Our stay in the Phoenix area started with 3 days of dry camping at the beautiful Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction, just a bit east of Phoenix. There are so many wonderful state parks in Arizona, many with camping sites, but you want to book them at least a couple of months in advance to get a site! The dry camping sites were $20 a night and camp sites with utilities were $30. We love when we can camp with electricity at least, but we got the last site available booking a month in advance, and dry camping in beautiful spots is also a lot of fun! We had a magnificent view of the Superstition Mountains right outside the door of our RV, and hiking trails nearby. David spent a few hours hiking 6 miles up the mountain and back! Ellie told him she was proud of him for hiking that mountain all by himself.
While in the Apache Junction, we went to the Superstition Mountain Museum and the Goldfield Ghost Town, which were only a five minute drive from where we were staing at Lost Dutchman. We especially loved the Ghost Town, because there were restaurants and activities to do there. We enjoyed a train ride and Tyler and David got to ride on the zipline, which was the highlight of Ty’s week. They had a mine tour there as well, and have gunfights on weekends. We also visited the tiny old western town of Tortilla Flats where we saw a great band playing and had their famed Prickly Pear Gelato. The drive here was very scenic as Canyon Lake is there where you can take a ride on the Dolly Steamboat, which looked like it would be a beautiful boat ride!
Since we were near an IKEA, we started some remodeling on the slide area of our RV. We took out our dinette set and our couch as they were getting old and shedding fake leather everywhere. We will have more pics of our before and after in another post soon!
We headed down the road to Monte Vista RV Resort (pictured above) in Mesa, AZ. This was the nicest RV Resort that we have stayed at so far. The grounds were beautifully kept with pretty fountains, a water fall at the pool and hot tubs, a softball field, tennis courts, and many other activities and amenities! The community was nice and we felt like we were on vacation here! There was also so much to do in the area, especially in nearby Scottsdale. We spent Easter here, and they had a fun Egg Hunt for the kids at the resort. On Easter Sunday, we headed to the East Valley Christ Church of the Valley Campus that was about 10 minutes away.
We were lucky enough to catch the tail end of the Cactus League Spring Training and went to 2 Cleveland Indians vs. Arizona Diamondbacks game. One game was at the Indians home field in Goodyear, and one game at the downtown Diamondback’s stadium. This stadium was very kid friendly and had great activities for the kids, including a playground and place to hit the ball. We also attended a Cubs training practice. We brought a couple of baseballs and a marker, and the kids each got a baseball signed by 2 Cubs players (both named Tyler), and 2 Diamondback players, including one from their star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt! We loved being in this city during Spring Training, and would have loved to have been there for even more games and practices!
There were some amazing shopping centers in the area that we loved too! Scottsdale Quarter was pretty and we enjoyed Press Coffee and the water feature there where the kids could play.
For more family activities in the city, our ASTC membership got us into the Arizona Science Center for free. We also stopped at the Odysea Aquarium area and ate at the Dinosaur Restaurant there (not our favorite), and the kids drove bumper boats. It was definitely a cool area, but the Aquarium is pretty expensive so we decided not to go this time. We did head to the Phoenix Zoo with our half price discount with our AZA membership. We had some friends who live in the area join us on this trip and it was a great day! The zoo was larger than we expected and taking our time, we didn’t get to see the whole thing, but pretty close to it!
Another activity, besides swimming at the resort pool, that the kids loved doing here were gymnastics and going to a nearby ninja gym. We searched on Groupon for gymnastics deals, and found an open gym for kids under 5 at Southwest Gymnastics Center in the Tempe area. The kids also each took a class at one of the Little Gym locations in the area that they both loved!! We came to find out there are more Little Gyms across the country as well, so hopefully we will get to visit more. Staying involved in activities is one thing we miss while traveling, so it was fun to take time for the kids to do these activities while in the Phoenix area.
The day before we left, we found Gilbert, AZ which had a few small shops, and a ton of cool, modern restaurants, and a water tower with water feature under it that the kids played in. We would love to try all of the restaurants there, but on this occasion we just had a yummy homecooked breakfast at the Farmhouse Restaurant, and coffee in the beautiful garden patio of Bergie’s Coffeehouse.
Being the end of March, the weather in Phoenix was perfect everyday and was getting warmer! We really enjoyed these beautiful days, and Easter week in Arizona!