If you are the type of traveler who chooses their vacation destination based on the culture, history, and landmark attractions that are available to explore and broaden your horizons, then Mesa is the ideal location for you. Mesa is a city in the Maricopa County in the state of Arizona and has a population of 439,041, making it the third-largest city in the state.
Although known as a desert-meets-city type destination with many outdoor recreational activities and Wild West culture, Mesa also has a wide range of cultural and historical attractions, making it the perfect destination for those who want to combine vast areas of stunning natural beauty with some more educational excursions.
What’s more, there are so many high-quality RV parks in Mesa, meaning that you can simply show up in your own recreation vehicle or rent one. This way, you can enjoy all the attractions the city has to offer in style and comfort, and without spending a fortune to do so.
1. Mesa Arts Center
The Mesa Arts Center is the perfect way to spend an afternoon when vacationing in Mesa. It is one of the largest entertainment centers in the South West, and even the building itself is show-stopping with its unique and visually stunning design.
With a variety of shows, musical performances, and Broadway productions, plus a selection of classes for both adults and younger people alike, there really is something for everyone at this must-see Mesa attraction.
If there are any particular shows you would like to see, make sure you purchase your tickets online before you set off for Mesa to avoid disappointment.
2. Mesa Grande Cultural Park
However, if ancient ruins are more your thing, then Mesa Grande Cultural Park is the local attraction for you. Home to the Mesa Grande Ruins, the historic remnants left behind by the Hohokum Native Americans, you will not only learn about these people who mysteriously disappeared in 1450 A.D, but you will even have the opportunity to explore the excavated ruins yourself.
The park regularly hosts events such as storytelling sessions for younger guests, workshops, and various lectures, all of which will help you gain a better understanding and insight into the local tribes that inhabited this area many years ago.
3. Papago Park
Situated on the east side of Phoenix, near the border of Tempe and South Scottsdale, a quick 20-minute drive from Mesa itself, Papago Park offers some of the best hiking in the area. Not to mention the fact that the miles of trails you pass will contain Hohokam ruins and statue-like rock formations.
If you haven’t yet decided on the accommodation you are going to book for your vacation in Mesa, then you should seriously consider looking into Mesa RV and motorhome rental, as an RV allows you to easily travel around the local area, exploring as many cultural and historical sites as you want. Then all you need to do is park for the night and relax as if you were in your own home.
Fortunately, there are many great campgrounds near Papago Park, including:
- Seyenna Vista RV Resort
- Viewpoint RV Resort
- Apache Palms RV Park
- Monte Vista Village RV Resort
- Countryside RV Resort
Plus, with a rented RV, you could even take the 3 & a half-hour drive to the Grand Canyon National Park, safe in the knowledge that you can pull over and rest whenever needed and book into another campsite near this popular attraction if you wish to do so.
4. Mesa Historical Museum
This museum first opened in 1987 and continues to grow in popularity due to its dedication to creating fascinating and constantly changing exhibits for members of the Mesa community and tourists alike.
Upcoming exhibits include:
- Preserving Mesa’s Past Discovering Mesa’s Future
- The Arizona Spring Training Experience
- Hallelujah Hats!
Check out their website here for more information.
5. Apache Trail
Ideal for travelers who want to embrace and enjoy the natural surroundings of Mesa and see some great sights along the way, the Apache trail is 64 kilometers long but needs to be taken slowly, as it involves driving along rugged desert mountains. Also, you won’t want to miss out on any of the scenic stops along the way.
Starting in Apache Junction and ending at Theodore Roosevelt Dam, some of the best attractions and sightseeing options along the trail include:
- Goldfield Ghost Town
- Lost Dutchman State Park
- Canyon Lake
- Tortilla Flat
- Tonto National Monument (east along the AZ 188 after the trail has ended)
6. Arizona Museum of Natural History
This museum was founded in 1977 and has had over one million visitors since 2000. There are 60,000 objects of natural history, anthropology, and art on display for you to look at, plus 10,000 historic photographs.
Some of the top exhibitions at the museum include the three-story indoor waterfall on Dinosaur Mountain, a real territorial jail, an uncanny recreation of the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine, and the chance to pan for gold in the History Courtyard.
7. Tour Outdoor Art
For those who want to experience some art and culture outside in the fresh Arizona air, you simply need to get out and explore the city itself. The Tour Outdoor Art, which can be found in the downtown district, includes 38 unique pieces of Mesa’s public art sculpture collection.
You can enjoy a free self-guided walking tour of the sculptures, passing by many of the aforementioned cultural hotspots in Mesa, including the Arizona Natural History Museum and the Mesa Arts Center.
As you can now see, Mesa provides the perfect combination of cultural and historical attractions and landmarks and breath-taking natural surroundings that are ideal for hikers and cyclists. So, whether you are looking to plan an action-packed, yet educational family vacation, or are wanting to plan a unique and culturally diverse trip with friends, Mesa in Arizona – also known as the City Limitless – offers up everything you need and more.
So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your vacation to Mesa today!
10 years of Native News...
We launched Native News Online back in February 2011 with the belief that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. We hope it inspires you to celebrate our first decade with a gift of $10 or more to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.