Phoenix, Arizona, is a great travel destination but if you’ve never experienced the peak of summer in Phoenix or in a similar desert environment, the heat can be overwhelming.
With summer temperature records getting broken left and right, you want to know what to expect and how to best deal with the heat before you arrive to a resort.
In this article, I’ll take a look at whether or not it’s worth visiting a Phoenix resort during the summertime when temperatures may be scorching. I’ll also give you several tips that can help you get the most out of your visit.
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What kind of temperatures will you be dealing with in the summer?
Just in case you were wondering what type of high and low temperatures you might be facing when you visit Phoenix in the summer, below is a graph showing the average temperatures from roughly the last decade. The average high in the summer is going to be about 106°.
Keep in mind that heat waves can spike beyond these averages by several degrees and sometimes those high temperatures hang around for a while. In 2020, Phoenix had over 50 days above 110°F.
And remember, it’s not just about the temperature either.
The fact that you may be surrounded by concrete matters a lot because that will only enhance the heat.
Materials commonly found at hotels such as concrete and bricks absorb and store heat, which can cause the heat to linger and make it more difficult for you to escape the hellish air.
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Why would you want to travel to Phoenix in the summer?
Phoenix is home to a lot of noteworthy and luxurious resorts.
During the late fall through early spring peak season when temperatures are mild, prices for these properties can get ridiculously expensive.
But when the temperatures rise in the summer, the prices can fall to 50% to 75% or more off the peak prices.
Take a look at these prices for the JW Marriott Scottsdale Camelback Inn Resort & Spa. One price is for July and the other is for February. That’s an increase of 368% for peak season!
These bookings become a golden opportunity for more budget conscious travelers to experience these spectacular luxury resorts.
Not only will the prices be lower but the crowds should also be thinner since a lot of people don’t want to come out due to the heat. This can mean short lines at the restaurants and the ability to easily find desirable spots by the pool.
Tips for making your Phoenix summer resort visit better
The shade is your friend
I grew up in Houston, Texas, where summers get pretty hot and extremely humid.
The humidity is so bad that it doesn’t matter if you are exposed to the sun or not, it can just feel smothering.
The dry heat that you face in Phoenix will be different than that.
Lots of people including myself find sitting in the shade in high temperature dry heat a lot more tolerable.
You could be in 100° weather and sitting in the shade without feeling that bad. If there’s a breeze coming through on your balcony, it might actually even feel good.
But once those temperatures start to hit ~110°+ even the shade can be an uncomfortable place, especially if you are in a concrete jungle.
So don’t be turned off by triple digit temperatures because the shade and dry heat can still make things very tolerable… at least until the temperatures get crazy.
Bring a 24 pack of water for the mini-fridge
One of the best tips I have is to purchase a 24 pack of bottled water from the grocery store before you arrive at the resort.
Then, as soon as you have access to your room unload the bottled water into your mini fridge and turn up the cool setting. Having cold water bottles on hand will not only save you money but it will help you to cool down.
Before we venture out to anywhere in the resort such as the pool, a restaurant, or anywhere else we always have a cold water bottle on hand.
You can use it to hydrate, rub on your face, and in the more extreme scenarios — you can just pour it all over your head.
Some hotels don’t do a good job of keeping heat out of the room and as a result you might be forced to deal with a warm hotel room which can be very uncomfortable for people who like to sleep in a cold setting.
You can call around to different hotels and ask them if they have thermal curtains, which will help keep out the heat. Some properties might even have a protocol for dealing with overly warm rooms such as bringing in a fan.
Regardless of whether or not they have thermal curtains, you want to keep the curtains closed during the daytime.
Utilize a UV umbrella
Most people probably only have used umbrellas to escape the rain.
But umbrellas can be handy escaping the heat, especially if you have a UV umbrella that reflects even more sun rays than a standard umbrella.
Underneath a UV umbrella temperatures can drop 10 to 15° and can make extended periods of exposure much more tolerable.
If you combine one of these with a face mister, you’ll be able to tolerate high temperatures much better and for extended periods of time.
Remember, your face is a “glabrous skin surface “which means it can help you reduce body heat if it is cooled.
Good pool hours can help out
Pools can be a lifesaver in the summer and if you are staying at a resort chances are they will have a pool.
You want to inquire about the hours because some people won’t necessarily want to spend time during the day inside of a pool when it is boiling outside.
But some resorts may have pools that stay open late or even 24 hours and hanging out in the pool at night, even on the hottest days can feel amazing.
Plan a stay during monsoon season
July and August usually bring monsoon rains and clouds through Southern Arizona and this is referred to as their monsoon season.
Along with the rain and clouds come cooler temperatures — a 20° temperature drop could definitely happen when a storm rolls in.
And not only do you get lower temps, but sometimes the light shows from the lightning storms are a sight to behold.
So consider planning your stay during monsoon season but just be mindful of flash floods during this time.
Wear wide brim hats, long sleeves, and sunscreen
Sunscreen is obviously going to be a must when spending time outside in the desert summer. But you can make your life a little bit easier and add protection by wearing long sleeve apparel.
Look for UPF clothing because that will help block out the sun and reduce the amount of sunscreen you need to apply. A wide-brimmed hat can help add protection to your face and keep it cool and a neck gaiter can take care of potential neck sunburn.
Be careful without the outdoor activities
Be very careful about venturing out to hiking trails and doing other outdoor activities like long jogs if you are not accustomed to the Phoenix summer heat.
For those with heat sensitivities, even long walks through a large resort could end up putting a lot of stress on the body. This is especially true if you’ve been drinking a lot of alcohol at the resort’s bars.
Heat exhaustion is a real and scary thing and sometimes it can onset pretty rapidly.
And here’s the thing a lot of people don’t realize: Heat exhaustion can hit you even whenever you have been drinking a lot of water and consuming electrolytes.
Sometimes it’s just the heat itself that is too much and simply drinking water is not going to be enough to cool down your core temperature and prevent heat exhaustion.
Unless you are experienced with exerting yourself in this type of heat, you run the risk of getting in over your head.
If you’re unsure of your abilities, try to begin outdoor activities (by 5am) and if you can, plan it so that you can take advantage of shade from mountain peaks and canyons.
Spend a day or two in a cooler location
If you’re planning on being in Phoenix for several days, a week, or even longer during the summer, consider breaking up your trip by heading somewhere cool for a couple of days.
If you hang around the rim of the Grand Canyon (south or north rim) that will certainly be much cooler than Phoenix. And Flagstaff, at 7,000 feet plus in elevation, is always a great choice for getting away from the heat.
Other towns that will be warm but not nearly as hot as Phoenix would be Prescott and Sedona. If you head south towards Tucson you can also escape the heat by heading up to Mount Lemmon.
Be careful with your pets
Be sure to take extra care if you’re bringing your dog to Phoenix during the summer. Some of the walkways and pathways at your resort may be even hotter than you think for your pup.
You’ll also want to make sure that you have water for your dog into constantly look for signs of heat distress especially if your dog is not accustomed to the high temperatures.
Visiting a resort in Phoenix during the summer can be a little challenging due to the extreme heat. But there are different ways to make your visit a lot more manageable and sometimes you might even be able to avoid the heat.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.