Summer Family-Friendly Activities to Beat the Heat in Scottsdale

Things to do with Family in Scottsdale, Arizona

Everyone knows Arizona gets hot during the summertime. But that’s hardly a reason not to go! Arizona natives have learned all the tricks for staying cool in the summer, so you can do like the locals do and have a great time. Check out these family-friendly ideas for beating the heat in Scottsdale, Arizona!



Pools, Pools, Pools

While it may not be a beach town, Scottsdale offers abundant water recreation for visitors and locals alike. While the fanciest pools are found at Scottsdale’s upscale resorts, the general public can still cool off easily at one of four awesome municipal pools. If you plan to spend a lot of time in the pool, consider purchasing a family pass that’s good for the season at all four pools. All the pools offer diving boards; some, like Eldorado Aquatic & Fitness Center, offer kiddie pools, a water playground, and water slides. McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic & Fitness Center has even more bonuses, like a lazy river, tube slide, and skate park.



Natural Bodies of Water

When you get tired of chlorine, check out some of Scottsdale’s natural water recreation activities. You might be surprised how many opportunities there are to explore the beautiful Sonoran Desert from the water! Try stand-up paddling on the calm Lower Salt River, just a short drive from Scottsdale, and get refreshed every time you fall in. Or head to the Upper Salt River (it’s a whole different animal!) for the whitewater thrills of class III and IV rapids. The southern part of the Verde River is another calm spot, perfect for kayaking, rafting, fishing, and bird-watching.


If you prefer lakes to rivers, there are plenty in the area to choose from. Less than an hour’s drive from Scottsdale, you’ll encounter Saguaro Lake, with 22 miles of shoreline and plenty of water fun, including jet skiing, kayaking, and fishing, as well as the opportunity to hop on a double-decker paddleboat for a tour. Bartlett Lake in the Tonto National Forest is another desert gem with a full-service marina and dock-side grill, while Lake Pleasant, one of the largest lakes in the area, is fully stocked with 12 species of fish, including bass, bluegill, and tilapia. And those are just a few of the lakes within an hour’s drive of Scottsdale!



Indoor Delights

When you’re ready to get out of the sun, Scottsdale has plenty of great indoor attractions to help you beat the heat. Check out unique offerings like the Musical Instrument Museum, a must-see if you have musical children in your family. Not only will you see over 6000 instruments, many of them made famous by the performers who played them (including Elvis, John Lennon, and Johnny Cash), but you’ll also get to try out a huge variety of instruments for yourself in the Experience Gallery. Where else can your kid (and you) bang a giant gong, or play the theremin?


High-energy families will enjoy a stop at the Octane Raceway, which offers some of the country’s best go-kart racing on an indoor/outdoor track. While you can book your race online ahead of your visit, you can also just walk in and get driving! Octane also offers other activities, including arcade games, mini bowling, and Velocity VR, a virtual-reality game where your body itself provides the controls. Immerse yourself in a very real-seeming zombie apocalypse!


Finally, for families who enjoy a peaceful stroll amongst the flowers (and a strong interest in insects), Butterfly Wonderland is an absolute must. Inside the largest rainforest conservatory in the United States, experience the wonder of being surrounded by thousands of butterflies. Watch new butterflies hatch in the Emergence Gallery and be amazed by the realistic scenes in the 3D theatre. Don’t forget to stop by the Rainforest Reptile Exhibit, the Honeybee Extravaganza, and the Edible Insects Station, where you’ll learn about insects that are considered popular foods around the world. Butterfly Wonderland will make children’s dreams come true!


Have fun visiting Scottsdale this summer!



About the Author

Chezlani Casar is a librarian and travel enthusiast from Hawaii Island. Working alongside Parsons Villas, she hopes to help fellow travelers find the best experiences around the

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