See the Sonoran Desert from an unexpected perspective. Float down the Salt or Verde River with Cimarron Adventures & River Company (480/994-1199, www.cimarrontours.com , $45) on one of its two-hour expeditions 30 minutes east of Scottsdale . The Class I rapids (no white water) are pretty tame, but don’t be surprised if a splash fight breaks out on a hot day.
Grab a paddle with Desert Voyagers Guided Raft Tours (480/998-7238, www.desertvoyagers.com , $68 adults, $58 kids) and meander along the banks of the lower Salt River, where you’ll spot a surprising mix of wildlife, including otters, wild mustangs, and the most-active bald eagle nesting areas in Arizona. The two-person “funyak” excursions offer a more intimate journey and a bit more maneuverability ($78 adults, $73 kids).