I Never Knew I Needed This Solo Trip To The Desert, But I Left My Heart With The Cacti
It's no secret that I travel a lot. I've been to my fair share of breathtaking places around the world, and though I'm always grateful and awed when I have the opportunity to travel, the things I encounter on my trips rarely surprise me. But taking a solo trip to Arizona completely flipped me upside down. I never knew that I needed to visit this incredible place until I arrived, and I was so inspired by the trip that I'm already planning my next visit.
My trip to Arizona was centered around the Scottsdale area. Scottsdale is just a quick drive outside of Phoenix, so it's easily accessible if you're flying in from far away. I love that the city has such a huge mix of fun things to do, trendy places to eat, beautiful resorts, relaxing spas, and adventurous outdoorsy activities that really satisfied my lust for nature. And if you want to really feel like you're in the middle of the desert, you don't even have to drive too far.
Although my getaway was a quick one — I was only there for three days — my time in Scottsdale and the surrounding desert had a huge impact on me, and I really can't wait to head back soon.
First things first: Summer in the desert can be pretty brutal. Thankfully, a cold front came through while I was visiting, so temps only reached the high 80s. According to the locals, by this time of year, it's pretty common for it to reach over 100 degrees in the middle of the day. The cooler weather was a pleasant surprise, but I still treated the trip the way I originally planned so that I could get the true summer in Scottsdale experience.
The game plan was to do all of the outdoorsy things in the morning before the heat became too intense, and the afternoons were reserved for indoor activities, like art galleries or spas, or I'd lounge by the pool to take a quick dip if I got too hot. The weekend could not have gone more perfectly.
My morning excursions included a kayaking trip on the Salt River with Arizona Outback Adventures, a hot air balloon ride with Hot Air Expeditions, and a morning hike and meditation session at CIVANA, one of the resorts I stayed at. Although the kayaking trip and hike started at 7 a.m. (which isn't too bad in my book), getting up for the hot air balloon ride was a little tough. I met my guide at 4:15 a.m. so that we could get up in the air around 6:30 a.m., which meant that I was awake and putting makeup on at 3 a.m. (It was definitely worth the views, though.)
These outdoorsy activities really put me in touch with my nature-loving self, which peeks its head out every once in a while, even though I'm really a city girl at heart. All of the excursions offered breathtaking views of the vast desert around the Scottsdale area, and on more than one occasion, I caught myself exclaiming "Wow!" literally out loud.
Afternoons in Scottsdale took me to beautiful spots in the city, including Wonderspaces, which is an interactive art gallery. Its current exhibit, Point of View, features everything from flashing strings of lights to virtual reality experiences. It was a really fun and beautiful way to escape the heat for a couple hours.
Pools are an absolute necessity at the hotels in Scottsdale, so I used the afternoons to sit in the sun, catch up on my podcasts, and take a dip in the cool waters. Pool parties are a quintessential part of summer, so of course, I had to take advantage of my time with a pool so easily accessible. Hotel Adeline, where I stayed on my first night there, has a weekly pool party on Saturdays that is apparently the place to be.
I also used the afternoons to treat myself to luxurious spa experiences at my hotels. Scottsdale is known for its world-renowned spas and wellness experiences, so naturally, I absolutely had to check them out. I went a little overboard with the spa treatments over the course of the weekend, but when in Scottsdale, right?
I had an incredible massage at the Four Seasons, as well as a body wrap at CIVANA. I always love a good massage — traveling and typing on a computer all day long are both pretty brutal on my body — and the body wrap was super unique because it utilized a vichy shower. (I never tried a wet treatment until this one, and it was so good, it will definitely not be my last.)
Of course, no trip of mine is complete without snapping some serious content for the 'Gram, and the scenic backdrops in Scottsdale really deliver. I was in awe of the beautiful giant cacti all around the desert, especially the ones on the grounds at the Four Seasons. Its property is right in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, and you can really see how lush the desert vegetation in the area is just by walking around the resort.
The hot air balloon ride was definitely another highlight of my trip, and I was so thrilled that I got to experience my first flight in such a gorgeous setting. Plus, the colorful balloons made for some seriously beautiful backdrops.
All in all, I couldn't have been more pleased with my trip to the desert, and I definitely want to revisit Scottsdale again soon. I loved having this weekend alone to recalibrate, refresh from what has been a stressful few months, and really take the time to enjoy the beauty of the natural wonders around me. I can't wait for my next trip back.