Pinetop- Show Low

Pinetop- Show Low

When the temperatures go up in Tucson, it’s so nice to drive up to the White Mountains and cool off.  There are so many fun things to do in the mountains. There is hiking, horse back riding,  biking, fishing, 4 wheeling, and camping. Or you could rent a cabin and relax.
Rentals –
VRBO http://www.vrbo.com

Camping-

http://www.camparizona.com/campsites/whitemtnscampsites/WhiteMntsCampsites.htm

Hotels-

www.booking.com

www.expedia.com

Horseback Riding-

http://www.torreon.com

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Fishing-

https://azgfdportal.az.gov/fishing/locations/whitemountains

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Fools Hollow Lake-

http://azstateparks.com/Parks/FOHO/

Rent canoes, kayaks, or paddle boards.

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Rent a Razor-

http://www.showlowmotorsports.com/rentals.htm

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Ice Cave

The hike to the Ice Cave is a 2 1/2 mile hike and these brave boys went inside looking for treasures! It was a very small opening so we stayed outside and guarded the exit. It is called the ice cave because it really is ice cold.

http://www.arizonahiking.org

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 Sunrise Ski Resort- http://sunriseskiparkaz.com/

In the summer you can drive to the resort for some sliding, jumping and biking!

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My Favorite Travel Apps

Trip Advisor- http://www.tripadvisor.com

Before you go research hotels, restaurants, and things to do when you get there. I love to read the comments, because sometimes a review from another mother can tell you more than the number of stars!

Yelp- http://www.yelp.com

Really great app for your phone. If your in a strange city and you need gas, a grocery store or McDonalds french fries you can search and find it fast. It will give you directions and reviews. We were looking for breakfast in San Francisco and it helped us find a quaint coffee shop.

Spot Hero- http://www.spothero.com  

Traveling in Washington DC I fell in love with this app. If you want to find parking in a big city, plug in your area and parking spots pop up. You can reserve a spot on your phone, pay for it, and then use your spot later. We got a great spot in Washington DC across from the White House for $9. When we arrived the next day the parking lot was full and we told the attendant we had a reservation, he parked us right away. I noticed the price for all day parking was $17, and I payed $9 with the app.

Priceline- wwwpriceline.com  

My husband loves Priceline, he uses it for hotels and rental cars. You can accept their price or you can name your own price. He starts his price at 60% and slowly adds to his bid until it gets accepted. He gets really excited when he can get a rental car for $19 a day.

Uber- http://www.uber.com

We used Uber in California and Florida! It is a great app for your phone when you need a ride. You search in your area and enter your number of passengers and where you are going. A Car will accept you and send you a photo of your driver and type of car. The best part is your credit card is billed (you select tip ahead of time) and an emailed receipt is sent to your phone. No money changes hands!
I hope I gave you something new you can use!

Happy Travels😊

Mt Lemmon

It’s incredible that you can drive 45 minutes from the dry, hot, desert and arrive in the cool beautiful pines on Mt Lemmon! We love to escape the summer heat and drive to Mt Lemmon. It offers so many fun things for families: fishing, hiking and relaxing. You can spend the day, camp, or rent a cabin. I don’t camp so we stay in a cabin, I like to call it “glamping” or glamorous camping.

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Cookie Cabin–  http://www.mtlemmoncabin.com/localbusiness.html
Summer hours are: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fridays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays.Mt Lemmon, Arizonaimgsvr

The Cookie Cabin is located in Summer Haven. It is the cutest log cabin with limited seating inside and plenty of seating outside in the cool mountain air. If you are hungry,  arrive early and order your pizza, they get busy fast. The pizza is good but save room for the cookie and ice cream, it is delicious!

Sawmill Run Restauranthttp://sawmillrun.com/

Summer hours which will include breakfast Saturdays and Sundays from 9-1130AM. Monday-Thursday 10:30am – 5:30pm, Friday 10:30am – 8pm, Saturday 9am-8pm, and Sunday 9am-6pm. The Sawmill Run is located next to the general store in Summer Haven. They have a nice extensive menu and plenty of dining inside.

Iron Door at Mt Lemmon Ski Valley- http://www.skithelemmon.com

During the summer the Restaurant is open: Mon, Thur, and Fri 10:30am-5:00pm.  Sat and Sun  9:00am-5:00pm. The restaurant is located next to the Ski Valley. They are open for breakfast and lunch and they serve a nice assortment of sandwiches and great chili.

Mt Lemmon Ski Valleyhttp://www.fs.usda.gov/coronado/

Chairlift rides: 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays; 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Adults, $9; children, $5; families, $20. 1-(520)-576-1321.

Campinghttp://camprrm.com/2009/08/tucson-catalina-mt-lemon-campgrounds/

Call ahead and book your campground early. They fill up fast. We have visited friends at the Whitetail campground and it was very nice. The kids enjoyed riding scooters down the hill and building forts. They had limited bathrooms and there are no showers.

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Cabins-

If you are looking for a large family vacation home here are some beautiful cabins:

http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rentals/arizona/mt-lemmon/r64932

http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/usa/arizona/tucson-area/mt-lemmon?from-date=2015-07-15&to-date=2015-07-19

https://www.airbnb.com/s/Mount-Lemmon–AZ?type=cabin

If you are looking for something smaller for your family here are some other great options:

http://mtlemmoncabins.com/

There are some really nice cabins to rent on Mt Lemmon. Again, I would book early. It is a wonderful place to visit and it will fill up fast.

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Come Prepared

If you are camping or glamping come prepared! There is only one store in Summer Haven and it is very limited. There is no gas station or hotel, so don’t drive up the mountain without a plan. The temperature change on Mt Lemmon can be drastic. The sun will shine and it will be warm, but when the sun goes down it really cools off at night. If you are camping the lightning storms can be so close you might want to sleep in your car. Your cell phone may not work on the mountain. Some cell phones have service but we have found that our service is nonexistent. That can be a good thing; we enjoy unplugging and playing games or watching the sunset while roasting marshmallows.

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10 Ways to Save Money on a Staycation!

  1. Bring food. We love hotel rooms with a mini fridge. Take everything out of the mini fridge that your kids would eat or drink and would total more than your hotel stay.We spent 1 hour driving around looking for a grocery store because our son ate a $5 Snickers bar and we wanted to replace it with a cheaper one. Looking back, that was silly. Now  I bring a bag of mini donuts and a small orange juice for the kids for breakfast. I make myself hotel room coffee, and chew on a granola bar. I would love to eat at the buffet breakfast and have an omelet made for me, but I know my kids will only eat a bowl of cereal that costs $10 for the children’s buffet and they will be hungry by 10:30. Instead I will have a small breakfast in the room and maybe lunch at the pool.
  2. Bring alcohol. After sitting in the sun watching my family go down the water slide 4 million times, I might need a little drink. I have found that drinks at the pool are $8-$10 each and they are watered down. I have a bottle that looks like sunscreen that I bring with rum or vodka and I add it to my orange juice or coke zero. I’m not driving anywhere and I’m on vacation.photo 3
  3. Sneak snacks into the pool. I know most water parks will check your bags and insist you throw out your snacks. If you pack apples, cuties, grapes or bananas and mention food allergies they will leave you alone. If fruit is the only option and your children are starving from swimming,  they will eat it.
  4. Bring water bottles and Propel packs. It is hard to find a waiter at the water park and most of the time they will bring you a little cup of water. If you have a water bottle you can refill it at a water fountain and add a Propel water pack. My children love the flavors and it will make them drink more water. This is a life saver in the Arizona sun.photo 1
  5.  Bring extra sunscreen. Bring more sunscreen then you think you could ever use. If you only bring one bottle, it will get lost, dumped or run out in 10 minutes. Bring at least one bottle per person. We have our favorites. I like the spray sunscreen because I can cover myself without any help, and I can usually cover my children while they are running away. I buy the Neutrogena Wet Skin SPF 75 for the children.photo 2
  6. Bring extra goggles, water wings, or pool toys. The day will end if your son needs goggles and he lost his, trust me. The resort store will sell them for $20, but that will make you cry. I usually buy cheap pool toys at the dollar store and leave them in the swim bag, you never know when they will need a toy to play with friends they made at the pool. Some resorts will not allow water wings so check with them before you bring them. Sometimes they have life vests they will rent or give you for the day.
  7. Wear a big hat and sunglasses. You will need the hat for shade, most water parks have little shade and the chairs  in the shade are taken by 9am. The hat will help keep your face shaded and ward off wrinkles. Sunglasses are a must. The last thing you want to do is go to the resort store and buy sunglasses and a hat, $150 later you will wish you brought them from home.
  8. Wear flip flops that you don’t care about. If you plan on riding with water slides or chilling in the lazy river you don’t want to go without shoes, you could get 3rd degree burns from the 10 foot walk. If you bring your $50 Michael Kors flip flops and someone walks off with them, you will have 3rd degree burns and spend the rest of the day searching high and low for that shoe thief!
  9. Pack Aloe. After a day in the sun someone may have forgotten to reapply sunscreen, even though you told him 10 times after lunch to reapply. He will need aloe to cool his burn. You don’t want to pay $20 in the hotel store for aloe.
  10. Order pizza delivered to your room. After a long day at the water park your children will be hungry, tired and hangry (angry-hungry). This is not a good combination at a Resort restaurant. Do yourself a favor and order a pizza, find a movie on the Tv and relax in the room. It will save you from spending $100 on a dinner that you couldn’t eat because your 4 year old threw a temper tantrum when his hamburger was covered in ketchup and your 2 year old wouldn’t sit at the table because he wanted to run around the line dancers on the dance floor.

Stay-cations

Stay-cations

Arizona summers are extremely hot, but it’s a dry heat. The travel industry comes to a halt and the best resorts are discounted dramatically. This is the time to visit Arizona!  When booking your family stay-cation always ask about discounts. Just because the price is listed as $150 a night, that doesn’t mean you cant get the same room for $75-$95. Call the hotel, they might have a discount for Arizona residents, AAA, Military, Raytheon, or teacher discount. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

There are three very important things to remember when you visit Arizona in the summer: drink water, swim in water, and drink more water. If you are not drinking water in the hot Arizona sun, you will die!

These are my favorite places to stay in Tucson in the summer:

Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain http://www.ritzcarlton.com

The rooms are spectacular, the views are phenomenal and the food is delicious! The kids love the water slide and I enjoy lounging in the chairs in the pool.

If you are traveling without children, or your husband will give you the afternoon off, I highly recommend the spa! Get a massage and then relax in the spa sauna, Jacuzzi or the spa pool. The pool has cabana beds and you can get wait service for lunch and cocktails! It is heaven!

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Loews Ventana Canyon http://www.loewshotels.com

This resort is a little older but it is very nice. We enjoyed 4th of July here last year. They don’t have a water slide but they made up for it with lots of fun activities and their own firework show.

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Westin La Paloma Resort www.westin.com

This resort has undergone a few updates since I stayed there last. I have heard it is much nicer now. We had a summer membership a few years ago and we really enjoyed the pool and waterslide. The restaurants and rooms were fine.

Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort http://www.hilton.com

This is another older resort but it has been maintained well. We enjoyed the resort for reunions, couples getaway and a family staycation. It has a nice waterslide and we enjoy the full service bar.

JW Starr Pass Resort and Spa http://www.marriott.com

I have never stayed here, but my kids have! They had fun with Aunt Susan eating ice cream, chilling on the lazy river and enjoying room service. I’m not jealous! I swear I’m not!       Maybe a little!

These are my favorite places to stay in Phoenix in the summer:

Arizona Grand Resort http://www.arizonagrandresort.com

This is my favorite resort by far! We love the AZ Grand because every room is a suite! The kids can sleep on the pull out bed and wake up in the morning and watch cartoons while we sleep in.

The Rustlers Rooste Steak House is a Must! You can get a van to pick you up and drop you off. The restaurant has a slide inside that is enough entertainment for the kids that we can sit back eat a steak and have a drink! Try and visit right before sunset, the views are incredible!

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The Arizona Grand’s Oasis Water park is our favorite place in Phoenix! My kids love the HUGE waterslides, I love the lazy river and my husband loves the wave pool. It has something for everyone.

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Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort   http://www.swuapeakhilton.com

The rooms were nice. The water park was small and the slide was for younger children. We enjoyed our stay but the water park would be cramped on a hot summer day.

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If you haven’t been to any of these resorts I recommend you check them out! The prices during the summer make them affordable and sometimes you don’t have to travel far to have a fun vacation with your family!

Arizona Sommers

I wanted to write a blog about traveling with a family inexpensively. I love to travel and I do a considerable amount of research so I can travel afford-ably. There is nothing worse than spending your hard earned money on a vacation that leaves you full of regret. I live in Arizona and we vacation near and far. I have a goal to take my children to all 50 states by the time they graduate from High School.

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