Storm Clouds over the ChiracahuasLooking for things to do in ? Come back to this page anytime; Adventures in the Home menu Bar. Below is a categorized list of some of the Adventures in Tucson and Southern Arizona that we'd like to recommend. What would you like to do?



Biking

Mountain BikerNo one does biking better than Southern Arizona, whether it is Mountain Biking, Touring or Motorcycles.

Birding

Elegant Trogon by Marcel Holyoak

Elegant Trogon by Marcel Holyoak

Southern Arizona is a birder's paradise. From the Sandhill Cranes, elusive Elegant Trogan, and the Green Kingfisher, birders flock to one of our many wildlife areas.

Camping, RVs and Cabins

Reef Townsite CampsiteThere is a wonderland of camping experiences at your beck and call. The Coronado National Forest dominates the surrounding, with State Parks following with some choice camping and RV venues. Be sure to check out the Cabin rentals as we believe them to be a real steal.

Caves and Caverns

Colossal Cave Entrance for Adventure Tours

Colossal Cave Offers Several Different Tours From Easy To Challenging.

Cave and Caverns for all skill levels. Take a guided tour or head out on your own.

Halloween Howl: Descent Into A Frightening Underworld!

Halloween Howl

Last Halloween (2013), Neighbor Roy & I descended into the underworld of Colossal Cave to witness both adults and young children get frightened out of their wits. They call this adventure “Halloween Howl”.  At the entrance, the nice folks at Colossal Cave gave their brave (or foolish) guests a candle … Continue reading

Exploring the Caves of Southern Arizona

Colossal Cave Entrance for Adventure Tours

Caving in Southern Arizona comes in two varieties. “Expert-led” tours and “self-guided” tours. The majority of the tours below require a guide. Even the ONYX tour, requires a guide with expert knowledge of the cave. Continue reading

Kartchner Caverns Review

If you have the time, on your way from Tucson to Tombstone and Bisbee, stop at Kartchner Caverns State Park for a guided tour. Very worthwhile but you will need reservations. Continue reading

Fishing

Believe it or not we have fish, most of which are amply stocked.

A Video Introduction to Parker Canyon Lake

Parker Canyon Lake

When weather is still warm and the nights are cooler, Parker Canyon Lake is a good place to explore. Parker Canyon Lake is located on the Eastern slope of the Huachuca Mountains in the Coronado National Forest. This video is an introduction to the lake and the things you can do there. For … Continue reading

Summer on the Mountains. Stay Cool!

Butterfly Trail

Mount Lemmon School may have started in some areas already, but there is still plenty of summer left to cool off atop Mt. Lemmon. Mt. Lemmon is a 365 day vacation getaway. Snow in the winter and a cool respite from the sweltering desert heat in the summer. Those of … Continue reading

Do You Take Your Boat Out on the Water?

The Arizona Game & Fish Department is running a campaign this summer to let everyone know, that if you take your boat out on the water it is law to Drain and Dry your Boat before leaving the site. This is to curtail spread of the Aquatic Invasive Species the … Continue reading

Lakes to Visit this Summer in Southern Arizona

Riggs Flats Lake near the top of 11,000' high Mt. Graham.

Arivaca Lake Patagonia Lake Roper Lake Pena Blanca Lake Riggs Flat Lake Rose Canyon Lake This summer everyone is looking for ways to get out of the heat, and usually that includes water. So, that said, here is a short list of lakes in the area, accessible within two hours … Continue reading

Mt Lemmon Cabin for Rent

Palisades Cabin

As the weather warms, Tucsonans will be searching for a way to get out of the heat! You can go camping on Mt. Lemmon or you can take a slightly more comfortable route and stay at the Palisades Ranger Residence Cabin, renting for $125 a night. The cabin sleeps 4 … Continue reading

Parker Canyon Lake: A Day Trip From Tucson

Dock at Parker Canyon Lake

On a Sunday one late June (2013), we left Tucson and headed south to Parker Canyon Lake via the San Rafael Valley. The mountains surrounding the rolling grasslands of the San Rafael Valley are the headwaters of our Santa Cruz River. For a list of the Best Park and Gardens … Continue reading

Golf

Can't beat the weather for golf. Whether it is cheap golf you are looking for or a resort course, we got em. For discount golf at any of our courses, try Golf Now!

Quarry Pines Golf in Summer

Check out the Quarry Pines on the far west side near The Cortaro Exit I-10. The Front is nothing to write home about, a warm up for the back. They recently built homes surrounding the front, but the back remains a treat. Go in summer, after 2:30, I believe you … Continue reading

Turquoise Valley Golf Course

Turquoise Valley Golf, Bisbee

I played golf with Gary & Gini for years. They are serious golfers. NO GIMMES. NO MULLIGANS. (Damn. Elevated my handicap from a 12 to a 22.) They have a good eye for two things golf. (1) Quality play. (2) Cheap green fees. They are now retired CPA’s but can … Continue reading

Starr Pass Golf

Starr Pass Golf Club is 27 holes of nearly perfect desert golf. Pricey in-season, but worth it. Designed by some guy named Palmer. Visit the Website 3645 West Starr Pass Boulevard, Tucson … Continue reading

Golf Trivia

Baja Arizona golf is seriously less expensive in the summer. You say “It’s too hot!” Nonsense. Just keep your shirt wet and a wet towel handy and the breeze generated by riding your cart from hole to hole will serve as natural air conditioning. You’ll have the course practically to … Continue reading

Guided Tours

Want someone special to show you the area? Here are a few that might interest you.

The Ghost Town Tour You Should Not Have Missed!

Southern Arizona Guide Ghost Town Tour at Pearce AZ

Our Ghost Town Tour leaves from Costco parking lot at I-10 & Kino Parkway at 8 AM. Usually, we go mid-week. It takes about an hour & a half to get to our first ghost town, Pearce, Arizona. Upon arrival at the Old Pearce Jail, Anna Nickell, head of the … Continue reading

Tour Pearce AZ: A (Sometimes Lively) Ghost Town!

Ms. Karen feeds goats at Marcia's Garden

Southern Arizona Guide is leading a tour to the ghost town of Pearce, AZ the Saturday after Thanksgiving. On our travels we will enjoy wine tasting at Golden Rule Vineyards and lunch & libations at an Old West saloon in beautiful Texas Canyon. You are welcome to join us. ********************* … Continue reading

Sonoita Wine Tasting Tour

Group at Callaghan Vineyards

Purchase tickets for our 2016-17 Wine Tour Season here. First stop: Callaghan Vineyards. Lisa Callaghan (right) poured the wine and described the characteristics of each. Here the group received their wine glasses that they would take with them to the other wineries. On a pleasant Sunday in July, our group … Continue reading

Join Us On 3 Guided Tours In May!

Bisbee Arizona

Jim Gressinger, publisher of Southern Arizona Guide, will lead 3 guided tours this month. Bisbee Overnight Tour: Thursday May 21st and Friday May 22nd. On our way to historic Bisbee, we’ll check out a couple of interesting ghost towns. On Thursday PM, we’ll take a guided tour of Old Town … Continue reading

Southern Arizona Guided Tour Schedule

Charron Vineyards deck for wine tasting and picnics.

January to April 2017 Jan – April 2017 (Dates, Times, and Routes are Subject To Change.) Other tours, such as our Ruby Ghost Town Tour, will be added from time to time and announced 3-4 weeks in advance.) For a description of our tours please see our Guided Tours Page. If … Continue reading

Guided Tours of Tucson and Southern Arizona

Santa Cruz River Valley Tour at Tumacacori

Click HERE for schedule of upcoming tours and ticket purchases. What People Are Saying About Our Guided Tours Jim, I want to take a moment to thank you on behalf of all five of us. We really enjoyed being a part of the first wine tasting tour that you and … Continue reading

Our Tucson History Tour A Success!

A tour at the Sosa-Carrillo-Fremont House in Tucson

Last Sunday, April 12, 2015, was a very good day for a walking tour of historic Downtown Tucson. The weather was overcast and cool. The 20-some folks on this, our History & Libation Tour, were delightful; all eager to learn more about the Old Pueblo’s illustrious heritage. As tour guide, … Continue reading

Hiking

Rocky pathWith our Sky Islands, there is plenty of opportunity to hike in any season. From short hikes, to day hikes, to the Arizona Trail, all skill levels. Southern Arizona's got it. And you can't beat the scenery.

Horsebacking Riding

An equestrian's heaven, horses are allowed just about anywhere you can hike.

A Fine Day At The Races: Rillito Park Winter Season 2016

Rillito Park Horse Races 2016

Horse racing at Rillito Park has never been better, but the future of this historic site remains in the balance. Backers, sponsors and fans and the U of A are working tirelessly to keep this venue a part of quintessential Tucson. Rillito Racetrack is on the National Register of Historic … Continue reading

Hiking the Tucson Mountains

Tucson Mountain Park

New Year’s 2016, it being a holiday weekend, Ms. Rosemary and I, Ms. Karen, decided to stay away from the more popular hiking trails and try the Yetman Trail from the west entrance, located at the Southwest end of the Tucson Mountains. Years ago, our first encounter with the Yetman … Continue reading

Triangle T Guest Ranch: An Old West Adventure

Don Beesley with horses

On a sunny Sunday afternoon in late November 2015, Ms. Karen & I headed east from Tucson an hour to get our guided tour of Triangle T Guest Ranch. We had enjoyed lunch in the Rock Saloon at the Ranch a few weeks before when we were on our way … Continue reading

Hiking Sweetwater Preserve

Wendy Rich Dogs On Trail

Sweetwater Preserve is mountain bike, horse, hiker and dog friendly. On the weekends all of the above come out to play. It is one of Pima County’s newest aquisitions, a 700+ acre preserve located on the East side of the Tucson Mountains. Be prepared to share. It is a popular for mountain … Continue reading

Who Has The Best Sunday Brunch In Tucson?

Barbeque on the patio at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

Over the past 6 months or so, and in no particular hurry, Ms. Karen & I went in search of the best Sunday Brunch in Tucson as rated by friends & family, as well as the usual online suspects: Trip Advisor; Yelp; and Urban Spoon. “Honest Customer Reviews” I say … Continue reading

Empire Ranch Fall Roundup: A Slideshow.

Every year in the fall for the past 13 years, the Empire Ranch Foundation has put on a grand celebration of ranching life in Southern Arizona. From the 1860’s to the 1960’s, the Empire Ranch was one of the largest and most successful cattle operations in the American Southwest. The … Continue reading

Family Fun

Looking for something special to do with the kids? Look no further.

Get Ready for the Bisbee 1000, October 21, 2017

Bisbee Save Our Stairs

The Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb was held last weekend, October 15, 2016 in Bisbee, Arizona. This event has been gaining in popularity for 26 years. Not unlike the All Souls Procession in Tucson, the Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb is Bisbee’s signature event of the year. It is safe to say … Continue reading

More Things To Do With Kids In & Near Tucson

Monster truck ride at Rooster Cogburn's Ostrich Ranch.

More Things To Do With Kids begins where our last article, “Things to do with Kids in Tucson”, ends. Since writing our original article we have found many more things to do with young children in and around Tucson. Moreover, new kid-friendly attractions have since opened. Most of the adventures … Continue reading

A Video Introduction to Parker Canyon Lake

Parker Canyon Lake

When weather is still warm and the nights are cooler, Parker Canyon Lake is a good place to explore. Parker Canyon Lake is located on the Eastern slope of the Huachuca Mountains in the Coronado National Forest. This video is an introduction to the lake and the things you can do there. For … Continue reading

A Deal for the Gaslight Theatre

Gaslight Theater interior

Everyone who has been in Tucson for more than a year has probably heard of the Gaslight Theatre. If not, see our review of this professional theatre of camp acting. The Gaslight Theatre and Little Anthony’s Diner are Tucson staples. They keep their prices affordable so that everyone might enjoy … Continue reading

Golf N’ Stuff: Summer Fun, Discount Prices!

Golf N' Stuff

We at Southern Arizona Guide have recommended a long list of “Things To Do With Kids In Tucson”, including Family Fun Parks. Everyone agrees that they are great fun for kids of every age. And during the summer of 2016, parents and grandparents can save money with special discounts. Golf … Continue reading

Tucson Summer Camps and Classes 2016

TMA Summer Art Classes for Kids

It’s Not too Late to sign up for Summer Classes for Kids Summer’s on. And the time is upon us to find meaningful, yet fun, things for our children to do during their time off while we still toil the daily grind.  Here is a list of ideas and Links … Continue reading

The Heavens Through Sky Center’s Telescope

Orion Nebula

(While 99% of the Guide’s content is either Ms. Karen’s or Jim’s product, occasionally we invite adventurous and talented others to write a guest column. Wendy & Richard Buckley are visiting us from Alberta and we encouraged them to experience the Sky Center’s night program. This is their report.) We … Continue reading

Cattleman’s Cafe, Marana: A Review!

Cattleman's Cafe, Marana AZ

“Friendly people, good service, and hearty food at a fair price. Worth the short drive off the highway.” So wrote a Yelper about Cattleman’s Café at the Marana Stockyard. I cannot disagree. Breakfast & Lunch only: 6 AM to 2 PM. I met Ms. Toby, Marana’s Tourism & Marketing Manager, … Continue reading

Road Trips

Cliffs Above Road From Portal To Chiricahua National Monument

Cliffs Above Road From Portal To Chiricahua National Monument

Scenic road trips are our favorite pasttime. Here we share some of our favorite adventures with you.

Where is This? Guess Correctly and You Might Win a Prize!

1.20.17 – This pic is a couple of years old. At last we checked renovations were ongoing. Does anyone know where this is? Please submit your best guess to: info@southernarizonaguide.com. We will update this post next week with the place, the name of the winner, and some interesting related history. The … Continue reading

Shish Kebab House: Jordanian Cuisine In Tucson Arizona

Shish Kebab Dish at Shish Kebab House Tucson Arizona

Last week I wrote a review of Za’atar, a Tucson “restaurant” that serves Iraqi and Iranian foods, most notably shish kabobs. This traditional Middle Eastern dish consists of bite-size chunks of seasoned meat or fish plus veggies roasted on a skewer and served with rice and various sauces and condiments. … Continue reading

How Paton’s Birder Haven Became World Famous

Violet Crowned Hummingbird.

Like many “Big Deals”, this one started with a “Little Deal”. In this case, the little deal was a flying jewel about 10 cm long and weighed in at about 5 grams. It had feathers, of course. A white underbelly, red beak, and sported a violet crown. It was also … Continue reading

Yuma: A River Runs Through It. Part I

Yuma Territorial Prison Guard Tower

As far a we can tell, without the Colorado River, there would be no Yuma, Arizona. However, because Yuma has abundant water from the River, this Southwest Arizona City has an abundance of attractions for locals and snowbirds alike. Moreover, we at Southern Arizona Guide recently discovered that Yuma is … Continue reading

Puerto Peñasco: A Road Trip to Mexico

Each year at Christmas time, Ms. Karen & I take a road trip from our home in the Tucson Mountains in search of our next adventure. Two years ago, we headed for the Zuni Pueblo, but for our purposes the town was closed to touristas. So we continued on and … Continue reading

The Bisbee Massacre

Historic Bisbee

On a cold December day in 1883, five men robbed the Goldwater & Casteneda Store on Main Street that substituted for Bisbee’s only bank. They did so believing that the mining company’s payroll was locked inside the store’s safe. What started as a quick and easy robbery ended in the death of almost a dozen people.

The robbers quickly discovered a problem. The mine’s payroll had not yet arrived. Foolishly, the five robbers stuck around to steal what they could from the store, its owners, and customers. This took time. Time they did not have. Continue reading

Picnics

And along those road trips we find some pretty decent picnic places.

A Day In Santa Cruz County

Harshaw Township Sign

Santa Cruz County is still sparsely populated and remains an excellent destination for bird and wildlife photographers, hikers, ghost town hunters, kayakers, and other outdoor enthusiasts. Continue reading

Las Lagunas de Anza Wetlands: A Nogales Treasure

Las Lagunas de Anza

Las Lagunas is a lush Natural Wetlands smack dab off the I-19 Freeway just 8 miles from the Mexican border. Several weeks ago, a fellow by the name of Don Clemans contacted us at Southern Arizona Guide, wanting to know how he could get into the Best Birding Spots in … Continue reading

Tucson Day Trip 3: Southern Arizona Wine Country

Deer grazing near Sonoita

The dozen or so wineries in the little communities of Sonoita & Elgin are about an hour southeast of Tucson via scenic Hwy. 83.  The terrain here is very different from Tucson. No saguaros, but miles of rolling hills, tall grass & cattle herds and if you look closely you … Continue reading

A Summer Picnic At Carr Canyon

(July 2015) As we often do in the heat of summer, last Sunday we headed for higher elevation. Carr Canyon is just south of Ramsey Canyon and a lot less crowded than Mt. Lemmon. For a second year in a row, we picnicked at Reef Townsite Campground near the top … Continue reading

Fairbank AZ: Ghost Town

Fairbank, AZ Restored Schoolhouse.

Fairbank is a Southern Arizona ghost town, and one of the best preserved, thanks to numerous conservation efforts. It’s located in the San Pedro Riparian Conservation Area about 10 miles west of Tombstone. Here conservation efforts have saved the San Pedro River, a haven for dozens of species of critters and birds. Continue reading

Saguaro Fruit Harvest Lunch Recipes

Cooking Saguaro Fruit

Below are Saguaro Fruit Recipes and Additional Learning Resources gathered from a recent Study Program presented by the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. For the Slideshow on our recent Saguaro Fruit Harvest experience see our post here. Connie’s Punched-up Punch 1 gallon prickly pear juice 1 C sugar (opt) 12-oz. can orange … Continue reading

Lakes to Visit this Summer in Southern Arizona

Riggs Flats Lake near the top of 11,000' high Mt. Graham.

Arivaca Lake Patagonia Lake Roper Lake Pena Blanca Lake Riggs Flat Lake Rose Canyon Lake This summer everyone is looking for ways to get out of the heat, and usually that includes water. So, that said, here is a short list of lakes in the area, accessible within two hours … Continue reading

Carr House Open for the Season

Carr House

The month of April features The Friends of the Huachuca Mountains, who open the Carr House seasonally for your education and enjoyment. Watch the Video. Carr House is open and will remain open through October. September 20, 2015 Christopher Bentley will talk about the Coronado Expedition at 1:30pm. See the … Continue reading

Big Bird Lives At The Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch!

Male Ostrich

I imagine that anyone who lives in Tucson, Arizona has passed by the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch along I-10, at Picacho Peak many times. And I imagine that most Tucsonans have, as they passed by doing 85, thought to themselves that some day they would stop in and see what … Continue reading

Tucson Day Trip 1: Mission Tumacácori To Mission San Xavier

Anza walking behind the Tumacacori Church

Tubac, The Missions, The Titan Missile Museum, The Mineral Discovery Museum and more! There are two historically important missions south of Tucson just off I-19: Missions San Xavier del Bac and Tumacácori. (pron: san ha’-vee-air and too-ma-ca’-cor-ee) “Bac” was the Papago Indian name for the site. The Papago Indians are … Continue reading

Saguaro National Park West: A Pictorial.

rock art at Saguaro National Park West

We delight in the beauty of Southern Arizona. And no place is more magnificent than Saguaro National Park West. When friends & family visit for the first time, we always recommend they visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum to learn about our Sononan Desert. We suggest they then go a few … Continue reading

Whipple Observatory: Looking For Answers In A Vast Universe!

Telescope Mt Hopkins

The Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory (FLWO) is the largest field installation of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) outside Cambridge, MA. Since October 1968, the FLWO has been used as the site for experiments requiring extremely dark skies, dry climate, and good “optical seeing.” The Whipple Observatory Visitor Center is less than … Continue reading

Agua Caliente Park: A Desert Oasis In Tucson

Kids feeding turtles

Agua Caliente Park is one of the best picnic spots in Tucson. There are hiking trails too. I am amazed at how many locals were unaware of it. Below is a slideshow of photos I took one April. Below is a map to show you how to get there and … Continue reading

Parker Canyon Lake: A Day Trip From Tucson

Dock at Parker Canyon Lake

On a Sunday one late June (2013), we left Tucson and headed south to Parker Canyon Lake via the San Rafael Valley. The mountains surrounding the rolling grasslands of the San Rafael Valley are the headwaters of our Santa Cruz River. For a list of the Best Park and Gardens … Continue reading

Hohokam Ruins In Catalina State Park

Susan and Charlea at Romero Ranch Ruins

On a perfect Saturday in February, our friends from New York, Susan & Charlea, went with Ms. Karen, Molly Dog, & me to Catalina State Park in Oro Valley. After paying the $7 entry fee, we found a pleasant picnic area and fortified ourselves before hiking the archeological site on the ridge across the road. Continue reading

Colossal Cave Mountain Park

Colossal Caves Overlook

Colossal Cave Mountain Park is one of our favorite Southern Arizona attractions. The Park is a great place to take the kids and it’s only 25 miles from Downtown Tucson. Activities include cave exploring, horseback riding, hayrides and banquet facilities, hiking, primitive camping, birdwatching, 2 museums, a small restaurant, and … Continue reading

Things To Do In Graham Country: Roper Lake, Dankworth Ponds, & Discovery Park

Roper Lake and Mt. Graham

The area near Safford has several worthwhile things to see and do: Roper Lake State Park, Dankworth Ponds, and Discovery Park. Just to the west of Safford is 10,000 foot-high Mt. Graham. At the top are some of the most powerful telescopes on earth. The road to Mt. Graham is about as steep, narrow, and windy as you’re likely to find in the United States. There’s a nice picnic area about 8 miles up this road from Rt. 191 a few miles south of Safford. Continue reading

Camping and RV’s in Arizona State Parks

Patagonia Lake

There are several Arizona State Park Campgrounds and RV Sites off the I-10 Corridor between Casa Grande and Willcox. RV Hookup fees are $25 a night. For sites without electricity they are $17 a night. Reservations can be made online 24/7 or with a phone call. Visit the official Arizona State Park Website for more information. Continue reading

Cabins at Roper Lake

We are always looking for comfortable places to stay at affordable prices. Roper Lake State Park just outside of Safford, offers 8 lakeshore cabins for rent yearround. A steal at $55 a night, 2 day minimum, 14 day Maximum. Visit the official website for more information. Photography Copyright © Arizona … Continue reading

The Village of Arivaca, The Ghost Town Of Ruby, & Sweet Peas Cafe’!

Arivaca Lakeshore

The road from Amado to Arivaca winds through rolling, mesquite-covered hills. It’s obviously very popular with cyclists, motor and otherwise.
Just before we arrived in town, we came to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge where, by appointment, we met and interviewed Richard Conway, a local geologist and Mary Scott, a seasoned birdwatcher and wildlife photographer.
Continue reading

Saguaro National Park West – Bajada Loop Drive

This back road is one of our favorites, partly because it’s practically in our back yard and because it’s so indicative of the Sonoran Desert. Here in Saguaro National Park West you will be driving through a forest of giant Saguaros. And, within an easy quarter mile hike, you can … Continue reading

Catalina State Park Hikes

Catalina St Park Picnic

For starters in Catalina State Park, we recommend Romero Canyon to Montrose Pools. The Romero Canyon Trail (7.2 mi.) is a longer, more strenuous hikes through beautiful desert terrain and riparian canyons. It climbs to cool natural pools during the wetter months and connects with other Coronado National Forest trails. … Continue reading

Amerind Foundation & Museum

Amerind Museum

The Amerind Museum is an internationally acclaimed Museum and research facility located between Benson and Willcox. The museum boasts an impressive collection of Native American artifacts as well as paintings by western artists. Nestled in Texas Canyon, the old Spanish Revival Museum is home to one of the world’s finest … Continue reading