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Tucson: The Best Places To Explore In Arizona

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Arizona is one of my favorite travel destinations in the US! Many full-time nomads choose to visit Arizona in the Spring and Winter due to the ideal weather conditions. Typically, the average temperatures are between 60° and 90° with little humidity in the Spring. There are many unique travel destinations in the state, amazing outdoor adventures, and several historical sights to explore. These are my favorite places to visit in Tucson, Arizona. 

Unique Places To Explore

 San Xavier Del Bac Mission:

Among many sights to see in Tucson, San Xavier Mission is on the top of the list. It is a historic mission, founded in 1692 by Padre Eusebio Kino. The original mission building was destroyed by Apache raids in the area, but in the late 1700s, the construction of the current mission building began. Today, it is still an actively run mission holding regular weekly masses and receives more than 200,000 visitors a year. 

Walking through the open doors of the mission, I try to imagine the history and people who once came to know God here. What lives must have been changed in this place! We toured the grounds and walked the Grotto Hill, stopping along the way to give thanks for the blessings we have today.

San Xavier Mission is truly the “White Dove of Tucson”.

Mt Lemmon Scenic Byway/Ski Valley:

Mt. Lemmon scenic byway is an interesting drive. It was close to 80 degrees in Tucson the morning we left for the drive. By the time we got to the top of the mountain, the temperature dropped to 55 degrees. Where can you go to experience summer-like weather, and go snow skiing the same day?

Mt. Lemmon is located in the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson and has an elevation of 9,159 feet. There are many pull out stops, to hike and take in the views. It was such a beautiful day to just take a drive!

Tucson Historic Bike Tour

Tucson is a city full of history! What better way to tour downtown than on a bike. The city is known to be very bike-friendly and has a 131-mile loop of paved trails around the city where you can visit all things Tucson. For those that don’t have personal bikes, you can rent one and travel at your own pace, or take a guided tour. We chose to take a 10 mile guided tour, big thanks to Jimmy at Tucson Historical Bike Tour. We explored old historic buildings, stopped for brunch at a cute little corner shop, and visited several iconic sights.

Tombstone Western Town:

Take a step back in time to the old west. Mostly known as the place of the O.K. Corral gunfight between Wyatt Earp and the outlaws called The Cowboys, Tombstone is a historic town located south of Tucson. We walked the streets, toured some of the original saloons and historic sites, and participated in a reenactment of the infamous O.K. Corral battle. Put this quaint town on your list of sights to see!

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park is an amazing place to explore. It is located on both sides of Tucson and features unique wildlife, the best bird-watching areas, and the fabulous Saguaro Cactus. Designated as a US National Park in 1933, Saguaro National Park encompasses about 92,000 acres of desert land and consists of the largest collection of the famous Giant Saguaro Cacti.

Things To Do In Saguaro National Park

  • Hiking – There are several hiking trails in Saguaro National Park that offers amazing desert views. Whether you are a beginner outdoor adventurer or a pro explorer, these trails range from easy to difficult and contain terrains of all types.
  • Camping – Backcountry camping in Saguaro National Park is allowed by permit only. For more information, check out the National Park Camping Regulations and Rules.
  • Photography Opportunities – Saguaro National Park has some of the most iconic sunrise and sunset photography opportunities. Be sure to check out the best places to capture epic photos in Saguaro National Park.

Catalina State Park

Catalina State Park is another amazing place to visit in Tucson. It offers great camping spots, amazing outdoor activities, and desert and waterfall photo opportunities. The park is open daily from 5 am – 10 pm except for major Holidays.  The entrance fee is $7.00 per vehicle (1-4 people) or $3.00 per individual. Check out their website for more information about the park schedule.

Tumacacori National Historical Park

Located near the Santa Cruz River, Tumacacori National Historical Park offers guided tours, self-guided tours, and more. When you first arrive, you will be guided through the gift shop and proceed through the side doors to the grounds outside. You are free to walk around the grounds, which features a historical Spanish Mission and cemetery, historic cultural demonstrations, and adobe dwellings. Also, take a walk down the Santa Cruz River to experience nature, wildlife, and more!

Final Thoughts On Visiting Tucson, Arizona

The RVing lifestyle has been one of the most rewarding adventures of my life (except for my children, of course). It has allowed us the freedom to travel as we want, the joy of new experiences, the ability to connect, and a journey like no other. We have been to some amazing places like Bend Bend National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the desert of Arizona. 

We’ve been able to see and do things that never would have been possible had we not taken a leap of faith and began living our dream. We had a fun-filled week in Tucson and totally enjoyed exploring the culture, historical sights, and National Parks. Be sure to make Tucson a top US destination to visit on your next Western road trip!

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Traci LeBlanc

After becoming a full-time nomad, I found my passion for travel, photography, and writing. By sharing our journey, I hope to inspire you to Discover Adventure....Live By Faith!

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