5 Things to Do in Rocky Point With Kids. My husband and I recently had the opportunity to take our kids south of the border for a week in Puerto Peñasco to kick off summer break! As a family of RV travelers, we have crossed international borders into Canada many times, but this was our first time heading south into Mexico.
Naturally, we had our concerns and did endless research on safety and proper documentation. I consulted with friends who frequently visited the area and we planned the trip alongside our travel-loving aunt and uncle who had recently come back from a stay in the same area.
Rocky Point is a popular destination for Arizonans. In fact, most of the fellow tourists we encountered during our week were from various parts of the Valley. It makes sense as the drive is quicker than the journey to San Diego, and it offers a whole different type of waterside experience! The vibrant Mexican culture, beautiful water, and range of outdoor activities make Rocky Point a wonderful family destination.
Before embarking on your vacation, I recommend purchasing Mexican insurance online. You can buy it at the border, but we have heard that the pricing is much better if you buy ahead of time online. I did this with a simple Google search which turned up quotes from a few different places. The whole process was completed in 20 minutes and was easy and relatively inexpensive. We decided instead of taking the RV on this trip, we would instead rent a house in a neighborhood for a more subversive experience.
The border crossing was simple in each direction. Passports are required for all travelers over the age of 16. For children, only birth certificates are needed. We were waived on through as we entered Mexico on a Sunday afternoon, but were grateful we weren’t in the return line for US re-entry because it went on for over a mile and was not moving fast at all. Due to Covid, the border closes earlier, and crowds build up at the end of a weekend, so my biggest piece of advice would be to avoid a Sunday afternoon return home to avoid the weekend visitor build-up.
Also of note, at this time, COVID tests are not required to enter Mexico, or re-enter the States. They are strict about masks in Rocky Point though, much more so than Arizona.
When we made the return trip on the following Saturday afternoon, we had about 10 cars ahead of us and it only took about 15 minutes to get through. The border agent was very polite as she asked us several questions and sent us right on through to complete the 3-hour journey home.
And now onto the fun stuff! I’ve made a list of the top 5 activities for families with kids in Puerto Peñasco!
Water Activities and Treasure Hunting
We stayed in a house on Cholla Bay where the tide surges were so fun to watch. In the afternoon the water would come right up to the house and you could go out and paddleboard, kayak, or snorkel in the calm waters of the bay. By early evening, the water would completely recede and you could walk out and collect shells and sea ‘treasures.’ We saw snails and crabs and octopus, and even heard stories of areas where they frequently find whale bones! Every evening was a new adventure to see what had been left behind by the receding waters.
Just a short drive from Cholla Bay are several beach options, Tucson Beach, which is more of a locally known quiet beach, and Sandy Beach, which is tucked in along the resort strip, but offers crystal clear water and beautiful shells! We did see some jellyfish and heard it was stingray season, so I would recommend water shoes, but we didn’t have any problems while we were there and the water temperature was perfect for swimming!
ATV Adventures in the Sand Dunes
We drove our Ranger down with us to do some off-roading in the sand dunes, but if you don’t have an ATV, there are dozens of places downtown that offer day rentals to get out and explore! We made a day of it, exploring all the way around to the other side of the bay, ending up in a nature preserve and getting stuck in crab-infested mud. Now, I’m not saying go that far, as that was a bit of an extreme adventure, but there are plenty of maintained tracks for exploring the dunes.
If you really want to test your skills, a popular track for off-roaders is right off the main road called “Competition Hill,” and is the highest point in all of Rocky Point with amazing views of the whole city and both sides of the water. ATVs are very popular in Rocky Point and we actually drove ours around town more often than our truck during the week.
5 Things to Do in Rocky Point With Kids
Ziplining at Rocky Point Ziplines
This was a trip highlight for us! Our 4-year daughter is a bold adventurer and we were thrilled to find an excursion that even she could take part in! We chose Rocky Point Ziplines. There are two options: a $20 option to do the smaller zipline twice through or a $60 option where you can do the full zipline adventure “soaring 2000 feet over dunes with a spectacular view of the sea” along a 5 track course with small breaks in between each line.
This is the option we chose, and even the littles can take part in this high adrenaline adventure as there is an option to connect lines and have your small kiddos ride attached to mom or dad. We were told the youngest rider they have had was just 2 years old and loved every minute of it!
After a full safety training lesson, we boarded into the back of a truck and started with a ride up to the top of Competition Hill. Then we made a small hike up some rocks to the highest point in Rocky Point with amazing views of the entire city! Fernando and Danny were amazing guides, explained all the safety rules, and helped secure us one by one to the tracks as we took turns down each line. They were funny and really made the whole tour!
The longest and fastest is called the “widowmaker” because you can get some serious speed traveling down the mountain but it’s such a thrill! I highly recommend this tour as something the whole family can enjoy!
Also note that although they have signs saying “no cameras,” I was told to bring my phone so they could take pictures and videos for us, and then the guides carried my phone in their backpack between lines. Above and beyond!
Deep Water Adventures: Parasailing, Dinner Cruises, Fishing, Banana Boats
You have to get out on the water at least once while in Rocky Point. Whether you rent jet skis for the day, go on a day deep sea fishing trip, or a quiet sunset dinner sail, there is something for everyone. We have had parasailing on our bucket list for quite a while, and the prices through Rocky Point Adventures were so good at just $55 per person that we couldn’t pass it up this time. This is another adventure that is enjoyable for the whole family because even though my two youngest girls were too small to do the parasailing, they were still able to ride in the boat with us and get out on the water.
We took turns with tandem rides because it’s always more fun to have a buddy to enjoy the experience with, but they offer single rides as well. It was unlike anything I’ve ever done before and I’m thrilled to have a big checkmark next to that bucket list item!
While we were out we also saw banana boat tours running (banana-shaped tubes that were quickly towed behind boats with up to 6 people on them). From the screams and squeals we heard from those, you could tell they were having a great time!
Restaurants and Shopping
There are some fantastic restaurants in Puerto Peñasco, from fine dining along the resort strip of Sandy Beach, to the small local dives in Cholla Bay with the most amazing homemade tortillas! One of our favorite casual spots was “Wrecked at the Reef.” Located on Sandy Beach, they have a large outdoor area beachside with individual tiki huts over each table. Each time we went there was a live cover band playing popular favorites. There’s nothing like a cold drink in hand as you stare out onto the ocean with “Margaritaville” playing in the background to instantly put you into vacation mode!
For a variety of dining by the water, as well as plenty of shopping, I recommend the “Old Port” area. Each restaurant along this strip has a balcony with a water view and fresh seafood on the menu. This is also where the colorful Penasco sign is that makes the perfect photo op for your family!
5 Things to Do in Rocky Point With Kids
Another really fun shopping option is called “The Rodeo Drive of Mexico,” the long road that takes you to La Cholla. Here you will find a pocket of huts with local crafts such as hand woven rugs, clay plates, embroidered blankets, homemade jewelry, hats, dresses, and ceramics. You are guaranteed to find the perfect souvenir here to wrap up your trip to Rocky Point!
For a free visitor’s guide to plan the details of your own Rocky Point trip, visit the website here.
Looking for more family adventure ideas? Check out our blog posts here! We have reviewed places around Arizona, California, Colorado, Vegas, and more!