Tucson Arizona Vacation Area Guide

Tucson, Arizona is one of the best cities in the southwest. The University of Arizona calls Tucson home, as do more than half a million people. If you’re looking for a place that is brimming with a distinct culture and environment, as well as fantastic tourist attractions, Tucson, Arizona is absolutely fantastic for any visitors.

Tucson, Arizona hosts an impressive array of vacation activities and fun for the whole family. The Kino Sports Complex is the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Major League Baseball spring training. Tucson also has the Funtasticks Family Fun Park, Pima County Fairgrounds, and the Old Tucson Studios where every member of a family can find something entertaining.

Tucson, Arizona hosts an array of golf courses, nature parks, shopping opportunities, horseback riding, scenic drives, and even the Pima Air and Space Museum. No matter your vacation plans, Tucson Arizona offers a great variety of activities that you will enjoy. 

Tubac, AZ is a small town with only 1375 residents but has some of the best food in Arizona. The town of Tubac is a hidden treasure in southern Arizona. Located about 30 minutes north of the Mexican border and about an hour south of Tucson. If you’re a fan of Mexican and American food classics, you won’t be disappointed by the restaurant choice in Tubac. Follow this link to learn more about some of the top places to find the best food in this quaint part of Arizona. 

Check out our comprehensive guide and recommendations of things to do while in Tucson Arizona below.

Nature & Parks

One of the few parks here that allow dogs (on leashes only).  Sits at the base of the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains. The park is a haven for desert plants and wildlife and nearly 5,000 saguaros, 5,500 acres of foothills, canyons and streams, and more than 150 species of birds call the park home.

Park Hours: 5am-10pm | Visitors Center: 8am-5pm
Location:11570 N. Oracle Rd.
Phone:(520) 628-5798

Take tram to top of canyon, walk back 3.7 miles to bottom or catch tram down to visitor’s center. Lots of nice, short hikes, beautiful streams and waterfalls. Total, round loop tram ride is 45 min.

Location:5700 N. Sabino Canyon Rd.
Phone:(520) 749-8700

Saguaro National Park has two districts. The Rincon Mountain District is located to the East of Tucson Arizona and the Tucson Mountain District is located to the West of Tucson AZ.

Location:(East) 3693 S. Old Spanish Trail – (West) 2700 N. Kinney Rd.
Phone:(520) 733-5153 East – (520) 733-5158 West

It is a great place for breakfast or lunch, inside or outside among the plants and hummingbirds. The nature trail is informational and relaxing. The trails are easy and there are plenty of shaded seating areas to enjoy lengthy conversations in the beautiful manicured gardens. One of the best botanical gardens in the country.

Location:7366 N. Paseo del Norte
Phone:(520) 742-6455

Want to ride your bikes? View the many miles of Tucson bike trails.

View a PDF of the Tucson Bikeways map, visit the PAG website to access the interactive map and smartphone app.

The Rillito River bike path also known as “The Loop” is a great ride along the river beds of Tucson, AZ. There is a total of 131 miles of paths linking Tucson to its communities. The Loop Tucson is Awesome!

Click here for a map of all bike routes in Tucson and The Loop

Horseback Riding

The Houston family invites you to enjoy a few hours or a few hours more on one of their beautiful trail rides or in one of their horsemanship classes. Our ranch is located on the east side of Tucson in the serene Tanque Verde Valley surrounded by old mesquite trees. Access to miles and miles of trails into the Sonoran Desert and in Saguaro National Park are readily available.

Location:12801 E. Speedway
Tucson, AZ 85748

(520) 298-7450

Rates; 1 HR Ride: $40.00, 1 1/2 HR: $60.00, 2 HR: $70.00, Sunset Ride 1 1/2 HR: $65.00 We offer longer rides, cookouts and corporate rides. Please call for pricing. We accept credit cards, cash and personal checks. Ride prices are per person. Reservations are required. Please call to reserve the day and time you would like to ride.

Location:White Stallion Ranch Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743
Phone:(520) 310-2001

We teach children and adults how to ride or drive. You can have your birthday party here. We have all day horse camp
during the summer and during every school break. We take pride in providing top quality care for all of our animals.
We lease ponies, miniature horses, and horses for your use.

Location:E Old Spanish Trail Rd Tucson, AZ 85747
Phone:(520) 409-6700

Museums, Heritage, and Arts

This renowned combination zoo, natural history museum, botanical garden and art gallery reflects the diverse flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert, featuring wildlife such as coyotes, bears and mountain lions in their natural settings and two aviaries; one for hummingbirds and the other for varied desert birds. To get there, you will drive through beautiful Gates Pass and the Tucson Mountain Park – incredible saguaro views.

Location:2021 N. Kinney Rd., in the Tucson
Phone:(520) 883-2702

The oldest anthropological museum in the region, the Arizona State Museum has been collecting and interpreting the cultures of the Southwest since 1893.

Location:1013 E University Blvd Tucson, Arizona 85721
Phone:(520) 621-6302

Featuring more than 20 antique and classic Franklin automobiles, as well as a collection of prehistoric artifacts collected by archaeologist Alice Carpenter.

Location:1405 East Kleindale Road
Tucson, AZ 85719
Phone:(520) 326-8038

One of the world’s largest aircraft collections (350 aircraft), including three hangars of World War II planes, supersonic spy planes, the world’s smallest bi-plane, plus many other unique private, military and commercial air & spacecraft documenting the evolution of flight. Offers a bus tour of the “Boneyard”/Davis-Monthan Air Force Base (M-F only, no holidays, 10-day Advanced Reservations Required). 80 acres, six indoor air-cooled hangars.

Location:6000 E. Valencia Rd.
Phone:(520) 574-0462

Features permanent and traveling exhibitions of Modern and Contemporary, Native American, American West, Latin American, and Asian art. The main Museum, a contemporary architectural gem, has nearly 20,000 square feet of exhibition space and be sure to visit the Museum’s Historic Block of 19th and 20th Century adobe and Mission Revival-style buildings.

Location:140 Main Ave. in historic downtown
Phone:(520) 624-2333

A historic destination for the arts! Tubac features over 100 eclectic shops and world class galleries situated along meandering streets punctuated by hidden courtyards and sparkling fountains. A full day can easily disappear wandering amongst this wealth of painting, sculpture, ceramics and photography, as well as unique regional fashion, leather, crafts, antiques and jewelry.

Location:PO Box 1866, Tubac, AZ 85646
Phone:(520) 398-2704

Scenic Drives

A beautiful drive to top of mountain (about 20 degrees cooler) with pullouts and a restaurant at the top of the mountain. Southernmost ski resort in the country.

Location:About 15 miles northeast of Tucson in the Catalina Mountains
Info:Details + Map

A scenic eight mile drive with pull outs, informative visitor center, ranger tours.

On the west side, the hike to the petroglyphs is a great hike. On the east side, the guided walk on the Freeman Homestead is very interesting. The loop drive on the east side offers enough places to leave the car for short walks into the landscape. Informative visitor centers and ranger hikes. West side has lots of saguaros and you can visit the Sonoran Desert Museum on the way/return. You will also drive through Gates Pass and the Tucson Mountain Park (beautiful views of saguaros).

The road through the pass is a scenic route west of Tucson, Arizona. The road from the east is West Anklam Road which merges with West Speedway Boulevard in the city just east of North Camino De Oeste. West of the pass the road is known as Saguaro Road and continues until it reaches Kinney Road just north of Old Tucson. The elevation of the pass is 3,172 feet


On the resort lies a rare find. One extraordinary facility with two sought after golf challenges. Golf Nirvana. Traditional play on the Catalina Course, a park-like setting and home to the PGA Tour for over three decades and the breathtaking Sonoran Course, designed by Ryder Cup captain Tom Lehman.
Location:2727 W. Club Dr. Tucson, AZ 85742
Arizona National Golf Club is Southern Arizona desert golf at its finest. Designed by Robert Trent Jones, Jr. in 1995, the golf course, located in Tucson, Arizona, is nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Santa Catalina Mountains adjacent to the Coronado National Forest. The golf course follows the rugged natural flow of the land across shady mesquite-lined arroyos and skirts craggy rock outcroppings. Along the way, Arizona National Golf Club’s diverse 6,785 yard layout will throw enough decisions and classic golf-in-the-desert challenges at you to test the very limits of your ability. Yet, it has the flexibility to do so without ever becoming unfair. To compensate for the challenge, you will enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery of any golf course in Southern Arizona, including panoramic mountain vistas, forests of giant saguaros and the rare beauty of nine natural springs.
Location:9777 E Sabino Greens Dr, Tucson, AZ 85749
Phone:(520) 749-3636
18-hole championship golf course designed by Lee Trevino featuring beautifully designed holes with mountain and desert vistas. Crooked Tree hosts the Tucson Tour Players Qualifying, co-hosts the Southern Arizona Open with Tucson National, and hosts the Pima County Amateur. Facility includes practice putting greens, chipping green, driving range plus a full service restaurant with banquet facilities.
Location:9101 North Thornydale Road Tucson, 85742
Phone:(520) 744-3322

Family Fun

Have some western family fun at Old Tucson Studios, home to over 300 western movies and television productions! Don’t miss our live musical productions, Old West gunfights and Wild West stunt shows. Dining available. Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10am-6pm (Call ahead for daily scheduled hours)
Location:201 S. Kinney Rd. Take I-10 to the Speedway exit and – Head West.
Phone:(520) 883-0100
The NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at Tucson Raceway brings fast-paced fun for the whole family. Five local NASCAR divisions compete on Arizona’s only paved 3/8 mile short-track oval. Hours: Saturdays: March-October. Gates open 5pm; Qualifying 6pm; Main events 7pm
Location:12500 S. Houghton Rd.
Phone:(520) 762-9200
The Tucson Children’s Museum provides hands-on learning experiences for the children of Southern Arizona. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday: 10am-5pm; Sunday: Noon-5pm
Location:200 S. 6th Ave
Phone:(520) 792-9985
Home of Tucson Electric Park. Major League Baseball spring training site (March) and Triple A Baseball (summer) featuring the Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Socks and the Tucson Sidewinders.
Location:2500 E. Ajo Way
Phone:(520) 434-1000
Fun for the whole family with go-karts, bumper boats, batting cages, mini-golf, Laser Tag and more, including a 6-Ride Kiddie Land with rookie go-karts, carousel and more! Hours: Open daily; Call for seasonal hours
Location:211 E. Wetmore (at Stone Ave.)
Phone:(520) 888-4653


Setting a new standard for luxury shopping in the Sonoran Desert, La Encantada is a new two-level, outdoor specialty center that celebrates the splendor of old-world Spanish traditions alongside modern sophistication. La Encantada delivers world-class upscale brands to Tucson, including Adrienne Vittadini, St. John, Coach, Sigrid Olsen, Anthropologie, Cole Haan, Tommy Bahama, Apple and Tiffany & co. Great dining experiences at Aj’s Fine Foods, Bluepoint Kitchen & Bar, Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill, North and RA Sushi Bar.

Location:2905 E. Skyline Drive
Phone:(520) 299-3556

Outstanding shopping, dining, and entertainment: featuring Abercrombie & Fitch, Border’s Books & Music, The Sharper Image, The Bamboo Club, Metro Grill, and El Dorado Hospital Children’s Play Area. Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10am-9pm, Sunday: 11am- 6pm

Location:Broadway & Wilmot on Tucson’s Eastside
Phone:(520) 748 -1222
Incredible selection with over 200 stores, featuring Aldo Shoes, J. Crew, Hollister Co., The Children’s Place, Banana Republic, Carondelet Health Network Children’s Play Area, and Arizona Avenue. Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10am-9pm; Sunday: 11am-6pm; Call for Holiday Shopping Hours
Location:Oracle & Wetmore on Tucson’s Northwest side
Phone:(520) 293-7330

Wine Tasting

Arizona Wine Collective is the premier tasting room, wine bar and bottle shop dedicated to serving wines from multiple Arizona wineries.

Location:4280 N Campbell Ave., #155
Tucson, AZ  85718
Phone:(520) 329-8595


World’s largest living research center. It is a 3.14-acre structure originally built to be an artificial, materially closed ecological system. It remains the largest closed system ever created. Run by the University of Arizona, it was built to demonstrate the viability of closed ecological systems to support and maintain human life in outer space.

Location:32540 S. Biosphere Road, Oracle, AZ 85623
Phone:(520) 621-4800
We make science fun! Flandrau Science Center features hands-on science exhibits, a Theater of Stars, an extensive mineral museum, a public observatory and a science store. Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9am-5pm; Thursday-Saturday: 7pm-9pm; Sunday: 1pm-5pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day
Location:1601 E University Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85721
Phone:(520) 621-4516

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show has enjoyed international stature since the 1970s, and was the first gem and mineral show to bring the hobby enthusiast, the public, and the curator/professionals together for discovery and discussion.

Location:3727 E Blacklidge Dr, Tucson, AZ 85716
Phone:(520) 322-5773


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