Things to do in Puerto Penasco

Spring Break with Your Family in Puerto Penasco, Mexico

We recently visited Puerto Penasco in Mexico, which we found to be a wonderful family-friendly destination. Here’s our kid-friendly Puerto Penasco Travel Guide; read the post to find out how to get to Puerto Penasco, where to stay in Puerto Penasco, and kid-friendly things to do in Puerto Penasco, Mexico.

Mexico is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and one of the most frequented by families during Spring Break, which is just around the corner.

For families residing in Arizona, Tijuana and San Diego, visiting Puerto Penasco is just a few hours drive away and so worth the visit. Puerto Penasco makes its debut as the fastest growing tourist center in northern Mexico. Here, American and Canadian families reside and enjoy mini-vacations all year long, soaking up the sun on the shores of the Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California), about 70 miles south of the border with Arizona (Read our post on 2 Days in Family-Friendly Scottsdale and Top 10 Family-Friendly Restaurants in Scottsdale).

How to get to Puerto Penasco

This Mexican seaside destination has a list of family-friendly experiences for everyone in the family to enjoy and it’s not too far from the following major US cities:

From Puerto Penasco to… City Approximate time /miles
Tucson, AZ 4 hours / 215 miles
Phoenix, AZ 3.5 hours / 215 miles
Hermosillo, Sonora 5 hours / 286 miles
Nogales, Sonora 6 hours / 242 miles
Mexicali, B.C. 4 hours / 190 miles
Tijuana, B.C. 5.5 hours / 335 miles
San Diego, California 6 hours / 360 miles
Golfo de Santa Clara (new coastal highway) 1.5 hours / 87.5 miles
If you’re planning to drive, since you’re crossing an international border, make sure your auto registration is current and that you get Mexican insurance. You can purchase Mexican auto insurance online or on the way just before the border.

Mexican Auto Insurance

Border Patrol inspection stations are on the way to the border. Slow down. Follow their directions. Most likely they will just wave you through.

Or, catch a hassle-free shuttle directly from Phoenix Airport to Rocky Point. Click here to find the latest flight deals to Puerto Penasco.

Where to Stay in Puerto Penasco

During our trip to Puerto Penasco, we stayed at the Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort, a wonderful resort located right on the beach. As beach babies (we’re from Hawaii after all), we loved how we could literally walk out of our room and be on the beach, but what was most impressive was all the other kid-friendly hotel amenities. Infinity pool? Check! Lazy River? Check! Smoothies at the swim up bar? Check! There’s even a kids club where the lil ones learn to make piñatas and pick up some Spanish.

While we didn’t stay at Penasco Del Sol hotel, we did spend our weekends there listening to the mariachi band playing. And, we know where we’ll be staying on our next visit to Puerto Penasco!

Ready to book? Check out Puerto Penasco Hotel deals now!

24 Hours in Puerto Penasco

Check out our “24 Hours in Puerto Penasco” video

Kid-Friendly Things to do in Puerto Penasco

The town of Puerto Penasco has plenty of kid-friendly things to do, which makes it an ideal spring break destination for families looking for a quick getaway. Read our list of 10 fun things to do in Puerto Penasco, Mexico with your family.

1) Take a walk on the Malecón

Things to do in Puerto PenascoIn this area, you will find lots of restaurants, gift shops, street performers and street food vendors. Many of the restaurants are multi-story so you can enjoy a meal with your family while overlooking the passing crowds and beautiful beach-side view. Come prepared with pesos as you’ll be tempted to do lots of shopping. Sit and watch the waves crash over the sea wall during high tide or watch pelicans and seagulls enjoy the salty ocean breeze.

2) Try some local street food

mexican elote - things to do in puerto penascoMexico is known for the best street food in the world – tacos! Tasty, cheap, and authentic quality street food is what you’ll find along the pathways in Puerto Penasco. There are many stalls and taquerias to choose from while walking the malécon or just while driving through the city. Our favorites are Elote (Mexican Street Corn), sandias locas, and of course street tacos!

3) Have lunch at La Casa del Capitan

ocean view from la casa del capitan - things to do in puerto penascoLocated atop Puerto Penasco’s highest point, La Casa del Capitan is a restaurant you shouldn’t miss while dining in the city. While there’s a large dining room inside, we highly recommend getting a seat on the outdoor terrace because the views are just spectacular. The restaurant is busiest during sunset, but watching the sunset over the water makes the crowd worth it. Expect plenty of Mexican specialities like quesadillas, tacos, and nachos, and of course, fresh seafood!

4) Take the kids on a sunset cruise

senorita rita cruise - things to do in puerto penascoBook a 2-hour sunset cruise on the Senorita Rita where children under 3 are free and you are allowed to bring your own cooler with drinks and snacks. The boat has a bar, restrooms, and music and if you’re lucky enough, a few dolphins will even make a cameo on your way back to the harbor.

5) Spend time on the beach

las palomas beach - things to do in puerto penascoThere are many beaches to choose from, but for families, Las Palomas Beach is about as child friendly as you can get. The sand is cleaned daily and perfect for making sand castles. There are hardly any rocks and I have never had a problem walking barefoot. There are also a good number of palapas and lounge chairs for rent on the beach, and street food carts will roll up to your beach chair or towel to provide refreshing drinks.

6) Enjoy the infinity pools

las palomas beach and golf resort pool - things to do in puerto penascoOne of the things my children look forward to on vacation is hanging out at the hotel pool – especially if it’s well-designed. While in Puerto Penasco, we stayed at the Las Palomas Beach and Golf Resort. It’s located directly on the beach, and although the beach has a lovely setting, it’s the other hotel amenities that appeal to kids. The pool area is a real winner – a gigantic infinity-edge pool, lazy river, and a swim up bar (smoothies for my kiddos)! Water aerobics with other guests spring up spontaneously for parents and children wanting to participate. There is a kid’s club on site with activities for kids ages 5-12 that hosts activities such as piñata making and Spanish lessons.

7) Kayak, Snorkel and Paddle Board in Choya

rocky point kayaking - things to do in puerto penasco

Immerse yourself in Rocky Point’s amazing ocean environment by snorkeling or, if you want to do more than scrape the surface, try kayaking. Some of the top snorkeling spots in the area are located in Cholla Bay and Bird Island. Another good area is the Playa Mirador right off Manny’s Beach Club – this beach has a lot of rocks and makes for a good snorkeling site. These spots generally have clear and warm waters that are more ideal for scuba diving and snorkeling. It is best to plan your snorkeling and kayaking trips during incoming tide, at high tide or one hour before the outgoing tide.

8) Collect seashells

collecting seashells - things to do in puerto penascoIf you’re not scared to get wet, when the tide is way out, go seashell collecting. If you’re lucky the tide will leave some nice shells stuck in the sand. North of Cholla Bay, about 4 miles is a place we called “shell estuary.” There are shells stacked 2-5 feet deep in every variety.

9) Enjoy a mango con chile on the beach

mexican spiced mango - things to do in puerto penascoThis popular Mexican snack is served on a stick with the mango cut like flower, depending on the vendor’s level of artistry. The thought of mango topped with chili powder and lime might frighten you, but we urge you not to skip a single ingredient as the flavors blend in perfect harmony. Pair that with the backdrop of the sea and you’re good to go!

10) Seek out local mariachis

things to do in puerto penasco - mariachi band on beach at sunsetAt the Penasco Del Sol Hotel on the weekend, there are many vendors wandering the beach. Here we found and were lucky to listen to local mariachis playing as we sat relaxing, watching the beautiful sunset!

Have you been to Puerto Penasco? Let us know what you love to do there in the comments below!


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**Be aware that there are travel warnings for Mexico issued by the U.S. Department of State and don’t forget to have fun!

*I would like to credit Purple-Planet for their royalty free music! Credit: Music:

Disclaimer: This post was written during a hosted media trip with Puerto Penasco tourism. However, as always, all opinions expressed on the blog are our own.

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