There are dozens of reasons why Arizona is one of the United States' top tourist destinations.
If you've already stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon, hiked through Havasu Falls, or get mesmerized by Sedona's beauty, perhaps, you're seeking something new to explore in The Copper State.
The Sonoran Desert alone is a vast area to explore, teeming with flora and fauna, making it fascinating to explore.
Dozens of small towns and cities across Arizona offer a unique travel experience.
One of them is Green Valley, nestled along the Santa Cruz River's western banks.
This small but vibrant census-designated community is roughly half an hour's drive south of Tucson.
For many, Green Valley is a popular suburban area in Tucson where many people retire.
However, this small neighborhood offers more than that.
It has plenty of natural attractions perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, nature viewing, wildlife viewing, cycling, etc.
If you're planning for a short excursion somewhere in the Sonoran Desert, here are the 15 best things to do in Green Valley, AZ, and its nearby places:
Check Out the Titan Missile Museum
The Titan Missile Museum is perhaps Green Valley's most famous man-made attraction.
This place situated along Duval Mine Road is the only remaining site of the Titan II Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile open to the public.
Visiting this place is simply astonishing because of its history and its use during the height of the Cold War.
To add more, it's capable of launching a nine-megaton thermonuclear warhead from its underground silo in less than a minute and takes about 30-minutes to hit its target.
Before, the United States had 54 missile sites across the country.
However, most of these are not open to the public.
Today, the Titan II Missle Museum is considered a treasure in Arizona for its unique and astonishing backstory and the tremendous power it once held during the Cold War.
Showcase Your Skills at the Canoa Ranch Golf Club
Since Green Valley has been tagged by many in Tucson as the perfect place for retirement, it's no surprise that there are numerous charming golf clubs scattered throughout this place.
One of the best golf courses you can check out is the Canoa Ranch Golf Club along S. Camino Del Sol.
Like most charming golf courses, this one offers those who want to venture into its well-manicured landscape a peaceful ambiance while providing a picturesque view of the Santa Rita Mountains.
Whether you're an experienced golfer or a leisure player, you'll surely appreciate this place's beauty.
However, the Canoa Ranch Golf Club also offers a considerable challenge to all golfers.
It features strategic bunkering and elevation changes across 7,013 yards, while it has five sets of tee boxes for everyone.
Step Back in Time at the Historic Canoa Ranch
The Historic Canoa Ranch at Frontage Road in Green Valley is a well-known historic landmark worthy of visiting.
This place is also known as the Hacienda de la Canoa; it served as the initial campsite in the latter part of the Anza expedition that left its last assembly point in Tubac Presidio.
Today, it's a popular historic tourist site that offers a walking tour through the entire ranch for visitors to learn fascinating insights about the workers' stories.
While touring through this historic ranch, you'll come across century-old corrals, buildings, and facilities while enjoying the nearby Santa Cruz River Valley view.
Rub Elbows with Locals at the Green Valley Farmer's Market
The Green Valley Farmer's Market, situated at South La Cañada Drive, is a charming place to visit if you want to experience and immerse yourself with locals.
The most extensive and longest-running local market area in Green Valley features the best local produce and artisanal food.
The Green Valley Farmer's Market wants to feature a "mercado" style market wherein vendors, merchants, and locals sell their products from various parts of Arizona.
The Green Valley Farmer's Market is managed by the Heirloom Farmers Market.
Visiting this farmer's market in the neighborhood offers you the best local products and the chance to rub elbows with locals and meet friends.
Wander through the Quail Creek-Veteran's Municipal Park
The Quail Creek-Veteran's Municipal Park features a 16-acre community park in the neighboring town of Sahuarita that many locals love to visit every day.
It boasts a covered children's playground, a two-acre dog park, numerous sports fields, restrooms, and covered picnic areas.
If you're looking for a place to do exciting outdoor activities while you can relax, check out Quail Creek-Veteran's Municipal Park.
It's the best place to take a break from touring Green Valley's attractions.
Tee Up at the San Ignacio Golf Club
Another beautiful golf course worth visiting in Green Valley is the San Ignacio Golf Club along S Camino Del Sol.
This 18-hole, par 72 golf course covers 6,718 yards and features a desert target course that's challenging enough for golfers of all skill levels.
It has a hilly terrain with tight fairways and smooth greens, providing golfers a unique challenge and character they won't find in most golf courses.
In addition, you'll be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Santa Rita Mountains.
If you're not ready to play through the course, it has an extensive practice facility which includes practice bunkers, chipping greens, putting greens, and a driving range.
After playing golf, treat yourself to a tasty meal at the golf course's featured restaurant, the Coyote Grill.
Discover the Beautiful Florida Canyon Wash
The Florida Canyon Wash is a picturesque stream nearby Green Valley with an elevation of 879-meters.
This natural attraction is a popular hiking trail and outdoor activity destination in Green Valley and adjacent towns.
If you're planning to hike through the Florida Canyon Wash, you'll be up for some challenges as its trail takes you around 3,500 feet of gradual ascend.
However, the trail offers you a charming view of the area's natural beauty featuring a mixture of sycamore, oak, and pine trees.
In addition, there are many birds spotted in the area, making it an ideal place for birdwatching.
Check out the Florida Canyon Wash if you're up for more outdoor adventure in Green Valley.
Stroll through the Desert Meadows Park
The Desert Meadows Park at La Huerta is a small but very charming outdoor recreation area in Green Valley.
It features a four-acre botanical garden that displays the exotic and native plants found in the Sonoran Desert.
In addition, the Desert Meadows Park is situated next to the Anza Trail, which traverses through the Santa Cruz River.
This park is a fascinating place to visit, especially for nature lovers who want to immerse themselves in the untamed beauty of the Sonoran Desert.
While hiking, you'll come across various native plants and flowers endemic to the Sonoran Desert.
Meanwhile, you'll also encounter various hummingbirds, butterflies, and other small animals and insects.
Find Out Local Arts at the Community Performance & Art Center - CPAC
The Community Performance and Art Center (CPAC) is a local art foundation where people from various parts of Pima County converge to share their passion for the arts.
Currently operated by the Community Performance and Art Center Foundation, this fascinating place spans 4.5 acres and is divided into six various buildings featuring multiple arts.
Aside from its unique brutalist architecture design, the CPAC is known for its diverse inclusion of arts.
You'll discover how locals express their respective arts through music, dance, performance, painting, sculpture, etc.
Each CPAC's six buildings are designated as a studio for dance, music, theater, art exhibits, and workshops.
Visiting this place situated at W. Continental Road gives you a better understanding of Green Valley and Pima County's artistic side.
At the same time, you can enroll in its wide array of art classes, depending on your interest.
Enjoy Hiking through the Canoa Preserve Park
The Canoa Preserve Park is a mixture of residential and outdoor recreation areas in Green Valley.
It's home to the Adamson-Catino Trail, where many hikers find it an excellent place to appreciate the natural beauty of Green Valley while enjoying the picturesque view of the Santa Rita Mountains.
Aside from hiking, people also love to ride their mountain bikes through this trail, while nearby sports facilities add more outdoor activities you can enjoy in this area.
Check out the Canoa Preserve Park and the Adamson-Catino Trail if you're up for more hiking and outdoor activities in Green Valley.
Look around at the Arid Garden
Whether you're a nature lover or a tourist who wants to have a good time, head to the Arid Garden at West Camino del Arrejando.
This garden operated by the Green Valley Gardeners features a vast and beautiful collection of native and exotic plants.
Visiting this place offers you and your loved ones the perfect photoshoot setting featuring the beautiful garden as your backdrop.
Arid Garden aims to showcase the Sonoran Desert's flora through its volunteers, curating the plants and flowers featured there.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Conquer the Majestic Mount Wrightson
Mount Wrightson is situated 26 miles southeast of Green Valley.
Also known as "Old Baldy" for many in Pima County, Mount Wrightson boasts more than 25,000 acres of untamed wilderness featuring flora and fauna in Arizona.
Mount Wrightson towers more than 7,000 feet while surrounded by lush savannas and the Sonoran Desert.
This natural attraction near Green Valley is known for its top-notch birdwatching locations.
Its diversity that showcases desert oasis and various habitats makes it an attractive location for nature lovers.
There are numerous trails within this natural attraction that you can traverse if you plan to discover its wilderness.
For more convenient access to Mount Wrightson's trails, head to Madera Canyon Recreation Area.
Appreciate the Old Beauty of the Mission San Xavier del Bac Church
A half an hour drive to Tucson, north of Green Valley, takes you to the charming centuries-old San Xavier del Bac mission station.
This small church was built by Spanish Jesuits way back in 1770.
It is well-known throughout Tucson for its beautifully-decorated walls, ceilings, and beams that represent an excellent Colonial-era Baroque architecture.
If you're fascinated by old and beautiful architecture, this is the perfect destination you need to check out near Green Valley.
Step inside the church and be amazed by its solemn but elegant interior featuring its massive golden altar as its focal point.
Be Amazed at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is another must-place visit near Green Valley.
It's situated in Tucson, featuring a history museum, a zoo, a vast aquarium, a botanical garden, and an art gallery in a 98-acre area.
It's a wholesome place to bring your family or travel buddies and discover the histories of the featured artifacts displayed at the museum.
Or perhaps, get a closer look at more than 200 species of animals at the zoo.
If you want a relaxing experience, check out its botanical garden with more than a thousand types of plants to see, while its art museum features rare paintings, sculptures, and other artworks from prominent artists.
Spoil yourself and your loved ones with dozens of activities at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, so don't forget to spend a day there.
Climb the Keystone Peak
Keystone Peak is situated at 17.3-miles or 43-minute drive west of Green Valley.
Often overlooked by many hikers, this mountain boasts the highest point in the Sierrita Mountain Ranges.
Keystone Peak has an elevation of 6,200 feet which is a fine hiking and climbing destination worthy of checking out before heading home.
Enjoy the gorgeous view of the Sierrita Mountain Range and nearby areas upon reaching the summit.
In addition, there are many cell towers scattered throughout the area, which can be your guide if you feel lost along the way.
Overall, Keystone Peak is not as crowded as other outdoor attractions nearby Green Valley, so spend some time and appreciate its peaceful atmosphere while hiking through its trail.
After reading through this post, you probably realize that Green Valley is more than just a suburban neighborhood.
Green Valley is the gateway to various outdoor and natural attractions in the Sonoran Desert and Arizona.
Moreover, the neighborhood itself has plenty of activities to do and attractions worthy of visiting, making it an ideal weekend getaway near Tucson.
If you're ready to travel to Green Valley, bookmark this post as your itinerary.