Instagram has promoted a new way of travelling and indeed, a new kind of traveller, but Instagram-worthy destinations don’t need to be immaculately tiled poolsides or millenial pink bars.  Scottsdale, Arizona has some of the most incredible landscapes and adventures in the world, so be prepared to fill your grid.

  1. Hot Air Ballooning in the Sonoran Desert

The Sonoran Desert is a irreplaceable and beautiful place when observed from ground level, but the view from above is astounding in its expansiveness and grandeur. Hot air ballooning is a wonderfully fun and surprisingly tranquil experience. The view from the balloon’s handcrafted wicker basket is virtually unobstructed during the flight – a photographer’s dream.


  1. Hiking Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Explore the scenic Sonoran Desert starting from Spur Crossing and explore the local flora, fauna and most importantly the Saguaro. A variety of irreplaceable trails include modest rolling desert to challenging mountain terrain. How far will one go to get that perfect Instagram shot?

McDowell Sonoran Land Trust
Scottsdale, Arizona
©2012 Lonna Tucker


  1. Kayaking the Lower Salt River

A water adventure in Arizona? Why not? Float down the relaxing Lower Salt River surrounded by unobstructed views of four different mountain ranges and capture the surroundings. Flowing from the mountains in Northern Arizona, the Salt River is home to abundant wildlife and it’s common for paddlers to enjoy close encounters with animals enjoying their natural habitat.


  1. Dining at Diego Pops

Take a break from the conventional Mexican restaurant combo platter and head over to Diego Pops. The stylish diner with pineapple pop-art wallpaper and a bright pink neon taco sign is home to an exclusive menu of modern Mexican fare served with a tropical and cosmopolitan twist. One not to miss is the Brussels sprout nachos served with an ice cold prickly pear margarita.


  1. Exploring Scottsdale’s Museum of Contemporary Art

Located in Scottsdale’s popular Old Town district, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art presents the best of contemporary art, architecture and design from around the corner and around the globe. Don’t miss out on the Insta-worthy Robert Indiana’s LOVE installation, where visitors can experience the best, brightest and most innovative thinking.


For more information or guidance on travelling in Scottsdale, visit

Caoilfhionn Rose

Caoilfhionn is a freelance travel writer who enjoys slow travel and avoiding landmarks in favour of diving into a destination's culture. Instagram: @CaoilfhionnRose

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