Arizona Road Trip: 3 Must-Visit Cities

1) Yuma

If you’re a fan of the 3:10 to Yuma film, then the name of this first city will ring a bell. This small town is located in the southwestern part of the state, close to the California and Mexico border. The city is known for its historical Ocean-to-Ocean bridge that was built in 1915 and that crosses the Colorado River. It serves as a land route to connect the East Coast with the West Coast. Little known fact: Yuma is the biggest winter vegetable producer of the world!

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If you’re going to Yuma, you’ll want to stay in one of their legendary motels. They are cheap, well situated and there are lot’s of cool ones to choose from: Hacienda Motel, the Yuma Cabana, the Tropicana. A lot of these motels are inspired by the classic Vegas motels.

Things to do:

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Walk around the historic downtown area – The main street is filled with antique shops, restaurants and local breweries. You’ll want to stop by Lutes Casino and order their famous “Lutes Special” – a hot dog in a cheeseburger. This legendary spot attracts all the locals. You may also see the owner sitting at the bar and tabulating bills.

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Visit the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park – Opened in 1876, this prison once held some notable inmates such as Tombstone’s gunfighter Frank “Buckskin” Leslie and Pearl “Bandit Queen Hart”. You can visit the prison site and also the graveyard.

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Run the trail or hang out at the beach in Gateway Park – located right next to the Ocean-to-Ocean bridge and on the Colorado River, this is a great spot to relax and observe local wildlife and cool off from the extremely hot and dry Yuma weather.

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2) Tombstone

Tombstone is a historic western city located in Cochise County, Arizona. The city was founded in 1876 and prospered thanks to its mines but was also marked by ongoing conflicts between the cowboys and the Earp family, which one day escalated into the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral in 1880. To this day, the small city remains pretty much intact with its original buildings, which has led to it becoming a major tourist spot for old west fans from around the world.

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Things to do:

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Take a trolley tour around town – This super fun 25 minute historical tour of the city will teach you all about its history, architecture and famous or infamous characters. The trolley drivers are entertaining and incredibly informative. You can find the trolley parked at 4th and Toughnut Street and the tour costs $6. You can also follow that up with a gunfight reenactment show, which happens to be a block away.

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Eat at one of their historic saloons – They may not be renown for their food (health food enthusiasts beware) but they’ve become a monument in this historical town. Big Nose Kate’s Saloon or the Crystal Palace Saloon are two must-see spots. A lot of the decor and pieces in the saloon are originals, you may even find bullet holes in some of the saloons’ walls. It’s also the best place to whip out your newly acquired cowboy hat!

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Stay at the Sagebrush Inn – Don’t be fooled by it’s rustic exterior, this place is a gem so much so that John Wayne once stayed here so they kept his room intact for visitors to enjoy. The Sagebrush Inn was the destination for western movie stars in the 50s and 60s. This quaint little motel, is located just a 5 minute walking distance from the downtown area. All the rooms are decorated with old photographs and items reminiscing of the old west. They’ve also got a beautiful pool, perfect for cooling off from the hot desert sun!

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3) Holbrook

Located in Navajo County, Holbrook was founded in 1881 when the railroad was built in the area. Funny fact, in 1912 a 419 lbs meteorite exploded in the sky above Holbrook and caused a big meteorite shower causing more than 16 000 stones to fall from the sky. The historic Route 66 runs through Holbrook.

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Things to do:

Visit the Petrified Forest National Park – Located less than 30 minutes driving distance from Holbrook and in Navajo and Apache counties, the park is known for its tree fossils that date back to the Mesozoic era, 220 million years ago. This place is just stunning to visit.

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Sleep in a Wigwam – The Wigwam Motel was built in 1950 using the teepees of the Plains Indians as inspiration and is now part of the National Register of Historic Places in the United States. The motel is located on Route 66 and offers travellers the chance to stay in a little piece of history. Each of the 15 wigwams are also adorned with a classic car parked right out front. The motel’s office also houses a small museum of historical artefacts, guns, photographs, etc. The best spot to catch up on some reading and have a quiet night while in an unique setting.

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