Encanto Park (2605 N. 15th Ave., 602/261-8991, http://phoenix.gov/parks , 5:30 a.m.–11 p.m., free) has been a Phoenix  favorite for generations. On most weekends, you’ll see kids running toward the playground, young couples lying under shady trees, and large families hauling coolers and bags of food to the old picnic tables.
The 222-acre “enchanted” park was designed to be a leafy oasis for escaping the heat, and its quaint neighborhood of Spanish Colonial homes and historic bungalows still feels connected to the Phoenix of 50 years ago.
There are plenty of amenities—basketball and tennis courts, softball fields, and a municipal swimming pool and golf course—but it’s the small lagoon that gives Encanto Park its unique character. Head down to the boathouse and rent a paddleboat or canoe ($8 for 30 minutes).
Encanto also is home to the Enchanted Island Amusement Park (1202 W. Encanto Blvd., 602/254-1200, www.enchantedisland.com , open Wed.–Sun., $1 per ride), which offers a charming collection of rides, bumper boats, games, and a carousel. Check the website for detailed information on hours and prices.