Rocky Point: Arizona's Beach Oasis
Nothing beats the sizzling Phoenix sun better than a dip in the cool, refreshing waters of the ocean, with gentle waves unfolding against soft, sandy beaches and a misty sea breeze wafting through your hair. It's only a short, three-hour drive away through the colorful Organ Pipe National Monument. If you hear the waves calling your name, a trip to Rocky Point is the perfect oceanfront getaway for beating the heat.
Rocky Point, Mexico
Officially known as Puerto Peñasco, this little city by the shore is less than 200 miles from downtown Phoenix and is rapidly becoming the premier destination for valley residents looking for a quick escape from the the Valley of the Sun. Known affectionately as Rocky Point by the many English speaking visitors that flock to its mild ocean waters each year, Puerto Peñasco is located on the shore of the Sea of Cortez (also called the Gulf of California). Almost 50,000 people make Rocky Point their full time home, taking advantage of the area’s balmy temperatures and waterfront location.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Rocky Point is the ideal for spot ocean-lovers, no matter how you like to enjoy the water. Take a snorkeling boat out to the shallow coral reefs for a colorful display among the fish or ride one of the many charter boats leaving the Marina which will take you deeper into the Gulf for a close up view of migrating whales or frolicking sea lions. Looking for a casual, ocean cruise? Take a spin on the Pink Boat, also known as the Merry Margarita. This sunset cruise offers all you can drink margaritas and beer with your ticket price. For dinner cruises, stop by the Lobo del Mar in the Old Port area of town. This fun ship includes belly dancing on board each cruise.
Sport fishing in Rocky Point is like no place you’ve ever been. Dolphin, sailfish, yellowtail, bass, snapper, skip tail and marlin fill the waters of the Gulf in abundance. Whether you charter a private boat out of the Marina or take part in one of the many group fishing tours that leave the Old Port throughout the day, be sure to bring plenty of block ice with you to keep your catch cool on the drive home. Even beginners will leave with a hearty haul when fishing at Rocky Point. Don’t forget to pick up your fishing permit for just $10 a day, available at numerous locations around town, or from the Mexican Consulate in Phoenix. Fishing from the beach is free.
Where to Stay
Rocky Point is a full service resort town, offering an array of accommodations for every taste and price range. See these Rocky Point maps for locations. Whether you stay at the luxurious Peñasco del Sol Hotel, lounge in an oceanfront condo at the Sonoran Spa Resort, or bring your RV and camp at one of the dozen campgrounds that line the shoreline at Sandy Beach and beyond, you won’t be disappointed at the amenities that await your next trip to Rocky Point. Beach houses for rent are available for families or small groups. Elegant hotel rooms, convenient condos for the week or just a few days, swimming pools, hot tubs, exercise rooms and personal spa treatments are all available in this modern oasis just a few hours drive from Phoenix. Most campgrounds offer full hookups with electricity and warm showers. Some even offer satellite reception so you’re never far from that favorite television show or sporting event.
Activities for Children
Bringing the kids to Rocky Point is an adventure they won’t soon forget. They can frolic in the crashing waves or build white sand castles along Sandy Beach. Visit CEDO, the International Center for the Study of Deserts and Oceans and watch the excitement as they cast their eyes on the giant whale skeleton on display. Tide pools, wetlands and the estuaries that surround Rocky Point are exploration wonderlands and the kids will love taking a guided tour offered by the naturalists at CEDO, discovering starfish, mollusks and sponges along the way.
If they grow tired of watching the water, take a quick trip up to Piñacate Crater, halfway between the border and Rocky Point. Home to 9 distinct volcanic lava cones, the El Piñacate Biosphere Reserve remains today much like it was 4 million years ago, when molten lava exploded through the earth, creating the massive craters that can still be seen today.
Getting To Rocky Point
Take I-10 west from Phoenix to State Route 85. Head south on SR 85 through Gila Bend, Ajo and Why. Fuel up in Why before heading further south through the Organ Pipe National Monument and on to the border at Lukeville, Arizona. Once crossing the border, drive through the town of Sonoita until you come to a three way intersection. Take the left fork towards Caborca. About one block further the road splits into a Y. Take the fork to the right , Mexico Highway 8, towards Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point). Follow this road for about 50 miles, through open country that is predominantly ranch land until you get closer to the coast, when it changes to rolling sand dunes. You will then drive directly into the town of Rocky Point.
From the East Valley head south on Maricopa Road (Highway 347) to the town of Maricopa. Turn west on Highway 238 which will take you directly into Gila Bend. Travel through Gila Bend, turn South on State Route 85 through Ajo to Why and follow the instructions in the prior paragraph.
For a smooth trip across the border, follow all signs and directions at the crossing in Lukeville. Pay close attention to the Mexican border police who may wave you through, ask you some questions about where you are going, or may go so far as to search your vehicle. Be polite and accommodating. You will soon be on your way and headed for one of the most spectacular seaside resorts within driving distance of the United States.