There’s no denying it, summer time is here. For the next several months, we’ll hop from one air-conditioned spot to another, in the never-ending quest to escape the scorching heat. However, living in the Valley of the Sun does have its rewards. Aside from stellar sunsets, we are fortunate to have myriad staycation opportunities right in our own backyard. In fact, Arizona is home to nearly 70 AAA Four and Five Diamond lodging properties alone. And, as the temperatures rise, room rates often plummet, making a stay at one of these luxurious resorts a bargain.

Although you can’t go wrong with any of these properties, with so many to choose from, it’s certainly a difficult choice. As a travel expert, you’ll be relieved to know that AAA has done the homework for you. Below are our four picks for a sizzling summer staycation.

Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

Think you can’t ride the waves in Arizona? Think again! Part surfing, part wake boarding, the Kierland FlowRider will give riders 42 inches and taller an experience like no other. Newbie? No problem. One-hour lessons will have you navigating the waves like a pro. In addition to the FlowRider, the resort offers a plethora of family activities throughout the summer to keep kids entertained. Deseo, a AAA Four Diamond Restaurant, is also on the property, providing the perfect retreat for couples seeking alone time while the kids continue the fun at the kids club. The Say Aloha Summer Package includes a dining credit, a buy one get one FlowRider sessions, and more, with rates starting at $149 per night.

JW Marriott Desert Ridge

The perfect spot to cool your jets, this oasis features four acres of swimming pools, a winding lazy river, water slide, and a kids’ splash pad. Daily activities will keep kids busy and entertained, while golf, spa packages and dining options will please the parents. For families wishing to explore beyond the resort, nearby Desert Ridge Mall offers a variety of shopping, dining and entertainment options. Summer rates start at $126 per night.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch

Located in the heart of Scottsdale, the water playground of this AAA Four Diamond gem recently underwent a $4 million renovation. The 2.5-acre park boasts 10 swimming pools, 45 waterfalls and the sparkling centerpiece: a new, three-story water slide that sends guests speeding down twists and turns at more than 25 miles per hour! Complement this thrill with a friendly game of water volleyball or a relaxing gondola ride. Finally, end the day watching a poolside movie. Splash Into Summer rates start at $269 and include dining, kids camp and golf discounts.

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

There is no better time than summer for locals to experience the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. This Five Diamond luxury property features a variety of water entertainment for the whole family. Thrill seekers will love the SplashRider X-treme water pipe, while everyone will enjoy the winding water slides and five property swimming pools. But, night time is where it really heats up with dive-in movies, techno-glo pool parties, black lights and poolside games. The Sip, Savor and Splash package starts at $169 per night and includes a $50 daily resort credit.

AAA member rates are available yearlong at all AAA Diamond rated properties.

• Linda Gorman is the communications and public affairs director for AAA Arizona. You can reach her at (602) 650-2716 or

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