It’s Getting Hot in Here: Meteorologist Shelley Sakala offers up her tips for Arizona summer survival

By Shelley Sakalashutterstock_148784039

I’m borrrrrrrred. For anyone who has kids (or used to be one), you know that old familiar refrain that goes hand in hand with summer vacation. Everything on the DVR has been watched, your San Diego trip is still two months away, and your skills as entertainment director for your household are being put to the test. To make matters worse, you happen to live in Phoenix, where summer activities are limited to indoors with air conditioning or outdoors with water.

But while it’s warm now, the really bad weather won’t be here for another month, which gives you plenty of advance time to plan the sanest summer ever. Veteran Zonies know the drill: Once it reaches 100 degrees, you head for California. But if the West Coast isn’t in your budget or if you’re new to life in the Valley of the Sun, allow me to give you a native’s point of view for Arizona Summer Survival.


If you live in 85085, you’re probably less than 10 minutes away from the movies. Take advantage. Kicking back in big, comfy seats with a cold drink as you enjoy two hours of air-conditioned bliss—what could be better? Plus, the summer blockbusters are coming, which means you get to spend the next three months watching things blow up onscreen. ’Murica! If you’ve got young ones, check out local favorite Harkins Theatres’ Summer Movie Fun. Seven bucks gets you 10 classic kids movies from the past year.


You don’t have to leave the state to beat the heat. Less than 90 minutes to the north is Prescott. This city of 40,000 people has lots to do and perfect temperatures for doing it. The average high temp in July is a delightful 89 degrees, cooling off to 57 at night. Say goodbye to searing seat belt buckles and hello to summer fun! 


If you’re looking to go international but don’t feel like dealing with air travel, consider a half-day drive to Puerto Penasco, Mexico, otherwise known as Rocky Point. Beachfront hotels and resorts, RV parking and campsites, and vacation rentals give you plenty of options for a weekend stay or a weeklong visit. You won’t find much relief from the summer sun, but at least you can cool off in the Sea of Cortez.


Q: What do you get when you combine luxury Arizona resorts with triple-digit temperatures?

A: Smokin’ deals.

As the mercury rises, the room rates fall. So grab yourself a bargain at one of the dozens of resorts here in the Valley. Most have swimming pools, and some even have world-class waterslides. A couple of days running up somebody else’s air conditioning bill just might be the vacation you need.


Right here in our own backyard is Lake Pleasant Regional Park, home to a 10,000-acre man-made reservoir for boating, fishing, camping, sailing, jet skiing, kayaking, scuba diving, and windsurfing. The surrounding park is huge and perfect for hiking, biking, and camping. If you love the great outdoors, Lake Pleasant has you covered.


Become a diehard sports fan. Arizona boasts three World Champion pro teams: The Diamondbacks (baseball), Rattlers (arena football), and Mercury (basketball). They all play their games in air-conditioned stadiums, and all three plays take place during the summer.


When it comes to kid-friendly activities, nothing beats a splash pad. And Arizona has lots of them. In just about every part of town, you’ll find a park or a shopping center with a cool splash pad. Many of them are free, too. Go to and search “splash pads” for a detailed list.


If budget is no concern, then consider a trip to the reverse seasons of the Southern Hemisphere. Mt. Baw Baw Alpine Resort in Victoria, Australia, features six ski lifts and 30 hectares of skiing terrain (I’m not certain, but I think 30 hectares is a lot). Australian winter begins in June, so start planning now!


May Weather

Average temperature: 82

Average high temperature: 95

Average low temperature: 69

Warmest ever: 113

Coldest ever: 50

Average precipitation: .11 inches

Shelley Sakala is a meteorologist and former weather anchor/reporter at ABC 15 who still enjoys talking about the weather. She's now a Realtor with Keller Williams Arizona Realty and an 85085 resident.

Shelley Sakala is a meteorologist and former weather anchor/reporter at ABC 15 who still enjoys talking about the weather. She’s now a Realtor with Keller Williams Arizona Realty and an 85085 resident.

© 2018 85085 Magazine. A Division of Strickbine Publishing Inc.

Scroll to top