Arizona

The Top 9 Memory Making Family Resorts in Arizona

Want quality family time and memories that last a lifetime? Take a vacation! With many family-friendly resorts, Arizona is an ideal family destination for fun and memory making.

Author Og Mandino said, “The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories.” Nothing does this better than those created while traveling as a family.

Some of my most fond family memories are the annual trips I took with my parents. From the time our tour bus struck not one, but three buildings in a tiny Italian town, to my first flight as a five-year-old when I matter-of-factly declared that, “Pooh Bear is scared,” these family memories are an important part of my history.

In fact it was the vacation we took to Phoenix when I was a teenager that made me want to move to the Valley of the Sun as an adult. As a Wisconsin native I never knew I could live in a place that was filled with so many flowers and so much sun!

But as anyone who has ever traveled with kids and teens knows, trying to please everyone is a challenge. Thankfully, Arizona has something for everyone, and a myriad of resorts with activities and programs tailored specifically for families.

Phoenix/Scottsdale

With over 300 days of sun, more than 200 golf courses, the most resort spas in the country per capita, and large resorts with major kid-friendly programming, the Valley of the Sun has something to appeal to every family member.

JW Marriott Desert Ridge

With nearly 950 rooms set on 316 acres in northeast Phoenix, the JW Marriott Desert Ridge is the largest resort in Arizona.

With a dedicated family concierge you can expect a wealth of options from a daily morning kids camps, and afternoons that include family arts and crafts, movies and board games. Daily activities always include something for families from a culinary class to a scavenger hunt.

Take advantage of Arizona’s great weather on a family bike ride or hike, on a float down the resort’s lazy river, or challenging each other to a game of pickleball.

For some adult only time, book a couples massage at the Revive Spa or hit the links on courses designed by Arnold Palmer and Nick Faldo.

JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

Top rated
Phoenix, 17.9 miles to Arizona Capitol Museum
9.0 Excellent (1298 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
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JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

Top rated
Phoenix
9.0 Excellent (1298 reviews)

Westin Kierland

If you sometimes wonder if your kids are secretly Mermaids or Mermen, the Westin Kierland is the spot for the family vacation. While other Valley resorts have incredible pools, the Westin Kierland could easily double as a water park. The resort is the only one in town with a FlowRider flow-board to simulate surfing in the desert. The Adventure Pool offers a water slide and lazy river. For the ultimate experience rent the Tommy Bahama private island. You’ll enjoy your own private section of the lazy river, lounge seating, day bed, and a dining table directly in the reef.

In late 2019, the Westin unveiled a complete renovation of its 732 guest rooms, debuting a more modern, refined aesthetic designed to reflect the connection with the desert setting.

Dad (and Mom!) should take advantage of the hotel’s Scotch Library. The collection of over 300 whiskeys, including some of the rarest in the world, makes the hotel’s portfolio one of the strongest in the country. Every Friday one of the resort’s kilt-clad Scotch Ambassadors leads an educational tasting of three unique whiskies.

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

Top rated
Scottsdale, 9.2 miles to Old Town Scottsdale
9.3 Excellent (4084 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
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The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

Top rated
Scottsdale
9.3 Excellent (4084 reviews)

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch

While the Westin wants you to hang ten, the Hyatt Regency offers up beach time. Lounge on the sandy shore or take a ride down the 30-foot, high-speed waterslide. Throughout the year the resort offers family programming ranging from Holy Guacamole making to presentations by the Great Arizona Puppet Theater. Camp Hyatt offers daily programing where kids might make a dream catcher one day and an arrowhead necklace the next.

Mom and Dad can enjoy a romantic gondola ride, Italian serenade included, at night on the property’s lake.

Located in central Scottsdale the resort offers nearly 500 rooms and suites, eight dining outlets and some of the best resort musical entertainment in the Valley.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch

Top rated
Scottsdale, 5.2 miles to Old Town Scottsdale
8.9 Excellent (2664 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
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Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch

Top rated
Scottsdale
8.9 Excellent (2664 reviews)

Four Seasons Scottsdale

In far North Scottsdale, The Four Seasons Scottsdale is one of the few Valley resorts that includes a complimentary kids camp, offering a full day of fun indoor and outdoor activities. The resort has a special kids pool that is just one foot deep and cabanas exclusively for that pool area.

While many spas have a minimum age limit, the spa here welcomes kids with services like the Bubble Gum Yummy Manicure and Pedicure created just for spa divas in training.

The resort recently remodeled the main pool area and accommodations. Rooms and suites have a more modern, lighter fee, and come with a balcony or patio to enjoy the stunning views of Pinnacle Peak and the city skyline.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (853 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.5 / 10
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Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (853 reviews)

Tucson

Named the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the United States, Tucson is the place to take a food tour or simply eat at some of the best Mexican eateries in the state. Kids love the Pima Air & Space Museum and Old Tucson, a Wild West movie set turned theme park. With great hiking in the Saguaro National Park and Sabino Canyon, Tucson is far more than a smaller Phoenix.

JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass

Located in the saguaro foothills of Tucson National Park, the JW Marriott Starr Pass is one of the top resorts in the city.

The pool area, with its waterfalls, lazy river, multi-level pools and dancing fountains are the stuff of childhood dreams. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore miles of trails on property by foot or bike, or take the family on the daily guided hike offered. During the season, family yoga on the lawn is offered daily and a Native American ceremony starts each day at the resort.

Families enjoy dining at the Signature Grill, which highlights Mexican, Native American and Cowboy chow on its menu, or at the poolside Plunge, which has a special kids menu.

JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa

Top rated
Tucson, 11.6 miles to Pima Air & Space Museum
8.9 Excellent (1386 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.1 / 10
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JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort & Spa

Top rated
Tucson
8.9 Excellent (1386 reviews)

Hacienda del Sol

The historic Hacienda Del Sol began as a ranch school for the daughter’s of society’s elite families, and in the 1940s was converted to a guest ranch that became a Hollywood favorite for Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Clark Gable and more. Today it tempts families with its rustic charm and old west activities like horseback riding and hiking in the Catalina Mountains that make up the resort’s backyard.

Hacienda Del Sol has both historic guest rooms, many named after former students of the ranch school, and 32 new guest rooms that were added during its 2015 remodel. The furniture throughout the property was handmade in Mexico and colorful Talavera tiles evoke old west flavor.

Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort

Top rated
Tucson, 11.9 miles to Pima Air & Space Museum
9.2 Excellent (488 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.2 / 10
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Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort

Top rated
Tucson
9.2 Excellent (488 reviews)

Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain

The Ritz Carlton Dove Mountain is one of only eight properties in the world to hold a position on both Forbes verified lists of the World’s Most Luxurious Hotels and World’s Most Luxurious Spas. Last year the five-star property unveiled a $10 million renovation that saw a floor-to-ceiling makeover of all 253 guest rooms and enhancements throughout the property, including the three swimming pools and 235-foot slide.

The hotel offers the Ritz Kids Ranger program where young adventurers learn about the environment, health and history through fun games, experiments and activities.

Accommodations range from standard guest rooms to casitas over 2,000 sq. ft. Instead of adding a rollaway bed to accommodate kids, opt for the in-room tent experience where the bed is replaced by an indoor tent. The indoor camping experience is glamping at its best with featherbeds and twinkle lights.

Hotel The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (508 reviews)
Excellent Cleanliness 9.4 / 10
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Hotel The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (508 reviews)

Sedona

With its gorgeous red rocks, Sedona is arguably the most beautiful city in Arizona. It’s made for hiking, mountain biking or taking a family 4×4 tour of the backcountry.

Arabella

Located at the far end of Oak Creek Canyon, the recently renovated Arabella is a quiet oasis of 144 rooms in the heart of downtown Sedona. The original hotel, the first in town, was built to accommodate Hollywood and hosted John Wayne and Elvis Presley when they were shooting in town.

The family-friendly property offers two pools, complimentary cruiser bike use, and an easy trail adjacent to the hotel to get into the red rocks. The hotel is within walking distance of the historic Tlaquepaque outdoor shopping market and some of the finest dining in Sedona at Mariposa and the Elote Café.

Arabella Hotel Sedona

Sedona, 1.7 miles to Oak Creek Canyon
8.0 Very good (5237 reviews)
Excellent Service 8.6 / 10
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Arabella Hotel Sedona

Sedona
8.0 Very good (5237 reviews)

Enchantment Resort

Nestled into the towering red rocks of Boynton Canyon, Enchantment Resort is an oasis that blends seamlessly with the natural beauty of the landscape.

With more than 100 weekly activities, including mountain bike treks, guided hikes and art courses, guests could easily never leave the property. For young children, Camp Coyote offers half-day and full-day programming focused on everything from scavenger hunts and pottery making to nature walks and Yoga. The tennis center offers programs to introduce kids to the sport and a junior academy where advanced players can hone their skills.

The affiliated Mii Amo spa is a true destination spa that has been named top spa in the country for the second year in a row by Travel & Leisure magazine.

Enchantment Resort and Mii amo spa

Top rated
Sedona, 4.3 miles to Oak Creek Canyon
8.9 Excellent (426 reviews)
Excellent Location 9.4 / 10
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Enchantment Resort and Mii amo spa

Top rated
Sedona
8.9 Excellent (426 reviews)