Head west is the message from Siobhan Grogan as she and her kids embrace their inner pioneer, pick up some cowgirl skills and enjoy the sun, on the family adventure in Scottsdale Arizona.
Forget big cities or theme parks for your next US family holiday. Instead, go west to the desert city of Scottsdale in Arizona where wide-open expanses, craggy mountain ranges and vast tranquil ranches are a cactus-studded playground for active families searching for authentic adventure. All this and 330 days of glorious sunshine each year.
Take your pick of family hotels in Scottsdale, Arizona
With more than ten million annual visitors, Scottsdale in Arizona isn’t short on places to bed down. But at over 30 miles long, it’s worth consulting Experience Scottsdale to help choose your base and even help with hiring a car, if you want to explore further.
To make the most of the great outdoors, we stayed in the sleek, contemporary ADERO Scottsdale overlooking the wildly beautiful Sonoran Desert.
There are hiking trails straight from the front door at the hotel, as well as a family swimming pool, connecting rooms and firepits for after-dinner s’mores. Best of all, it’s in a certified Dark Sky Community so kids can gawp at star-speckled skies or join one of the regular stargazing sessions.
For an added treat, squeeze in an extra night at The Hermosa Inn, where flower-lined paths weave through landscaped gardens to individual casitas with open fires, rolltop baths and private porches. Camelback Mountain is on the doorstep but there are also complimentary bikes to ride the nearby canal path and an impossibly pretty patio restaurant. Just don’t miss the free homemade cookies in the lobby.
Kids will love pretending to be cowboys and cowgirls
Bring kids’ dressing-up games to life with a day at Arizona Cowboy College that your children will talk about for years to come. This really is one of those magical places to take kids before they grow up.
This is no slick, sanitized attraction, it’s a real-life working ranch where even the youngest guest is expected to muck in and take it seriously; learning to groom and saddle a horse, ride, work with cattle and lasso. Beware: this is a lot harder than it looks, even on a stationary plastic cow.