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Tourist ideas for family with a 16 yo boy

11 posts
Tourist ideas for family with a 16 yo boy

My husband and I will be in Phoenix beginning Oct 31 through November 8. We'll have our 16 yo son with us, and I wanted to plan some fun things for he and I to do while Dad was in meetings. Would you suggest a canyon tour, or the Verde Canyon railroad ride? What about a jeep tour? We will have a rental car to get around in, so are free to get around easily. Museums may be fun...but not too many!

Mesa, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Tempe
Level Contributor
2,102 posts
97 reviews
1. Re: Tourist ideas for family with a 16 yo boy

I suggest touring ASU - you could ride the light rail to Tempe. Take a hike - Piestewa Peak or South Mountain or Pinnacle Peak or Wind Cave. The canyon is quite a drive from Phoenix for a day trip, and the Verde Canyon railroad might be boring for a sixteen year old. The boat rides on Saguaro Lake or Canyon Lake are closer and just as interesting. I'd definitely do either the zoo or Desert Botanical Garden, with maybe a side trip to take his photo at Hole in the Rock.

Destination Expert
for Scottsdale
Level Contributor
4,869 posts
39 reviews
2. Re: Tourist ideas for family with a 16 yo boy

Since you mentioned jeep tour, i would head to Sedona for a day trip and reserve one of the jeep tours there. Some are pretty adventurous! I know some of the experts from Sedona will chime in, but i have seen Pink Jeep recommended highly on this board. Yes, it is worth the trip. It will be the highlight of his week.

If you can manage a night away, definitely plan to see the Grand Canyon. You can overnight in Flagstaff or Sedona easily. You can do it in one very long day, but since you will probably be doing all the driving I would seriously consider the overnight.

If he is into hiking, there are plenty of easy and strenuous hikes around. In Scottsdale take a look at


and in Phoenix http://www.phoenix.gov/PARKS/hikephx.html

The best museum in town is the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix.

The Cardinals (NFL) and the Coyotes (NHL) might have some home games.

Check into some of the hot air balloon trips as well, usually at sunrise or sunset.

Tucson has the titan Missile Museum. http://www.pimaair.org/ to check out.

And there is always Carlsbad Caverns and Tombstone, also south near Tucson as well.

Destination Expert
for Phoenix, Pinetop-Lakeside
Level Contributor
3,288 posts
371 reviews
3. Re: Tourist ideas for family with a 16 yo boy

I'd agree with most of the above.

If he's into football, he might like to tour the University of Phoenix stadium where the Super Bowl was held when it was in Phoenix. It's where the Cardinals play.


The Phoenix Suns basketball team will be playing then. You might like to check out one of their games.

Phoenix, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Phoenix
Level Contributor
7,060 posts
11 reviews
4. Re: Tourist ideas for family with a 16 yo boy

You can also tour Chase Field, where the Diamnodbacks play. I agree that the Verde Canyon RR might be a bit boring. Definitely spend a night (or two) in Sedona and do a Pink Jeep Tour. He might like a hot air balloon ride, too, but those are also expensive. Head to the Grand Canyon and hike down a bit.

In North Phoenix, you could explore the town of Cave Creek - it's kind of an old, authentic western town. Eat at El Encanto for Mexican food. Not too far from Cave Creek is another place to eat - not a huge menu, mostly burgers - called Greasewood Flat. It's almost all outdoors, and at night it's a 21 and over bar, but during the day it's just kind of a funky place to grab a really good burger.

You could also go horseback riding - try Macdonald's Farm, or the stables at South Mountain.

Also, on the left side of this page, click on the 'Things to Do' link for more ideas.

Petaluma, California
Level Contributor
1,157 posts
134 reviews
5. Re: Tourist ideas for family with a 16 yo boy

I have to agree that the daytrip to Sedona is worthwhile for your entire family and if you pick the pink jeep ride that is the most wild, he will never forget it!

Also, when you go up to that area, if he is interested at all in native Americans, he might really get a kick out of places to tour like Montezuma wall and Montezuma Castle. If he does find an interest in native Americans, then you should not miss our great local Heard Museum here in Phoenix.

There is a place called Castles and Coasters - a very tiny amusement park with about 4-5 rides and some mini-golf. It's located at the Metro Center mall on Hwy 17 and Dunlap.

Tours of all our great professional sports arenas is always great for teens.

I have to agree that I am not sure he would be interested in the Verde Canyon railroad unless he is a real nature lover, then he would love it.

Some of the local water parks are still open on weekends only through Nov. 1. and it could still be pretty hot. www.phoenix.mywetnwild.com

The AZ. Science Center if perfect for kids of all ages to learn and do interactive science. My husband and I love this place. www.azscience.org You can spend hours and hours there. There is a planetarium, IMAX movies, and a Sky Cycle to ride.

While I am thinking of this, if you go to Sedona, plan a long day and go on up to Flagstaff for evening and visit our actual Observatory called Lowell. To see the skies on their huge telescopes is inspiring and you will never forget it.


Have a great time!

OH yes! I highly recommend Alice Coopers restaurant for a meal at AliceCooperstown.com , which is filled with rock and roll guitars and such. I love the menu there myself.

11 posts
6. Re: Tourist ideas for family with a 16 yo boy

Thank you so much for all the great ideas! We definitely have plenty to keep us busy.

Phoenix, AZ
Level Contributor
31 posts
7. Re: Tourist ideas for family with a 16 yo boy

Reading through I didn't see anyone mention the State Fair. Not exactly a tourist destination but for a 16 year old boy that might be something he would enjoy.


Level Contributor
206 posts
61 reviews
8. Re: Tourist ideas for family with a 16 yo boy

Definitely take him for a walk down Mill Avenue in Tempe, maybe for lunch and some shopping, and a walk around Tempe Town Lake. Maybe even rent a paddle boat. It's a younger crowd, and a lot of fun. You will have plenty of dining options as well.


Level Contributor
2,144 posts
51 reviews
9. Re: Tourist ideas for family with a 16 yo boy

Definately go to Sedona and take the Broken Arrow Pink Jeep tour. My son loved it. Actually take the Broken Arrow Scenic Rim Combo, I wish we had taken the combo when we went.

Regina, Canada
Level Contributor
45 posts
28 reviews
10. Re: Tourist ideas for family with a 16 yo boy

Hey Gourmand...

My husband and I are NOT 16 but, Wow are very impressed that SOMEONE mentioned the alicecoopertown restaurant, we forgot that it even existed, we first saw it on Anthony Bourdains' Show "No Reservations" and thought that it would be wild... NOW, we will have to check that out, Thanks a Bunch!