Living in Phoenix, AZ, has many benefits, but the summer heat makes it hard to find enjoyable things to do, especially outside. Getting out of the house this summer has also become increasingly more difficult because of COVID-19. Luckily, outdoor activities are far safer than being in an enclosed space like a movie theater or a restaurant.
Still, with the extreme heat and now COVID-19, what are the best outdoor activities around Phoenix this summer?
1. Enjoy an Early Morning Hike
Not everyone is morning person, but if hiking close to home is something you enjoy, an early morning once or twice a week is well worth it. Within the Phoenix metro area, there are a surprising number of hiking trails.
Some noteworthy hiking areas near Phoenix include:
- McDowell Sonoran Preserve
- South Mountain Park and Reserve
- Papago Park
- White Tank Regional Park (park pass required)
- Cave Buttes Recreation Area
One of the best ways to find hiking trails in the area is to use the app or website AllTrails. You can sort trails by location, difficulty, and accessibility (dogs, horses, biking, etc.).
As a rule during the summer in Phoenix, you should plan to begin your hike at 5 am. This means you’re at the trailhead and on the trail at that time, not leaving your house. That way, you can be back in your car and on your way home by 9 am at the latest.
Getting an early start is the best way to avoid the dangers of the Arizona summer heat. Keep in mind that this time frame doesn’t work for hikes longer than a few hours. If you’re looking for a day-long hike, you’ll have to head north towards Flagstaff, AZ, for more favorable weather.
COVID-19 has influenced more and more people to start exploring the beautiful Sonoran Desert. There is no better time to start hiking, but if you’ve never done it before, there are many unknowns. Take the safe route by booking a hiking tour with an experienced hiking guide. They’ll know the best trails, how often to stop for water breaks, and how to beat the heat.
2. Tube the Salt River
One of the most popular summer activities in the Phoenix, AZ area is floating the Salt River just outside of Mesa. Availability varies this year, due to COVID-19, but when they are open, you can enjoy a 2-6 hour float down the Salt River.
You can choose to pay for tubes and a shuttle bus by booking a slot at the Salt River Tubing company. Or you and your friends can drive two vehicles and create a shuttle of your own. All you have to do is park one car at the end of your tubing route and drive further upstream to enter the river.
3. Book a Pub Crawl with Arizona Party Bike
There is no better way to explore Old Town Scottsdale with your closest friends and family than a party bike tour. Some protocols have changed due to COVID-19, and no shared bikes are allowed. You must book the entire party bike for a tour. So, get your friends and family together, and get ready for a night on the town.
Newly installed misters keep passengers cool as you get a personalized tour of Old Town Scottsdale. Even if you’ve lived in the Phoenix area your entire life, the Arizona Party Bike team knows how to bring new life to the city.
Availability varies due to COVID-19.
4. Go Mountain Biking at Night
Although mornings are more of a guarantee for cool temperatures, nighttime adventures are also a safe summer option. You can take a night hike, or opt for a more adventurous option– mountain biking.
If you’ve never mountain biked before, a night ride may not be in the cards. Still, if you are a somewhat experienced rider, a night ride is one of the best ways to enjoy the thrill of riding during the summer.
Since the air is still quite hot at night, be sure that you pack enough water and take breaks to rehydrate. You’ll also want proper illumination on your bike and to light the path in front of you. One of the safest ways to enjoy a night ride is to book a night tour with a local guide.
Sonoran Outdoor Adventures offers night rights throughout the year, but they are especially popular in the summer months. Taking your first few night rides with a guide is an excellent way to learn the ropes. You’ll be with someone who knows the trails, recommends gear, and ensures your safety.
5. Rent SUP or Kayak for a Day
Nothing beats a relaxing afternoon on the lake during a hot summer afternoon. The good news is that you don’t even have to drive out of the city to hop on a stand-up paddleboard or rent a kayak. Tempe Town Lake is technically a part of the Salt River, but it is a peaceful place to spend a few hours paddling around. You can rent both SUP and kayaks at the lakeside.
If you’re okay driving a bit more, head out to Lake Pleasant or Saguaro Lake. SUP and kayak rentals are available at Lake Pleasant, and there is a park entrance fee to enter the park at both Lake Pleasant and Saguaro Lake.
There is not direct rental shop for SUP or kayaks at Saguaro Lake, but you can rent them at the Butcher Jones Recreation site. You will need to have a vehicle capable of transporting them to and from the rental facility.
Stay Safe and Get Outside this Summer
After months of being cooped up, it is no wonder more people are heading outside. If you are planning more outdoor adventure days this summer, be sure to play it safe with social distancing, packing plenty of water, and planning your day around the heat.
Want to get outside, but not sure which tour is right now you? Contact us! We’ll help find the perfect hike or bike for you and your group.