Even with the amazing amount of development and growth Scottsdale and Phoenix have seen in the past decade, there’s still an overall surreal feeling of peace and tranquility inspired by the beautiful desert landscapes that surrounds one of the “hottest” US destinations today.
Family vacations, corporate retreats and couple getaways are just a few of the reasons people find for visiting this desert oasis. With some of the most amazingly engineered highway systems, these smooth and silent highways lined by decorative south-western designs provide an excellent foundation while you zip around the many modern conveniences meshed with the serenity that make up this uniquely fascinating Phoenix and Scottsdale destination.
For a desert destination with so much history and cowboy influence, Phoenix and Scottsdale are very fashionable cities. None more than North Scottsdale, complete with expansive malls, trendy boutiques and outdoor shopping areas to savor the nature landscapes.
For the traditional mall experience complete with all of your favourite stores, Scottsdale Fashion Square will not disappoint. A personal favourite, Kierland Commons, may not have all of your usual mall-type stores, but what it has in character more than makes up for it. An open-air concept, which always has beautifully manicured grounds, provides a peaceful shopping experience. Looking for a fantastic bistro worthy of its praise? Check out Zink Bistro for a sensational curry chicken salad sandwich and authentic French onion soup.
Biltmore Fashion Park is a great little getaway when looking for a collection of cute stores and several great places to eat. If you’re looking for a larger scale outdoor mall area, Desert Ridge Marketplace is the place to be. With theatres, stores and numerous fantastic family-friendly dining establishments, you’re sure to enjoy your time here. Though several additional areas are scattered around, these primary options have enough to keep the most avid of shoppers content.
Locals and guests alike can’t help but want to be outdoors when visiting Phoenix and Scottsdale. Even in the heat of the summer when it’s vital to remain very hydrated in the extreme temperatures, there’s still something special about being outside and enjoying nature at its finest.
Several great hiking destinations are within very close proximity to the happenings of city life, while providing you the nature getaway many desire. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Camelback Mountain, Pinnacle Peak Park, McDowell Mountain Park and Phoenix Mountain Preserve have trail selections to meet all skill levels. While the basics, such as hiking, biking and horseback riding remain the favourite activities; there are also several opportunities to take to the water in some refreshing white water rafting and fly high above the rest of the world in an awe-inspiring hot air balloon ride. Regardless of you being on the ground or in the air, the surroundings of the Sonoran Desert will “wow” you… and the sunsets are simply out of this world.
If you have any association with the game of golf, you simply owe it to yourself to tee it up on the remarkable golf courses this area of the world possesses. The carpet-like plush fairways slicing through the desert landscape makes for a golf experience that is both challenging and rewarding.
The amount of worthy golf courses to mention are far too many, so I will simply list a few of my personal favourites, which are sure to offer the amenities, course layouts and an overall pleasant golf experiences to leave you with fond memories. Grayhawk Golf Club provides two par-72 courses that are as beautiful as they are challenging. A perfect day in Scottsdale is assured when playing both of these Grayhawk courses with a short break in between for a tasty lunch at the club.
A little ride north brings you to a few more amazing options, Troon North and The Boulders both have two courses each; and again, the nature’s beauty will leave you breathless. In Phoenix, The Raven is a great option for both the beauty and challenge that comes with this course. Finally, if you’re looking for a charming, yet challenging course, Rancho Manana up in Cave Creek has become my little hidden gem of a course.
Planning Your Trip
You’ll find that both the Phoenix and Scottsdale Tourism Bureaus are extremely knowledgeable and helpful when planning your vacation. As a destination, Phoenix and Scottsdale are both filled with numerous hotels (my favourite being Thunderbird Suites) and dining options to meet any budget.
It’s ideal for those looking for an inexpensive and rustic adventure with hiking and biking, or can be an indulgent getaway complete with rounds of golf and extensive spa treatments by day and sensational dining by night. Regardless, these tourism bureaus can play a vital role in being able to plan ahead to be sure you’re staying in the best location for your needs with a plan of attack to assist you make the most of your time in this unbelievable desert oasis.
T: (602) 254.6500
T: (480) 421.1004
Damon M. Banks is a freelance travel writer focusing on travel, tourism, hotels, spas, and yoga, fashion, golf and lifestyle brands. Damon is a contributor to Huffington Post and Examiner, as well as a variety of international travel, hospitality and luxury lifestyle publications such as Global Living Magazine, World Spa & Travel, Montage, and Destinations Travel Magazine. To learn more, visit his website, www.damonbanks.com, and follow along on his travel blog, www.luxegetaways.com. Connect with Damon on Google+, Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.