The Grand Canyon is only a four hour drive from Phoenix. That’s pretty close, considering that people travel from all over the world to visit this National Park and the natural wonder it contains. Some might think that if you’ve seen the Grand Canyon there’s no need to go back, but the Canyon changes every moment, from sunrise to sunset. The changing seasons also bring new glimpses of the glorious Grand Canyon. As you travel along the rim path, each turn brings into view spectacular vistas, plateaus, wildlife, views of the Colorado River and much more. An And let’s not forget that there’s a rim path 15 miles away on the other side with it’s own wonder and beauty. If you’re into extreme adventure, hike a mile down one of the trails to the bottom for a new perspective that you’ll never forget. Just remember you’ll need to hike out that same day so bring lots of water.
The Superstition Mountains are full of spectacular sonoran desert beauty, wonder, mystery, and some say… gold! Located about one hour from Tempe (you can see them if you look East), they get their name because of all the tall tales of gold waiting to be found hidden in a cave deep inside. Well, ISC regularly takes groups of students deep inside for fun and adventure, but we’ve never found the gold. The photo shown is on the saddle of the Peralta Trail hike, with Weaver’s Needle in the background. It’s not an easy hike… but it’s super rewarding to get away from the city and, after persevering, enjoy this spectacular view. The most precious part is spending time hiking with friends in the beauty of God’s creation.
One of our favorite places to visit in Arizona is Tonto Natural Bridge, a natural arch in Arizona, United States, that is believed to be the largest natural travertine bridge in the world. The area surrounding the bridge has been made into a state park called Tonto Natural Bridge State Park, which is located off State Route 87, just 10 miles north of Payson. It’s a refreshing break from the desert as you can cool off in a waterfall and hike along a beautiful creek through the arch into the large cavern. There are also nice spots for the less athletic… including picnic benches where we share a lunch together.
Sedona is special. Even from a distance, you can see the beautiful red rock formations adorning the sky. It’s a wonderful place to visit, with lots of cool stores for shopping and wonderful places to relax and enjoy the views. There are also lots of places for the more adventurous to enjoy hiking, biking, jeeping and more. You can also enjoy a meal at a restaurant, with lots of dining options available. Sedona is located close to Phoenix so it makes for a nice day trip.
Every summer, when it gets super-hot in the Valley of the Sun, we try to cool off in California on a beach. The ones between Los Angeles and San Diego are close, convenient, and chill. One of the towns we find ourselves going to regularly is called Oceanside. Yes, it is next to the ocean, but it’s also not more laid back with residents who make you feel at home. It also has a great pier where you can watch the sunrise and set. The beach is beautiful, the food is super and, best of all, the temperatures are way cooler than in Phoenix. I’m ready to go again!