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15 Things to Do in Yuma, Arizona

Nestled along the Colorado River, Yuma, Arizona, is a vibrant oasis in the Sonoran Desert with a rich history and an abundance of outdoor activities. Known for its sunny weather and picturesque landscapes, Yuma invites travelers to explore its unique attractions. From historical sites to natural wonders, this desert city offers a plethora of experiences for visitors of all ages. Whether you're a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Yuma's charm is sure to captivate you. As the sunniest city on earth, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Yuma provides ample opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors year-round.

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01 Visit the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park

Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park

Step back in time at the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, where you can walk through the cells and guard tower of a 19th-century prison. Learn about the lives of the inmates and the history of the region through fascinating exhibits. The park also offers stunning views of the Colorado River, making it a perfect spot for history enthusiasts and photographers alike. This historic prison once held some of the most notorious outlaws of the American West and is now a captivating museum.

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02 Explore the Castle Dome Mines Museum & Ghost Town

Castle Dome Mines Museum & Ghost Town

Experience the Wild West at the Castle Dome Mines Museum & Ghost Town. This well-preserved mining town gives you a glimpse into the lives of miners and their families in the 1800s. With over 50 buildings to explore, including original structures and artifacts, it's a journey through time that's both educational and entertaining. Castle Dome, located in the heart of a once-thriving mining district, stands as a testament to the boom and bust of the era's silver mining days.

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03 Stroll along the Yuma East Wetlands

Yuma East Wetlands

Reconnect with nature at the Yuma East Wetlands, a lush riparian area along the Colorado River. Take a leisurely walk on the well-maintained paths, spot local wildlife, and enjoy the tranquility of this restored natural habitat. It's a serene escape that showcases the beauty of Yuma's natural environment. The wetlands are a crucial habitat for numerous bird species, making it a prime location for birdwatching.

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04 Enjoy fresh produce at the Yuma Farmers Market

wjenningsphotography / Getty Images

Savor the flavors of the region at the Yuma Farmers Market, where you can find fresh, locally-grown produce and artisanal goods. It's a great place to mingle with locals, sample regional specialties, and pick up unique souvenirs. The market is a testament to Yuma's status as a major agricultural hub. Yuma's fertile soil and unique climate contribute to its reputation as the "Winter Vegetable Capital of the World."

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05 Take a sunset cruise on the Colorado River

Colorado river stream

Embark on a memorable sunset cruise along the Colorado River. As the sun dips below the horizon, the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant colors, providing a breathtaking backdrop for your river adventure. It's a peaceful and romantic way to end your day in Yuma. The Colorado River is a lifeline of the Southwest, and these cruises offer a unique perspective on its importance to the region.

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06 Play a round of golf at Desert Hills Golf Course

Somchai Sookkasem / Getty Images

Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a round at the Desert Hills Golf Course, known for its challenging layout and immaculate greens. With the desert landscape and clear blue skies as your scenery, it's a golfing experience that combines sport with the stunning beauty of Yuma. The course is a favorite among locals and visitors alike and has been recognized as one of the top municipal golf courses in Arizona.

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07 Experience the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge

Imperial National Wildlife Refuge

Venture into the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, where the desert meets the wetlands, providing a sanctuary for wildlife and a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. This protected area spans along the Colorado River and offers opportunities for hiking, fishing, and birdwatching. The refuge is home to a diverse array of animals and plants, some of which are unique to the Lower Colorado River Valley. Visitors can enjoy the scenic beauty and learn about the importance of conservation efforts.

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08 Relax at Gateway Park

Unwind at Gateway Park, a family-friendly spot with sandy beaches along the Colorado River. Enjoy a picnic, take a dip in the water, or simply relax under the shade of a tree. The park's playground and open spaces make it ideal for families looking to spend quality time together. Gateway Park serves as a central recreational hub in Yuma, providing a variety of activities for all ages.

09 Attend the Yuma Lettuce Days Festival

Celebrate Yuma's agricultural heritage at the Yuma Lettuce Days Festival. This annual event features cooking demonstrations, farm tours, and a variety of lettuce-themed activities. It's a fun and educational way to learn about the importance of agriculture in the region. The festival highlights Yuma's role as a leader in winter vegetable production and its impact on the nation's food supply.

10 Admire art at the Yuma Art Center

Immerse yourself in the local art scene at the Yuma Art Center. The center hosts galleries, workshops, and live performances, showcasing the talents of regional artists. Whether you're an art aficionado or a curious visitor, the center offers a cultural experience that enriches your understanding of Yuma's creative community. The Yuma Art Center is a cornerstone of the city's cultural life, offering a space for artistic expression and community engagement.

11 Hike the Telegraph Pass Trail

Challenge yourself with a hike up the Telegraph Pass Trail. This popular trail offers panoramic views of Yuma and the surrounding desert landscape. The hike is strenuous but rewarding, with the summit providing a sense of accomplishment and awe-inspiring vistas. Telegraph Pass is a favorite among local hikers and visitors, and it's part of the larger network of trails in the Gila Mountains.

12 Sample dates at Martha's Gardens Medjool Date Farm

Indulge in the sweet taste of Medjool dates at Martha's Gardens Medjool Date Farm. Take a guided tour to learn about the cultivation process and enjoy fresh dates straight from the source. The farm's date shakes are a must-try treat that captures the essence of Yuma's agricultural bounty. Martha's Gardens is a family-owned operation that takes pride in producing some of the finest dates in the region.

13 Discover the Sanguinetti House Museum and Gardens

Explore the Sanguinetti House Museum and Gardens, a historic home that tells the story of E.F. Sanguinetti, a prominent Yuma businessman. The museum is filled with period furnishings and the gardens are a peaceful retreat, offering a glimpse into Yuma's past and the legacy of one of its most influential citizens. The Sanguinetti House is a key historic site in Yuma, providing insight into the city's development and the life of its early residents.

14 Watch a movie at the Historic Yuma Theatre

Catch a film or live performance at the Historic Yuma Theatre, a beautifully restored venue that dates back to 1912. The theatre's architecture and ambiance provide a nostalgic setting for entertainment, making it a cherished landmark in the heart of downtown Yuma. The Yuma Theatre is not only a place for movies and shows but also a symbol of the city's commitment to preserving its historical treasures.

15 Visit the Cocopah Museum and Cultural Center

Learn about the Cocopah people at the Cocopah Museum and Cultural Center. The museum features exhibits on the tribe's history, culture, and traditions. It's an important educational resource that fosters understanding and appreciation for the indigenous heritage of the Yuma area. The Cocopah, also known as the River People, have a rich history in the region, and the museum is dedicated to sharing their story with the world.

16 Check out the Yuma Proving Grounds

Yuma, AZ, USA - December 1, 2019: Yuma Proving Ground Open Air Museum Cheri Alguire / Shutterstock.com

Dive into the fascinating world of military history at the Yuma Proving Grounds. This active testing ground for the U.S. Army showcases an impressive collection of military equipment and technology. Visitors can explore outdoor exhibits displaying tanks, artillery, and other ordinance, offering a glimpse into the nation's defense innovations. The proving grounds present a unique blend of history, technology, and patriotism, making it a must-visit for history buffs and curious minds alike.

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17 Taste fresh peanut butter at The Peanut Patch

Indulge in the rich, homemade flavors of The Peanut Patch, a local gem renowned for its fresh peanut butter. This family-owned farm and store not only offers a taste of their delicious peanut butter but also provides an insight into the process of peanut cultivation and production. Visitors can enjoy a variety of peanut-based products and other homemade treats, making The Peanut Patch a delightful stop for foodies and families.

18 Explore the Mittry Lake Wildlife Area

Escape to the serene beauty of Mittry Lake Wildlife Area, a haven for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. This picturesque area, nestled amidst the desert landscape, is a perfect spot for birdwatching, fishing, and hiking. The tranquil waters of the lake, surrounded by lush vegetation, provide a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. Whether you're looking to capture stunning photographs or simply bask in the tranquility of nature, Mittry Lake is an idyllic destination.

19 Stay at the Shilo Inn Yuma

For a comfortable and relaxing stay in Yuma, consider the Shilo Inn. This hotel combines convenience with comfort, offering well-appointed rooms and excellent amenities. Located close to many of Yuma's attractions, it serves as a perfect base for exploring the city. After a day of adventure, guests can unwind by the pool or enjoy a meal at the hotel's restaurant, making their stay both enjoyable and convenient.

20 Bet on the Lutes Casino

Step into Lutes Casino, not a gambling establishment, but a quirky and historic restaurant that captures the essence of Yuma's eclectic charm. Known for its unique decor and lively atmosphere, Lutes Casino is a local favorite for casual dining. The walls are adorned with memorabilia, creating an intriguing backdrop for enjoying classic American fare. It's a place where history and flavor collide, offering a dining experience that's as memorable as it is delicious.

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