Living in Southern Arizona offers residents and visitors alike a great opportunity to explore parts of the country that are virtually untouched. Drive down the 10 Freeway in either direction from Tucson, and for miles all you see is beautiful greenery, jagged mountain ranges, and of course, the famous Saguaro cactus.
Saguaro National Park
One place to go see this cactus being celebrated is at Saguaro National Park. This cactus is what everyone thinks about when you say the word. These amazing succulents are part of the National Park Service, which offers two districts covering 165 miles of hiking trails. Camping is permitted, but you must have a permit. To get one, you can apply months, weeks or days in advance, just be sure to get it before 12 Noon on the day of your campout.
Tombstone just may be the most famous “Wild West” town in America. And the town certainly loves to embrace the old west feel with a dramatic reenactment of the famous gunfight between Virgil, Morgan and Wyatt Earp – with Doc Holliday on their side – shoot it out with the McLaurys and Clantons in the O.K. Corral gunfight. Reenactments in the street in front of the historic landmark are daily, so check to see what time they fight it out in the streets!
Mount Lemmon is just an hour’s jaunt from sunny Tucson, where temperatures often dip 20 degrees cooler than the city, having a 9,157-foot summit. Mt. Lemmon offers something quite unique for a desert region – Ski Valley, a ski/snowboard resort within an hour of Tucson. You can also hike, camp, ride horses, as well as peruse the beautiful flora vista that surrounds you.
Sonoita Wine Tour
Not so surprisingly, Southern Arizona is gaining quite a reputation as a wine-producing state. With all the different options you have, going on a tour is a safe and fun way to enjoy some of your favorite wines without the worry of driving. Join a Sonoita Wine Tour, and you can meet other people as well, and discover new wines. Book a tour or venture out on your own to see the beautiful grapes grown in Arizona.
Kitt Peak National Observatory
The Visitor Center is free and from 9 a.m.-3:45 p.m., is open for daytime visitors and volunteer-led tours. The Center is closed on holidays, so check the website or call ahead to make sure you can enjoy the observatory. At Kitt Peak National Observatory, there is a charge for daily guided tours and programs, and all visitors are asked to leave by 4 p.m. unless they register for the nighttime tours.
There is always something to do in and around Tucson, but here are a few simple ideas that get you outside and in the sunshine of our beautiful state.