Five Fun Family Outings to Visit in the Valley


Spring break is here and the weather is looking amazing. After spending the last eight years in Chicago where spring break meant traveling to escape the cold and rain I can’t begin to share how excited I am to be in the Valley. My list of places to go is a long one and probably impossible to achieve, but we should have at least one more month before it gets too warm, right? If fitting it all in seems impossible we can plan some weekend activities.

With two school aged children and a toddler it can often be tricky to find places that are fun for everyone, especially me! The kids seem to have fun most places, but chasing a toddler can often be more exhausting than fun. My best bet is often open spaces where my toddler can happily and safely run around. 

family outingsThere are so many fun easy day trips that are less than an hour away, plan naps accordingly! Here are some of my favorites!

Papago Park – A few days can be spent at Papago Park in Phoenix! I know my kids are super excited to hike the Hole in the Rock Trail, although it still makes me nervous. I have been trying to visit the Desert Botanical Gardens since the sold out winter event and we have been wanting to use our Pogo pass to visit the Enchanted Island Amusement Park and Phoenix Zoo. Papago Park is top on my list for sure.

Riparian Reserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert – We visit the Riparian Reserve at Water Ranch in Gilbert as often as we can. It is such a hidden gem and my toddler absolutely loves the beautiful birds and the many ducks. She excitedly yells, “duck duck” the entire time we are near the pond.  Its way too cute!

Goldfield Ghost Town – Only recently have I discovered Goldfield Ghost Town and it took us just under 24 hours to get there after hearing of it. It is so cool! My kids absolutely loved the Gold mining, train ride and of course the ice cream. My husband and I loved the history and the incredible views.

Butcher Jones Recreation Area – We have to see those wild horses again. We visited the Butcher Jones Recreation Area over winter break with our out of town guests and they can’t stop talking about this place. The hiking was easy enough for the entire family and the magic of the wild horses is truly unbelievable. We are so lucky to have this so close by. 

Mini Trip– Although there is no real need to get away, a mini vacation can be so much fun. With access to Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon, Bisbee, Tombstone and Sedona in just a short car ride away you really can’t go wrong. 

If these activities are too hard look no further than your own town. There is so much to do with kids, especially this time of year. The weather is perfect and the list of incredible Parks is huge. Every town has many parks and most parks have walking or hiking trails. Have fun and enjoy your family time.

Anna Rodney, recently moved to the Valley from the Chicago area. She has supported families for the past 20 years a preschool teacher, respite worker, special educator, childbirth educator and labor and postpartum doula.  After the birth of her first daughter 8 years she shifted her focus to supporting women and families through pregnancy and postpartum. She is the owner and founder of Chicago Family Doulas and Arizona Doulas. She loves providing families with professional, compassionate and personalized support during this amazing time. When Anna is not working she is spending time outdoors with her three daughters and her husband.