Things to do in Arizona

Things to do in Arizona. Hiking With so many things to do in Arizona, you have plenty of options of how to spend your free time. Luckily, the diversity within Arizona's state parks will not only show you the most amazing hidden gems Arizona has to offer, but will give you a chance to experience the most memorable adventures of your life. Want to hike amid a sea of wildflowers in the Sonoran Desert? Okay, go for it! How about experiencing river life along the Colorado River? Yep...You can do that too. The best part is that within all corners of the state there's these memorable adventures waiting for you; and most of them you haven't even thought of yet... 

Outdoor recreation is a big deal to Arizonans and they know how to use their time wisely in pursuit of adventure. Arizona's state parks make it easy for you to pack up the car and kids and drive in almost any direction to explore the most beautiful places in the state. Make memories this year with those special people in your life. Take a look at the following activities and choose your adventure!

What Do People In Arizona Do For Fun?

Go Camping

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 fall colors and amazing views! Three lagoons, the Verde River, horseback riding, a playground, and more offer recreation opportunities abound! 

Go Hiking

It's cooling in the desert, so it's the perfect time to hit the trails! 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

Lost Dutchman State Park and Picacho Peak State Park both offer a wide variety of trails, expansive views, and some very adventurous "bucket list" hikes! Check out Siphon Draw to the Flatiron or Hunter's Peak and share your selfie when you reach the top! Remember to take plenty of water, even in cool weather.

Go to the Lake!

Believe it or not, the desert offers plenty of spots to hang out 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 the fall colors at 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!

Things to do in Arizona with Kids

Tonto Natural Bridge is a great place to take the kids! 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! 

Things to do in Arizona This Weekend

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 showcases amazing fall colors. Wander the shores of the Oak Creek and enjoy the cool breezes and smell of autumn in the air. 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 has some of the best fall-weather parks to visit, 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 even when it's cooler. Take these opportunities to enjoy the reason why people love Arizona this time of year!

Things to do in Arizona at Night

Star Parties are a great nighttime activity in Arizona! Arizona evenings offer moderate 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 stunning show. 

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. Even with the cooler weather, it's still the perfect time for Star Parties! Red Rock State Park, Kartchner Caverns, Oracle State ParkLost 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!

Check out events all over the state HERE.


Outdoor Recreation Info Center
Visitors Welcome!
23751 N. 23rd Ave. #190
Phoenix, AZ 85085

 (877) MY-PARKS

Mission Statement
"Managing and conserving Arizona's natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our Parks and through our Partners."