Family Fun in AZ's Greater Phoenix Area
Dolly Steamboat Cruise at Canyon Lake
Start your trip off with a short cruise around Canyon Lake. Over the course of an hour, you'll coast gently along on a two-level steamboat surrounded by the Superstition Mountains. If you're lucky, you might spot some native Bighorn sheep or an eagle or two.
Tortilla Flat Saloon
Before you wonder, yes, the saloon is kid-friendly—operating more as a restaurant and attraction these days. Follow the wooden boardwalk to the Tortilla Flat General Store and Ice Cream Shop (an original building from the 40s) and ask for a couple of scoops of their prickly pear gelato. Check out the Mercantile, too, or head to your next stop.
Instagram: @tortillaflataz_saloon and Facebook: @tortillaflatsaloon
Lost Dutchman State Park
Lost Dutchman got its name from an infamous legend of a Dutchman (in reality, German) who buried a treasure in the mountains shortly before dying and taking the secret of its location with him. Kids love the spooky lore, which makes for a perfect campfire ghost story before heading to bed in one of the park's on-site cabins. (Photo: @kristilphotography on Instagram)
Goldfield Ghost Town
After breakfast, keep the fun going at Goldfield Ghost Town. Once an actual gold mining town in the 1890s, Goldfield was abandoned with the mines dried up and residents left. It's since been restored and operates as a family-friendly attraction with plenty of activities, such as panning for gold, Wild West gunfight shows, mine tours, train rides, a zipline and more. While here, grab lunch at Miner's Grill & Ice Cream Parlor. (Photo: @majuz96 on Instagram)
Superstition Mountain Museum
If you have extra time, head to this museum at the base of the Superstitions not too far from Lost Dutchman State Park. While known most likely for the Elvis Presley Memorial Chapel, the museum's outdoor exhibits offer an interesting peek into the area's history. Be sure not to miss the miniature railroad, a recreation of Western mining towns that shows the role railroads played in their growth and development. (Photo: Tiana Velez)
Superior Jeep Tours
A little more than an hour east of Phoenix lies the town of Superior. Explore the area with Superior Jeep Tours and learn about this Copper Corridor town and its rich history of mining. For a unique ride, ask for the 1973 M561 "Gama Goat," which was originally developed for use by the US military during the Vietnam War. (Photo: @superiortourco on Instagram)
Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch
At Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch, located east of Phoenix in the Tonto National Forest and on the banks of the Salt River, life is simple. Choose from 20 rustic cabins with panoramic views of a serene wilderness and activities such as horseback riding, birdwatching, kayaking, rafting and tubing down the river, depending on the season. At night, join in a cowboy cookout or a burger BBQ as you chat with friends and family and gaze at the stars.
Bonus: Free breakfast each day at the Main Lodge during your stay!
The search for good BBQ and burritos ends as you walk up to Jalapeño Bucks. Join locals in line (and there is almost always a line) for a hearty meal of Arizona-style BBQ and New Wave Mexican soul food to enjoy on their outdoor covered patio situated between citrus groves. Bonus activity: This location doubles as a great stop on the geocaching tour run by Visit Mesa. (Photo: @azeastvalleyeats on Instagram)
Arizona Grand Resort & Oasis Waterpark
From Mesa, head west to Phoenix and one of the state's summer go-to's. Arizona Grand is an all-suite resort with a spa, on-site dining, golf course and a 7-acre water park voted by the Travel Channel as one of the Top 10 in the country. While not necessarily an all-inclusive resort, you likely won't have any reason to leave the property for the duration of your stay.
Rainbow Ryders Hot Air Balloon Company
Close out your family adventure with one last experience of a lifetime. Explore the Sonoran desert from above in a hot air balloon with Rainbow Ryders. You may have to get up early but the opportunity to truly connect with the family with a memorable experience up in the clouds will be worth the wake up call.