Looking for fun family things to do in the White Mountains of Arizona this summer? The towns of Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside have plenty of family fun just waiting for you! This post covers family activities in Pinetop-Lakeside, but be sure to read my guide to the best things to do in neighboring Show Low too!
Summers in Pinetop-Lakeside offer the perfect getaway for anyone looking to escape the heat of the Valley. In Winter, Pinetop-Lakeside is a great place to find snow for sledding, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing. And let’s not forget the beautiful fall color that can be found late September to October!
So pack up your family (and your dog too!) and get ready for your adventures in the White Mountains! Use this list to find lots of family activities for your next vacation in Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ.
Outdoor Family Activities
Family and Dog-friendly Hiking
The White Mountain Trail System is full of family-friendly and dog-friendly hikes. Even in the hotter summer months if you set out in the morning the shade from the pines will keep you cool while hiking. You won’t have to worry about burning any dog paws on these hikes!
Check trackswhitemountains.org/trails for a map of great places to hike in Pinetop. A few of our favorites are Billy Creek, Buena Vista, and the Ice Cave Trail.
Camping at Show Low Lake
While not technically in Pinetop, Show Low Lake is right on the border of Show Low and Pinetop-Lakeside. Show Low Lake offers both RV and tent camping. It’s great place for families to spend a weekend on the lake fishing, boating, and enjoying the cool weather!
Horseback Riding at Porter Mountain Stables
For a really unique way to see the natural beauty of Pinetop-Lakeside, make a reservation for a horse ride at Porter Mountain Stables. You’ll ride around Scott Reservoir, through creeks, streams and meadows and of course the ponderosa pines. You can choose from 1, 2, 4 or 6 hour rides or sunset rides.
Walk, Bike, or Scooter around Woodland Lake
Woodland Lake is a great place to take your family. There is a paved path around the lake that is perfect for scooters, bikes, or walking. Younger kids will love the playground, and older kids may enjoy fishing or watching all the aquatic wildlife. There are also a few unpaved but easy trails through the woods around the lake that are great for hiking or mountain biking.
White Mountain Nature Center
The White Mountain Nature Center has limited hours but if you can catch them while they are open you can learn about local natural resources. The nature center is located in the Woodland Park Nature Complex, so many of the trails will lead you to Woodland Lake. Even if the nature center isn’t open you can always use the surrounding trails. We love the trail that goes through the neighboring Big Springs Environmental Study Area to a naturally spring-fed pond.
Rainbow Lake Boat Rentals
Rainbow Lake is a great place to spend an afternoon on the water. Since most of the land around the lake is privately owned, if you want to fish you’ll definitely need to rent a boat. There is a public boat launch, and you can also access the lake here to put in pontoon boats, paddle boats, aqua cycles, kayaks and canoes. Rentals are run through the Rainbow Lake resort.
Play a Round of Golf at Pinetop Lakes Country Club
Pinetop-Lakes Country Club isn’t the only golf course in Pinetop, but it is the only course open to the public. This 18-hold executive golf course is lined on both sides with tall pine trees and gorgeous homes. Looking for more options? Check out my Show Low guide for golf options in nearby Show Low.
Yes, you’re going to see this activity on all my “things to do” lists! There just isn’t any better way to explore a new are than going on a fun outdoor scavenger hunt with geocaching. Even after visiting Pinetop-Lakeside for years, we still find new places to explore thanks to our geocaching adventures. Not sure how to start? Check out my Beginner’s Guide to Geocaching!
Frisbee Golf at Mountain Meadows Park
Frisbee golf takes some skill but if you’re looking for something to keep the kids occupied while enjoying the outdoors, you might give it a try. Just be courteous of any frisbee golfers trying to play a serious game.
White Mountain Family Fun Park
White Mountain Family Fun Park is one of the best places to take kids in Pinetop-Lakeside. They have a full arcade, snacks, miniature golf, and two go-cart tracks. If you plan to do more than one activity, buy a pass card to save money.
Summer Adventures at Sunrise Park
Sunrise Park isn’t just for winter adventures. In the summer the park offers an Adventure Pass that allows you to experience several of the park’s activities for one low price. Take several scenic rides on the chair lift, slide down the tubing hill, play a round of disc golf, or jump onto a giant air bag from 40 feet above! There’s also a rock climbing wall, a zip line and zip line course, hiking and archery, and a lift that will take you and your mountain bike up the mountain for an exhilarating ride back down!
Restaurants and Local Eats in Pinetop-Lakeside
Grab Lunch or Dinner at a Local Eatery
You won’t find many chain restaurants in Pinetop-Lakeside, and during the busy summer months you may find yourself waiting quite a while at local restaurants. Which ones are worth the wait? Try WZ Asian Bistro for the best sushi on the mountain, the Bistro @ Annie’s for a delicious home-cooked lunch, Baked at Pinetop and Hush Bakehouse for the best baked goods, Red Devil for delish pizza, and Pasta House for a fancy night out.
Looking for a great cup of coffee? Try Pinetop Coffee House or YoSippity, a cute little drive-thru only coffee shack.
Date Night at Wine Mountains
Wine Mountains hasn’t been open long but it’s quickly become one of the hot spots for a night out sans kids. Experience a relaxing date night in a laid-back atmosphere with live music and local Arizona wines by the glass, bottle, or flight. Be sure to try some of their delicious small plates too!
Winter Activities in Pinetop-Lakeside
Cross Country Skiing and Snow Shoeing
Many of the trails you hike in the summer are great for cross-country skiing and show showing in the winter. The absolute stillness of the woods covered in snow is amazing. A great trail to try for snow shoeing or cross country is the Grouse, Summit and Viewpoint Loop near Greer.
Of course you can still hike in the snow too, just be sure to bundle up and have a good pair of boots!
Skiing and Snowboarding at Sunrise Park
Just about an hour from Pinetop you’ll find Sunrise Park, a popular place for skiing in Arizona. If you are looking to rent equipment, several ski shops in Pinetop can help you out. Try Skier’s Edge, Snowriders, or Krissie’s Ski and Board.
Santa’s White Mountain Adventure
In the winter you’ll find family fun in Pinetop AZ when you visit Santa’s White Mountain Adventure. Enjoy Christmas movies, an elf photo booth, and of course, a visit with Santa. But only if you pass the naughty or nice test!
With this list of fun family activities in Pinetop-Lakeside AZ you are sure to have a great vacation in the White Mountains! Comment below and let me know if I’ve missed anything!