Phoenix, Arizona is one of the most popular winter destination for RV snowbirds. If you’re considering traveling to this destination, or are wanting to rent an RV from Outdoorsy in Phoenix and spend the winter luxuriating in the desert warmth, here are some activities and sights to see in the Valley of the Sun.
As the capital of Arizona, Phoenix has a population of over 1.6 million—so you can imagine the variety of services and attractions available in this desert oasis. With over 300 days of sunshine a year, snowbirds who gravitate to this metropolis will have plenty of picture-perfect hours to experience all it has to offer.
There are literally hundreds of RV campgrounds in Phoenix and the surrounding suburbs, so finding a place to call home for the winter shouldn’t be a problem. But you may want to make reservations in advance at some of the more popular resorts. Here’s a list of campgrounds to get you started.
Winter temperatures average in the 60’s and 70’s make perfect weather for hiking up Camelback Mountain or to Hole-in-the-Rock. For an exploration of the desert flora and fauna, hike Blevins Trail in Usery Mountain Regional Park, or add a little rock art to your hike at Waterfall Trail, where giant saguaros mix with ancient petroglyphs. A hike up Lookout Mountain Trail will give you a great reward—a view of Phoenix at your feet—after a few minutes of hard work.
Scenic drives may be more to your liking, so consider spending a day on the Apache Trail. A four-hour roundtrip drive will take you along dirt roads once used by the Apache Indians to cut through the Superstition Mountains. But you’ll want to spend some time in the abandoned ghost town of Goldfield, at Lost Dutchman State Park, and in the Wild West town of Tortilla Flat, where an old saloon awaits, offering authentic saddle seat barstools from which to cozy up at the bar.
If the unpaved roads along Apache Trail weren’t enough of a challenge for you, check out Racing Adventures, where you can drive exotic supercars on a private racetrack. Take a Lamborghini for a spin with a professional coach at your side, or indulge your professional racing alter ego with an entire high performance racing school. This is one activity sure to get your engine running!
What could be more uplifting than a morning ride in a hot air balloon, drifting over the desert landscape? Or maybe you’d rather keep your feet a little closer to the ground with a horseback ride through a saguaro forest?
And if you’re a scratch golfer, Phoenix will look like heaven! With over 200 golf courses, you shouldn’t have any problem finding a tee time. From desert-lined links to pine tree surrounded greens, you’re certain to find a course that will raise your game to a new level.
Even though Phoenix is on the northern flanks of the Sonoran Desert, there’s still plenty of water in the area, and plenty of ways to play in it. Paddleboarding or kayaking on the Salt River is a great way to cool off.
If you prefer a few outings that aren’t quite so labor intensive, Cactus League Spring Training brings several major league baseball teams to the area in February and March. Catch your favorite team at the ballpark, and enjoy a hot dog and beer. You’ll be reveling in the short sleeve weather, while your friends back “up north” are stuck in snow and freezing temps.
Museums & attractions
Phoenix is home to several world renowned museums including the Heard Museum, which showcases the art and history of local Native American and Hispanic peoples. The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest in the Southwest and includes a children’s “PhxArtKids” interactive gallery. The Arizona Science Museum has hands-on displays, a 5-story-tall movie theater screen, and a planetarium.
One unusual museum is fun for the whole family: The Musical Instruments Museum is the only such facility that houses over 6,500 instruments from around the world. Listen to a didgeridoo, or any other instrument, played in its own cultural surroundings, or play some music yourself. Watch performances of influential musicians and get a close look at the actual instruments they played. You can also take in one of the over 200 concerts presented at the museum each year.
Papago Park hosts several attractions, including the Phoenix Zoo, the Desert Botanical Garden, the Arizona Heritage Center and the Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting. The park is equipped with plenty of mountain bike and hiking trails, as well.
One destination that’s on the top of many lists is Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home. This stunning structure was designed to blend into as well as utilize the desert landscape. You can tour the home and grounds by day or by night. Reservations are required.
For a more personal foray into The Arts, visit Roosevelt Row. This arts district is full of galleries where artists meet their admirers and demonstrate their craft on the first Friday of every month. Temporary booths expand the offerings, and musical and dance performances enhance the evening’s festivities.
Food & drink
With its prime location in the desert Southwest, Phoenix is at the center of great Mexican cuisine. But a town this size can cater to every palate, too. International menus include sushi, Indian dishes, Middle Eastern entrees, Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese foods, along with southern BBQ, Latin meals and every kind of pizza imaginable.
Phoenix also has a large mixture of distilleries, breweries and pubs, and coffee-aholics will not go into withdrawal, because their favorite vice can be found all over town. With names like Giant Coffee and LeGrande Orange, you know you can get an enormous cup of Joe.
Hit the road to Phoenix
Phoenix sounding like the perfect spot for you to spend the winter months? Come on down and join other snowbirds who have discovered this desert oasis. You’ll never run out of things to do, and you won’t have to bundle up in a parka to do them!
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