header400Like many Midwesterners, we like to escape for a couple weekends in the winter. Unfortunately, in Chicago winter can often last into spring. The recipe for our perfect warm weekend escape? Sun, the perfect pool and lots of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. We got all of that on our recent visit to the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak in Phoenix.

Here Comes the Sun
There’s good reason why it’s called the Valley of the Sun. Phoenix is one of sunniest cities in the U.S.A., averaging sunshine 85% of the time. That means you’re almost always guaranteed good winter and spring weather.

What better way to enjoy the great weather than with an aquatic playground that everyone in the family can enjoy?

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Cool Pool

You’ll feel right at home on the River Ranch. This pool playground is perfect for everyone, from babies to big boys like my sons, 11 and 13, who joined in on several games of pool basketball. 

While they were getting their game on, my husband and daughter grabbed an inner tube and floated down the lazy river ride. 


There’s also a slide, an enclosed toddler pool and a hot tub next to a waterfall.

Westward Ho! 

Grab your partner and have fun exploring the Western theme at this resort, including the mock western town you’ll glide by on the lazy river ride. It’s a little kitschy, but brought a smile to everyone’s face as they floated by. 

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You’ll find plenty of nods to Arizona’s Old West heritage as you wonder the grounds of the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak. 

Take a Hike
Step out of your everyday routine and get your exercise the natural way. Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak is blessed to be right next to one of the most popular hiking destinations in Phoenix—Piestewa Peak, still known to most as Squaw Peak.
The area was recently renamed in memory of Lori Piestewa, the first Native American woman to die in combat in the U.S. Military.   
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The resort has a shuttle van that will deliver you to the mountain’s trailhead, a mile away. It’s a pretty strenuous hike— not dangerous, but the ascent leaves you feeling like you’re on a stairmaster. It’s definitely a workout. 

Although this hike is easy to do on your own, you can arrange for a resort guide to accompany you.

Room with a View 

After spending the day enjoying the outdoors, it was always nice to come back to our roomy two bedroom casita.  The bedrooms are upstairs and the downstairs features an open concept living/dining room area with a small kitchenette, including a refrigerator and microwave. 
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My favorite feature? The upstairs balcony, looking out at Piestewa Peak.

A great way to start and end each day in the Valley of the Sun.

Andrea Guthmann is a freelance journalist focusing on family travel. She spent many years as a writer/producer for WTTW-TV, the PBS station in Chicago. Here travel stories have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Parent and on-line travel sites.

A native Floridian, Andrea’s now a big (windy) city mom of 3, who range in age from tot to teen. After giving birth to two beautiful children she’s had the joy of becoming a mom again through adoption. She loves sailing Lake Michigan and visiting the world class museums and restaurants in her sweet home Chicago. Being a scenery starved city girl she loves escaping to the outdoors during vacations and is working hard to raise 3 happy campers.

Disclosure: Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak hosted my family during our stay, but the opinions here are all my own.