12 Things To Do in Yuma, Arizona

Yuma, Arizona is a vibrant city located along the Colorado River near the California-Arizona border. With its sunny weather and location along the river, Yuma offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation and sightseeing.

From historic sites and museums to golf courses and nature preserves, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Yuma. This article provides 12 can’t-miss activities and attractions to add to your Yuma itinerary.

Visit the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park

The Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park allows visitors to step back in time explore what life was like in this notorious Old West prison. Opened in 1875, the prison housed some of the Southwest’s most dangerous criminals for over 30 years. Walk through the courtyard lined with cells that held up to 250 prisoners at once. Check out the isolated “Dark Cell” punishment area as well as the exhibits chronicling famous inmates and dramatic tales of crime and punishment. Visitors can join one of the guided tours to enrich their experience.

Hike the Telegraph Pass Trail

For stunning mountain scenery just minutes from downtown Yuma, head to the Telegraph Pass trail. This moderate 4 mile out-and-back trail winds through the rugged hills and canyons north of Yuma. As you climb over 600 feet in elevation, you’ll be surrounded by saguaro cacti, palo verde trees, and impressive rock formations. Keep your eye out for bighorn sheep along the ridgelines. The summit provides panoramic views over Yuma and across the desert, an ideal spot for photos or a relaxing picnic.

Explore the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park

Step into the 19th century frontier at this well-preserved army outpost alongside the Colorado River. As the army’s major supply depot for the Southwest starting in 1864, this park was central to campaigns against Native Americans. Walk through the restored storehouse, corrals, kitchens, and blacksmith shop to see how they sustained thousands of soldiers. Check the visitor center for ranger-guided tours and history talks. The park is especially atmospheric during annual heritage events.

Play Golf at one of Yuma’s Championship Courses

With nearly nonstop sunshine and mild winter weather, Yuma is a golfer’s paradise. The city boasts six pristine golf courses, featuring lush greens and scenic holes with mountain or river views. Test your game at Desert Hills Golf Course, consistently ranked one of Arizona’s top public golf courses. The Links at Coyote Wash challenges players with undulating greens and a maze of sand traps. Crane’s Roost Golf Course is family-friendly and inexpensive. No matter your playing level, teeing off in Yuma is an unforgettable desert golfing experience.

Hike the Desert Trails at Mittry Lake Wildlife Area

For a moderate desert hike, stretch your legs on the hiking trails encircling scenic Mittry Lake. This state wildlife area offers over 1,000 acres of desert wetlands and uplands to explore along both short loop trails and longer out-and-back routes. As you follow the undulating trail along the shoreline, keep your eyes peeled for migratory waterfowl floating on glassy Mittry Lake as well as area wildlife like coyotes, roadrunners, and mule deer. Be sure to bring essentials: map, sun protection, layered clothing, and plenty of water.

Tour the Historic Sites of Old Town Yuma

Yuma has preserved its frontier and territorial past through a collection of fascinating historic sites in Old Town near the river. The Yuma Visitor Center is housed in the historic Yuma Union High School building, while the nearby Yuma Territorial Museum chronicles life along the turbulent Colorado River. Step back to the 1890s inside the refurbished Yuma Ice, Hay, and Storage Company building. Don’t miss the dome-topped Yuma City Hall and other buildings designed by architect Bertram Goodhue. Exploring Old Town provides the perfect introduction to Yuma’s cultural history.

Sample Date Shakes at Martha’s Gardens Medjool Date Farm

Yuma is home to the majority of date production in the United States. Satisfy your craving for this sweet desert delicacy with a visit to Martha’s Gardens Date Farm. This family farm provides educational tours that explain the entire date growing process, from pollination to harvest. Visitors can stroll through rows of soaring palms heavy with fruit. Their date shop overflows with an array of tasty date shake blends, baklava, gift baskets filled with Medjool dates, and other tempting products. It’s the ultimate destination for learning about and savoring Yuma’s signature crop.

Take in the View from Yuma’s Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge

As the Colorado River flows between Arizona and California, the Ocean-to-Ocean highway bridge spans the border. Known locally as the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge, this arched green truss structure offers unbeatable panoramic vistas. Gaze out over the Colorado River’s wetlands inhabited by diverse bird species. Look across sun-drenched agricultural fields into California and Mexico. As longest bridge over the Colorado River, it’s an ideal photo stop and scenic outlook over the surrounding desert and river valley.

Visit Cattle Call Park for a Glimpse at Yuma’s Ranching Roots

Yuma has long been associated with cattle ranching, and those deep roots come to life each November with the annual Yuma Cattle Call rodeo and festivities. Walk through Cattle Call Park next to the Yuma County Fairgrounds to get a taste of those traditions year-round. This family-friendly park captures the pioneer history and spirit of the Old West. Children love the replica cabins, chuck wagon, and corrals filled with livestock. Admire the many larger-than-life bronze statues honoring the city’s vaquero heritage before a picnic under shade trees.

Shop and Dine on Yuma’s Main Street

Historic Main Street features over 150 shops, boutiques, restaurants and tasting rooms showcasing Yuma’s distinctive culture. For one-of-a-kind artisan wares and gifts, duck into the River City Market or YumaArt Center Gallery. Find Native American jewelry and pottery at Mi Casa Su Casa Gallery. Before browsing the antique malls, recharge with artisan coffee at Lutes Casino and delicious vegetarian fare at Garden Café on Main. This vibrant downtown district easily fills an afternoon or evening with browsing, dining, and relaxation.

Spot Wintering Wildlife at the Yuma East Wetlands

Birders flock to the Yuma East Wetlands each winter to spot ducks, geese, and hundreds of other migratory bird species. Criss-crossed by walking trails and viewing platforms, these wetlands offer over 1,500 acres of prime habitat. Join experienced birders on a guided nature walk for the best chance to check species off your life list. Even on your own, you’ll easily spot herons, cormorants, coots, and grebes without binoculars as you wander along the looping trails.


With so much to see and do, visitors can easily spend an active week or more enjoying Yuma’s year-round sunshine and exploringarea landmarks. From revisiting the Old West at historic parks to hitting the links on a championship golf course, the Yuma area offers attractions and recreation suited for all interests.

Those looking to extend their itinerary can use Yuma asa basecamp for day trips into the surrounding desert wilderness or across the border into Mexico. Whether planning an outdoor getaway or family-friendly destination, Yuma has something amazing awaiting discovery.

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