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Arizona Day Trips

Tucson Area Attractions

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Nogales – South of the Border and Tubac Artist Colony

60 miles south of Tucson is Old Mexico – Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. Founded in 1880, the first Arizona-Mexico Customs Office was established to monitor the international commercial exchange between the two countries. Today, Nogales is a thriving city of 150,000 people. Crossing the border doesn’t cause culture shock, but you certainly know you’re in a country with different habits – and a different language. Nogales is not only an exhilarating change of pace, but it’s also great for shopping (liquor, leather, jewelry and clothes in particular). Remember to haggle for your best price, as there are open shops (bargaining) as well as closed shops (no bargaining). Enjoy lunch in one of Nogales’ fine restaurants

Combine Nogales with a visit to Tubac – a colorful artist colony that at one time was the site of a Spanish presidio built to protect nearby missions. Today Tubac is the town “where art and history meet.”

Perfect if you have about 6-1/2 hours.


This makes for a great full day touring two of Arizona’s most unique historic towns. First recommended stop is Bisbee. This old mining town and artists’ enclave winds through the old residential neighborhood known as the Warren area. View the steeply tiered houses clinging to hillsides and browse the antique shops and fine galleries that feature works in a variety of genre and mediums.

Take an adventure-filled expedition into the cool, deep shafts of the Copper Queen Mine. Miner’s hard hats and heavy slickers are provided to tour participants for this rail trip through 6,000 feet of solid rock. Drilling and blasting techniques are explained and tools and equipment used not so long ago are on display. Then it’s lunch at the historic Copper Queen Hotel.

Next recommended stop is Tombstone, “the town too tough to die”, where Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp shot it out. It features the famous OK Corral, Boothill Cemetery and Crystal Palace Saloon. Tombstone was dedicated in 1962 as a Registered National Historic Landmark; the American West of the 1880′s is still very much alive here today. During a stop at Tombstone Historama, a unique electronic audio/visual presentation will tell the full and factual story of the roaring silver mining camp

Tubac/Tumacacori Mission

This combination is filled with early Arizona history. Forty-five miles south of Tucson, Tubac was at one time the site of a Spanish presidio built to protect nearby missions and settlements from Indian attack. Today, it’s the town “where art and history meet.” Artists and crafts people live and work in Tubac and offer the visitor prints, poetry, jewelry, batiks and paintings. History buffs will love to tour the historic Tubac Presidio State Park and Museum. Travel the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail to the nearby Tumacacori Mission. Art buffs will enjoy the Tubac Center of the Arts which features free performances and changing exhibits of visual art from September through May. And lunch in the village is ideal.

The Tumacacori Mission was built in 1795, and this Franciscan mission church was regularly besieged by the Apaches. You can safely visit now and see a garden of plants similar to those grown by the padres 200 years ago. 5-6 hour event.

Ideal time to really “see” these sites: 5 – 6 hours