The weather is finally cooling down a bit, just in time to schedule your family pictures. The trick is to take them when it’s not too hot, but with enough time to order holiday cards for family and friends.

Moms have enough stress trying to find outfits for everyone to wear, making sure haircuts/dos are on point and determining how best to bribe smiles out of toddlers and teens to worry about where to take the shot. So, we’ve tracked down 10 local spots perfect for highlighting your uniquely photogenic family.

MESA

Downtown Mesa

East valley family picture locationsThere are a multitude of photo-worthy spots to pose the family in an artsy environment, including architecturally unique doors and buildings, creative murals and the Mesa Arts Center. The art sculptures scattered along Main Street provide additional interest. Your family might want to pose by the Humpty Dumpty sculpture or sit in the big Pink Chair. Discover the “true” Mesa and share it with your family and friends through photos.

Cost: Free

Backgrounds: Murals, art sculptures, steps, storefronts, historic buildings

Where: Downtown Mesa, along Main St., from Center St. to Robson and the Mesa Arts Center

 

Riverview Park

best east valley family portrait locationsMesa’s Riverview Park, home to the Cubs Spring Training Facility, runs along Rio Salado Pathway and has a one-of-a-kind 50-foot climbing tower than makes a good spot for family photos. There are park benches, picnic tables and tall palm trees by the water. Go at sunset for fantastic lighting.

Cost: Free

Backgrounds: Palm trees by water, climbing tower, water fountains, picnic tables

Where: Northwest corner of Dobson Rd. and Rio Salado Parkway

 

Coon Bluff

East Valley family portraits taken at coon bluffThis is a popular sight to take family photos with a gorgeous backdrop of water, mountains and lush river greenery. A few lucky individuals have had the wild Salt River Horses make an appearance in the area.

Cost: Pick up a Tonto National Forest Pass for $8 that provides access to all sights along the Salt River

Backgrounds: The Salt River, Red Mountain, cactus, trees, river rocks

Where: Coon Bluff Rd, Mesa, Off of Power Rd./Bush Highway.

 

APACHE JUNCTION

Goldfield Mining Town

If you love the look of the Wild West, there’s no better place! Explore Main Street, with a general store, blacksmith shop, a schoolhouse and other historic buildings. Pose your group in front of the historic Mammoth Gold Mine, the Goldfield Museum or the old-time train. The Goldfield Gunfighters also perform gunfights that might fit your photo plans. Dress accordingly.

Cost: Free

Backgrounds: Main Street shops, train, schoolhouse, Wild West props

Where: 4650 N. Mammoth Mine Rd., Apache Junction on the historic Apache Trail

 

GILBERT 

Riparian Preserve

Riparian Preserve for family photosThe Preserve has it all—a lake, several ponds, wildlife, a gazebo, a floating boardwalk and seasonal vegetation throughout the area. Walk the 4.5 miles of trails that weave through the park to find the perfect spot for your group. Many beautiful species of birds call this their home—maybe they’ll stop by to pose in your photo. Sunset is a nice time at the preserve for photos.

Cost: Free

Backgrounds: Water, mixed riparian vegetation and cactus plants, boardwalk by water.

Where: 2757 E Guadalupe Rd, Gilbert

 

Downtown Gilbert

In Gilbert, make history come alive by posing your group by a patch of grass near the Water Tower or the granite water sculpture. The outside brick wall of Joe’s Real BBQ or the shopfront corridors along Gilbert Road make for good backgrounds that will give your photos a truly timeless appeal. Plus, lots of great restaurants to reward your crew when you are through!

Cost: Free

Backgrounds: Storefronts, Water Tower, Hale Theatre

Where: Gilbert Rd. and Page Ave., north of Elliot Rd.

 

CHANDLER

Downtown Chandler

Family photos at the Science CenterTake a trip back in time and use the rustic shops with old world charm as a background for family photos. The Victorian-era lampposts help retain a unique quality in the urban core. The columns outside the Crowne Plaza San Marcos Golf Resort form a suitable backdrop. The Resort was host to many celebrities, including Fred Astaire, Joan Crawford, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable and Jimmy Stewart in the early 1900s. Why not make your family famous too?

Cost: Free

Backgrounds: San Marcos resort doors and architecture, shops/alleyways on Boston St.

Where: Boston St. and N. San Marcos Place, Chandler

Veteran Oasis Park

East Valley family photo spotsWith its combination of parkland, lake, wetlands and wildlife, this 113-acre park in southeast Chandler is the perfect spot for family photos. Around the lake are several wildlife viewing areas. On the east side of the lake, a waterfall cascades along stones before it feeds into the water. You provide the family members; the park will provide the backdrops!

Cost: Free
Backgrounds: Small waterfall, river rocks and vegetation.
Where: 4050 E. Chandler Heights Road, Chandler.

 

PHOENIX

Science Center (outside)

beautiful scenery for family photos at the science center in the east valleyThe Arizona Science Center provides a great backdrop for urban modern pictures, cement staircases, concretes backdrops mixed with bright pops of green grass, architecturally interesting trees and rocks make this a perfect location to take several different types of photos in close proximity.

Cost: No fee to take picture on outside grounds

Backgrounds: Stairs, grass, rosebushes, concrete walls, Mesquite trees, large rocks

Address: 600 Washington St., Phoenix

 

Hole in the Rock at Papago Park

The Hole in the Rock at Papago Park is a unique place to do sunset photography because of its glorious views of downtown Phoenix and a high-up view of the Valley. Its massive, otherworldly sandstone buttes set Papago Park apart, even in a city and state filled with world-class natural attractions. The Sonoran Desert habitat provides interesting plant backdrops. Plus, it’s near the Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden, so there are endless possibilities for fantastic snapshots.

Cost: Free

Backgrounds: Families can peer through the Hole-in-the-Rock or pose along the natural path.

Address: 625 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix

Our thanks to East Valley photographers Jenna Donato and Megan Miks for their heart-warming family photos!

Interested in more tips for East Valley living or new home options, resort-style pools, parks, trails and more in Mesa’s newest Master-planned community? Sign up at http://cadenceaz.com/contact/