With so many things to do in Arizona, you have plenty of options for how to spend your free time. Luckily, the diversity within Arizona's 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!
Arizona has endless opportunities for sleeping under the stars! Patagonia Lake State Park puts you in the heart of southern Arizona, among rolling hills and blue skies! Camp out by the lake or in a camping cabin and enjoy the night skies, hiking, fishing, and more!
If you'd rather keep closer to the city, Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, Ariz., is a great spot for cooler temperatures and amazing views! Three lagoons, the Verde River, horseback riding, a playground, and more offer recreation opportunities abound!
It's heating up in the desert, so the best thing to do is head north! Sedona's Red Rock State Park is a wonderful conservation area full of wildlife, red rock views, and awesome hiking trails! Enjoy the serenity of the park and keep an eye out for local wildlife, like otters, deer, and various birds!
If you're up for a road trip, head to St. John's and explore Lyman Lake State Park, where you can spend your day hiking the trails to various petroglyph sites. Lyman Lake's trails are packed with history and provide a very real sense of wonder during your discovery of their secrets!
Through October, Kartchner Caverns State Park is offering $3 off cave tours for adults who are Arizona residents or active duty military! Enjoy a tour, and stick around in a for a while by taking advantage of our summer deals on cabins and campsites: buy five nights, get two free or $30 off any cabin night! Book here.
Believe it or not, the desert offers plenty of spots to cool off in the water! The Colorado River lines Arizona's "west coast," and makes for some awesome recreation, from boating and fishing to hiking and relaxing! Party it up at Lake Havasu State Park, or keep it chill at Buckskin Mountain or Cattail Cove state parks!
Head to high country and enjoy Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area or Lyman Lake State Park! These two parks, though they lie less than hour apart, offer starkly different experiences. Fool Hollow Lake brings you to a cozy forest getaway, relaxing on the water, tucked away between the pines. Lyman Lake is atop the high desert, with endless desert views and awesome fishing and hiking opportunities!
Wherever you go, just remember to #EscapetheIndoors!
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! 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!
Family campouts give beginning campers a great opportunity to learn something new while enjoying time with loved ones outside! Spending a weekend outdoors could be just what the family needs to reset and refresh! You can participate at any of 12 state parks in Sedona, Cottonwood, Show Low, Lake Havasu, and other beautiful places around Arizona. Activities like animal demonstrations, archery, fishing, hiking and campfire stories are fun and exciting for kids and families of all ages!
One of the best places for a family bonding experience is on the trail. Everything is so new and exciting for the kids and their attention is easily captured with all of the cool plants and animals encountered within your state park trail system. There are plenty of easy to moderate hiking trails available that are great for kids!
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!
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.
During spring, the southern region parks have beautiful displays of wildflowers. 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 see the wildflowers! 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.
The southern region can heat up in the summer, so make sure you're heading out prepared, with plenty of water (turn around before you get halfway through your water supply!), good shoes, a hat, and sunscreen. Hike early in the morning or later in the evening, when the temperatures are lower and there's more shade.
Arizona heats up om the summer months and that desert sun can be brutal, but the evenings in Arizona offer lower temperatures and incredible 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. Evenings are still cool during spring, making it the perfect time for Star Parties! 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! Keep an eye on the events page for updates!
Find ongoing events and more HERE.