Still haven’t planned out how you want to spend your summer vacation? No need to worry because we have a list of destination spots in Arizona that will keep your summer cool and enjoyable.
This top spot in the pines has it all: cool summer temperatures, hiking trails, the San Francisco Peaks, and Route 66. A weekend spent here just isn’t quite long enough.
2. Fossil Creek
This popular little oasis along the Mogollon Rim has seen decreased traffic this year and, thankfully, the riparian area is slowly improving. Get your permit early so that you can enjoy the area’s hiking and swimming opportunities.
3. Grasshopper Point
This little swimming hole is located in Oak Creek Canyon, just a short distance off of Highway 89. In addition to swimming, it’s great for an afternoon picnic and hiking.
If you’re looking for a quaint little town to spend a week getting in touch with nature, Greer is a great little community. The town and the surrounding area is known for its natural beauty.
5. Knoll Lake
Another summer destination in the pines (we really can’t run out of these types of locations), Knoll Lake is a tranquil, secluded spot on top of the rim.
6. North Rim of the Grand Canyon
This area is cooler and visited far less often than the South Rim, making it a great destination for the summer. The pines are taller and thicker, the views are different, and things tend to be a little more easy going on this side of the canyon.
Located 15 (and 18) miles northwest of Payson, these two little towns are the last ones you’ll encounter along Highway 87 before ascending to the top of the Mogollon Rim. They have great little diners, bars, and antique shops, as well as hiking trails and all the attractions of the rim.
Another cool retreat into the pines, Pinetop-Lakeside is a little something for the folks who like to camp and fish in the White Mountains. The nearby ski lifts are a great little spot to see a birdseye view of the area.
9. Salt River
Find yourself unable to get too far away from the Phoenix area during the summer? That’s okay because the Salt River, although still a hot destination, is an opportunity to cool off and forget office stress for a few hours. Kayak, canoe, tube, swim, or wade through the river here, whatever it takes to ease your mind.
A summer and winter destination for southern Arizonans, Summerhaven is a cool retreat less than one hour from Tucson. A trip here will take you into the pines, to lodges, and ski lifts for a chance to cool off in the summer.
11. Tonto Natural Bridge
The park surrounding this natural bridge along the Mogollon Rim is a great travel destination for everyone and a definite must-see spot. The average high in summer can get into the low 90s but the shade from the pines and the sounds of the flowing Pine Creek nearby help keep you cool.
12. West Clear Creek
West Clear Creek and its canyon requires a few miles of hiking but the trek in is worth the effort once you reach the cool waters. It’s also a great spot for camping due to some of the more secluded areas.
13. Wet Beaver Creek
Located on the west side of West Clear Creek, Wet Beaver Creek spot runs along Interstate 17 and flows past Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well. This riparian area is picturesque and an absolute treat to visit in the summer.
14. Wet ‘n’ Wild Water Park
Unable to escape the desert this summer? At the very least, make plans to visit a local water park like Wet ‘n’ Wild in Phoenix or Golfland Sunsplash in Mesa. They have multiple pool options that will help you experience an enjoyable day splashing in the water.
Located along Route 66, this cool little town has cool summer weather and some pretty cool attractions! Be sure to check out spots like Bearizona, the shops along Route 66, and do some hiking.
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