One of the things we love about Arizona is the endless activities the desert offers. We have the ability to be outside 365 days of the year in certain areas (and if you have the right clothing and equipment). Between hiking, biking, camping, tubing, there is endless fun in the AZ desert and the views are priceless.
One of the things we love doing is floating down the Salt River. The Salt River has a natural current for miles and it can be a relaxing trip with friends or a vigorous exercise, depending on your equipment. We love connecting inner tubes together and chatting with friends or kayaking up the river for a great workout, and just recently, we discovered paddle boarding.
The Paddle Boarding Discovery
We might be way behind the times here, but paddle boarding is one of our new favorite hobbies. We discovered Desert Paddle Boards through a friend. We went with some mom friends early one Saturday and went against the current for a good workout. We didn’t make it very far, but we did get the exercise we were looking for. I was sore in places I didn’t know could be sore!
I was a little nervous my first time because I didn’t think I could keep my balance, but I soon realized that paddle boarding is for all levels. I was able to stand or sit on my board just fine, and at one point, I started doing headstands! It was thrilling and such a fun way to bond with girlfriends. We ended up “parking” our boards together halfway upstream and chatting for another hour. It was a much needed girls’ morning out.
Paddle Board Yoga
Later that month, Ash and I decided to go try paddle board yoga. Again, we were a little nervous and not sure what to expect, but we ended up having an amazing time, and again, an incredible workout. Paddle board yoga is offered at various public pool locations. Check online to book. This particular one was at Hamilton Aquatic Center and was taught by yoga teacher, Vanessa Siren with @siren.yoga, who just so happens to be our aunt.
She was so much fun, and because she was our aunt, she made sure we were right up front and pushed us the hardest. I have done yoga several times in my life, but paddle board yoga is next level! That will go down as a top ten workout in my life. We definitely struggled with the poses and both of us fell in at one point, but we had so much fun!
The boards are slightly different for the yoga class than the ones that we went down the river with. The yoga boards are rectangular and are hooked onto the pool ropes so you don’t float away during the session. The boards to float down the river were long and skinnier, and come with a paddle.
Paddle Boarding With The Kids
Last weekend we decided to do a family trip with our children, who are 2, 4 and 6. We packed their life vests and went back to the Salt River. One of the ways to do it is to have one truck parked at the drop off location and one parked at the end location so you don’t have to hike all that way back to your vehicle after floating downstream.
The kids all had life vests on, which Desert Paddle Boards provided for free. They sat at the front of our boards and had the best time! As they got more and more comfortable, they started jumping from board to board, or held on to the side of the board and floating along in the water. Along the way we saw ducks, frogs and even wild horses! The view is breathtaking and the whole trip (even with kids) was very therapeutic.
Paddle Board Features
Another nice thing about these boards are the elastic straps at the front. These allow for you to strap down sunscreen, water bottles, shoes, etc. so you don’t have to leave it all at the car.
Desert Paddle Boards is super inexpensive, and a great way to experience the AZ outdoors without being in the heat. Sarah (the owner) offers the boards at only $20 per half day and paddles and life jackets are included. She is located at Higley and McKellips, so she’s super close to the river, only a 20 minute drive from there. She suggests to get to the river early on weekends or holidays because it gets very crowded. She also takes Venmo for an easy, contactless payment.
A couple of other things to keep in mind:
- Remember a strap to tie down the boards and paddles
- Make sure you have a truck
- Make sure you have a Tonto parking pass
- Bring lots of sunscreen as you are out in open sunlight the entire time
- Wear a fanny pack and pack snacks
- Strap water bottles onto the elastic bands of the boards
- You can fit two small children and an adult comfortably on a board
- If you plan to have your phone with you, put it in a ziploc bag
If you’re looking for another way to enjoy the desert scenery, this is definitely on our recommendation list and Desert Paddle Boards is our favorite to work with. Go check her out at @desertpaddleboards on Instagram or on her website at www.desertpaddleboards.com for more info.
Tell her AZ Mom Squad sent you!
Enjoy your new favorite way to float down the river!