How to Spring Break at Any Age in Mesa, Arizona

Mesa Arizona is an oasis enjoyed by many spring breakers. Find out what attractions make this destination great at any age.

Like a mirage in a desert, Mesa, Arizona is a sunny oasis for anyone looking for a warm-weather getaway this spring break.

This hub of adventure is only a 20-minute drive east from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and has something to offer travelers of all ages. Kids can explore the world of pioneers by panning for gold, families can partake in the age-old tradition of catching a game during Cactus League baseball exhibitions, while adults looking to relax and unwind can enjoy wine tastings and spa treatments.

So grab some sunscreen, your trusty mitt and a handful of autograph pens, and get ready for a vacation to the Grand Canyon State.

Spring Break With Children

It’s a treat to visit one of the 10 Cactus League ballparks that host 15 MLB teams during spring training, but the real bonus comes from the spring training price tag. Fans can sit on the outfield terrace and soak up the grand old game with tickets that are far cheaper than in the regular season. Most of the Cactus League stadiums are filled with activities for kids, as well as carnival-like games, souvenir shops and autograph opportunities galore. Be sure to save your ticket stubs for discounts at activities around town.

While Jurassic Park might not be a reality yet, the animatronic dinosaurs at the Arizona Museum of Natural History in Mesa’s city center provides a close second for kids looking to meet a dinosaur in the flesh. Dinosaur Mountain, one of several paleontology exhibits at the museum, also offers a simulated flash flood that shows how the Arizona landscape was shaped over millions of years.

After spending a morning in downtown Mesa, families can take a 30-minute drive northeast to Apache Junction to experience the Wild West at Goldfield Ghost Town. Staged gunfights, mine tours and an authentic saloon offer a glimpse of life as a prospector in the 1890s. Horseback riding, gold panning, target shooting, zip lining and more make this gold rush ghost town a jackpot for the whole family.

Spring Break With Children


Spring Break With Teenagers

Fans need not venture to the Windy City to experience Chicago Cubs baseball. Just visit Sloan Park– aka Wrigleyville West – nestled in Mesa. The layout of Sloan Park, which opened in 2014, is great for teens, as well as the rest of the family, to explore. Upon entering, a replica of the Wrigley Field marquee offers visitors the opportunity to snap photos and create a custom shout-out to friends and family. After the game, head just around the corner from the yard to Portillo’s for one of its Chicago-style hot dogs or a dripping Italian beef sandwich.

If you can't find tickets for a game at Sloan, don't fret. Just check out one of the seven side fields where players practice and warm up. Watch your favorite players up close as they go through their workouts. As an added bonus, autographs, photo ops and candid meetings are easy to come by as you roam the fields alongside some of the national pastime's rising stars. Also, if your teens are already itching for a college experience, drive 15 minutes west to Tempe to see the Arizona State Sun Devils, a perennial college baseball power, play at Phoenix Municipal Stadium.

Though baseball takes the spotlight in Mesa in March, the nearby mountains offer some extreme outdoor adventure. Try Rappell Arizona for zip lines, ropes courses and high-altitude challenges.

If you are looking for thrills that are a little less rocky, Phoenix’s Castles-n-Coasters amusement park has been the ideal locale for adrenaline-hungry young adults since 1976. Rising along the horizon, the double loops of the Desert Storm roller coaster stand as a pinnacle of family fun. Arcades, mini golf and go-carts round out some of the activities at this roadside stop. 

Adults-Only Spring Break


Adults-Only Spring Break

With a car and a full tank of gas, you can catch a morning workout at Mesa's Sloan Park and then drive 15 minutes southwest for a brew and a ballgame at Tempe Diablo Stadium. From the ballpark, drive just 20 minutes northeast to conclude your day with a game of golf, blackjack or a live concert at Scottsdale's Talking Stick Resort. The resort and casino is just a hop, skip and jump from the Colorado Rockies' and Arizona Diamondbacks’ shared spring training complex at Salt River Field. The next day, your crew can grab some hiking shoes (and climbing gear, if you feel adventurous) for exploring Camelback Mountain – a 25-minute drive from Mesa.

Prefer a more laid-back vacation? Start off with a 20-minute drive northwest to Su Vino Winery in Scottsdale. Located in the city’s downtown arts district, Su Vino offers travelers wine tastings, chocolates and a light menu. Buy a bottle or two of wine to enjoy later on your vacation, then load up the car and head back to Phoenix for some rest and relaxation at the Royal Palms Resort and Spa. Its tranquil Alvadora Spa is situated in the rocky terrain of the surrounding mountains. If you’re looking for more of a rousing finish to your day, head to Casino Arizona in Scottsdale. Choose from the casino’s diverse nightlife, ranging from dancing to weekly music concerts.

Camelback Mountain
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About the Author

Marcus Murphree is a Chicago-based writer, former reporter and editor for The Dallas Morning News, and lifelong baseball fan. He has made the spring training trek three times to Arizona's Cactus League. His favorite spring training memory was getting Don Mattingly to acknowledge his Simpsons heckling in 2012.