Cool Places to Cool Off Before School Starts

The long summer days are coming to an end and back to school season is looming in front of us. However, even with the final days of summer ticking away, it’s not too late to squeeze in a few more unforgettable memories with your family before the kids head back to school. Although Arizona’s record-high temperatures can put a damper on your outdoor plans within the Valley, our sunny state still offers plenty of cool destinations that offer a respite from the unforgiving heat. Grab the kids, pack some sandwiches and explore these tourist hubs for a fun day or overnight trip.


Filled with history and breathtaking landscapes, Prescott offers the perfect getaway for Valley residents to escape the heat. With the summer temperatures reaching an average of 70 degrees, there are countless outdoor activities to get your family outside to enjoy the lovely weather. Hike up mountains to reveal scenic views, kayak in crystal-blue lakes, or horseback ride over winding trails. As the sun goes down, wander into the famous downtown area that’s bursting with wild west charm. Stroll down Whiskey Row which features an array of old-fashioned, authentic saloons or dine at any of the local restaurants lining the streets. 


Nestled at the top of Cleopatra Hill, the “Wickedest Town in the West” may appear small with only 450 residents, but it’s still a bustling tourist destination with plenty of dining options and exciting attractions. Once a busy mining town filled with gamblers and bootleggers, Jerome has a rich and sometimes spooky history which has led to ghost sightings and haunted destinations. If you’re feeling brave, take a ghost tour of the town to learn all about its chilling history and maybe even lay your eyes on a real-life ghost. For those who are looking for something a little less eerie, walk around the town to discover a variety of local restaurants and saloons that will have plenty of options for the whole family.


Escape the desert landscapes and cool off among the Ponderosa Pines in Flagstaff. With the higher elevation and lower temps, Flagstaff offers plenty of outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy. Hike through the aspen forests at the Inner Basin Trail, climb through the dark lava tubes, or test out your strength at the ropes course in the trees at the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course. After a long day of exploring, stroll through the iconic downtown lined with shops and restaurants for some retail therapy and mouth-watering bites. Then, finish off your night by visiting the Lowell Observatory to discover the wonders in our night sky. 

School is just around the corner, so be sure to take advantage of what little summer is left. While the Valley’s heat may limit what activities you and your family can do outside, our neighboring cities and towns offer a perfect getaway for those looking to cool off and have fun.