The very name of Tucson, Arizona conjures up images of the Wild West. Whilst a modern day vacation in Tucson century will be a very different (and far more comfortable) experience to that of 150 years ago, elements of its colourful history will be found in plenty for those wishing to experience something different. Lying in Southern Arizona, 118 miles south of Phoenix just 60 miles north of the Mexican border, in the middle of the Sonoran desert and surrounded by mountain ranges, Tucson has a rare feel all to itself.
If you are vacationing in the South West, Tucson makes a wonderful place to visit or stay for a few days. A mild climate in winter, this part of the country can be visited all year round although it gets very hot in mid summer.
Just a few miles out of town, and built in the 1930’s, when a replica of Tucson of the 1860’s was needed for the movie Arizona, Old Tucson has played great number to some of Hollywood’s most famous westerns such as the Gunfight at the Corral and The Lone Ranger. Television series were also filmed here, including The High Chaparral, Bonanza and The Little House on the Prairie. Old Tucson is nevertheless used for filming, and in addition as seeing the film sets Old Tucson is a fun place to visit for all the family.
In 1993 Tombstone was filmed here, and if you take a 70 mile trip southwards and you’ll come to the original town itself. Tombstone is like a living museum – daily reconstructions of the shoot out at the OK Corral are held, and you can visit the Bird House Theatre and see the card table where Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday played. A horse and carriage ride takes you around the town with a good commentary explaining all the sites and history. Cowboys roam the streets, and there is plenty of air for you to believe you’re back in the times of the Old West, but also plenty of places to eat and shops to make your day comfortable. And no trip to Tombstone would be complete without a visit to Boothill where you can roam and read the rather evocative gravestones and read how people met their end in this mining town of the 1880’s including poor old George Johnson who was ‘Hanged by mistake 1882. He was right, we was wrong, but we strung him up and now he’s gone’!
The distinctive Saguaro Cacti are abundant throughout Arizona conjuring up images of cowboys and Indians. The history of this area goes way back – driving from Phoenix to Tucson on the 1-10 will have you passing Picacho Peak, which was a site of a battle in the Civil War. Re-enactments take place here every March, although so popular today’s combatants outnumber their actual counterparts who took part in the original battle.
Tucson,itself, is a comfortable place to stay with motels and resorts to suit all pockets and shopping malls and restaurants aplenty. To top of any visit to Tucson riders will find stables catering for every ability so you too can ride by the desert among the Saguaro and experience the feeling of being a real cowboy.
If you want to step back into the air of the old Wild West a vacation in Arizona should include a stay in Tucson.