Are you planning a fun romantic trip to Phoenix, Arizona? Although this sunny desert city hasn’t always had a reputation as a romantic destination there are plenty of things to do for couples. Whether you’re looking for gorgeous sights, romantic evenings, or a little adventure you’re sure to find it in Phoenix. Here’s our list of the top 13 romantic activities in Phoenix.

1. Visit the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of America’s most important landmarks and a must-see attraction if you’re in Phoenix. If you and your partner are interested in nature and sightseeing and have never been to this national treasure then you should definitely add it to your to-do list. There are two ways to visit the Grand Canyon from Phoenix:

Grand Canyon Day Trip

This amazing day trip from Phoenix will take you to the Grand Canyon and experience the scenic beauty of Arizona. As you continue further into Northern Arizona you’ll visit the historic town of Flagstaff. You’ll get a great view of the San Francisco Peaks and Ponderosa Pine Forest, the largest contiguous forest of ponderosa pines in the world. The tour stops in Williams where you’ll have a chance to experience the iconic Route 66. Walk along the original route and visit the local shops as you experience a part of American history. From there it’s on to the Grand Canyon National Park. Once you arrive you’ll have three hours to see and explore this amazing natural phenomenon with your partner. While at the park you will have opportunities to walk the rim, visit the shops, have some lunch, and enjoy the view.

  • Departure Point: Phoenix, AZ, USA or Scottsdale, AZ, USA
  • Departure Time: 6:30 AM
  • Duration: 13 hours

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Grand Canyon South Rim Tour by Airplane

Do you want to see the Grand Canyon from the skies? Then you might want to consider a guided tour on a plane.  You’ll have excellent views of the rugged isolation of the Tonto National Forest, the Red Rocks of Sedona, Montezuma’s Well, and the San Francisco Peaks.

  • Departure time: 8am
  • Duration: 6-7 hours

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2. Lower Salt River Rafting

This rafting tour is perfect for beginners and a fun day for couples looking for a little adventure. Led by a trained guide, you’ll float down the Lower Salt River as you enjoy views of the scenic Sonoran Desert.  Some paddling is required, but your guide will steer the boat and provide a fascinating commentary on your surroundings.

What’s special about this rafting tour?

While other tours might focus more on rafting, this tour is just as much about sightseeing and exploring as it is about rafting. The Lower Salt River gives rafters some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing and bird watching in the Southwest. The tour often features wild horses, bald eagles, and a number of other local species in their natural habitat. The guide will educate you on any plants and wildlife you encounter while filling you in on the interesting history of the area. You will also have a chance to stop and get out of the boat to explore the area and even go for a swim if you feel like it.  Bottled water and snacks are included for you to enjoy throughout the trip. This fun and relaxing tour is roughly 4 hours. Roundtrip transportation is available from Arizona Outback Adventures’ office.

  • Departure Point: REI Co-op Adventure Center Arizona, 17465 N 93rd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85255, USA
  • Duration: 4 hours

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3. Apache Trail

The Apache Trail is a historic 120-mile road that connects Apache Junction to Theodore Roosevelt Lake. Officially known as “State Route 88,” it’s become known as the “Apache Trail” after the Apache Indians who originally inhabited the Superstition Mountains. The Apache Trail is one of the most scenic drives in the Phoenix area. You’ll witness amazing views of canyons, mountains, wildflowers, trees, lakes, and more. If you’re interested in the local topography this is an excellent way to get a look at it. There are plenty of scenic stops along the way where you can stop to enjoy the view. We highly recommend a stop at Canyon Lake. In addition to the stunning view of the lake, you’ll also find a restaurant, store, marina, and a campground.

How to get there

The Apache Trail starts in Apache Junction, about 35 miles from Phoenix. Head east on AZ-60, then take exit 196 and take a left onto S Idaho Rd. Follow N Idaho Rd until you reach the Apache Trail, then take a right.

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4. Phoenix Desert Sightseeing Cruise

There is no better way to take in the stunning views of Saguaro Lake than on this 90-minute cruise. Your trip will begin at the Saguaro Lake Marina where you’ll board the Dolly Steamboat. Feel free to enjoy the air-conditioned cabin or take in the views from the deck.  You’ll then set off to explore the beautiful Arizona topography along the lake’s shorelines.

What will you see on this cruise?

Be sure to have your camera ready. Your backdrop will be the iconic Tortilla Flat, Arizona, and the picturesque rust-colored mountains as you spot iconic local plants and wildlife. You’ll see cacti, mesquite, and prickly pear plants throughout the landscape, and you may even spot coyotes, bobcats and bighorn sheep exploring the desert hills. The cruise is lead by a knowledgeable captain who narrates the journey.

  • Departure time: 8:30am
  • Duration: 8 hours

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5. Sonoran Desert

Just a couple of hours from Phoenix, the Sonoran Desert covers over 100,000 square miles of land. But you won’t have to venture too far to see the unique landscape of plants and wildlife in this beautiful desert. If you’re looking for an intimate date in nature, this is one of the most popular destinations near Phoenix. Particularly at night when the stars light up the skies. Jeep tours are available and are perhaps the best vehicles to guide you through rough terrain. Keep an eye out for wild animals and enjoy the serenity of the Sonoran Desert.

  • Tours: Full day or night tours available.
  • Duration: 3-8 hours

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6. Phoenix Hot Air Balloon Morning Ride

Phoenix has some beautiful desert vistas and the best way to view them is in a hot air balloon. This tour is the perfect romantic activity to start your day. The views you’ll experience on this ride are truly breathtaking. You’ll float at elevations from as high up as 5,000-feet in the air. This is one of the most romantic ways to see the Sonoran Desert. Upon your return, you’ll be treated to champagne and a gourmet breakfast catered by the award-winning Vincent’s on Camelback. Every Hot Air Balloon ride includes a knowledgeable pilot to help make the ride even more enjoyable.

  • Departure Point: 702 W Deer Valley Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85027, USA
  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes

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7. Echo Canyon Trail at Camelback Mountain

Phoenix has so many amazing trails to explore, and this is definitely one of our favorites. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and see the beautiful Sonoran Desert. This is one of the most popular trails in Phoenix for a reason. The Echo Canyon Recreation Area is located on Camelback Mountain, which is made up of layered sandstone. As you explore the area you’re likely to see a number of smaller animals, including cottontail rabbits, snakes, lizards, Harris antelope squirrels, and a variety of birds. The Echo Canyon Trail was recently upgraded with new restrooms and drinking fountains, so there’s never been a better time to come check it out.

How to get here

The Echo Canyon Recreation is located in north Phoenix. If you’re coming from the south end of the city you’ll likely want to go north on AZ-51, then take exit 5 onto Lincoln Dr. Take a right on N Tatum Blvd, then a left on E MacDonald Dr. From there, follow the signs to the recreation area.

  • Location: 4925 E McDonald Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85018, USA
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset, free entry

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8. South Mountain Park

South Mountain Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the world. If you’re looking to explore some amazing desert scenery there’s nowhere better to go. The park is home to a number of excellent hiking trails that crisscross and extend all over the grounds. With so much variety you could hike here multiple times and never take the same route twice. If you’re looking for a fabulous view drive to Dobbins Lookout Point and get a view of Phoenix from 1200 feet up. Happy Valley can also be accessed through South Mountain Park. This spot is remarkable all year round, but the best time to visit Happy Valley is during spring when it is home to a wide variety of wildflowers. Free maps are available at the entrance to help you find your way throughout the park.

  • Location: 10919 S Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85042, USA
  • Opening Hours: Daily 5am-7pm, free entry

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9. Desert Botanical Garden

There is more to desert plant life than just cacti. The Phoenix area is home to a wide array of stunning flora, and the Desert Botanical Garden is certainly proof of this. With over 50,000 plant displays in beautiful outdoor exhibits, you’re sure to find something new and exciting here. The grounds can be explored by taking an ethnobotanical walking trail, which will take you on a tour of the entire garden. The trail also includes interesting information about the plants on display. The Desert Botanical Garden is sure to change your views on desert plant life.

How to get here

The Desert Botanical Garden is located just outside of downtown Phoenix. If you’re coming from downtown head east on E McDowell, then take a right on N Galvin Pkwy.

  • Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008, USA
  • Hours: Open 8am-8pm 7 days a week.

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10. Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights

Tovrea Castle was originally constructed in the 1920s and was intended to be part of a resort, and later a private residence. Today, after years of public restoration, the castle is open for public tours. In addition to the castle, the property includes 44 acres of cacti and desert wildflowers. Your visit to Tovrea Castle will begin with a tram ride tour of the extensive grounds surrounding the castle. On arrival, you’ll see perfectly groomed cactus gardens and natural desert flora. Then, you’ll be taken to the castle, an impressive 5,000 square foot building perched atop the highest point of the property. Take your time to explore the main floor and the basement of this unique architectural masterpiece. Tours are about 2 hours long and include a trip to the gift shop.

How to get there

Tovrea Castle is located just outside of downtown Phoenix. Head east on AZ-202, then take exit 4 and turn right on N 52nd St. Take a right on E Van Buren St. Tovrea Castle will be on the left-hand side.

  • Address: 5025 E Van Buren St, Phoenix, AZ 85008, USA
  • Hours: Regular tours are held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Special events and group tours are held on varying days. Times vary depending on the time of here. Please refer to their schedule.

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11. Japanese Friendship Garden

The Japanese Friendship Garden is a tranquil and beautiful place. If you and your partner are looking for somewhere to enjoy an afternoon stroll there is nowhere more perfect than this traditional Japanese garden. With many of the flora on display being imported from Japan, the Japanese Friendship Garden is certainly one of the most unique attractions in Phoenix. The garden features stone footbridges, traditional lanterns, and more than 50 varieties of stunning plants. In addition to plants, there are also a number of flowing streams, a 12-foot waterfall, and a Koi pond with more than 300 colorful Koi fish. When you’re finished touring the garden you can head over to the tea house to enjoy a traditional tea ceremony.

How to get there

The Japanese Friendship Garden is located in downtown Phoenix. It’s part of Margaret T Hance Park.

  • Address: 125 N 3rd Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85003, USA
  • Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10am-4pm. The garden is open October 1st – May 31st

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12. Segway Tour of Old Town Scottsdale

Explore the historic area of Old Town Scottsdale on this fun Segway tour. This 2-hour tour is the best way to see this vibrant community. The tour starts at Soleri Bridge where you’ll get acquainted with your Segway. Once you get comfortable with your ride for the day your adventure will begin. Old Town Scottsdale has an active art community. You’ll find a number of public art installations, including sculptures, galleries, and contemporary Native American art. Check out the very first US Post Office building, which now operates as Porter’s Western Store. This is just one of a number of historic buildings you’ll see on the tour. Finally, you’ll have the opportunity to do some shopping at the Civic Center Mall and the various other stores and shops before the tour concludes.

  • Address: 330 East Earll Drive Suite #R Scottsdale, AZ 85251
  • Hours: Tours are available 7 days a week at 9:30am.

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Where to Stay

Here are some top hotel picks to make the most of your romantic trip to Phoenix:

As you can see, there’s no shortage of fun romantic activities in Phoenix.

If you’re looking for somewhere new to travel with the special person in your life, Phoenix is an excellent choice.

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Find more Romantic Things to do in Phoenix

For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!