Tournament planners can schedule events with sunshine in the forecast

When scheduling an outdoor sporting event across much of the country, a major problem planners face is the unpredictability of weather.

The United States records an average of 205 sunny days per year, meaning inclement weather can wreak havoc on outdoor tournaments considerably more than 1/3 of the time. That is, unless your event takes place in Arizona.

With 300-plus days of sunshine per year, planners aiming to schedule an outdoor tournament can do so in Arizona with almost zero trepidation.

Here are some locations in the Grand Canyon State that have excellent outdoor sports facilities and are also perfect for those looking to embrace Arizona’s enticing natural beauty.


The Chandler Tennis Center is a beautiful venue that features 15 newly renovated, lighted courts and offers recreational leagues, tournaments and drop-in play. The 3,000-square-foot facility is a perfect locale for tennis players of all ages to hone their skills. Outdoor enthusiasts will also cherish Chandler’s picturesque Sonoran Desert terrain, which is ideal for those who prefer to hike, mountain bike, cycle, horseback ride, kayak, fish and even explore the area in a hot air balloon.


Flagstaff is a popular outdoor destination and features a variety of trail systems hikers love to embrace. The city has easy access to mountains and canyons including the Grand Canyon, whose South Rim is just over an hour drive from Flagstaff. Grand Canyon National Park is one of the planet’s greatest natural wonders as it stretches 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and reaches a depth of more than a mile. Famed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the park is unmatched in the vistas and views it offers visitors.


Children can feel like a professional ballplayer at Cactus Yards, home to eight baseball fields modeled after legendary major league fields: Ebbets Field, Sportsman’s Park, Dbacks Field, Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium, Angel Stadium, Fenway Park and the Polo Grounds. Gilbert is also a tremendous spot to birdwatch thanks to the Riparian Preserve that contains close to 200 species of bird. It’s a perfect spot to take a long stroll and survey the surroundings.


Camelback Ranch is the Spring Training home ballpark of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. This state-of-the-art 10,000-seat stadium with 3,000 lawn seats, 118,000 square feet of clubhouse space and eight practice fields features picturesque walking trails, one-of-a-kind fan photo opportunities and a five-acre lake that separates the Dodgers and White Sox practice areas.


Lake Havasu is a year-round fishing paradise where anglers savor the lake’s scenic natural beauty as they reel in bass, bluegill, sunfish, catfish and crappies. For those looking to get their blood pumping, Lake Havasu City BMX is a USA BMX-sanctioned non-profit race track which is perfect for bikers to perform their tricks. Another great outdoor spot is Tinnell Memorial Sports Park, Arizona’s largest skate park and the largest multi-use skate park in the Southwest at 40,000 square feet.


Legacy Sports Park is a $300 million, 320-acre multi-use family sport and entertainment complex of outdoor and indoor team athletic facilities that will open in January 2022. The park will feature state-of-the-art training and wellness centers, nutrition professionals and a wide selection of dining options. Those seeking an active outing prior to that date can embrace Saguaro Lake Guest Ranch, which offers visitors the chance to kayak and tube the Lower Salt River and Saguaro Lake. The ranch also features numerous hiking and biking trails.


Reach 11 is a perfect complex for athletes, regardless of skill level. This massive venue contains 18 lighted soccer fields, 17 grass fields and one artificial turf playing surface. The facility also boasts two traditional grass baseball fields and two accessible rubberized baseball fields which are perfect for athletes comfortable playing in any environment. Ability360 continues a 40-year tradition of promoting programs to empower people with all disabilities to live independent lifestyles within their community. Its sports and fitness center is one of only a handful of centers in the country designed for individuals with disabilities and it provides exceptional adaptive sports, recreation, aquatic and fitness programs. Phoenix is also home to an extraordinary outdoor landscape including South Mountain Park, the largest municipal park in the U.S., perfect for hikers of all abilities.


The Scottsdale Sports Complex is a 71-acre sports facility that has amenities to accommodate a variety of field sports including soccer, rugby, football, ultimate frisbee and lacrosse. The complex contains 10 grass fields, four regulation-sized and six international-sized with soccer goals installed on all fields. The city boasts eight lakes and rivers within an hour’s drive. Among those include the scenic Salt River, which is popular for water rafting, tubing, kayaking, canoeing and fishing; and Bartlett Lake, a desert gem containing a full-service marina with pontoon and ski boat rentals.


Built in 2005, Tempe Sports Complex includes seven athletic fields and four softball fields. The skate park, featuring two bowls and multiple street-style ramps, is a social hub for skaters of all experience levels. Tempe is also an outdoor haven as it is home to Tempe Town Lake, a desert paradise that provides visitors with aquatic recreation and outdoor activities year-round. This twomile- long body of water is a popular destination for visitors to kayak, sail, fish, row and even jog. Another favored destination is “A” Mountain, also known as Hayden Butte in downtown Tempe. Hikers of this mountain are rewarded with views of the lake, Arizona State University and rock drawings left hundreds of years ago by ancient people.


From breathtaking Sonoran Desert views to the bustling and vibrant downtown area, Tucson gives travelers the best of both worlds. Kino Sports Complex is a multi-purpose sports venue which provides facilities for both professional and amateur level sports. Less than 14 miles from Tucson resides Saguaro National Park, which contains hundreds of miles of hiking trails and covers 91,327 acres in two districts. The Eastern Rincon Mountain District rises to more than 8,000 feet and includes more than 128 miles of trails. The Western Tucson Mountain District is lower in elevation with a denser saguaro forest.

By Jason Paha