With so many things to do in Arizona, you have plenty of options for how to spend your free time. Luckily, the diversity within your Arizona state parks will not only show you the most beautiful places to visit in Arizona, but will give you a chance to experience the most memorable adventures of your life. Take a look at the following activities and choose for yourself!
You’ve put in a long week at work and this is your chance to recharge, relax, and seek out fun things to do in Arizona this weekend! Diversity, beauty, and opportunity: we truly are lucky to have so many amazing recreation options within the our state! Seek adventure this weekend and check out these amazing options with Arizona State Parks and Trails.
Slide Rock State Park, just north of Sedona, Ariz., is set in one of North America’s most picturesque regions. This park features stunning views and shares the cool waters of Oak Creek to help relieve the summer heat. The natural slide is a great place to cool off and is always fun for both kids and adults. Imagine laying on the rust colored shores while listening to the soothing rumble of the creek. Looking up, you realize the red rock escarpments, the result of thousands of years of erosion, will never be exactly the same. In a way, this moment was made specifically for you to soak in, enjoy, and remember the next time you need a mental escape. Slide Rock State Park is here for you and will take your worries downstream and replace them with beautiful memories.
Closer to the greater Phoenix and Mesa areas, Lost Dutchman State Park offers adventure with the option to stay a while. The expansive trail network takes you through the history-charged Superstition Mountains and will challenge you or take you on an easy stroll through the Sonoran Desert, an iconic ecosystem of the American Southwest. Many birds and mammals call Lost Dutchman home and can be seen or photographed year-round. If you just can’t see it all in one day, campgrounds and rental cabins are available all year long to help you get the most out of this Sonoran Desert experience.
As Autumn sets in, the southern parks come into season beautifully, with cooler temperatures perfect for spending outdoors. Catalina State Park is between Phoenix and Tucson, and offers gorgeous trails along the Catalina Mountains. Pitch a tent or park your RV at Catalina State Park to step up your adventure and enjoy the sunset! Another incredible park to see the sun sink over the Arizona horizon is Picacho Peak State Park, where you can take a more challenging hike to enjoy panoramic views, or enjoy the simplicity of the wildlife all around.
Although it takes the city awhile longer to cool off into the autumn months, the evenings in Arizona offer lower temperatures and incredibles sights like the sunsets in Arizona! Head out to hike as the sun starts to sink to take advantage of that gorgeous view and cooler weather.
Arizona’s night sky is dazzling, and some of the best places to stargaze are right inside your state parks! Several nearby parks are designated Dark Sky Parks, and many host frequent Star Parties! Star Parties give you an incredible opportunity to gaze up at the night sky away from the city lights, with professional telescopes and local astronomers to guide you. Fall is perfect timing for Star Parties, as the weather cools and it's easier to get out and enjoy the outdoors in Arizona! Red Rock State Park, Kartchner Caverns, Oracle State Park, Lost Dutchman State Park, and more all give you the experience of a lifetime when you spend your evening under the stars!
In addition to Star Parties, many parks also host moonlight hikes! Held during the full moon, these guided hikes allow you to glimpse the landscape after dark, taking in the scenery cast in the glow of the moon and stars! The next moonlight hikes will be held in October, so keep an eye on the Events page for updates!
Later this fall, on November 10, Alamo Lake’s 12th Annual Night Under the Stars event takes place, offering yet another amazing evening stargazing! Camp out on the lake in a tent or RV, rent a cabin, or just stay for the party! Alamo Lake State Park’s night sky will leave you dreaming of starry nights for a long time to come.
Spend the weekend at one of your favorite state parks with the whole family! Join in the Family Campout program to learn the ropes of camping, fishing, hiking, and more! Leaders take you on guided hikes through the great outdoors of the American Southwest!
Family campouts give beginning campers a great opportunity to learn something new while enjoying time with loved ones outside! Spending a weekend outdoors good be just what the family needs to reset and refresh, in spring and fall!
You can participate at any of 12 state parks in Sedona, Cottonwood, Show Low, Lake Havasu, and more of the most beautiful places around Arizona. Activities like animal demonstrations, archery, and campfire stories are fun and exciting for kids and families of all ages! Registration for fall campouts is open now!
Kids at the parks also have the opportunity to become a Junior Ranger! Check in with one of the Park Rangers to see what activities kids can complete like scavenger hunts, activity books, and more before they take the oath to be sworn in as an official Arizona State Parks Junior Ranger!
There are so many fun things to do in Arizona State Parks for all ages and skill sets! Camping and stargazing are just the beginning of your incredible adventure outdoors! Start exploring in Arizona today to find your best adventure!