Arizona by night: How to escape the summer heat

Arizona summers can have some sweltering days, but don't let a little heat steal your sunshine. Complete with national parks, cultural museums, and Insta-worthy backdrops, Arizona is a still must-see during fun summer months.

And while it's easy to pack all sorts of activities into your days, consider planning a few evening activities, too. From moonlight kayak tours across Tempe Town Lake to glow-in-the-dark golf courses, there's never a dull moment in Arizona. Here are five fun ways to keep cool this summer. 

1. Follow the stars on Tempe Town Lake

While most kayak tours happen during the day, opting for an evening class will allow you to cool off while seeing a different side of Tempe Town Lake.

Coined “Glow Kayak,” these instructor-led tours take kayakers on the lake after sunset. Instead of seeing a lush landscape as you would during the day, you’ll have a clear view of the stars above as you glide across the still water. Many participants wear glow-in-the-dark clothing so as to keep tabs on the rest of the group.

For complete beginners, maybe skip the night tour and opt for an evening class. You'll still feel the heat, but it will be less intense. 

2. Find creepy crawlers by flashlight 

There’s nothing like a flashlight tour to get you in full-on detective mode, and the Desert Botanical Garden offers these from May through September every year. The tour is designed to be self-led, so take as much time as you need while passing through various discovery stations that show all types of critters up close—scorpions, bats, owls, toads, snakes, lizards and more.

Tours are offered on Thursdays and Saturdays, with weekends being the more crowded of the two. Most visitors remember to bring their own flashlight, but if you forget, you can buy one in the Garden Shop. Perfect for kids and kids at heart. 

3. Go glow-ball golfing in Phoenix

Eager to up your golf game? Head to the Palo Verde Golf Course in Phoenix and try your hand at "glow-ball" golfing at night. On select dates throughout the summer, especially in August, the nine-hole course is lined with lights for visibility. Players also get a glow ball and glow necklace for participating, as it's another way to see and be seen.

Of course, if you’d prefer a little daylight, there's a beautiful lake around holes one, two and three—consider stopping by in the evening when the sun isn’t shining too brightly. Wear loose-fitting clothing and remember to apply sunscreen just in case those last few rays strike. 

4. Swim underground at the Grand Canyon Caverns

If you’re up for a day trip, head to The Grand Canyon Caverns, located along the historic Route 66 in Northern Arizona. The formation of the caverns date back 345 million years during the Mississippian Period, but nowadays, the site serves as an educational attraction for adventurers. As part of a guided tour, you’ll head 200-300 feet below ground, which for better or worse, will definitely keep you cool at 56 degrees.

Alternatively, sign up for a tour that takes you to waterfalls in nearby Supai, a journey reachable by hike, horseback or even helicopter if you want to go all out. Take a dip in the refreshing falls while taking in the view. 

5. Curl up for a “Dive-In" Movie

As thrilling as all these outdoor adventures are, sometimes the best way to keep cool is by not going anywhere at all.

Instead of packing for a night outdoors, ditch your backpack and head straight to your resort’s pool. Many properties, including The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, play movies by the pool after sunset. So, grab some snacks or a cocktail and settle into your lounger for the next few hours—while dive-in movie nights can get crowded, pool atmospheres are generally friendly and it’s an easy opportunity to meet fellow guests.

Another perk of staying stylish in your hotel is that everything is within arm's reach, like towels, bathrooms and the bar. 


No matter how you stay cool in Arizona this summer, find your best rates with SPG Member Exclusive Rates.

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