Even in the highlands, that dry Arizona summer can be truly unbearable. It gets hotter and hotter until we literally have a meltdown. No matter how skimpily we dress (and we do), our skin still leaves sweat puddles on anything we touch. There are plenty of ways to escape the miserable inferno and enjoy a proper summer in Arizona, here are just a few.
1. Immediately acquire some eegee’s, if you’re lucky enough to be chillin’ in the southern part of the state. It doesn’t matter what the flavor of the month is, these fruity slushies defend you against even the hottest days. Vodka is (mostly) optional.
2. Get thee underground. All throughout the state, you can stumble upon — but hopefully not into — some fabulous cave featuring dead megafauna and cool formations. You can even buffet it up in the Grand Canyon Caverns’ deep-seated restaurant, Cavern Grotto.
3. Head for the hills. Many of the highest mountain passes are only open during summer months, so might as well drive to the top and take in the crisp (or crispy, post-wildfire) vistas.
4. Purchase driving gloves, aka oven mitts. Otherwise, you’ll leave molten hand skin on your steering wheel, and that’s not hot.
5. Tube the Salt. Generations of Arizonans and their snowbird guests have gotten their worst-ever sunburn with their butt stuck in an inner tube on what we consider to be an actual river. Or float the Verde River and stop at vineyards for wine tastings along the way.
6. Alternatively, hike to a higher elevation hot spring. Seems ironic, but they’re often cooler than the ambient air.
7. Consume perhaps too many house margaritas. Order frozen, half-salt. Or hey, just shoot some tequila. And a Tecate. It’s called “denial”… of the oppressive heat.
8. Relieve the swelter at a splash pad. Insist that they’re not only for the kiddos. You don’t want to outlive your welcome at your buddy’s pool.
9. Grab some kitschy sunglasses at any number of giant truck stops. They grill the best burgers ever, by the way — especially the TTT on the 10.
10. Enjoy not having to make reservations at restaurants near the universities. It’s only locals come June.
11. Take full advantage of the deep discounts at resorts in Scottsdale. There will be no “No Vacancy” signs in sight.
12. Fry an egg on the sidewalk or bake cookies on your dashboard. It’s another novel rite of passage through an Arizona July.
13. Mall walk. It sounds just awful but because of exposure warnings and high UV levels, going outside, even in the morning, just isn’t a viable option.
14. Pack a midnight picnic, drive about 20 miles out of town, and watch the predictable Perseids meteor showers streak starlight across mid-August night skies.
15. Praise and savor the monsoons. The reprieve they provide is temporary, but they reinvigorate the desert, put on an incredible sky show, and replenish our souls, offering hope that there is light at the end of the Hades summer.