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24 Oct

Scottsdale Family Trip Report – Horses, Hikes & Small Town Charm

Visiting Scottsdale, Arizona for a Vacation with a bit of Everything For The Entire Family

Scottsdale is a beautiful Little city outside of Phoenix, surrounded by the rolling desert hills of Maricopa county, washed in sunlight 350 days of the year, and is as peaceful as a country town  despite being so close to the big city.  In fact, that’s one of the great benefits of Scottsdale that I love so much, having access to everything a major metropolis has to offer without spending hours on the road with a bored family in tow; it’s all right there in Scottsdale – shopping, adventure, nightlife, museums and just about anything a large city has to offer.

Scottsdale Hills

My family wanted to vacation in an area we had never been exposed to, and the Southwest fit the bill perfectly. I started looking around the area after a friend, who had been traveling on business, recommended a hotel just north of Scottsdale that offered suites (a must for my large family).  We spent a good amount of time lounging around the hotel’s pool, but its location was perfect for when we wanted to take day trips or head downtown.

Scottsdale Love SignFor a small town, Scottsdale is home to some of the most vibrant nightlife I’ve seen in a while. Before heading down here, I had read that that The New York Times named it as one of “the hippest and most happening places” in the country. I believe it. Since nightlife wasn’t really our sort of thing, we decided to try out some fun restaurants and found that we could pick from a whole array of diverse and really tasty places. My wife loves shopping, and so do the kids (at least when we’re buying things they want), so they were entertained with an afternoon of checking out the local shops.

Additionally, Scottsdale itself is home to more than 120 studios and art galleries, enough for every aesthetic taste imaginable. This gave us plenty to enjoy. If it hadn’t been for our kids we could have spent days just looking through the galleries.

Wild Horse PassOne day we took a short day trip just 30 miles or so from the hotel to Wild Horse Pass.  My boys loved it!  It’s an authentic 1880s frontier town loaded with stagecoaches, gunslingers, and everything you would see out of an old western movie. We took a stagecoach ride across the Sonoran Desert and later had dinner at the steakhouse. It was a great day trip – especially for young kids.

Tonto National ParkScottsdale is really close to the Tonto National Forest – a place where we went hiking a couple of evenings when the sun wasn’t so hot.  It was a gorgeous area and probably my favorite part of the trip. There’s nothing better than hiking around outdoors, exploring a new terrain, and enjoying each other’s company.

Lastly, I felt like it wouldn’t be a trip to the Southwest without riding some horses!  My wife disagreed, but my kids had never ridden horses and there were several places that offered riding nearby. After about five minutes my kids felt comfortable and soon loved the experience. I had ridden horses since I was a child, so it was so exciting to watch their first experience.  My wife, on the other hand, was a basket-case…I’m sure that will be her first and last time.

Overall, our family “Southwest” vacation to Scottsdale was one that topped our list. There were endless things for us to do and see around the area, that after five days we wanted to stay longer.  It’s a place I definitely recommend to families looking to try something different and experience some family bonding time.

About The Author: This article was shared by travel enthusiast Adam Franklin

Photo Credits – flickr: #1 Healther Tawes Nelson, #2 Dru Bloomfield, #3 Wild Horse Pass, #4 hollygon21

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