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There’s really no denying that summers in Arizona are scorching hot. For example, the average temperature in Phoenix in July is 106 degrees, and in Yuma it’s 108! Even though the desert has a dry heat, it’s often not comfortable or even safe to be outdoors when the mercury climbs that high. Fortunately, there are lots of fun and creative ways to cool off and enjoy the season here. These are nine great ways to beat the summer heat in Arizona.
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Based in Scottsdale, OdySea in the Desert is an entertainment destination with an aquarium, dolphin exhibit, interactive butterfly house, animatronic dinosaurs, human body exhibit, and more. There are over 20 amusement, shopping and dining establishments here, so it’s easy to keep the whole family cool and entertained. There are no fees to enter OdySea in the Desert or to park here, so you’ll only pay for the experiences you choose. In addition to the top five attractions here, it’s also fun to bring the kids to the Lazer + Mirror Maze, bumper boats, express train, and ice bar. Meanwhile, adults love the Aqua-massage beds and oxygen bar.
The Altitude Trampoline Park in Phoenix is a great place to burn off some energy without getting overheated on hot summer days. This is always a popular spot for birthday parties, but it makes a fun destination any time of the year. Inside you’ll find more than 17,5000 square feet of indoor trampolines, as well as a rock climbing wall, battle beam, gymnastic tumble tracks, and extreme dodgeball. Not just for kids, this is also a fun place for adults to come jump with their friends to feel like a kid again and get some great exercise! The facility is open from between 9am and 11am to between 8pm and 10pm daily.
When the weather heats up in Arizona, why not head underground? The Grand Canyon Caverns is the largest dry caverns in America and right along Route 66 near the town of Peach Springs. These caverns are located about 200 to 300 below the earth’s surface and accessible via elevator. You can take one of five different tours here, including the regular guided walking tour that’s about 45 minutes long and even a ghost walk tour. If you’re up for a challenge, consider the Wild Tour, which lasts 2.5 hours and lets you explore a new cavern that few people have ever seen. There’s an underground dining area here called the Cavern Grotto and overnight accommodations that range from a ranch house, motel room, or an RV campsite.
Malls are also great places to beat the summer heat and cool off without splurging on extra air conditioning costs at home. The Tempe Marketplace is an open-air shopping center in the city of Tempe, so you’ll get plenty of A/C with an occasional dose of sunshine between store visits. This mall has 1.3 million square feet of retail space that includes fun features like unique water features and laser elements. The mall is open from 11am to 6pm on Sundays and from 11am to 9pm every other day of the week. Several of the dining and drinking establishments here have happy hour specials to help you cool off even more. Meanwhile, live performances take place every Friday and Saturday night at 7pm at the District Stage.
We also love heading indoors to museums when the weather gets hot, especially the Arizona Science Center. This is a great science museum in Phoenix that has lots of hands-on learning exhibits, a planetarium, a theater, and a community makerspace where you can collaborate on projects. Permanent exhibits include the W.O.N.D.E.R Center, All About Me, and Flight Zone. The museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. The general admission cost is $18 for adults and $13 for children ages three to 17.
However, you don’t have to necessarily stay indoors to stay cool in Arizona all summer. Glendale’s Wet ‘n’ Wild waterpark has lots of rides that everyone in the family can enjoy. Take your pick among Monsoon Bay, the Constrictor, Wet ‘n’ Wild Jr., the Serpentine Complex and many other rides and attractions. If you’re looking to relax, you can rent out a VIP cabana for the day and enjoy satisfying summer food options like burgers, hot dogs, and ice cream. The admission price for the waterpark ranges from $19.99 to $33.99 depending on your age and when you visit, if you buy tickets in advance online.
Boating is another exciting way to beat the heat in Arizona, so head to Lake Powell to cool off in the beauty of nature. There are several marinas on Lake Powell, and house-boating is a very popular way to experience this large lake. Don’t worry if you don’t have your own boat because there are plenty of rental options onsite. You can also book a guided boat tour of the region to hop off and have a canyon adventure, see Antelope Canyon, or enjoy fine dining cuisine.
Not all parts of Arizona are in the 100s during the summer time, and in fact, the average high in Flagstaff in July is just 81. Flagstaff has a high elevation and lots of trees, so this is a nice area to head to in the summertime for a hiking adventure. For a short day hike, check out the Red Mountain Trail or the Slate Mountain Trail. The Humphrey’s Peak Trail and Fatman’s Loop Trail are also epic hikes in the Flagstaff area.
Of course, no summer in Arizona would be complete without some delicious ice cream, and we love retro ice cream parlors that take us back in time. There’s a great one in Scottsdale called the Sugar Bowl, which has been serving customers since 1958. Stop by for a scoop of ice cream, fresh fruit sherbet, tempting sundae, Camelback soda, refreshing float, or creamy milkshake. The Sugar Bowl is open from 11am to 10pm daily and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.