Outdoor Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona

With it’s signature red rock landscape, crystal blue skies and endless sunshine Phoenix is a city where life is best lived outside. Whether you want mountain adventures, crave a bit of culture or desire nothing more than to lounge in a poolside cabana; Phoenix has an outdoor adventure for everyone. Here are seven ways to enjoy the outdoors in Phoenix, Arizona.


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Offering up some of the best urban hiking in the country , you can hit the trails during the day with plenty of time for a poolside cocktail in the evening. Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale is perhaps the best known hike in Phoenix but the nearby Usery Mountains, Tonto National Forest and Superstition Mountains have miles of trails waiting to be explored. While beautiful the desert can also be brutal; make sure you stay on marked trails, watch out for wildlife (a snake bite is a sure way to ruin your day) and drink plenty of water.

Outdoor Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona www.casualtravelist.com

Laze by the Pool

When the Arizona sun brings temperatures into the triple digit range the only thing you really want to do is lounge by the pool with a fruity drink in hand. Naturally Phoenix has elevated lazing by the pool into an art form. Scottsdale is well known for it’s world class luxury resorts featuring over the top pools that are the perfect antidote to the blazing Sonoran sun. The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale features a 2.5 acre aquatic playground with 10 pools and a 30′ high speed water slide.

Outdoor Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona www.casualtravelist.com


Horseback Riding

For a true taste of the wild west, cowboy up with the folks at Fort McDowell Adventures. Atop your trusty steed explore the sun-baked hills dotted with saguaro cactus and mesquite while real-deal cowboys share the history of the Yavapai Indians and tell tales of long lost gold mines. We-Ko-Pa Resort, a family friendly resort operated by the Yavapai Nation, is the perfect place to rest your haunches after a day in the saddle.

Outdoor Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona www.casualtravelist.com


Stand Up Paddle Board

When you think of desert adventure stand up paddle boarding probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind but when the desert temperatures climb there is nothing like a day out on the water. With six lakes and a handful of rivers the Phoenix area offers ample opportunity to get out on the water. Pick up a board at No Snow Stand Up Paddle in Mesa on your way out to Saguaro Lake. This two square mile lake, with views of the Four Peaks mountain range, towering sandstone cliffs and namesake saguaro cacti lining the shores is one of the most stunning places I’ve paddled.

Outdoor Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona www.casualtravelist.com

Outdoor Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona www.casualtravelist.com

Hot Air Balloon

A hot air balloon ride tops many bucket lists and with over 300 days of sunshine per year and the beauty of the Sonoran Desert stretching out for miles Phoenix is one of the best places in the US to make your ballooning dream a reality.  Watching the sunrise from behind red rock mountains while gliding up to 5,000 feet above the desert landscape is equal parts thrilling, magical and surreal and with a champagne brunch after you land this flight with Hot Air Expeditions is one experience you won’t mind getting up early for.

Outdoor Adventures in Phoenix,Arizona www.casualtravelist.com

Outdoor Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona www.casualtravelist.com Outdoor Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona www.casualtravelist.com

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West

Outdoor Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona www.casualtravelist.com

Including an architectural tour on a list of outdoor adventures may seem a bit odd, but hear me out. Taliesin West, the winter outpost of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is where the architect’s signature brand of organic architecture is on full display. The home is mix of Flintsones and mid-century modern while the history of Wright, his family and students (Taleisin West continues to serve as an architectural school to this day) are fascinating. Time your visit for the evening for magnificent sunset views over Scottsdale.

Out on the Farm

Outdoor Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona www.casualtravelist.comOutdoor Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona www.casualtravelist.com

The deserts around Phoenix hold many surprises and one of the biggest for me was discovering the rich agricultural heritage of the farming communities near Mesa on the Fresh Foodie Trail. Queen Creek Olive Mill, Arizona’s only working olive grove, offers a true farm-to-table experience. At their Olive 101 class you can learn about (and sample) the olive oil pressed on site then dine on casual Tuscan-inspired fare at the Mill’s onsite eatery. When it comes to peaches Georgia has nothing on Schnepf Farms, Arizona’s largest organic peach farm run by the Schnepf family for over four generations. Over 250,000 visitors stop by Schnepf Farms for juicy peaches straight from the tree as well as the many festival the farm hosts throughout the year.

Outdoor Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona www.casualtravelist.com


My visit was graciously hosted by Visit Phoenix but as always all opinions are my own.

32 Comments on “Outdoor Adventure in Phoenix, Arizona

  1. Beautiful!!! How long you suggest to stay in Phoenix? I planning to do Phoenix, Scottdale, and Sedona:) Thank you

  2. I’m back in Phoenix for awhile and you’ve highlighted some great spots. I’ve done them all except the hiking, so I better get that checked off my list!

  3. I have always been fascinated by the thought of going to the desert and staying in a nice resort. I so often only do thisat the beach, but those surroundings look fabulous! Saving this for future plans.

  4. I haven’t been to Phoenix but I have been in the desert in that area. I too did a horseback ride at sunrise which was great fun. I would love to do the hot air balloon ride there though it looks amazing 🙂

  5. I’m in love with Phoenix now! To be honest I’ve never thought about visiting Phoenix before but there are so many cool things to do that it’s now on my bucket list! I really liked the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale, looks like the perfect place to stay for me, I’ll try to go there and then make the most of my time doing all the activities you recommend, especially the horse riding <3
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  6. Wow that pool looks very luxurious I would love to stay here. I really like the look of Arizona I have never visited anywhere that looks like this before so it would be a new experience for me.

  7. Arizona is an incredible State for the outdoors – we were lucky enough to live in the suburbs of Phoenix for a year, and the hiking opportunites are incredible – there’s an annual balloon festival every year which is awesome to catch if you’re a fan of hot air balooning as well – I think it was called the Arizona Balloon Classic off the top of my head 🙂

  8. Beautiful pics of Arizona! Funny how I don’t think of water in Arizona, but it looks like the perfect place to SUP! Bookmarked for my next travels there.

  9. wow those cactus are incredible! I can’t imagine what standing next to them feels like. Also love the hot air balloons! Didn’t know you could get a scene like that in arizona

  10. I love the Southwest! I still have never been in a hot air balloon, but that’s certainly on the list for next time I’m in the area.

    • I can’t imagine a better place in the US to hot air balloon

  11. Looks like you enjoyed a great time in Phoenix! So many great things to see and do in the area. We loved our visit to Taleisin West. As my hubby is an architect, a visit there is like a pilgrimage. It’s a great to spot to visit even if you’re not an architect of course – I loved it!

    • I was surprised to learn that Taliesin West was still a practicing architecture school.

  12. Phoenix seems like a great place for the outdoor adventure activities. The trek, pools, stand up paddle boards all look awesome but hot air ballooning at 5000 feet above the desert land will be super cool for us. Would love to try all of these once in Phoenix.

  13. This is awesome – who would have thought Phoenix had so much adventure in it!! If you could only do one of them, which of them would it be?

  14. Phoenix looks like so much fun! I’ve only ever been overnight after spending three nights at the grand canyon – I hope to visit soon because I want to also go to Saguaro National Park.

  15. Brianna, that does look like a beautiful place to paddle board. Thanks for sharing such awesome photos!

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