Striking red rocks and stunning blue sky. It’s a combination that just exudes a sense of serenity, and also a bit of mystery (if these rocks could talk!). Luckily, groups can get in on both the wellness and wonder of Arizona—from rock climbing Mt. Lemmon and mountainside yoga in Phoenix to designing dream catchers and sipping biodynamic wines in Tucson.
“What makes our destination an outstanding incentive choice is a combination of reliably warm weather and the value and frequency of flights here,” says Doug MacKenzie of Visit Phoenix. “Groups will find 320 days of sunshine, a culinary scene with many James Beard-nominated chefs, and an outdoors made for hikes, cycling and exploring the Sonoran Desert, which is a mere 15 minutes from our urban core.”
The 140-acre Desert Botanical Gardens’ (DBG) arresting natural and man-made beauty makes for a good starting point. British artist Bruce Munro’s Sonoran light show is on display through May, featuring eight inventive fiber optic light installations that stretch brilliantly across the vast garden landscapes. Or groups can get a ‘taste’ for the Southwest in on-site cooking classes, a photo safari or constructing a cactus or succulent dish garden, before heading out into the desert gardens for yoga or tai chi. The DBG has a number of indoor/outdoor venues available to groups—from outdoor pavilions surrounded by herbs and wildflowers to an amphitheater framed by desert mesquite trees.
Elsewhere in Phoenix, movies under the stars, geocaching team building, mountainside yoga or “visionary” self-discovery hiking take place at Usery Mountain Regional Park. Shakira, Susan St. James and J.W. Marriott himself have all booked hot air balloon safaris with Arizona Balloon Safaris, while Maverick Helicopters offers a luxury, state-of-the-art ride for off the beaten path views.
Near Tucson’s Catalina Mountains, the Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa offers some of the most creative mind, body and spirit programs around spread over 400 acres—from a spider ropes course, where groups work together to lift peers through 16 spider-like holes of various sizes and shapes to Native American drumming or vibrational healing with Tibetan bowls. Groups can gather poolside for their turn at a Himalayan sound bath performed by an aqua Zen therapist or see who’s the bee’s knees during a hands-on beekeeper experience, followed by a honey tasting of local varieties. And of course, zip lines, tight ropes, giant ladders and even a giant leap from a 25- or 35-foot pole make for some pretty interesting team building experiences, or groups can venture into the Sonoran Desert for hiking or biking.