Rocky Point aka Puerto Peñasco
To be completely, 100 percent honest, summer is not our favorite season to visit “Arizona’s beach.” The Sonoran seaside hamlet cracks triple digits on a routine basis from June to August, and the Sea of Cortez – so shallow and uninsulated on its northern extremity – feels like lukewarm bath water. But May is spectacular, and so is October, when a chill in the weather puts an appealing spin on that bathwater analogy. The one upside of a summer visit: smoking resort deals.
High season: March-May, October-November
Low season: It’s fun over New Year’s… but the water will freeze off bits of your anatomy.
PHOENIX mag IT wizard Mike Meyer is the biggest Rocky Point aficionado we know – he got married there and visits three to four times a year, so you know his resto recs will be on point.
Kissed by flame and tasting of citrus, smoke and salt, the grilled chicken at this roadside snack-shack just north of downtown “is the place everyone loves,” Meyer says. Find it at 83550 Blvd. Benito Juárez (Highway 8).
Just down the street from the fish market on Boulevard Benito Juárez García, find this Euro-centric café (tiramisu!) that also offers “awesome chilaquiles and one of the best breakfasts in town.” facebook.com/kaffeehauspuertopenasco
Taqueria El Samy
“It’s actually just a taco stand across the street from the Burger King” on Highway 8 coming into town, Meyer says – but he reserves his most passionate Rocky Point ardor for José Perez’s 18-year-old taco stand and its chile relleno tacos. “They’re right out of the fryer, filled with cheese, and he just slices them open right in front of you and fills them with beans, lettuce and tomato.” Perez usually runs out by late morning, so ándale. Cerrada La Choya 3731
Every evening around dusk, Del Mar Charters invites two dozen or so RP visitors aboard its 42-foot catamaran and proceeds to hydrate them vigorously. Fine ocean views and a fun-loving staff ensure those bottomless Cokes and margaritas don’t go to waste. ($30 adults/$20 children). delmarcharters.com
Wrecked at the Reef
No reason to be coy: People love to get soused in Rocky Point. So know that the double entendre stitched into the name of this beachside, hanging-light-strewn palapa west of downtown is wholly well-earned. facebook.com/wreckedbars/
Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort
Our pick for the premier resort in Rocky Point, on the town’s tony west side, boasts an 18-hole championship course designed by Forrest Richardson and Arthur Jack Snyder, and captivating views overlooking the Sea of Cortez. Two-bedroom suites start at $600/night. laspalomasresort.net