Swimming hole (or any other outdoor) recommendations near Phoenix, AZ?
June 7, 2016 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Heading to Phoenix mid-July for work and will have a couple extra days off to explore around Phoenix. Would love to find a nice, scenic and quiet swimming hole (or maybe a great shaded hike with awesome views) within short drive from Phoenix. Can you help?

I investigated some swimming holes online, but am just curious if anyone local or with any experience with the area can give some insider recommendations. I will have a rental car and my exploring will likely be on a Friday or Saturday.

As always, thanks so much for your suggestions - you guys always help steer me in the right direction with my outdoor activities to places I've never visited!
posted by foxhat10 to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The Desert Botanical Garden is lovely. It is about 75% sun, but has a lot of water fountains and some shaded areas with benches to rest. The oasis area is gorgeous - I could have sat on the big rocks under the cottonwoods for hours. https://www.dbg.org/

Depending on what you mean by "short drive" - Slide Rock in Sedona is about 2 hours north and also lovely: http://azstateparks.com/Parks/SLRO/
posted by RogueTech at 9:26 AM on June 7, 2016

Salt River Tubing (warning: auto-play music/video)

Really fun and incredible, but it can get crowded. Phoenix isn't really known for having lots of watering holes... it's a very dry heat.

Another crowded but potentially relaxing idea would be a big water park. They all have lazy rivers that are usually relatively exempt from the madness of the slides and pools.
posted by carsonb at 10:35 AM on June 7, 2016

Oh boy, it will be HOT. Which means that many of the Phoenix residents will be in the northern part of the state. Slide Rock is gorgeous and fun and will be crowded. The Botanical Garden is fantastic, and I would highly recommend their music at night series...looks like they have jazz on Friday the 17th.

I have had to be in Phoenix several times in the summer, and the best thing I have found is to buy a day spa package somewhere. It will be quiet and relatively inexpensive summer rates. There are several high end hotel/spas in Phoenix including Royal Palms, The Sanctuary (incredible views), and the Camelback Inn. I had a wonderful day at the Camelback a few years ago, they have a really nice pool and the spa restaurant is great.

Oh, and Salt River Tubing has become a zoo over the years with a lot of rowdy young folks, usually drinking too much beer and being generally obnoxious. Also, despite the fact that you're on a river, the sun can be really wicked when you're out there for the afternoon.
posted by Gusaroo at 11:28 AM on June 7, 2016

Not sure your gonna find that watering hole anywhere near Phoenix.

In any case, take the July sun in Phoenix seriously. Save the hikes for sunrises or after sunset. Stay hydrated. Wear a hat. Use sun screen. Don't go out wandering around in the middle of nowhere, or even in the parks, by yourself.

If you aren't acclimated, you will notice the sun's impact just driving around and getting in and out of the car.

And, that dry heat thing? Not so much. Phoenix metro is a huge suburban sprawl with its own micro climate. You could see 40-50% humidity. That might seem benign, but combine it with 110F+ temps and you'll notice. You need to be away from Phoenix to see single-digit humidity.
posted by justcorbly at 12:48 PM on June 7, 2016

Response by poster: Wooo boy, was it ever so HOT in Phoenix!! Wow! As a follow-up, I ended up taking one full day and driving on up to the Grand Canyon south rim (how could I NOT?) Plus, knowing that it would be (slightly) cooler and plus, it's the GRAND CANYON and I was only 3 hours away. So, hiked around the South Rim trail with a dabble down into the Bright Angel trail. But I timed it to catch the sunset, which was awesome :) Was a long day, but worth the drive. I wanted to cruise through Sedona, but timing of the road trip didn't work out.

Vacay day #2, I basically slept late, hit a used book store for the long flight home, a recommended Mexican restaurant (Valle Luna, which was ok) and just chill the rest of night. It was like 109 temps and just an oven, otherwise, I would have done the Botanical Garden.

But thanks again for your recommendations.
posted by foxhat10 at 9:15 AM on July 19, 2016

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