15 Best Things to Do in Yuma, AZ

15 Best Things to Do in Yuma, AZ

The land standing on the confluence of two beautiful rivers- Gila and Colorado- Yuma lies within a short distance from both California as well as Mexico.

People did not even think of touring Yuma before of the presence of the giant desert, but now- the city has grown up to be quite a mesmerizing one.

There are too many adventure options here. Be it discovering some mining ruins or just going on a paranormal tour- Yuma has something for everyone!  Let us have a look at the top 15 things to do in Yuma-

Check out Yuma’s Territorial Prison State Historic Park

Yuma’s Territorial Prison State Historic Park
Teeratas / Shutterstock.com

Breaking out of jail was a very common feature in the old days. No matter what kind of security was provided, prisoners used to go away on their own and to prevent that- Yuma came up with a prison that was built on the banks of the mighty river Colorado.

There was no way to escape now for them. The prison has a history of almost 33 years. It has seen many crimes and even deaths. It has also been home to 3,069 prisoners.

You will get goosebumps when you walk through the corridors of the prison when you imagine what kind of lives they lived.  

What was once a prison now has been turned into a state park for the tourists to come and enjoy.

Pay a quick visit to Cocopah Museum

Situated in the West Cocopah Reservation, the main priority of the Cocopah Museum is to portray the history and the culture.

Come on, let us take a break from the historic spots and chill a bit in a museum and learn along with it.

The museum is amid some lush green forests that are filled with some plant species native to Sonora. When you enter the museum, you can even see how the native Cocopah people lived and earned their living.

Learn everything about Cocopah here in this museum. There are lots of displays that depict the lifestyle of the people and their ways of living.

Go on a tour of Castle Dome Mines Museum and don’t forget to check out the ghost town

Castle Dome Mines Museum
T-I / Shutterstock.com

Are you aware of the fact that Yuma happened to be one of the largest mining towns in America? It is true, but now stories are all we hear for there are no remnants of any mining activities now.

The part of the city where they did the mining is now almost like a ghost town sitting in despair. Situated in the Castle Dome Mountains, this place once saw thousands of men who moved here to make their fortune. They came for having all the golds and silvers they could find.

When you enter the museum, you can see a lot of houses from a different era that has been created here. Also, there are a lot of equipment pieces that are still preserved here.

It is almost like tearing a page away from a history book as you see all the things that were once in high demand are nothing but tales now.

Have some fun driving in Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area

Are you looking for a good place to challenge your friends? Are you looking for some challenging roads to test your driving skills?

Well, then you should just come to Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area.

These lands just feel like Arabian deserts and there are some tall dunes for you to challenge yourself. If you want to go on an adventurous drive- this is your destination.

Also, the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area is not exactly in the city and you can drive just  20 miles away from the city to get to this point. If you want to camp here- there is also an option for that!

Enjoy nature in Imperial National Wildlife Refuge

Imperial National Wildlife Refuge
XeresNelro, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The gifts of God that are enjoyed by the striking cities of Yuma County as well as Imperial County of CA- the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge is just another one of the stunning spots you need to check out in your trip.

Did you know you can see four ecological systems here? Yes, there are mountains, deserts, wetlands, and even rivers in the same Imperial National Wildlife Refuge. The wetlands have the maximum area in this nature.

You can go on a hiking or a camping adventure here. Enjoy fishing? Go on a fishing trip here in the waters of Imperial National Wildlife Refuge.

Check out the lovely flowers of Sanguinetti House Museum

Sanguinetti House Museum
Marine 69-71, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are some bright and cheerful scenes in Yuma just for you to enjoy. And, if you are someone who loves the bright hues of nature- we know just the perfect place for you.

Eugene Francis Sanguinetti built the house of his dreams here in Yuma. To show people how proud he is of his fabulous legacy- he left no stone unturned.

The man who was also known as the “Merchant Prince of Yuma”- Eugene Francis Sanguinetti became the owner of something so beautiful that it still calls out to us even to this very day!

Now, you shall see the beautiful house and the gardens maintained perfectly by the Arizona Historical Society. Do look around, and have a great tour.

Make a day trip to Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area

Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area
Marti Bug Catcher / Shutterstock.com

Let us make a trip a little bit on the outskirts of Yuma. The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area holds great importance in the history of Yuma. During the old days- there was no way to go and cross the mighty Colorado River.

But, these were the only routes through which the different people crossed the different streams.

The Spanish explorers came to Yuma following this route only. Anyone keen on exploring the Wild West followed the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area as means to get into Yuma.

The place still stands here as one of the National Heritage Areas. You can get to learn about all the stories of the old days.

Spend a morning at Gateway Park

Are you looking for some good spot to check out on a summer’s day? Getaway to Gateway Park for this is a perfect spot to enjoy a day with your family on this trip. Come on, we shall be telling you a bit more about Gateway Park now.

You can even get to see the iconic Ocean To Ocean Bridge from this spot, The spot even has a great historic significance. The beauty is also immeasurable and is something you can only breathe in and treat your eyes to.

Sit down on the sand and play with your kids. Want to have a picnic here? There are several picnic spots too.

Treat yourself to some dates

Grove of Date Palm Tree in Yuma, AZ
Berns Images / Shutterstock.com

Did you know Yuma grows some good dates? Being the sunniest place in the world and the most comfortable for date production- Yuma’s date industry contributes a lot to its economy.

It is a known fact that Yuma sees some of the best dates in all of Arizona. Now, you shall be wanting to have a taste of those dates.

Here at Martha’s Garden, there is a good chance to taste some great dates. Not only are you getting to taste the deliciousness- but you shall also be given a chance to explore around and see how these dates are grown.

Explore the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park

Water Reservoir in Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park
Cbl62, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park is one of the most unique places here in Yuma. This is originally one of the many warehouses of the American Military.

The location of this site is exclusive and has some of the best views. IT sits on the Colorado River and you see some of the best views of the river sitting in this park.

When the soldiers were deployed to the different areas throughout the region- this is the warehouse that stored all of their supplies. But, now- nothing of that sort happens anymore, but you are sure to hear all the stories here.

Enjoy the Yuma Conservation Garden

Yuma Conservation Garden is an awesome place to enjoy some nature and learn about them as well. It is typically the botanical garden of Yuma, but you do get to see mainly desert plants here.

The plants are all native to the Sonoran Desert and there are even some walking trails along with some water bodies. You get to see a lot of ducks swimming around too.

Visit the center of the world

Center of the world in Yuma
User:Kirs10, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To get to the center of the world, you have to get away a little further from Yuma. In the Imperial County lies the proclaimed Center of the World.

You might think of it as a tale that goes among the locals. But, you are wrong! Even the governments of California, as well as France, have claimed that this is truly the world’s center.

Jacques-Andre Istel made this site in the 80s. There are a lot of unique monuments in the location. Did you know that a spiral staircase that was originally supposed to be a part of the legendary Eiffel Tower is present here? There are a lot of granite pyramids here too.

Walk on the McPhaul Swinging Bridge

McPhaul Swinging Bridge
Kenneth, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You must have heard of the iconic “Bridge to Nowhere” of Arizona. It used to be quite  popular construction back in its time. Now, it just stands there reminding us of the good old days. Come on, we shall take you to have a look at this magnificent architecture which was way ahead of its times.

The Arizona state built this majestic bridge back in 1929 and meant to use it as kind of like a suspension bridge. But, later after several tests and reports- they declared- modern vehicles cannot make it on this bridge. Now, a dam has been constructed, but it has been through a lot.

The fire of 1990 almost destroyed the bridge and it has been hit by floods a lot of times. But, you can still see it standing proudly telling stories of the rich heritage.

Go fishing at Lake Martinez

Lake Martinez
KDzPloch / Shutterstock.com

When you visit Yuma- you need to have a fishing trip at Lake Martinez. It is more of a tradition for those who love fishing.

They describe this as an addiction they cannot get rid of. Even if you have not tried your hand at fishing- this is a good way to get started with it. Let us have a look into more details.

Close to the basin of the Lower Colorado River, Lake Martinez has an area of almost 500 acres of land. This lake draws a lot of tourist attractions throughout the year.

Fishes like carp, smallmouth-bass, tilapia, Catfish, Bluegill Sunfish, Redear Sunfish, Bullhead, Largemouth Bass, and many more.
The most interesting part about this lake is that it hosts a lot of fishing tournaments.

You might even come across a bass tournament! Even if you are a bird lover- you can make your way to this lake for it kind of like a haven for all kinds of migratory birds.

Take a stroll around the historic downtown Yuma

Downtown Yuma
Tim Roberts Photography / Shutterstock.com

If you are looking for some simple activities to do on the evening of your last day here in Yuma, then taking a walk around downtown shall serve all your purposes well enough.

The downtown which now happens to be the hub of activities in the city- once used to be flooded violently. When you take a look around, the downtown even now reeks of the old history of the 1920s. But, when you open your eyes- you shall be surrounded by some of the best restaurants and shops in Yuma.

Feeling a bit hungry? Here are some of the shops that are filled with local delicacies and you can even find some food chains. The area also hosts events and festivals at different times of the year.

These are all the top 15 things to do in Yuma. We hope you had a wonderful time looking around the different places in Yuma. We shall be back with another amazing trip soon!