From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
Located in central-south Arizona is Queen Creek, which is dubbed as one of the best-kept secrets in the state. You see, this city is blessed with 330 days of sunshine annually and enjoys a relaxed, rural lifestyle – all within an easy commute to the major city of Phoenix. It’s home to over 50,000 residents, and is celebrated for its unique attractions, including everything from state and regional parks, to museums, landmarks, and more.
Ready to discover the best of Queen Creek, Arizona? Let’s get started!
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
Queen Creek and its surrounding area are home to multiple state parks, helping you to get back to nature and leave behind the hustle and bustle of the city – even if only for a couple of hours. Here are our top picks within the region.
Less than a half-hour drive from Queen Creek is the Lost Dutchman State Park. It’s located in the Sonoran Desert, at the base of the Superstition Mountains, and its beautiful desert scenery is sure to delight. Here, you can enjoy activities such as hiking, ranger-led programs, and wildlife viewing – including species such as the desert mule deer, coyote, desert cottontail, greater roadrunner, bobcat, and more.
An hour’s drive south of Queen Creek will bring you to Picacho Peak State Park, named after its prominent 1,500-foot peak. The park and surrounding area are known for its unique geological significance, outstanding and varied desert growth, and historical importance. You can also enjoy recreational activities such as camping, hiking, picnicking, and more.
A shorter distance from the city, at less than a 45-minute drive away, is the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument. Here, you can explore the mystery and complexity of an extended network of communities and irrigation canals. Additionally, activities such as guided and self-guided tours, as well as picnicking, are popular.
White Tank Mountain Regional Park is special for a number of reasons. Eleven archaeological sites, occupied during the time period A.D. 500-1100, were located within the boundaries of White Tank Mountain Regional Park, all of which can be attributed to the Hohokam Indians. Check out the onsite Petroglyphs, stay overnight in a campsite, hit the trails, enjoy a spot of stargazing, and so much more.
In as little as a 15-minute drive, you can get to one of the most popular parks within the region - San Tan Mountain Regional Park. It encompasses over 10,000 acres and preserves a portion of the San Tan Mountains, south of Queen Creek. Whether you’re looking to enjoy hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, or more – you’ll find it all here!
One of the best ways to truly experience Queen Creek is by foot, so luckily, there are plenty of hiking trails in or near the city. These are some of our favorites!
Within the San Tan Mountain Regional Park is one of the most popular hiking trails within the region – the Dynamite and Goldmine Trail Loop. This 7.6 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail is rated as moderate and features beautiful desert wildflowers, light inclines, and stunning views of the surrounding area.
Another popular hiking trail within the Queen Creek region – also within the San Tan Mountain Regional Park – is the Stargazer Trail. It’s a 3.7 kilometer loop trail that’s primarily used for hiking, walking, running, and mountain biking. Dogs are allowed on the trail, but they must be kept on a leash at all times. Look out for beautiful wildflowers along the way!
Hiking is one of our favorite things to do here in Queen Creek, and the San Tan Mountain Regional Park has miles of desert terrain to explore. I hike it a few times a week and never get tired of the beautiful views of Saguaro cacti. Play your cards right (by checking their website) and visit for a night hike!
Whether you’re craving comfort food, fast food, or a fine dining experience, this area has it all. Ready to satisfy those post-hike cravings?
With its stunning outdoor setting, fired-up cookouts, and live country music, San Tan Flat describes itself as “all the fun of camping…without having to sleep on the ground”. Enjoy everything from burgers, steaks, soups, and salads, to desserts, kid-friendly dishes, and more.
With its inspiring story, passion for giving back to the community, and of course, desire to serve great food, Oregano's is no doubt one of the region’s most-loved restaurants. They’re especially famous for their pizza, but also serve other favorites such as pasta, wings, salads, sandwiches, desserts, and more. Try it for yourself!
Also located within the area, Baci Italian Bistro is a family owned and operated restaurant serving – you guessed it – traditional Italian food. It all began in 1990 and now, the family restaurant chain operates in multiple Arizona locations. We hear their minestrone soup, gnocchi, and calzones are well-worth the visit.
There’s nothing like fresh, delicious sushi after a long day exploring a city. At Sushi Creek, experience some of the best sushi you’ve ever tried, as well as other non-traditional favorites such as burgers and desserts. It’s highly recommended for both sushi and non-sushi lovers!
The family owned and operated Queen Creek Olive Mill is a must-stop when visiting town. The Italian-inspired food is made with local meats from The Pork Shop and fresh olives and oils from the grove. Check out a tour of the olive grove or simply enjoy the great food and eat in the grove. On weekends, they have live music outside to enjoy. If you’re traveling with a family, this place is kid-friendly, too.
After feasting and enjoying all that nature has to offer, you may be wondering: “what next?” Well, when it comes to Queen Creek’s attractions and activities, you’re only just getting started. Here are some of the most fun things on offer in and around the city!
Looking for some fun activities to do with children? Look no further! The following attractions are sure to satisfy even the smallest humans for hours on end.
With attractions such as the Mansel Carter Oasis Park within the city, there’s no reason for children to feel bored. You see, this is more than your average park, and it contains facilities such as baseball fields, a splash pad, 5-acre fishing lake, a skate plaza, peninsula with rock waterfall, and so much more. What else could a child ask for?
Whether it’s date-night or you simply find yourself wandering around the city long after the sun has gone down – here are our top activities to enjoy in Queen Creek during the darker hours.
Looking to enjoy some live music at night? At Norton’s Country Corner, you can enjoy live music every week. So invite your friends, sit back, relax, and make use of their full bar while you’re at it! They showcase fantastic live music from local and traveling bands.
Speaking of live shows, there’s also nightly entertainment on offer at the Queen Creek Performing Arts Center. Along with performing arts workshops and camps, you’ll also find regular shows and events, including a free art series or shows catered for families. There’s something for everyone here!
Want to hit the town without it costing you a small fortune? Queen Creek is full of fun and interesting attractions, including those that cost just a few dollars for you to enjoy. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy the city “on the cheap”.
We shared above but it's worth another mention as a favorite low cost activity in Queens Creek. Head on over to the Queen Creek Olive Mill to not only shop their unique olive oil products or enjoy an olive oil spa session, but also to take part in an educational tour, where you can learn all about the incredible benefits of olive oil. Tours cost just $7 per person and run multiple times per day from Monday to Sunday.
What’s not to love about Superstition Farm? This working farm runs farm tours, is home to an adorable petting zoo (just $3.75 admission), and hosts regular fun events for visitors of all ages. Fun fact: almost all of its petting zoo animals are rescue animals, so be sure to show them plenty of love!
Looking to get the most out of your time spent within the city of Queen Creek? Whether you want a fun way to waste away a Sunday afternoon or a date idea that won’t break the budget – here are our most recommended things to do in the city that won’t cost you a cent.
McFarland State Historic Park is home to a must-see museum, which provides visitors with a look into the past. The museum building represents a transition between Sonoran and Anglo-American architecture and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday (October through May) and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Saturday (June through September). Along with learning about the history of the area, you can also enjoy a picnic in the designated picnic area, complete with shelters.
Looking for a fun and free way to cool off in the warm weather? The 4,000 square foot splash pad at Founder’s Park is the place to go, as it contains various water features to enjoy. While it’s closed from November to February, it can be enjoyed all other months from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours from May to August.
For four generations, this family run farm hosts events, U-pick gardens, family activities, and a bakery. I recently went to a drive-in movie at the farm and my kids loved it! There’s always something going on here, so I’m known to visit throughout the year; the most popular events include peach-picking season, the chili and pumpkin festival, and the Winter Wonderland Festival of Lights during the holiday season. We love having this little gem right down the road.
Alright, by now you’ve probably been on your feet all day exploring the sights and delights that Queen Creek has to offer. If you’re craving some rest and relaxation, or even a bit of pampering, these are two of the best spas in the region.
Did you know regular massage can help reduce chronic aches and pains, relieve stress, improve sleep, and generally contribute to an enhanced sense of wellness? Take advantage of the massage services at Massage Green Spa in Queen Creek, or if you’re craving something a little different, why not try an invigorating facial? You’re worth it!
The Queen Creek Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa provides professional spa experiences at affordable prices seven days a week. Here, you can melt away the stress of deadlines and hectic schedules, spend quality time with a loved one, or achieve radiant, healthy skin. Enjoy treatments such as decompression therapy, hot stone massage, anti-aging facial, trigger point massage, and so much more!
If rejuvenation for you is less about deep relaxation and more about sweating it out, then you’re in luck. Queen Creek is home to some of the highest-rated gyms and yoga studios within the region.
Mountainside Fitness Queen Creek is one of the leading gyms within the region. It provides state-of-the-art equipment and machinery, as well as a wide range of fitness classes and amenities. In fact, there are more than 80 group fitness classes on offer each week, covering everything from Zumba, H.I.I.T, and Barre, to Yoga, Pilates, Cycling, and much more.
Arizona Goat Yoga is among the top 10 things to do in Arizona and rated #1 Goat Yoga in the world. They’ve been immortalized twice in The Guinness Book of World Records and have been featured all over the media, from television and magazines, to newspapers and the radio. It doesn’t just end with gorgeous goats though. At this outdoor yoga studio, you’ll also find classes with mini donkeys, alpacas, cows, and more!
Looking to fulfill your wanderlust by heading outside of the region for a day? You could spend weeks within Queen Creek without barely scratching the surface of all there is to do in this city, but consider these day trips next time you fancy a new adventure.
Tucson, a larger city within Arizona, is just a 1.5-hour drive from Queen Creek, making it the perfect day trip destination. There are so many intriguing things to do here, whether it’s visiting Saguaro National Park, checking out the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, going to San Xavier del Bac Mission, spending time at the Pima Air & Space Museum, and more. Check out our Tucson local guide - don’t miss this popular city and all that it has to offer!
Craving some more national park action? Luckily for you, the world-famous Joshua Tree National Park is just over a 3.5-hour drive away. Here, you’ll find two distinct desert ecosystems, the Mojave and the Colorado, as well as dark night skies, a rich cultural history, and surreal geologic features. Enjoy hiking, biking, and bird watching, or make a weekend out of it and camp under the stars.
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Queen Creek that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Queen Creek? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.