Buckeye is one of the fastest-growing cities in Arizona, and it is also one of the state's most popular tourist destinations. It predominantly attracts outdoor enthusiasts who visit the area to see the wildlife or to enjoy activities such as camping, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback, riding. The city also has many activities and attractions to suit all tastes. No matter whether you prefer spending time in the town or heading out to the surrounding rural landscape, you will find plenty of activities to enjoy during your visit. Here are the 20 best things to do in Buckeye, AZ.
20. See the Sonoran Desert National Monument
The Sonoran Desert National Monument is a section of the desert and a museum that was created in 2001. It consists of 500,000 acres of the desert, which is considered America's most biologically diverse desert. The aim is to preserve and protect the desert and the endangered species that call it home. The Sonoran Desert Monument also includes three mountain ranges: the Maricopa, the Sand Tank, and the Table Top Mountains. Within the park, there are multiple significant historical and archaeological sites, and visitors can explore these along the many trails.
19. Try Desert Skydiving
For the more adventurous travelers who enjoy an adrenaline rush, consider trying Desert Skydiving. It is possible to head out in a small, private plane that takes you over the desert, then skydive back down to Earth. Customers are strapped to an experienced instructor before jumping out of the plane when it is two miles above the desert. Despite the phenomenal drop, it takes just 40 seconds from jumping to landing. During the fall, skydivers can enjoy spectacular views of Estrella Mountain and the White Tank Mountains.
18. Visit the Desert Botanical Garden
The Crazy Tourist recommends a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden. The garden is set within Papago Park, and it was established in 1939. Now, volunteers run the garden, and it is they that are responsible for the creation, design, and development of this attraction. The gardens boast more than 50,000 plants, and around a third of these are native to the area. As you stroll around the garden, you can enjoy the colorful visual impact of the gardens and delight in the wonderful aromas from the plants.
17. See the Animals at Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park
For animal lovers, one of Buckeye's top attractions is the Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park, which is part of Litchfield Park. It is also one of the area's best attractions for families, as it is something that people of all ages can enjoy. It is home to Arizona's largest collection of exotic animals, including South American and African creatures. There are various rides and attractions around the park, including a carousel and the African Safari Train, which allows you to see animals such as ostriches, gazelles, and antelope.
16. Go Horseback Riding
As Buckeye is surrounded by such a diverse landscape, you will want to spend some time outdoors exploring the area. If you are a horse lover, then you can combine your love of animals with your passion for the outdoors by going horseback riding. You can book yourself onto a horseback riding adventure that will take you across the Sonoran Desert. The guided tours are various lengths, and one of the best times to enjoy this activity is while the sun is setting over the desert.
15. Discover Skyline Regional Park
Skyline Regional Park is the sister park of the Estrella Mountain Regional Park, and it is a top destination for exploring Arizona's landscape. One of the most popular activities within the park is hiking, as there are trails with different difficulty ratings. Along the trails, hikers can look out for lizards, snakes, and other wildlife. Other activities to enjoy in the park include mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, stargazing, and picnicking.
14. Relax at The Spa at Victory Club
If you want to spend some time relaxing during your break in Buckeye, then visit The Spa at Victory Club. The spa offers a wide range of therapies and treatments, including massages, skin treatments, and waxing. It is a fantastic place to visit to unwind, feel pampered, and get away from the stresses, strains, and responsibilities of daily life.
13. Enjoy a Round of Golf at the Copper Canyon Golf Club
Arizona has some excellent options for golf enthusiasts, and the best golf course in the Buckeye area is the Copper Canyon Golf Club. It is a fully-quipped, 18-hole golf course with various challenges and stunning surroundings. If you do not have your own equipment, it is possible to hire clubs and balls from the clubhouse. There is also an on-site eatery called Indigo Grille, where you can enjoy a delicious meal at the end of your game.
12. Explore Estrella Mountain Regional Park
Estrella Mountain Regional Park is one of the best places to explore the outdoors surrounding Buckeye. The Gala River runs through the park, so it is a popular spot for fishing. It is also popular with hikers, horse lovers, and mountain bikers, as there are miles of trails running through the park. Other activities and facilities within the park include a golf course, campsites, picnic areas, and baseball pitches.
11. Splash Around at Buckeye Aquatics Center
A top attraction for families and a great place to have some family fun is Buckeye Aquatics Center. It is a waterpark where tourists and locals head to cool off from the baking Arizona heat. There are several pools with different depths and some fun waterslides. There is also a beachfront area where you can relax and a casual eatery.
10. Learn About Arizona on a Geo Savvy Tour
If you prefer to take a guided tour of an area rather than explore a location on your own, then book yourself onto a Geo Savvy Tour. One of the highlights of these tours is learning about the state from tour guides who are passionate about Arizona. The experience includes elements of art, the local environment, history, Arizonian culture, and local cuisine. There are various tour options available that focus on different aspects of the area.
9. See the Historic Gillespie Dam Bridge
There are some interesting structures to see when you visit Buckeye, and one to put at the top of your list is the Historic Gillespie Dam Bridge. The bridge was built in 1926, while the dam it crosses was created in 1920. Originally, the dam was built to divert water to its neighboring streams for agricultural purposes. Now, the dam only exists during heavy rain, and the bridge is only used for foot traffic. It is one of the best structures to photograph, and the best time to do this is at dusk, when the fading sunlight highlights the different colors of the rusting steel bridge.
8. Hike Around White Tank Mountain Regional Park
Both the history of White Tank Mountain Regional Park and the leisure activities it offers are appealing to locals and tourists visiting the region. It is home to eleven archaeological sites that feature petroglyphs as it has been home to various settlements since as early as 500 AD. Many of the archaeological sites are related to the Hohokam Indians who lived in the park around 10,000 years ago. There are multiple trails of varying difficulty that are used for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. One of the main trails is the Black Rock Trail, which goes through the site of the Hohokam village.
7. Have Fun at Hidden Lake
A fun place to visit during your vacation is Hidden Lake. The 60-acres of water sit within a 120-acre recreation area. The clean lake is used for fishing and swimming. Visitors can also enjoy water-based activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding. In the recreation area surrounding Hidden Lake, there are hiking trails and campsites. There is also an on-site music bar and an events area. The latter hosts various events throughout the year. Regardless of your age or interests, you will find something to keep you entertained at this attraction.
6. Enjoy Nature at Robbins Butte Wildlife Area
Robbins Butte Wildlife Area is a 1,681-acre wildlife area in Buckeye. The preserve is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including 19 species of reptiles, 140 bird species, and various mammals and fish. Most people who visit this wildlife area enjoy hiking the trails, birdwatching, and general wildlife spotting. You can fish in the Gila River, which runs through Robbins Butte Wildlife Area, if you have a permit. It is also possible to hunt if you have a license.
5. Hike the Victory Steps at Verrado
A short yet energetic hike in Buckeye is up the Victory Steps. They are in Verrado, which is a couple of miles outside Buckeye, and this forms the first section of the walk. Once in Verrado, you will find the Victory Steps, which is a 0.2-mile trail of ascending steps. Although the walk is only short, only the most athletic are not out of breath when they reach the top of the steps, and the walk back down is almost as challenging.
4. Go to Buckeye Valley Museum
There are several museums to visit in the area, but the one that will give you the most insight into the city's past is Buckeye Valley Museum. It was established in 1954 by I.H. Parkman, and the focus is on educating people about the town's history. Although it is only a small museum, it has an impressive collection of artifacts relating to the area. The artifacts are displayed across two galleries, and examples of exhibits include pottery from pre-Columbian times and historic photographs. Some of the most interesting exhibits in this museum include a row of seats from the Roxy Theater, a 1926 tractor, and bronze plates from the Roosevelt Irrigation Canal. Entry to this attraction is free, so it is an activity to add to your vacation itinerary if you are on a budget.
3. Have a Drink at Waddell's Longhorn Corral
Following a day of exploring the city and the surrounding area, you might like to do nothing more than relax with a drink. There are many places where you can enjoy a drink, many of which also serve meals. One of the best places to go for a drink is at Waddell's Longhorn Corral, which has a rustic setting and live music. You can also sit down for a meal, and the casual menu consists of burgers, nacho dishes, quesadilla, and other tasty dishes.
2. Take a Stroll Around Sundance Park
Many people head to the city's outskirts and beyond to enjoy the outdoors, but it is also possible to spend time outside in gorgeous surroundings within the urban setting. Head to Sundance Park, which covers 30 acres, and you will find plenty of space to take a stroll surrounded by greenery. It is a pet-friendly park with two dog parks, so you can take your dog along for a walk or to play ball games. There is also a covered playground for younger visitors, shelters with picnic areas, volleyball courts, a soccer field, and a baseball field.
1. Go Shopping at Sundance Towne Center
According to Trip 101, one of the best things to do in Buckeye, AZ, is to go shopping at the Sundance Towne Center. It is a regional mall that features various chain and independent stores, where you can pick up everything you need along with some treats or souvenirs to take home. There are also various restaurants in the mall where you can grab a bite to eat before heading back to the shops. These serve various cuisines, so you will find something that appeals to your tastebuds.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn