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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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One of the best water parks in Arizona, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is located in Glendale near Phoenix. The facility spans about 25 acres and is ideal for thrill-seekers who love the water. Favorite rides here include the half-pipe ride called Mammoth Falls, the mat racing slide called Desert Racers, and the funnel ride called Tornado. You’ll find a whitewater raft ride that has a 57-foot drop and is the next best to getting out on a real river. There’s also an area for toddlers, a family raft area, and a wave pool.
We also love heading indoors to museums when the weather gets hot, especially the Arizona Science Center. One of the best things to do in summer in Arizona, its 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, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
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!
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. Several of the dining and drinking establishments here have happy hour specials to help you cool off even more. Meanwhile, live performances often take place on the weekend on the District Stage.
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.
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.
Not all parts of Arizona are in the 100s during the summertime, 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.
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.
When the weather heats up in Arizona, why not head underground? The Grand Canyon Caverns is the largest dry cavern in America and is right along Route 66 near the town of Peach Springs. These caverns are located about 200 to 300 below the earth’s surface and are accessible via elevator. You can take one of the 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.