By Jill “MamaBug” Frier
Many college students everywhere are preparing to head to a beach or lake on traditional Spring Break road trips, so why not take advantage of the best weather in the country while those students are out of town? The Sonoran Desert makes a perfect vacation spot during the winter and spring months – and gives you the opportunity to make a quick getaway with your family while your kids are out of school.
Getaway to Tucson
It’s always surprising to hear how many Phoenicians have never spent time in Tucson. Just a short distance south of the Phoenix metropolitan area is a charming gem of southwestern sights to see. The hotels and resorts are plentiful, but our advice: do your research. Tucson is much more that what you see driving down the highway – the I-10 just doesn’t do it justice.
Here are our favorite spots to visit while in Tucson. You probably can’t see them all in one weekend, so it’s best to pick an area you like and try a few spots to see while you are in that part of town.
Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum
It’s a zoo. It’s a museum. It’s a botanic garden. It’s all of the above! This state of the art facility is a must-see if you are in Tucson – and worth planning a trip just to go there on the weekend.
Old Tucson Studios
Ever wonder where they made your favorite Western? It was probably here. Right down the road from the Arizona Desert Museum, more than 400 movies have been produced at Old Tucson over the years – and they’re still going strong. With live entertainment, rides, tours and plenty to see, this is a great place to visit.
Saguaro National Park – East and West
Some of the most beautiful hiking spots in Arizona are found in both the east and west sides of the Saguaro National Park. Idyllic vistas of the pristine Sonoran Desert, mountain ecosystems, petroglyphs and everything the desert has to offer are available in two completely different parks with the same purpose – preserving the mighty Sonoran Desert and it’s Saguaros.
Kartchner Caverns State Park
Love fantastic caves and beautiful desert vistas? Then you’ll love visiting Kartchner Caverns State Park. Located southeast of Tucson, you can camp, hike and of course tour the caverns. Book your cave tour tickets in advance – they book up tours very quickly.
These are just a few of our favorite places to visit, but there are many more. Other must see locations while you are in Tucson include:
- Pima Air and Space Museum
- Sabino Canyon
- Catalina State Park
- Biosphere 2
Try Out Tempe & Scottsdale
Not ready to hit the road or looking for something a bit closer to home? Look no further than Tempe, Scottsdale or downtown Phoenix. Resorts and hotels are plentiful in each of these cities and make for a great “staycation,” when you want to get away but not drive very far from home. And there are plenty of fantastic sights to see to keep you entertained.
Here are some of our favorite sight-seeing spots in the Valley of the Sun – the places unique to Phoenix that you must take visitors and should definitely visit yourself:
Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden is a one-of-a-kind experience in Phoenix. Take a walk through the garden and experience the unique beauty and majesty of the Sonoran Desert in the middle of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
Located right next door to the Desert Botanic Garden, the Phoenix Zoo is a world class zoo in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. A must see for people of all ages, the zoo is a wonderful and unique Arizona treat.
A world-class museum unlike any other, the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix is recognized internationally for the quality of its collections, world-class exhibitions, educational programming and its unmatched festivals. The Heard is dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art, and is a must see for anyone interested in the heritage and culture of our city and state.
These are just three of our favorite places to visit and take visitors to see in the Valley. There are so many more that it’s difficult to list them all, but be sure to check out some of these places, too:
- Arizona Science Center
- Old Town Scottsdale
- OdySea Aquarium
- Musical Instrument Museum
- Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium
Whatever you decided to do during spring break this year, we hope you have a great time and get a chance to see something new and different. Spend time checking out the fascinating spots in your area whenever you have the chance – I can assure you that they are worth the trip!
Be sure to check out Ladybug’s Blog for more fun things to do with kids everywhere in Arizona!