10 Reasons Phoenix Should Be Your Next Vacation Spot
Updated: April 19, 2023
AAA Travel Editors
If you’re not from the Southwest, or even if you are, the desert scenery that lies just outside of the city limits is unparalleled to anything you’ve likely ever seen before. From the looming mountains that form a perimeter around the city to the purple and red sunrises and sunsets to the vast expanse of red desert adorned with towering cacti, there’s a sight to behold at every turn. If you want to treat your loved ones to a trip riddled with photographic moments, head to Phoenix. You won’t be disappointed.
Located in a desert valley, Phoenix boasts perfect temperatures nearly year-round. While it’s true that the summer months can be blistering hot — ranging from 90 degrees on a cool day to 110+ at the height of summer, if you plan your vacation just right, you may be greeted by a cool 80 degrees and sunshine. Unlike Florida or Portland vacations, you can almost always know what to expect from your trip to Phoenix, enabling you to pack light and smart.
Culturally Diverse Cuisine
When most people think of culturally diverse locations, they think of San Francisco, New York City or Miami. Yet the Southwest cities are becoming hotspots for cuisine inspired from all corners of the globe. If your family is more food-driven than anything else, and if your idea of the perfect vacation is one that lets you can sample good eats from Mexico, Italy, China, Japan, Greece and all around the U.S., there’s no need to schedule a tour of the world. Simply pack your bags, load your vehicle and head to Phoenix. Your taste buds will delight in this diverse desert city.
With mountains and cliffs, hiking trails and rivers and everything in between just a short distance away, Phoenix is a hotspot for adrenaline junkies and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Gear up with water and sunscreen and head to Camelback Mountain to take in views of the city from 2,704 feet high. Rent an ATV or dirt bike for the day to cut through the Sonoran Desert. Go whitewater rafting on the Colorado River, or take in the views from high above by scheduling a hot air balloon tour. If you like slower-paced sports, or if you have little ones to accommodate, consider an activity that’s much mellower, such as golf, baseball, hockey or football. You name the activity, you can find it in Phoenix.
Courtesy of JW Marriott
Rest and Relaxation
If your dream vacation is one that involves nothing but lounging around poolside, enjoying 90-minute massages and splurging on that facial you’ve been putting off for a decade, Phoenix has you covered. Phoenix caters largely to the wealthy and retired, meaning there are plenty of resort-spa combos to stay at. If you are neither wealthy nor retired, but you want to treat yourself to some much-needed R & R, you can still find affordable and innovative ways to renew your mind, body and spirit.
Let’s face it — while vacations are supposed to be fun and carefree, they often end up being stressful and chaotic, largely because you’re out of your element. While Phoenix will be new to you, it’s actually one of the easiest cities to explore. If you don’t feel like renting a car, don’t worry. Book a stay in a downtown location to be within walking, biking or trolleying distance of everything the city has to offer, including dining, shopping and entertainment. As for the location itself, Phoenix is just a few hours driving or flying distance from other major U.S. cities, including San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Albuquerque.
If you’re being honest with yourself, half the fun of vacationing is treating yourself in a way you wouldn’t do at home. In addition to eating out nightly when your rule is normally once a week, you may wish to splurge on a new outfit, a pair of shoes, jewelry or authentic pottery. Phoenix boasts a host of boutiques that range in style from quirky to upscale. Pick up a unique piece of artwork to showcase over your mantel, invest in authentic Native American pottery or buy yourself that Ralph Lauren scarf you wouldn’t look twice at while at home.
Arts and Culture
Phoenix offers a variety of museums, art galleries and exhibits that will satisfy the learner in just about everyone, regardless of age, interests or taste. The Heard Museum takes a deep dive into the history of the region’s Hispanic and Aboriginal culture, while Commemorative Air Force-Airbase Arizona shows the evolution of the aircraft from WWI to present day. The I.D.E.A. Museum lets little ones get hands-on with science, art and technology, while the Arizona Museum of Natural History takes a walk through time, beginning billions of years ago and ending in present day.
The most enticing attraction near Phoenix is, of course, the Grand Canyon, which should be a must-see on your to-do list. In between exploring the South Rim and truly appreciating this world wonder, head over to Jerome, a ghost-town-turned-attraction. Hike to Devil’s Bridge, drive to Horseshoe Bend or take a walk through Antelope Canyon. For every attraction you check off your list, you’ll find there’s one more to add.
All of the reasons to visit Phoenix on this list add up to one thing: Family fun. However, as if great weather, outdoor adventure, spectacular food, a variety of shopping opportunities and more are not enough allure, check out the city’s kid-friendly amusement parks. Those include Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Phoenix water park, Enchanted Island Amusement Park, iFly Phoenix and OdySea Aquarium, among others.Are you convinced? Let AAA help turn your dream vacation into a reality. Members can take advantage of AAA vacation planning services today by visiting .
AAA Travel Editors
AAA Travel Editors are AAA Travel Experts.