, fishing, tubing, river rafting, paddle boarding and more. It is a unique experience to see the desert from a boat tour.
Walking Through Old Town
Locals and visitors alike enjoy spending a day in Old Town Scottsdale. A few of the top things to see and do are:
- Visit the Old Town Farmer’s Market on Saturdays
- Take a walk around the 21 acres of Civic Center Park and enjoy the public art
- Visit the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
- Visit the historic Old Town Trading Post for authentic turquoise jewelry and other Western items
- Have lunch at the Ivy and Olive Restaurant and Marketplace overlooking the Scottsdale waterfront
- Visit some of the more than 200 high-end shops
- Stroll through On The Edge Gallery for original artwork
- Have dinner at one of the award-winning restaurants in the area
- On Thursdays, take the Art Walk through the many galleries
- When you have had enough walking, take the free trolley around Old Town Scottsdale
If you’re up for a road trip, there are a few destinations that are worth the time.
- Sedona, with its towering, mystical red rocks is just over two hours away.
- The Grand Canyon is farther and may require an overnight, but it is well worth the trip.
- The White Mountains in eastern Arizona near the New Mexico border offer a wealth of fascinating and fun things to do. It has several lakes and rivers for outdoor recreation and the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. During the winter it offers many alpine activities.
When you visit the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, you will find a wide range of family-friendly Scottsdale hotels and resorts that provide the perfect base from which to enjoy all the activities and adventure the region has to offer.
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