Five For Action–Packed Fun In Arizona

By Nancy Schretter, Editor

Many families want to build active adventures and non–stop fun into their next family vacation. Arizona is a top family travel destination for families looking for memorable experiences. The state has some of the nation’s top resorts and dude ranches filled with action–packed family adventures and activities. There’s something for everyone here.

Here are five of Arizona’s top places for family vacations:

1.  White Stallion Ranch.  This family–owned and operated ranch is a veritable playground for families. Located on 3,000 acres around Tucson, White Stallion Ranch offers families the chance to enjoy a wide variety of activities and adventures – both together and apart. Almost everything is included in the ranch’s all–inclusive rates, making family vacation planning a breeze. White Stallion Ranch has one of the largest private herds of horses in Arizona, so riders of all ages and abilities can be easily accommodated. Children must be 5 years of age or older to take lessons or go on scenic rides, while kids 8 or older can enjoy mountain rides and other options. There’s much more than riding available at this ranch, however. Families can go swimming, hiking through Saguaro National Park bordering the ranch, play tennis or basketball, watch movies in the ranch’s theater, or visit the animals at the petting zoo. Evening activities are offered every night and free Wi–Fi is available as well. While the ranch’s 41 rooms and bountiful meals get rave reviews, guests continually comment on the exceptional staff and service at White Stallion Ranch. The True family and their team really go the extra mile to exceed expectations and make families feel special. Kids under 5 stay free here. www.whitestallion.com.

2.  Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort.  With its four–acre River Ranch water park and all–suite accommodations, the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak is designed for family fun. Located just a short drive from the Phoenix airport at the foot of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, this resort keeps families happy with loads of kids and family activities such as swimming, hiking, mini golf, games and scavenger hunts, Dive–In movies and more. The property’s all–suite accommodations work well for family vacations and the resort’s spacious casitas provide even more room to spread out for larger families and multigenerational groups. Kids love the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak’s Coyote Camp designed for children ages 4 to 12. Full day, half day and evening programs are available. Kids can do innovative arts and crafts projects, go swimming at the River Ranch, pan for gold, play at parties and picnics, and more. The resort’s Tocasierra Spa & Salon offers special spa treatments for kids and teens as well.  www.squawpeakhilton.com

3.  Tanque Verde Ranch.  Tanque Verde is the largest dude ranch in the United States, sprawling across 60,000 acres amid Tucson’s desert and surrounding mountains. The ranch features 69 guestrooms, suites and spacious casitas perfect for larger families. Guests staying at Tanque Verde will find almost everything included in the ranch’s all–inclusive rate. Families can enjoy all levels of horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, swimming, tennis, basketball, fishing, nature walks and much more on their vacation. In addition, Tanque Verde offers a Daily Kids Club for children ages 4–12. The program divided into three age groups: Buckaroos (ages 4–6), Wranglers (ages 7–9) and Outlaws (ages 10–12.) Activities vary by age group and include horseback riding, arts and crafts, hiking, swimming, tennis, parties, movies, and other pastimes. Programs for kids ages 12–15 and activities for children under the age of 4 are also available. Tanque Verde’s La Sonora Spa caters to guests with a variety of massages, facials, wraps and other treatments. The spa also features an indoor pool, whirlpool and sauna – perfect for soothing tired muscles after a day of active adventures. The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Tanque Verde offers evening activities including Dive–In movies poolside, cookouts, dances, and other events. www.tanqueverderanch.com

4.  Fairmont Scottsdale Princess.  Fresh from a $60 million full–scale property renovation, the AAA/CAA Five–Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is a great home base for families who want to rev up their family vacation experience. The resort features five outdoor swimming pools, superb restaurants, two 18–hole championship golf courses, five lit Plexi–Pave tennis courts, the world–class Willow Stream Spa, and much more. Children and kids at heart will love the Fairmont’s SplashRider X–treme water adventure, the 200–foot waterslides, Techno Glo Parties, Dive–In movies at the South Pool, and the 240–foot zipline across the resort’s lagoons where the thrill of catch and release fishing also awaits. The Fairmont’s Trailblazers Family Adventure Center features a variety of games and activities including air hockey, arcade games, basketball, Nintendo Wii, Playstation, Gamecube and more. The resort’s Trailblazers Kids Club for ages 5–12 includes activities such as photo safaris, sports, swimming, animal encounters and a variety of themed activities.  www.scottsdaleprincess.com

5.  Arizona Biltmore.  Located in Phoenix, the historic Arizona Biltmore hotel is an excellent choice for family vacations and multigenerational escapes. Featuring architecture influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Arizona Biltmore opened in 1929 and it’s often referred to as the “Jewel of the Desert.” Families staying here will find it easy to understand why. The resort’s spectacular Paradise Pool with its 92–foot waterslide is the perfect place to take lots of pictures and make great family memories. Families can take their pick from a total of eight pools, two 18–hole PGA golf courses, seven tennis courts, six restaurants and lounges, and a wide range of sports and other activities. For the ultimate in relaxation, guests who want to be pampered can head to the Biltmore’s 22,000–square–foot spa. Kids have a blast at the Biltmore. Kids ages 4–12 congregate at the Kids Korral Kids Kamp, held daily. In addition to the pools, another favorite spot is the canopied Kids Playground. During the summers and prime family vacation times, the Biltmore adds even more family fun activities such as kids cooking classes, guided hikes in the neighboring nature preserve, pool parties, and much more. www.arizonabiltmore.com

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