In the few days we spent in Scottsdale, we covered a lot of ground and still left some time for relaxation. Below are some of the local sites and places we went to. All are perfect for the traveling family, with kids of all ages.
Papago State Park-Hole in the Rock: In my husband’s vacation planning research, he discovered this plan and added to our agenda. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect and didn’t have any real expectations for something called “hole in the rock”. I’m happy to say, it was way better than I imagined! We went early in the morning, to avoid the heat of the day. Driving to the park was as if we were driving out to the middle of nowhere. When we arrived, we were one of the only cars. Signs to get to the hole in the rock were well labeled. I am not a hiker and was apprehensive about walking all the way up there with my kids. However, it was a very gradual hike, with stairs built into the mountain for part of it.
Although it isn’t a serious hike, sneakers are definitely needed for everyone. When we got to the top, it was a little tricky walking on the rocks so be sure to hold the little ones close. The views were fantastic! We captured a few great family pics from the top.
This is something I’d recommend to a family with kids that are capable of walking on their own. Our daughter was walking, but needed to be held at certain times. If you have a backpack or front carrier for you babies or toddlers, use that when climbing. Strollers, even the best off road ones, are not feasible. Everyone needs to have sneakers, bring some water, and go early in the day. All in all, it took maybe an hour tops to do this. We went during a quiet time, but I’m sure there are times there are a lot of people. We did not venture out to the rest of the park, but know there are other paths for others who are more adventurous.
Goldfield Ghost Town: If you want to feel like you’re back in time, part of a gold mining town in the wild, wild west, you need to go here! It was maybe about a half hour drive, through the desert to get to. The authentic buildings were filled with mostly souvenir shops and other merchants. There was also a saloon, snack bar and bakery. We did not eat a meal there, but did get a couple chocolate covered bananas from the bakery, which were refreshing in the heat. There are various activities to do there, including ziplining, mine tours, and other local trail tours.
The attraction we did partake in, was taking a ride on the Superstition Narrow Gauge Railroad. Tickets are purchased at the train station and depart every 35 minutes. Adult (ages 13+) tickets are $9, seniors $8, kids (ages 5-12) are $6, and kids 4 and under are free. The train ride is about 20 minutes; for us, the perfect duration! The driver of our train had a great personality. He shared the history of the town and also threw in some humor along the way. It’s a fun experience for everyone.
Outside of the train ride, we spent our time walking around the town, reading up on the history of the buildings, and enjoying the overall atmosphere.
At the top of the town, sat a church. In the area around the church, there are some amazing views of the area. I’d suggest walking up there and snapping some family pictures with this picturesque backdrop. You may even get a picture suitable for your Christmas card!
This is a great, authentic Arizona family experience. Everything is dirt and not stroller friendly. I’d recommend leaving the stroller in the car, packing sneakers for everyone, and using a baby carrier if you have a little one that cannot walk yet.
Scottsdale Waterfront: We spent a late afternoon strolling around this section of Scottsdale. It was a a beautiful time of day and such a relaxing experience. This is a stroller friendly walk. We spent our time strolling on the paths, both on and off the water. There were some funky stores that we were sure to go in and out of. As well as, a bunch of restaurants, all offering a wide variety of cuisine. Sound familiar? This is where Barrio Queen and Creamistry, mentioned in our Our Food Picks and Pans for Scottsdale, AZpost, are located.
Old Town Scottsdale: As mentioned in Our Food Picks and Pans for Scottsdale, AZ post, this is where Bootleggers in located. This area of Scottsdale is very different from the other areas that are recently developed and built up. There’s on street parking available for the buildings that line the street. You can just feel the history of this area. Most buildings house mom and pop stores selling souvenirs, a lot selling local specialties like turquoise and silver. Check the times before venturing over, as many shops have limited hours and may close early (especially on Sunday). Totally keeping it real here…One thing we did notice was there were some homeless people in the area. Most of them kept to themselves, a few asked for money, and one was a little pushy. We didn’t experience that anywhere else in Scottsdale. Old Town Scottsdale is something a family with kids of any age can do. Some of the shops may not be stroller friendly, which can be annoying, and is something to keep in mind.
Scottsdale Quarter: We spent a late afternoon in this section of Scottsdale. We walked around on the sidewalks and window shopped. Many stores and restaurants had misters over the sidewalk, which helped cool us down. While there, we spent most of our time in the palm tree lined quad. There were shops and restaurants in the surrounding buildings. What we loved the most was the plentiful tables and chairs to sit, relaxing fountains, and water for the kids to splash in. I don’t think we spent a dime while we were there. We just strolled, took it all in, and made some memories. This is another experience perfect for families with kids of any age. It’s completely stroller friendly. Be sure to pack bathing suits, towels, or a change of clothes for the kids, if they want to cool off in the fountain.
Those are the main attractions we visited while in Scottsdale. All are places you can bring you kids and not worry about it. Most also allow the kids to run around and get some of that never-ending energy out!
These to-do activities are highlighted in our Arizona video on our YouTube channel, Destination DeRo. Feel free to like and subscribe. Future posts to follow with everything else we did while in Arizona.
Have you been to Scottsdale and have other family-friendly suggestions? Leave us a comment.