There's nothing better than a city break that's also a nature break. It's so rare to find a city to travel to where you can indulge in healthy adventures but also be able to take an Uber into the city center for a good meal after. Scottsdale ticks both of those boxes, and it's also incredibly easy and affordable to get to. I was able to get there on a direct flight from New Orleans, which was awesome because it's so hard to find direct flights anywhere from Nola! The other bonus is that it stays warmer longer during fall and into winter, making it a great outdoor wellness destination this time of year.
My Mom flew from Charleston to meet me in Scottsdale for a little mother/daughter getaway and we were lucky to have the amazing Scottsdale Tourism Board to help us plan some amazing excursions (Thanks, y'all!). Here are some of the highlights:
This is a must-do if you're in the Scottsdale area. We timed it right at sunrise so we could reap the benefits of the gorgeous rose-glow of the sun slowly highlighting the Sonoran desert. It's an easy climb for about the first mile/1.5 mile if you take Cholla Trail. We didn't make it all the way to the top because we stopped to take so many photos that we ran out of time. But if you're up for a more strenuous hike, continue on Cholla Trail up the ridge line and things start to get a bit tougher. The view is amazing even on the first mile of the trail!
Hot Air Balloon over the Sonoran Desert
This has been on my bucket list for a while. Put away any hesitations you may have about being in a balloon hundreds of feet up in the air; it's one of the most peaceful experiences I've ever had! The balloon rises up smooth like an elevator and you just float across the sky. I found a lot of peace and clarity while up there. It also ends with a champagne breakfast and, well, who doesn't love that? We flew with Hot Air Expeditions and they were awesome! Super funny and entertaining but also serious and experienced.
Sunset Hike at McDowell Sonoran Preserve
This was one of my favorite walks. The McDowell Preserve is stunning and we had the most knowledgable guide who told us the most interesting facts about some of the desert plants and animals that we saw along the way. I was excited because we found wild jojoba bush, which is an exceptional skincare ingredient. The jojoba oil is in a lot of my face oils and it's incredible how the desert gives you exactly what you need. I'm soo dry out here! *Thank you Arizona Outback Adventures for the fantastic tour!
Take a Mediation Walk through the Botanical Gardens
This was such a gorgeous evening. The sun sets so early this time of year so we headed over to walk the botanical gardens at sunset. If you get there during the golden hour the plants and flowers completely light up and it makes for some gorgeous photos. You can also do yoga in the gardens certain times of year.
Where to Stay & Eat
We stayed at the Canyon Suites at the Phoenician and I couldn't recommend it more. It's basically a boutique hotel within a hotel and was recently renovated last summer. The rooms are 1200 sq feet which is incredible and ours had a giant soaking tub and view of the city and desert. They have a Center for Well-Being, a giant spa where I tried a 2 hour long desert clay wrap and eucalyptus rosemary scrub followed by a massage. *If you follow me on instagram you probably saw me trying trapeze as well here!
The Sanctuary and Boulders Resort are also stunning. Boulders has a mediation maze and offers some beautiful Native American healing treatments.
FnB was our favorite restaurant. The food was incredible and the wine Somm let us try a tasting of Arizona wines (our favorite being the Provisioner!).
Citrine Natural Beauty Bar is not a resturatant but a natural beauty store that carries a ton of amazing non-toxic lines that I love. It's worth a stop if you want to stock up on some goodies.
Hope this inspires you to take an adventure this year and #WanderWell <3