A trip to Arizona typically includes a combination of soaking up the sunshine by a pool, a round of golf, some shopping and maybe a bit of sightseeing. However, the desert state has plenty of other activities to offer—including a few that you’ll only find in and around Phoenix. From a session of barnyard yoga to flying trapezes and epic hikes, here are some of the most unique and unexpected things to do in Phoenix, Arizona.
Enjoy a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Greeting the sunrise from thousands of feet above ground is truly magical, so it’s no wonder a hot air balloon ride is near the top of many people’s bucket lists. Arizona is a fantastic place for this popular excursion, where guests can marvel at the saguaro-dotted Sonoran desert spread out below them, while peacefully floating high above the clouds.
Numerous companies operate near Phoenix, including Hot Air Expeditions which launches from Deer Valley. Crews inflate the balloon before your eyes, and if you’re lucky you’ll be up, up and away in the basket just as the sun rises.
Reaching heights of up to six thousand feet, soak in the views of the so-called Valley of the Sun, and mountain ranges including Four Peaks, the Bradshaws and Daisy Mountain. Capped off with a champagne breakfast, there’s truly no better way to start the day.
Do Downward Dog at Goat Yoga
Did you know Arizona is one of the only places on earth you can try goat yoga? I kid you not (pun intended). This unusual workout is like a mix between yoga and a petting zoo, and has been all anyone’s talking about since classes started at a Gilbert farmhouse in late 2016.
Participants lay their mats in a circle and are led through a practice, while the brood of adorable goats jumps up on people’s backs while they’re trying to hold poses like downward dog and planks. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues.
Is it an amazing workout? Well, not really as you’ll likely spend more time oohing and aahing over the furry kids and taking selfies than working on your flexibility. Is it worth trying? Absolutely.
READ MORE: Goat yoga: Where barnyard meets downward dog
Go on a Scenic Hike
Waking up at the crack of dawn usually isn’t anyone’s idea of fun (especially on vacation), but it’s well worth doing in Arizona. Why? Because they have the best sunrises!
Being located relatively close to the equator, sunrises and sunsets can be brief in the Sonoran desert, but they sure pack a punch. There are plenty of places to watch the pink and purple hues dance across the sky, whether it’s from the comfort of your hotel balcony or an unobstructed view from the top of a mountain.
Tackling the trails on Scottsdale’s Camelback Mountain is one of the most popular spots for an early-morning hike, as you’ll see the city spread out below while admiring the scarlet sky. Other easily-accessible options include Usery Mountain Regional Park and the Superstition Mountains, found in Lost Dutchman State Park about a 40 minute drive from the city.
Fly on a Trapeze
Channel your inner acrobat by taking on the I.FLY Trapeze at the luxurious Phoenician Resort. Safe for those aged four and up, the one-hour sessions start with instructors demonstrating trapeze techniques on the ground, before guests get strapped in a harness and head up the ladder to the suspended platform.
There, they’ll literally get talked off the ledge and coached on how to fly on the trapeze, trying tricks like only holding on with their legs before doing a backflip onto the net below (which fortunately is much easier than it sounds!).
If all goes well, the final part of the class includes a chance to attempt a “catch and release” where you’ll let go of the trapeze mid-air and be caught by one of the instructors simultaneously flying on another trapeze. Watch out, Cirque du Soleil!
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