The summer heat is here, and with it comes the challenge of staying active while keeping cool. If you live in the Valley, it can be especially difficult to squeeze in physical activity while avoiding extreme temperatures. Health still happens in the summer! Beat the heat and get moving all season long with these fun and affordable activities.
Discover something new!
Looking for a wintery way to cool down and get some exercise when it’s 115o outside? Try ice skating! Ice skating is a fun activity for the entire family, and a great way to squeeze some exercise into a hot, lazy day. Visit the Ice Den in Chandler or Scottsdale, or an AZ Ice location in Arcadia, Gilbert and Peoria for an escape to wintery wonderlands all summer long. Prices run from $5 and up.
For a peaceful outdoor activity, visit the Desert Botanical Garden. Try visiting in the evening to avoid the peak heat during the day. The garden offers free admission on the second Tuesday of each month from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Take in the beauty of our natural desert landscapes and plants, both of which are even more beautiful with a price tag this low. Want to get your hands dirty? Check out the Phoenix Public Market gardening series every fourth Saturday of the month. The workshops are free and take place in the morning, so you can grow your gardening skills without breaking a sweat (or the bank).
To get some fresh air and double up on local fresh fruits and vegetables, visit one of the many farmers markets across the state. Plan your visit for the early morning before the heat of the day hits. The Uptown Farmers Market moves inside for the summer, so you can shop in the comfort of the air conditioned North Phoenix Baptist Church Campus. Farmers markets are full of unique vendors, local food and activities for families each week.
If it’s way too hot to venture outside, squeeze some walking (and culture) into your day at a local museum. The Phoenix Art Museum is free on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the Arizona Science Center has many interactive displays and exhibitions for both adults and children. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art offers free admission on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and also after 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Check out this site to find more museums and events in your area.
Library cardholders can also check out an Act One Culture Pass for FREE admission and tickets for two people at participating arts and cultural institutions including the Desert Botanical Garden, Arizona Science Center, Phoenix Art Museum and many more. Arizonans of all ages can learn something new, get moving and stay cool all summer long with these fun passes.
Make a splash!
Dive in and cool off this summer with affordable swimming lessons for all ages. The swim season began almost a month ago, but did you know that many kids have no or low swimming ability? According to a recent study, 40 percent of Caucasian children, 45 percent of Hispanic children, and nearly 64 percent of African-American children in the U.S. have no to low swimming ability. Children from low-income households are significantly less likely to have good swimming abilities. And unfortunately, 87 percent of kids with no or low swim ability plan to go swimming this summer at least once, putting them at risk for drowning.
The City of Phoenix offers swimming lessons in public pools for everyone, including children, adults, and people living with disabilities. Prices range from $3 to $15 per lesson, and kids can swim for free at over 20 pools in Phoenix through the Kool Kids program.
Looking for something more adventurous? Find something to float on, grab a cooler with snacks and head out to the Salt River. You can stay cool in the water, bask in the sun, and, if you’re lucky, watch some wild horses play in the river.
Adventure is out there!
If you feel overwhelmed and overheated, plan a weekend getaway or adventure. Taking a day or weekend trip is a great opportunity to escape the heat and explore great public spaces across our state.
For exercise opportunities and cooler temperatures, plan a trip up north. Flagstaff offers some of the coolest temperatures in the state during the summer, and is packed with opportunities for outdoor activities for the entire family. Sedona has plenty to offer with notable rock formations, creeks, and hiking trails for any skill level. Devil’s bridge trail is one of the “must-do” trails in Sedona with its breathtaking views of red rocks. Easy hiking trails include Deadmans Pass Trail and Fay Canyon Trail. If you are up for a challenge, check out Brins Mesa Trail, Airport Loop Trail, and Soldiers Pass Trail.
Take a day trip to Prescott to explore the historic downtown area, dress up like a cowboy or cowgirl at Granny Anny's, and eat at one of the old saloons on Whiskey Row. If you want to get away from the city life and connect with nature, go fishing or paddle boarding on one of the many beautiful lakes in the area.
No matter what you do to stay active this summer, remember to stay safe in high temperatures, which includes staying hydrated and wearing sun screen. If you head out on a road trip, keep a close eye on the weather, especially with the monsoon season upon us. Check on the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Twitter for real-time weather updates.
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