Originally founded in 1888 under the name of Sidney, Buckeye is the westernmost suburb in the Phoenix metropolitan area, with an old west charm.
Located in Arizona’s Maricopa County, it was renamed in 1910 Buckeye due to the importance of the nearby Buckeye Canal.
With a population of almost 60,000 people, Buckeye is considered one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.
A heaven for wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts of all ages, Buckeye offers hikers, mountain bikers, equestrians and campers the chance of exploring dozen of miles of trails around the city.
Let’s explore the best things to do in Buckeye:
1. Historic Gillespie Dam Bridge
Constructed over the Gila River in 1927 and restored in 2012, the Gillespie Dam Bridge is a unique reminder of Arizona’s rich past and America’s transportation history.
This 1,662 foot long bridge was one of the longest bridges and the largest steel structure in Arizona.
While the bridge no longer serves as a segment of the Old U.S. 80 highway, it is continually used by locals and tourists.
By driving just a quarter of a mile west of the bridge, on the west side of the river, an impressive display of petroglyphs can be found at the base of the cliffs.
2. Skyline Regional Park
With more than 16 miles of trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding, Skyline Regional Park is a very popular park among the people of Buckeye.
Located in the southern White Tank Mountains, Skyline Regional Park is 8,700 acres and features 5 ramadas and 7 camping sites, offering amazing views of the surrounding mountains.
Opened in January, 2016, this brand new park is dog friendly and offers fresh and new amenities.
Each campsite includes a parking stall, two graded tent pads, a picnic table, cooking grill and a fire ring.
Due to minimal light pollution it is also an excellent spot for stargazing.
3. Desert Botanical Garden
Established in 1939, the Desert Botanical Garden has more than 50,000 plants, with one third of them native to the area.
Located 40 miles away from Buckeye, the garden can be found in Papago Park.
As volunteers were essential in the creation and development of the Garden, they are still considered an important asset.
Working closely with the staff, they share their time, talents and professional expertise in the working and care of the garden and with guests.
4. White Tank Mountain Regional Park
Located in west-central Maricopa County, Arizona, the White Tank Mountain Regional Park is a mix of desert and mountain landscapes.
With nearly 26 miles of hiking trails and an extension of 29,271 acres, this is the largest regional park in the county.
The majority of the park is undeveloped and prohibited to motorised vehicles but in the developed portion of the park picnic areas and campground can be found.
Perfect for stargazing due to regular clear weather and dark skies, the park hosts various stargazing events through the year.
5. Verrado Golf Club
Designed by the Ryder Cup Captain, Tom Lehman, the Verrado Golf Club lies 36 holes of championship golf in two different layouts.
Located in the shadows of the White Tank Mountains, golfers can delight in its amazing views and wildlife while playing an enjoyable round.
Following golf, players can enjoy an unforgettable meal at the Verrado Grille Restaurant, which combines impeccable service, a lively atmosphere and incredible views.
Weddings and other events can be celebrated in this high quality golf club.
6. Robbins Butte Wildlife Area
From the top of Robbins Butte hill, located south of the Gila River, visitors can get a broad overview of the river corridor.
Featuring diverse habitats that draw large populations of resident and migratory wildlife, Robins Butte is a popular area to watch the mule deer, bighorn sheep and many other small animals like cottontails.
Although overnight camping is prohibited, the area is also popular for hiking, hunting and birdwatching.
Caution is advised while hiking as several species of rattlesnakes can be found in the area.
7. Buckeye’s Air Fair
Celebrated annually at the Buckeye’s Municipal Airport, Buckeye’s Air Fair features aviation exhibits, aircraft displays and air demonstrations.
Part of the Arizona SciTech Festival where children of all ages can learn about the science of aviation, the Buckeye’s Air Fair is a day of fun for the whole family.
From the latest in space exploration to remote control demonstrations, Top Gun lovers can even book a ride on an authentic World War II aircraft at one of Buckeye’s largest and most exciting events.
8. Estrella Mountain Regional Park
Located southwest of Phoenix, Estrella Mountain Regional Park offers a large range of possible activities for visitors.
The park occupies around 20,000 acres and offers more than 33 miles of trails for hiking, mountain bike and horseback riding, making this this park a perfect place for an adventure day.
The park also provides to visitors baseball fields, a golf course, playground areas, campsites and the only grass picnic area in the Maricopa County Park System.
Its 150 species of birds that call this park home, birdwatching is a recommended activity in Estrella Mountain Regional Park.
9. Skydive Buckeye
If you are searching for an adrenaline rush then Skydive Buckeye is definitely the place to visit.
Owned and operated by a family, Skydive Buckeye instructors are rated by the United States Parachute Association and have skydived around the world.
After strapping themselves to an instructor, costumers jump out of an airplane two miles above the ground and free fall for 40 seconds, reaching a speed up 120mph.
With a gentle ride back towards the ground, costumers can enjoy of an amazing view of the White Tank Mountains and Estrella Mountain.
Skydive Buckeye puts safety first but maintaining their equipment to meet the Federal Aviation Administration standards.
10. Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium
Located just 20 miles from Buckeye, the Wildlife World Zoo and Aquarium is a 215 acre zoo specialised in African and South American animals.
Opened to public in 1984, the zoo has the largest collection of exotic animals in Arizona.
There is much to see and experience at the Wildlife Zoo and Aquarium. From feeding a giraffe to spot baby animals in the Animal Nursery, visitors can enjoy the zoo 365 days a year.
Being the only venue that displays sea mammals in Arizona, the Wildlife Aquarium exhibits the biodiversity of the Amazon River, South Pacific and Caribbean Ocean.
11. Corral West Horse Adventures
Located in the Estrella Mountain Regional Park, Corral West Horse Adventure is the perfect spot for horse lovers.
Visitors can experience the west in true cowboy fashion, wether it is from the back of a horse or in the back of a wagon.
Corral West Horse Adventures provides costumers boots, hats and chaps to wear while the enjoy of a horseback riding adventure.
Families can also enjoy of a cowboy cookout where they ride out to a remote desert setting and enjoy of an evening of real western entertainment, cowboy dining and a marshmallow roast in the site’s campfire.
12. Goodyear Ballpark
Placed in the town of Goodyear just 14 miles away of Buckeye, the Goodyear Ballpark is the training home of the Cleveland Indians and the Cincinnati Reds.
With a capacity of more than 10,000 seats, the stadium opened in 2009.
While spring training is the main event at the Goodyear Ballpark, other events and activities take place in the stadium.
Car shows, graduation ceremonies, movie nights, weddings and corporate picnics give life to this stadium throughout the off-season.
13. Buckeye Aquatics Center
Considered one of the finest swimming and diving pools, the Buckeye Aquatic Center is the perfect place where to beat the heat.
Established in 1980, the park offers a 10 zero depth, beach front area with water features, a 10 foot high dive and an incredible 160 foot water slides.
Water aerobics, swim lessons and certification courses are also offered in the Buckeye Aquatic Center, making it a fun place to enjoy the hot summer days with family and friends.
14. Buckeye Valley Museum
Established in 1954, the Buckeye Valley Museum focuses and local history and contains an impressive collection of pre-Columbia’s pottery, historic photographs and locals artefacts.
Remodelled in 2014, visitors can now contemplate a 1926 tractor, a row of seats form the Roxy Theatre and the bronze plates from the original Roosevelt Irrigation Canal.
Run by the Buckeye Valley Historical and Archeological Society, the museum tries to connect the community to Buckeyes’s past.
15. Sonoran Desert National Monument
Located south of Buckeye and Goodyear, the Sonoran Desert National Museum was created in 2001.
Home of several listed endangered species, the Sonoran Desert Monument is almost 500,000 acres and protects a small portion of the Sonoran Desert which is considered the most biologically diverse desert in North America.
Managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the Sonoran Desert National Monument contains three distinct mountain ranges, the Sand Tank, the Table Top Mountains and the Maricopa.
Many significant archeological and historical sites, and remnants of several historical trails can be found in the Monument.