During the warmer months of the year, there is nowhere better to be than submerged in a crystal blue pool. While southern Arizona may have a desert climate, you might be surprised to learn there are a multitude of water activities that allow you to have fun in the sun all over the state. Update your Arizona bucket list and make sure to hit all these spots to stay cool while having fun exploring.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Phoenix
Photo credit: Arizona Republic
If you are looking for the ultimate water park experience in the state, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is your spot. This gigantic water park holds the title as the biggest waterpark in the state of Arizona, with over 30 waterslides and other attractions.
This waterpark has some smaller rides your whole family will enjoy, but it’s also perfect for those who love a thrill. In true Six Flags fashion, there are several high-energy water rides with crazy twists and drops. Another attraction that recently opened in the park is Paradise Island, a 12,000 square foot pool with floating lily pads, a volleyball pool and a beach-style entrance that is perfect for little ones learning to swim.
If you live in the Phoenix area and can’t get enough of the Hurricane Harbor experience, it is worth it to get the season pass for $50 that grants you access for the entire summer season!
Slide Rock State Park
Seven miles outside of Sedona, you will find this charming swimming hole tucked into the red rocks of Slide Rock State Park. This spot highlights the beauty of Arizona’s natural surroundings while allowing you to have a truly unique outdoor experience. It was even named one of the ten best swimming holes in the United States by the Travel Channel!
The appeal of Slide Rock is that you truly can slide down the rocks thanks to the slippery algae on the creek floor. This has created a fun naturally-made water slide down into Oak Creek Canyon.
While you are walking or driving through the State Park, you are likely to see some of the wildlife that resides in the surrounding area. Keep your eyes peeled and you might have an incredible wildlife spotting! The park is home to everything from whitetail deer, black bears, to many unique bird species.
There is a $20 entrance fee per vehicle to enter the park, and the park is open from 8 am to 6 pm each day. An insider tip is to bring water shoes or sandals when you go to avoid slipping on the rocks. Even in the heat of the summer, prepare for the water to be chilly! Bring a change of clothes for once you finish, as you will want to be dry for your drive home.
Photo credit: LonelyPlanet
Visiting Havasu Falls in the Grand Canyon is a breathtaking experience. The turquoise water is beautiful, and the remote setting in the Grand Canyon makes it incredibly memorable.
Due to the remote location and effort involved to hike to the Falls, it does take a lot of preparation to visit. Havasu Falls is open from February to November each year. In order to visit, you will need a permit and a reservation to stay at either the Lodge or campgrounds. This books up very quickly every year, so you have to pick your dates far in advance. This is a trip best suited for experienced hikers who have good hiking gear, as the hike is considered quite difficult with major switchbacks and elevation changes.
Havasu Falls is on the Havasupai Reservation, so they handle everything from the lodging to trail maintenance, and it is separate from the Grand Canyon. Although this destination requires a little more planning, it’s an experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life.
Great Wolf Lodge Water Park
Photo credit: Ktar.com
An indoor waterpark is the perfect spot to take your family when you’ve had enough time in the sun! While there are many locations of the Great Wolf Lodge Water Park across the country, the Scottsdale location is Arizona’s first indoor waterpark. The Great Wolf Lodge is every kid’s paradise. Guests can stay at the lodge and enjoy themed guest suites, fun family dining, and 85,000 square feet of the heated indoor waterpark. The waterpark features every different kind of water slide and water activity possible, with tube rides, raft rides, and lots of fun activity pools.
There are also a lot of activities to try outside of the indoor waterpark. Kids of all ages can enjoy the climbing wall, bowling alley, and mini golf course. There is even a Build-A-Bear workshop tucked in the lodge where kids can create their own Great Wolf Lodge themed stuffed animals.
The best part is that you do not have to be a guest of the resort to visit. You can purchase a day pass or half day pass to get to experience the Great Wolf Lodge magic first hand!
Tubing on the Salt River
Photo credit: We Who Roam
Spending a day tubing down the Salt River with friends is a local favorite activity during the summer. You will have the most fun if you get a big group of people together to float with you, as it can take several hours to get down the river. Depending on which checkpoint you start at, you can either plan to be out on the water for one to two hours, or up to four if you do the full length of the river.
Salt River tubing is open every day from 9 am to 6:30 pm, and it’s important to make sure you finish up in time to get on the last bus back to the parking lot. Admission is $19 per person and that fee covers your inner tube rental, parking fee, and the shuttle bus.
Not only is this a relaxing activity, but you also do a lot of nature watching while you float the river. People like to bring drinks, snacks, and a waterproof speaker to enjoy some tunes while they float.
It’s crucial while you are floating out in the heat to make sure you stay properly hydrated. Do not forget to apply sunscreen liberally before you go float! The sun can be very intense while you are out on the water, so you can end up with a painful sunburn if you forget.
Lake Havasu in Western Arizona
Photo credit: The Crazy Tourist
Right on the border of Arizona and California you’ll find Lake Havasu State Park, an amazing spot to visit any time of year when you are looking for a fun lake getaway. Lake Havasu gets over 300 days of sunshine a year, so the odds are in your favor that you will get to enjoy sunshine out on the water.
You can partake in all sorts of water activities on the lake, including fishing, boating, water skiing, and water rafting! Overall, the city is a laid back vacation town that is ideal for rest and relaxation.
When the warm weather hits, it’s the perfect time to flock to your favorite watering hole or swimming spot. While much of the state is very dry, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still awesome water getaways in Arizona. These are all incredible destinations to add to your list for this summer!