The fall is such a great time to visit Arizona, just be careful, you may end up never wanting to come home! The weather is warm and comfortable and there is so much to experience in the desert, in October. Mesa, Arizona is the perfect starting point to get off-the-beaten-path by experiencing some truly unique activities that you won’t find anywhere else. This blog post is FULL of the best places to fill up your fall bucket list. From goat yoga, to horseback riding, to old ghost towns, don’t miss these things to do in Arizona.
There are some places in the world that you feel connected with immediately when you visit. Arizona is that place for me. The desert landscape, dry heat, and warm weather have me returning for more every year. This was my second trip to Mesa, Arizona this year and it led me on a slightly different path this time. I was fortunate enough to travel with my amazing friend and photographer Jessi of J GRAY PHOTOGRAPHY. October in Arizona is the perfect time of year to fall in love with Mesa. And I’m filling you in on the must-do activities around Phoenix in autumn.
Yes, friends, this is a thing and it’s a thing that needs to be on your bucket list. Yoga with goats! Arizona Goat Yoga has become a travel activity that people are scrambling to attend at this farm located in Gilbert, Arizona. The goats wander around and literally jump onto your back while you’re doing yoga. They may also saunter onto your mat for a quick snuggle or to do their business. You don’t have to worry about being a yoga expert either. The class is super simple and only lasts about 20-30 minutes. The remaining time is for you to enjoy hanging out with the goats! Take all the photos you want, including a selfie with the farm’s alpacas. It’s nothing but fun and will keep you laughing the whole time. Makes for great photos and stories for the ‘gram too!
Get out of the city for the day and take a trip along the Apache Trail. You can wander the stops along the road without paying any admission fees as many volunteers help to make these attractions a huge success. The first stop is the Elvis Memorial Chapel and the Superstition Mountain Museum. Fun fact: this chapel was built in 1969 Elvis Presley’s only dramatic movie called Charro! Step inside and say hello to a life-sized version of Elvis stands at the altar to greet you.
Don’t stray too far from the Memorial Chapel because Superstition Mountain Museum is in the same location. Run by friendly volunteers, this attraction is a 12.5-acre FREE outdoor museum that offers great photo opportunities of 19th Century buildings, including a stagecoach and hangman’s noose. There are a few different exhibits packed with information about the history of this area.
Just a few hundred yards from Elvis’ Chapel, you can’t miss Goldfield Ghost Town. As a Canadian girl with roots in Alberta and Texas, I absolutely love the old western vibe. Travel back to the 1890′s when this town housed old-fashioned saloons, a general store, a brewery, a schoolhouse, and a general store. Wander up and down the dirt roads, step over the tumbleweeds, and explore the wild west. For a cost, you can also take a Goldfield Mine Tour or Superstition railroad ride. Every weekend you can watch the Goldfield Gunfighters show every hour, as actors reenact an old west shootout!
Looking for something totally off-the-beaten-path? A stay at the Saguaro Lake Ranch is an unforgettable experience that celebrates the beauty of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert. Located in the valley between Saguaro Lake (yep, there is a lake in the middle of the desert!) and the Bulldog Cliffs, you’ll feel like you’re on the set of an old western film. There are 20 cottages available for bookings on the ranch as well as access to the large main cabin where a full ranch breakfast is also included every morning.
The outdoor activities are what make this experience truly unique. Take a horseback ride through the desert trails or kayak, tube, or swim in the Salt River. Try one of their Cowboy Cookouts on Saturdays or Prix Fixe Menu nights on Thursday to feast on long tables under the stars. Pack your cowboy hat and your camera and head to Saguaro Lake Ranch.
You can’t go to Arizona in October without a trip to a locally-owned pumpkin patch. Mother Nature’s Farm is the perfect place to get those pretty pumpkin patch pictures of your whole family. They even have a mini-pumpkin patch that oozes all the spooky vibes as the sun sets in the early evening. There are lots of family-friendly activities here too including a Children’s Discovery Farm, hayrides, and an adventure maze. Your littles will love it!
Well, Schnepf Farms is nationally-known for its Pumpkin and Chili Party every fall. You may remember Schnepf Farms from my post from February where I tried my hand at glamping, in an AirStream trailer, in a peach field. Well, this fourth-generation family farm had even more unique fun to offer me this time around.
Come to the Pumpkin and Chili Party with your whole family or for a date night, just don’t miss this experience! Here are just a few things that this festival has to offer: hayrides, jumping pillow, corn mazes, games, petting zoo, miniature golf, and amusement park rides. Plus, there is always live music and tons of food vendors, including the famous pumpkin chili. There’s something special about this place, no matter what time of year you visit.
Where will you go first?
For more information on Arizona, check out these previous posts: