Where to Go For Your Spring Break in Arizona
Arizona is a hidden gem when it comes to spring break – here’s why.
Picture this. It’s spring break, you’re in the pool at Cancun or Miami Beach (along with 500 other semi-naked
idiots people). It’s barely past 11am but you’re already on your 4th drink of the day. The bass is pounding so loud you’re concerned it may cause a tsunami. But not that concerned, because you don’t even know what day it is and everything has just turned into one big blur. You’re praying this vodka will get rid of the horrendous three (or is it four?) day hangover you’re currently enduring.
Kind of sounds like hell, doesn’t it? That’s why you’re smart. You’re saying no to the classic stereotypical spring break. You want real adventure. Real travel. Off the beaten track. You want... Arizona? The 6th biggest US state is a hidden gem and has everything you need for an amazing trip. Trust us, we’re experts here at Plum Guide. Read on for all you need to know about spring break in Arizona.
Being the capital of the state, Phoenix has plenty to offer for a great spring break in Arizona. For starters, it sits in the aptly named ‘valley of the sun’ so you’ll have nothing to worry about when it comes to the weather.
In fact, it’s a great idea to take a stroll outside around the Desert Botanical Gardens where you’ll find America’s very oldest collection of desert plants and all kinds of exotic species. Check out Phoenix Zoo while you’re at it, too. It’s next door to the Botanical Gardens and is home to lions, giraffes, Mexican gray wolves (the pups are adorable), orangutans and much more.
Looking for some culture? We hear(d) you. Check out The Heard Museum and discover the culture of the Native American people who once lived in this area. You’ll find beautiful jewellery, pottery, textiles and dolls on display in the many exhibits. Outdoors, there’s some really interesting Native American artwork. Speaking of art, there is of course the Phoenix Art Museum too. It’s home to some visually stunning, iconic pieces that entice you in. Furthermore, the Arizona Science Centre can keep you busy for hours (although the last thing you may want on your spring break is even more science and education).
Just around the corner, check out the brilliant downtown Phoenix farmers market for all kinds of mouth-watering food made fresh with local produce. Of course, there are also plenty of arts and crafts that may well catch your eye. And if you are looking to do some serious shopping, there’s always the Cityscape Mall. This gargantuan mall takes up three whole blocks and, alongside plenty of shops, there are also some great options for food and drinks.
Did someone say drink? It is spring break after all…
Lake Havasu City
No spring break in Arizona would feel complete without a visit to Lake Havasu City. Sat on the border of Arizona and California, the location is naturally amazing when it comes to the scenery, enjoying a perfect climate and plenty of recreational opportunities.
Firstly, we’ll clear the elephant in the room. The founder of Lake Havasu City (Robert McCulloch) really did buy London Bridge from the city of London in England. It only cost him $2.5million – a figure that wouldn’t even get you a Plum Guide villa these days. He had it shipped over and painstakingly rebuilt brick by brick. It’s all a bit bizarre if you’re asking us. You can take a guided walking tour of the bridge to learn more, or just enjoy plenty of swimming, sunbathing and water sports on the lake.
One of the best spots to enjoy all of this is at Windsor Beach in Lake Havasu State Park. You can rent yourself a powerboat for water skiing, a jet-ski if you’re really looking to show off or just a humble pontoon boat if you’d like to relax and prefer not to listen to the relentless roar of a 3 litre petrol engine.
Being spring break, we should probably mention how fun the nightlife is here too. There are plenty of bars and nightclubs available, all offering great spring break drink deals, live music, dancing and (if you’re
drunk brave enough), karaoke.
Road trip the north
Arizona is home to some of the most iconic landscapes in the US and the world. It’d be rude not to take a road trip to go see them, wouldn’t it?
Start your trip in Flagstaff where you’ll find niche art galleries, fancy boutiques, shops selling Native American jewellery and some great street art downtown. There’s also some great Mexican food to be had.
Next, head to the most popular attraction in all of Arizona – the Grand Canyon National Park. The Colorado River and mother nature really did a good job on this one. If your legs can handle it, take in the breathtaking views from a number of viewpoints. Better still, hike into the canyon itself on a guided tour or, if you’re really keen, there’s also the opportunity for a memorable white-knuckle helicopter flight over (and sometimes through) the canyon.
Still with us? Other spots in the National Park include Horseshoe Bend (great photo opportunities) and Antelope Canyon (seriously, invest in more camera batteries). Then, drive two hours or so over to the iconic Monument Valley. This is the heart of midwest America and the famous feature of just about any half-good cowboy western that your dad used to watch when he was young.
Tucson & Mount Lemmon
Speaking of good ol’ Westerns, Tucson is a must. It’s a great alternative for your spring break Arizona itinerary. This historic city sits pretty in the Sonoran Desert. We think the best way to see it is by renting a bicycle and exploring on ‘The Loop’ - a network of cycling trails connecting parks and scenic areas all over the city. It’s over 100 miles long in total but don’t sweat it - we don’t expect you to cover the whole thing.
In nearby Tombstone there’s the chance to visit the O.K. Corral complex where you can watch a reenactment of the famous gunfight that took place here (ask your dad). Furthermore, you can spin the clock right back by exploring the set of a classic Western film, watching musicals in saloons or panning for gold.
Seek out El Presidio Historic District where you’ll find ‘Old Town Artisans’ featuring some great work from local artists, including many Native Americans. Meanwhile, Cafe Poca Cosa has the very best Mexican cuisine on offer.
If you’re looking to get out of the city, check out nearby Mount Lemmon. At 9,159ft it’s great for skiing but there’s no guarantee there’ll still be snow on the ground by spring break. Instead, you can opt to get out and about on one of the many hiking trails.