Written by Kyley Warren
“Grab your face mask and swimsuit, and embrace the long weekend ahead!”
Summer is the prime season for adventure. Neighborhoods and public spaces alike are often bustling with pool parties or barbecues, while popular travel spots see their own resurgence in tourism as folks hit the road and take full advantage of the long weekend ahead. Though, similar to so many other familiar things, we expect it might look a little different this year. Fortunately, Arizona is home to dozens of state parks, forests, natural habitats and lakes that you can indulge in nearly any time of the year. So, whether you rescheduled your vacation plans or you’re weary about reemerging into crowded spaces along with the general public, you’ll still have plenty of opportunity to get outside and enjoy life with the people you love.
Grab your face mask and swimsuit, and embrace the adventures that lie ahead.
Slide Rock State Park
Looking for a space to escape the desert heat? Head to one of Arizona’s most beloved spots, Slide Rock State Park. The heart of the park is Sedona’s Oak Creek, which features cool creek waters, surrounded by towering red rock buttes. Visitors can swim in the waters and picnic alongside the creek on sleek red rocks. The park also hosts several short trails that visitors can escape on for a hike – many even run right alongside the creek.
Lyman Lake State Park
Lyman Lake State Park is a 1,200-acre park that encompasses the shoreline of a 1,500-acre reservoir at an elevation of 6,000 feet. It is fed by snowmelt from the slopes of Mount Baldy and Escudilla Mountain, the second and third highest mountains in Arizona. At the heart of Lyman Lake State Park, it’s a reserved recreation idea that’s ideal for swimming, leisure boating, fishing and even hiking. With unforgettable lake views set against the backdrop of complex desert hills and peaks, Lyman Lake is the perfect place to escape to.
Lake Havasu State Park
Lake Havasu is a popular port of entry to the great Colorado River. Sandbars nestled in various spots along the lake are great for picnicking, relaxing or even swimming with little ones. But on the water, you’ll find adventurers of all sorts – on boats or paddle boards, in kayaks and snorkeling gear. No matter what sort of excursion you’re looking to embark on, Lake Havasu State Park has it all.
Patagonia Lake State Park
Patagonia Lake State Park was established in 1975 as a state park and is still regarded as an ideal place to find whitetail deer roaming the hills and great blue herons walking the shoreline. You’ve gotta love the diversity of Arizona’s nature scene – and Patagonia is a hub for spotting critters and species of all kinds. The park offers a campground, beach, picnic area with ramadas, tables and grills, a creek trail, boat ramps, and a marina. It’s a hidden oasis and often, a relatively quiet gem for travelers to escape.
For more information on Arizona State Parks and specifics regarding COVID-19 restrictions, visit www.azstateparks.com.
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Kyley Warren is a freelance writer based in Phoenix and the Assistant Editor of Green Living Magazine.