When you’re the type of traveler that’s endlessly captivated by the concept of a vacation destination that showcases everything from spectacular desert scenery paired with upscale spas, gorgeous golf greens, red rock formations, and a collection of cacti that bring getaway destinations to life—there’s no better time or place to travel to than summer or fall in Scottsdale, Arizona. Situated just east of bustling Phoenix, Scottsdale offers a charming, and simultaneously engaging stop to find your vacation stride with ease. While Scottsdale is definitely a year-round destination to enjoy, there’s something exciting about a summer or fall trip in this direction that makes for an unforgettable experience. When you’re ready to put the finishing touches on your Scottsdale itinerary, be sure not to leave the following stops, activities, and landmarks off the list.
Things to Do While You’re Here: From Outdoor Adventure to Time on the Greens
Perhaps one of the most alluring activities to enjoy when heading to Scottsdale for a summer or fall getaway adventure is time in the great outdoors. It’s no secret that Scottsdale is an oasis of natural beauty that beckons to those with a heart for exploration and discovery in a completely unique way! Whether you’re looking forward to hiking, biking, or leisurely walking your way through nature, a trip to Camelback Mountain is the place to kick things off. This iconic peak is the perfect place to get rewarded for your hiking and climbing efforts with panoramic city views from above. Hiking in from the east side of the mountain makes for a bit of an easier experience but no matter which way you approach it, Camelback Mountain promises to provide the hike, views, and photographic moments you’re looking for in this area.
Heading over to Papago Park is another highlight of any trip to Scottsdale in the summer or fall with a focus on time in the great outdoors. This scenic destination is often sought out by hikers for its exceptional trails and is a great place to admire the massive sandstone buttes that are interlaced throughout the landscape. If you’re more of a mountain biker, this area also offers up tantalizing and challenging trails that you won’t want to miss out on. For those visiting Papago Park that are looking forward to checking each of the most iconic area stops off their must-see list, don’t overlook the opportunity to get up close to Hole in the Rock. This stunning natural rock formation is impressive in size and is a wonderful place to snap a photo or two as well. Many visitors head this way towards sunset to see the sky turn a multitude of colors as the sun dips below a backdrop of breathtaking rock walls.
While Camelback Mountain and Papago Park require Scottsdale travelers to make their way slightly outside of the city center to enjoy the natural fun, a stop at Pinnacle Peak Park offers up amazing opportunities that are closer to the center of town. Pinnacle Peak Park showcases a stunning Sonoran Desert landscape traced with trails that offer up scenic and honestly, unsurpassed views! Covering 150 acres of land, Pinnacle Peak Park is a great place to enjoy a picnic, take some time for rock climbing or simply capture a scenic moment from a new vantage point.
Just as lovely of a destination for those looking to maximize every moment of their Scottsdale getaway in the great outdoors would be a stop at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve while you’re in town. This permanently protected desert habitat covers over 30,000 acres of ground and is recognized as one of the largest urban parks in the entire nation! Educational programs are frequently hosted at the preserve which aims to make land stewardship a passion in all who visit. With 225 miles of trails at your disposal, there’s no shortage of adventure waiting to be found here.
For all of the natural wonders that Scottsdale offers up, it’s also a destination known for its fantastic golf courses and those with a passion for hitting the links in style won’t want to miss a tee time while they’re in town. Start your golf course tour at the Troon North Golf Club for an exceptional way to play a great round and take in the view too. Located at 10320 E. Dynamite Boulevard, Troon North Golf Club is open daily from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm and provides golfers with a beautiful landscape to enjoy a game complete with natural ravines and cacti sitting in the shadow of nearby Pinnacle Peak. This meticulously maintained 18-hole course is favored by Scottsdale golfers of all skill levels and provides a unique balance of rugged landscape and immaculate beauty that keeps everyone coming back for more!
Stops with Artistic Flair
While some are drawn to Scottsdale in the summer or fall for the fantastic outdoor fun, others head this way with artistic inspiration in mind for good reason. When you’re here and looking to indulge your creative tendencies, heading over to Taliesin West is a good place to start. Located at 12621 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, Taliesin West is the current Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation headquarters, but was used as Wright’s personal winter home from 1937 until 1959. Taliesin West is open to the public Thursday through Sunday from 9:00 am until 11:30 am for tours that offer up incredible insight into this iconic architect’s life and works!
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is another must-experience destination for those looking to enhance creative value while they’re in the area. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is located at 7374 E. 2nd Street and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm. Here, visitors can enjoy a wide variety of exhibits and displays showcasing modern art, design, and architecture right in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. Admission is only $10 for adults and is free for anyone 18 and under.
For a closer look at Scottsdale’s past through a lens of wild west wonder, heading over to Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is a must! Situated at 3830 N. Marshall Way, this inviting museum is both an artistic and educational experience that covers two floors, 43,000 square feet of display space and covers the comprehensive history of the American west with a special focus on Arizona.
Family Fun Adventures
Scottsdale is an amazing summer or fall destination for a solo traveler or a couple looking for a place to enjoy a romantic escape. That said, it’s just as well suited for family fun and adventures when you’re looking forward to spending time with those you love most! It’s not hard to find activities that engage the minds and imaginations of travelers of all ages when you head this way, and a great place to begin is at the OdySea Aquarium. This underwater adventure takes you far from the surrounding desert landscapes for a below the waves experience that promises to thrill. Located at 9500 East Via de Ventura, this aquarium covers 200,000 square feet of marine-showcasing space and is home to everything from stingrays and sharks to seahorses and penguins! While a traditional admissions ticket will get you access to the entire aquarium, booking up-close encounters is a chance to get a bit more hands-on with some of the incredible marine life that live here.
Taking the adventure from sea to sky, families visiting Scottsdale will want to be sure to add a stop to Butterfly Wonderland to their itinerary when inspiration is top of mind. This interactive indoor rainforest habitat is located right next door to the OdySea Aquarium, making it the perfect follow-up to shark encounters. Here, visitors can wind their way along garden paths making the most of free-flying butterflies and birds along the way! When you’ve had your fill of captivating colors and bird songs, guests can make time to visit the on-site gift shop, settle into the café for a quick bite or access the Arizona boardwalk which sits just outside the Butterfly Wonderland’s parameters.
For the family visiting Scottsdale that has little ones (or adults too) fascinated by trains, a stop at the McCormick Stillman Railroad Park promises to be a highlight of your summer or fall adventure! Get up close to incredible modes of transportation when you’re here as this interactive museum walks guests through the development of locomotive technology and provides an opportunity to see locomotives and early models of steam engines in an entirely new light. The museum is located at 7301 E. Indian Bend Road and is open from 8:00 am until 1:00 pm daily.
Cool Off in Scottsdale Style
It goes without saying that a summer or fall getaway to Scottsdale is likely to come with some impressive temperatures included. When the heat rises, cooling off is key to keeping the fun going and there’s no better place to do exactly that than Big Surf. Just 6 miles south of central Scottsdale, Big Surf is found at 1500 N. McClintock Drive and is a seasonal waterpark that draws in visitors and locals alike. Big Surf features a thrilling 2.5-million-gallon wave pool on site in tandem with a collection of exciting waterslides and water features designed for visitors of all ages. Big Surf first opened its doors to the sweltering public in 1969 and continues to be a hot spot destination to this day!
Restaurants to Enjoy
With so much fun and adventure waiting for you in Scottsdale this summer or fall, it’s inevitable that you’ll work up an appetite while you’re here and fortunately, this city has plenty of options available for curving a craving or two. When you’re in town and looking for an elegant place to enjoy the best of New American cuisine, Atlas Bistro checks every box on the list. You can find this inviting eatery at 2515 N. Scottsdale Road and many guests enjoy the fact that this restaurant comes attached to a wonderful wine shop too! Whether you go with the seared foie gras or the grilled tiger shrimp, Atlas Bistro is a place filled with palate-pleasing options.
If you find you’re more in the state of mind for Mediterranean fare during your Scottsdale adventures, Olive & Ivy is the place to be. Situated at 7135 E. Camelback Road, Olive & Ivy pairs Mediterranean dishes with a touch of California flair at nearly every turn. Sit inside amongst towering floor-to-ceiling windows or head outdoors and take a seat on the spacious patio. No matter where you settle in, options like bacon-wrapped dates, artichoke hearts, Brussel sprout flatbreads, and lobster pasta that grace the menu are sure to inspire the tastebuds. Top dinner off with a handcrafted cocktail or red, white, or sparkling wine selection to end your Olive & Ivy experience on a super savory note!
Places to Stay in Scottsdale
Knowing you’re headed to Scottsdale to enjoy a great getaway experience is already exciting in and of itself, but knowing you’re booked into rental accommodations that keep you close to those places you can’t wait to explore makes it that much better! At Empty Spaces Vacation Rental Management, our portfolio of Scottsdale vacation rental properties is designed with a customized experience in mind at every turn. Guests who book with us will find spacious and bright accommodations are theirs for the enjoying that pair tasteful furnishings with the best of accent art, luxurious upgrades, and of course, proximity to some of Scottsdale’s finest attractions too! When you’re not dining out, many of our Scottsdale rentals offer up access to full kitchens so you can bring your home-cooked favorites to the table during your Arizona adventures. From pet-friendly options to those that feature the best of Southwest-inspired extras—we’re here to make sure your stay is one-of-a-kind.
No matter when you find yourself in Scottsdale, partnering with Empty Spaces Vacation Rental Management is your ticket to an unforgettable experience. Reach out to our team today to learn more about our many options and to begin planning!