Tombstone. Only an hour’s drive from Tucson, “The Town Too Tough To Die” should be on everyone’s bucket list. For Western history buffs, Tombstone is the Holy Grail. Some will go to Tombstone with little understanding of this Western boomtown’s amazing history and come away thinking it was just a tourist trap. Tombstone is touristy. But it can be so much more. Make sure you start at the Tombstone Courthouse, for some background history. Visit Ed Scheifflin’s Monument west of town near the Monument Ranch. On the way, stop and walk around the “New Cemetery”, where C.S.Fly is buried among other recognizable names. Of course, visit the Boothill Cemetery. Yes, it is a real cemetery with real bodies buried there. Check out St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
We have on this site 5 original videos of Tombstone, plus slideshows & several brief histories that will help orient you to what is worthwhile here. Also, check out our Tombstone dining & lodging reviews.
Nearby Ghost Towns
About 17 miles east of Tombstone on an unpaved road you will find the ghost town of Gleeson. The road is decent if it hasn’t rained hard recently, but that’s true of all Southern Arizona unpaved roads. Just northwest of Tombstone on the San Pedro River is the ghost town of Fairbank. Some of it has been restored. Click HERE for our ghost town section.
At over 5,000 feet elevation, Bisbee is cooler than Tucson (elevation 2,600′). Here you will be able to walk around a small, historic district that was once the biggest city between St. Louis & San Francisco. To orient yourself, you should at least visit two worthwhile attractions: the Queen Mine Tour & the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum. Then take a walkabout up Main Street and the residential areas above. Fascinating!
On this site you will find our Bisbee dining & lodging reviews, plus two original videos. Bisbee is only a half-hour drive southeast of Tombstone.
Birders may wish to visit any one of several birdwatching hot spots, depending on the season. For instance, from November to March you will want to take in the Sandhill Cranes at the Willcox Playa. Check out our List of some of the 10 Best Birding Hot Spots, such as Ramsey Canyon, Carr Canyon and Garden Canyon near Sierra Vista and Ft. Huachuca.
Hikers, campers or just admirers of exquisite natural beauty, may wish to take a drive to the “Wonderland of Rocks” in the Chiricahua Mountains or to the forest atop 11,000 foot high Mt. Graham (2 and 3-hour drives from Tucson respectively). Both are sacred to the Apaches. And both are worth an overnight stay in good campgrounds, but there are no restaurants or lodging at either. For dining & lodging, Willcox is closest to the Chiricahuas and Safford is closest to Mt. Graham with limited choices.
Visit Sonoita and Willcox for a day or two of winetasting.
If you’ve spent 5-7 days enjoying all the above, you’ve barely scratched the surface of all there is to see & do in Southern Arizona. We encourage you to poke around this site to see what you’ve missed so far.
If you find something that we might have missed, send us a note!