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Located in the Sonoran Desert, Mesa is surrounded by a rich, vibrant and verdant playground for sought-after outdoor recreation. Within minutes from our collection of resorts and hotels, guests can immerse themselves into a legendary landscape – a region full of intrigue and awe that continues to inspire and amaze our visitors every day. From hiking mountain tops to kayaking along calm rivers and canyon-carved lakes, nearly every outdoor pursuit can be experienced here in the Sonoran Desert.
NATURE CENTER DESERT TOUR - 1 hour
Educational series on the desert flora and fauna are offered daily. Programs feature talks with Ranger Brennan. Guided tours can be scheduled through Usery Mountain Regional Park. 30+ miles of trails climb enough in elevation to experience spectacular vistas of the Greater Phoenix skyline.
HIKING & BIKING TOURS – 4+ hours
Arizona Outback Adventures is one of the few outfitters that lead guided pack trips into the Superstition Wilderness, part of the Tonto National Forest. Single and multiday hike and bike tours include an in-depth education on the Sonoran Desert. The extensive trails and jagged mountain peaks vary in length and height throughout the Superstition Mountain range. Overnight packing trips available.
GOAT YOGA – 1 HOUR
Arizona Goat Yoga connects yogis with farm animals. Whether you are in warrior pose, downward dog or simply meditating, these lovable goats help motivate and challenge you to be your best. During the guided yoga class, these gentle, sweet, and loving animals roam the fields and are placed by the instructor on guests that are in specific poses. Class attendees have described goat yoga as therapeutic and effective in relieving their daily stresses of life.
LAKE CRUISES – 1 + HOURS
Hop aboard for a 90-minute narrated tour in air-conditioned comfort and see exotic Arizona wildlife, towering canyon walls, and dramatic desert vistas. The Desert Belle cruises along Saguaro Lake and The Dolly Steamboat, a replica sternwheeler, glides along the cactus-studded shoreline of Canyon Lake. Photo opps on this tour are limitless!
FIGHTER COMBAT AERIAL FLIGHTS - 2 hours
Located at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, visitors can take a half-day flying lesson and embark on a Top Gun aerial mission. All flights are provided by a Military Fighter Pilot and include an authentic tactical briefing, air combat flying experience, formation, high-speed low-altitude fly-by and aerobatic maneuvers in the sky.
HIGH PERFORMANCE DRIVING – 3+ hours
Experience the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. Courses feature an adrenaline-pumping adventure at high speeds at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. Classes start at three hours in length to a full-day experience.
HOT AIR BALLOON EXPERIENCE – 3 1/2 hours
Get picked up before sunrise at your Mesa hotel and taken to a launch site in the northern Sonoran Desert. Hot air ballooning offers one of the most tranquil views of the desert landscape. Each experience is followed by a hot breakfast.
CANYONEERING – Full Day
Hosted by 360 Adventures, this rugged excursion into the slot canyon walls of the Upper Salt River has visitors climbing cliff faces, rappelling into pine forest pools, and exploring hidden desert passages. Arizona’s natural terrain includes streams and cascading waterfalls and an incredible geology unlike anywhere else in the world.
Major League Baseball has a long and storied history in Mesa, having served as the spring training host of the Chicago Cubs since 1952 and also the spring training home of the Oakland Athletics. Record numbers of visitors flock here for this experience every March. Domestic and international tour operators and their clients can schedule behind-the-scenes tours at the stadiums and also private suite events during Spring Training and at other times of the year.
Whether you’re a pro or just learning how to perfect your swing, hit the links in Mesa for some of the best golf in the Southwest. Mesa is home to world-renowned golf featuring breathtaking views of sweeping vistas set against the natural beauty of rugged mountains and blue western skies. And, with near perfect weather it’s possible to enjoy the sport year-round. More than 40 golf courses are within a half-hour drive of downtown offering a variety of options from challenging desert golf to traditional links play.
Even though Mesa is in the heart of a desert, visitors can take advantage of the city's close proximity to a water recreation paradise. There are three lakes and two rivers within 30 minutes of Mesa that allow for desert boating, fishing, rafting, kayaking and water skiing. Or, partake in the ever-popular activity of "tubing", a leisurely float along the cool waters of the Salt River via inner-tube!
KAYAKING THE LOWER SALT RIVER – 2 hours
Schedule a guided kayaking tour along the Lower Salt River with your launch point at Saguaro Lake Ranch, or Granite Reef Recreation Area. Both spots offer easy water access. The Salt River can experience Class 3 rapids depending on the time of year.
STAND UP PADDLE BOARDING – 2 hours
The sandy shoreline at Saguaro Lake offers convenient parking and walk-up access for paddle boarding tours. Mesa has a number of paddle boarding outfitters that provide group lessons and paddle board rentals along Saguaro Lake, featuring 22 miles of shoreline and the Lower Salt River. Fitness SUP classes are also held at Mesa’s aquatic centers and special events take place year round including moonlight paddle boarding, yoga SUP and happy hour group paddle events on the water!
TOUR ITINERARY ADDITIONS:
FRIDAY NIGHT SKIES AT MESA PLANETARIUM – AVAILABLE FIRST FRIDAY, MONTHLY
Visitors can view the night sky and explore the universe and solar system in the Mesa Planetarium featuring a rooftop observation deck at Mesa Community College.
WILDFLOWER WALK – SEASONAL
Wildflower season varies each year and is dependent on fall and winter rainfall amounts. Blooms are usually at their peak in mid-March. From the scarlet display of ocotillo blossoms, the yellow sea of Mexican poppies and the prickly pear cactus full of bright fuschia-colored fruit, it’s a colorful time to hit the trail.