Escape to the Desert for Entertaining Family Adventures


Vacation On the Wild Side

Why would you waste your vacation with normal activities? Sure, you can have a staycation in your own town or travel somewhere else and just go shopping and eat out, but that wouldn’t be much of a vacation. Why not go outside your comfort zone and try something wilder?

The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, based in Scottsdale, Arizona is a hidden gem where you can do exactly that. Far from being a desolate place, this desert is filled with life…if you know where to look for it!

Things To Do In The Desert

Although a desert might seem like a lifeless or boring place, there are many fun and educational activities that can accompany a trip to the Sonora. If you enjoy hiking or bicycling, this area gives you over 30,000 gorgeous acres in which to do so. This includes 215 miles of well-maintained trails. The Sonoran Desert makes a stunning backdrop to make any hike, trek, or excursion into a memorable experience.

There are also a lot of opportunities to learn about local wildlife. Like any wildlife preserve, the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy seeks to provide not only a place of refuge for threatened animals but also to offer a way for average people to learn more about nature. Eco-tourism is a great way to provide a fun activity for the family while supporting a cause that is unquestionably good.

Although a trip to the desert may not include bright lights or big parties, there is definitely a wide range of events to attend. These events are frequent, and they usually take the form of educational seminars. For instance, there is an event on August 6 in which lecturers will give visitors an exhaustive run-down regarding all the different types of mammals that live in the park.

The best part of all this is that a trip to the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy is very affordable. There are almost no fees for any part of the experience, as this preserve is a non-profit organization. However, those who enjoy the experience should consider leaving a small donation on their website. After all, they have to pay the bills somehow!

Safety Precautions

The Sonora Desert is nowhere near as remote and lifeless as some other desert areas, but it still presents some dangers. All visitors should bring:

  • Clothing suited for the sunny, hot weather
  • Plenty of water
  • Antivenom/snake bite kit
  • Wide-brimmed hat
  • Sunscreen
  • Durable shoes (boots preferred)
  • Compass
  • Reliable cellphone with extra battery packs
  • A Large tarp to provide shade

If you are not comfortable in a wild environment, you can hire a guide to lead you through the park. These guides are also knowledgeable about the local flora and fauna, allowing you to learn a few things as you walk.


When it’s time to find lodgings, you have plenty of good options. The Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows is one of the best resorts in Scottsdale. You’ll enjoy a majestic view of the Camelback Mountains while enjoying multiple fine dining options. The modern, southwest-influenced décor really sets the scene for a desert adventure. The Saguaro Scottsdale, named after the famous Sonoran cactus, is a funky, local-inspired hotel that gets high marks for service and amenities. With a great spa, 24/7 fitness center, and cruiser bikes on offer, you can enjoy everything Arizona has to offer and stay relaxed and fit.


You would probably never guess that the desert could be so fun! No matter what sort of outdoor activities you enjoy, the Conservancy is likely to accommodate you. They even allow pets, which is rare for a wildlife preserve, though there are some extra rules to follow.

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