Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Yuma, AZ

  • Published 2023/01/19

Yuma is a developing city rich in culture, history, and natural beauty.

Located in the southwest region of Arizona, this city in Yuma County rivals both Phoenix and Tucson in terms of growth and development.

With so much to experience in Yuma, it’s easy for visitors to find activities that don’t break the bank.

Yuma has many free things to do, from visiting its parks to exploring the vast outdoor trails and nature preserves.

It also has tons of hidden attractions that are filled with history and offer free admission to visitors.

If you’re wondering where to start, here are some of the free things to do in Yuma, Arizona:

Experience the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area

Yuma is home to the majestic Colorado River crossing that has seen its fair share of history.

In recent years, irrigation projects have made this area a verdant oasis and an agricultural powerhouse.

Unfortunately, in the process of industrialization, riparian areas were destroyed, and the riverfront became an area of disrepair.

Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is tirelessly striving to reinstate the wetlands of the area and reconnect Yuma’s bustling downtown with its vibrant history.

The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is an interconnection of parks, trails, and natural areas that are free to explore and provide a glimpse into the region’s past.

From two state historic parks to one National Historic Landmark, Yuma Crossing and Associated Sites, this locale offers its visitors many activities.

Stroll down the multi-use path untangling 400 acres of restored wetlands, or explore the interpretive plaza communicating stories from Yuma’s crossing.

The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is on 1st St Ste E.

Explore Robert J. Moody Garden

In recognition of his philanthropic vision and commitment to the community, Robert J. Moody’s name has been proudly bestowed upon Yuma’s education demonstration garden: The Robert J. Moody Garden.

Located at 28th Street, visitors can admire various local plants along the perimeter path, which circles throughout the garden.

Robert J. Moody Garden features an abundance of flora and fauna, which serves as a beacon of learning for all who visit it.

It also features a children’s garden, tropical garden, healing garden, vegetable garden, xeriscape garden, herb garden, desert wildflower garden, native plants garden, and a cutting garden.

The Demonstration Garden is open to the public daily, and it’s free to enter.

Visitors are welcome to use the tables and picnic outside.

If you love nature, visit Robert J. Moody Garden during your trip to Yuma.

Experience Yuma’s Outdoor Scene at Ray Smucker Park

Ray Smucker Park is one of Yuma’s premier outdoor spaces.

Located at South Avenue A in the heart of Yuma, the park features a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy.

It has all the typical park features you would expect, such as playgrounds for the kids and picnic areas for family get-togethers.

However, this park’s main attraction is its one-mile 2,500-step trail loop.

While it may not be as long as some of Yuma’s other trails, it is one of the most picturesque as it passes by some of the city’s key areas.

The Ray Smucker Park trail loop is excellent for hiking, jogging, biking, or strolling around and exploring Yuma’s great outdoors.

Visitors can take in some of the city’s best views and enjoy a pleasant day in Yuma for free.

Enjoy the Riverside Scenery at Gateway Park

Relax and enjoy the beautiful views at Gateway Park.

Located at East 1st Street & South Gila Street at the end of Historic Downtown Yuma, this park is an excellent destination for families or groups of friends.

From leisurely laps to energetic dives, swimming is a must-do activity for those who visit this location in the summertime.

Don’t forget to bring your swimsuit to take a dip and relax in the magnificent Colorado River.

Spend a day at the beach creating sandcastles; it’s the perfect activity for kids and adults!

Gateway Park also offers fishing docks, barbecue grilling stations, and outdoor showers for cooling off after a hot day in the sun.

The park also features shaded ramadas, picnic tables perfect for meals al-fresco style, and an onsite playground that will delight the little ones.

Restrooms are also conveniently located within the premises of the park!

There’s also a scenic, 1.5-mile stretch of a paved pathway that winds along the riverbank—perfect for a leisurely stroll or an invigorating jog!

Take a break from your travels and immerse yourself in the stunning scenery of this gorgeous riverfront park in the most ideal spot to unwind within the city.

For those seeking free outdoor fun, Gateway Park is the perfect spot to get some fresh air.

Whether you’re looking for a place to take a leisurely stroll or break out into an energetic jog, this park has everything you need.

Spend Your Free Time at Yuma County Library

If you haven’t tried spending time at a library during your trips to Yuma, you’re in for a treat.

Yuma County Library is the perfect place to find peace and quiet while on vacation.

Located at South 21st Drive, this stunning public library is home to many books and other media.

The library also has an extensive collection of magazines, newspapers, periodicals, and a selection of e-books that can be downloaded onto your phone or tablet.

For those who want more than just books, there are a variety of other activities like book clubs for adults, storytimes for kids, computer classes for all ages, and more.

Of course, they will cost you money, so just browsing or reading is the way to keep it free.

Yuma County Library is open to Yuma county residents and visitors alike, so don’t miss out on this great free experience.

Enjoy the Great Outdoors at West Wetlands Park

Big, free, fun, and educational—West Wetlands Park is perfect for your next outdoor adventure in Yuma.

Located at North 12th Avenue right along the Colorado River, this park has many activities that will keep you and your companions occupied all day.

At 110 acres, West Wetlands Park is nothing short of massive, and it maximizes its size with a wide variety of activities.

One of the most popular attractions at this location is the Stewart Vincent Wolfe Creative Playground, a must-visit spot for kids looking for fun and adventure.

The restored 30 acres of the “lower bench” provides a picturesque atmosphere with native trees and grasses, providing visitors with breathtaking walking paths to explore.

The “upper bench” boasts 30 acres of stunning beauty, including a pond, picnic ramadas, and playground areas for everyone’s enjoyment.

There is also plenty of open space for you to utilize.

You can either play fetch with your dog, play field sports with the kids, or lay down a blanket and have a traditional picnic with the family.

Whatever activity you plan to do, West Wetlands Park is a great spot to spend your free time while in Yuma.

Appreciate Art at Yuma Art Center

Yuma Art Center at South Main Street cultivates Yuma’s artistic community by providing many options for personal development and collective engagement.

Home of the Arts and Culture Division, this center is essential in fostering an inspiring atmosphere where members can express their creativity without limitations.

Every year, the Yuma Art Center welcomes an astounding 100,000 visitors who have the opportunity to experience their multiple theater productions and a multitude of visual art exhibitions.

On top of that, Yuma Art Center offers 50 distinct performing and visual arts classes, facilitates the annual summer mural program, supports local artists through the North End Artists Cooperative, hosts exciting art festivals and exclusive events every year, and promotes public art across Yuma and its nearby areas.

The best part about Yuma Art Center is that it’s free to visit!

Though donations are encouraged, you don’t need to pay a cent to appreciate the vast selection of creative pieces from local and international artists.

Yuma Art Center is a beacon of hope for the thriving art scene in Yuma, so don’t miss out on this free experience.

Get Active at Sports at Meyers Field

Meyers field is the premier destination for people who love to work out and play sports while in Yuma.

Located at 1898 Keith Avenue, Meyers Field features a range of courts and fields that offer plenty of opportunities to stay active and have fun.

The expansive area includes a baseball field, two soccer/football fields, outdoor basketball courts, and tracks—a big one and a smaller one.

The smaller track has six lanes, specifically designed to minimize pressure on the feet while running.

Additionally, a concession stand is available, and the bathrooms are kept clean and secure.

Best of all, it’s free to utilize any of the fields and courts at Meyers Field.

If you’re a sports fan or want to stay in shape while on holiday, head to Meyers Field and enjoy its convenient amenities.

Learn How Dates Grow at Martha’s Gardens

Martha’s Gardens is an organic farm that’s known for its high-quality, sustainably grown dates.

The garden is located at South Avenue 9 3/4 E in Yuma and offers an exciting look at how dates are grown and harvested.

Martha’s Gardens is committed to educating visitors about the importance of organic farming and the history and cultural significance of dates.

You can join a guided tour to get an in-depth understanding of how this farm works and the kinds of dates they grow.

You can also go on a self-tour and discover the place on your own for free.

You can check out the knowledgeable staff at Martha’s Gardens to get tips on preparing the dates you purchase or how to shop for them.

Make your way to Martha’s Gardens and get a crash course on date-growing.

Go Hiking at East Wetlands Park

Setting the standard for wetlands restoration, Yuma East Wetlands stands out in the arid Southwestern region.

The East Westlands Park is the result of a collaborative effort between the Heritage Area, the Quechan Indian Tribe, the City of Yuma, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

It’s a beautiful destination along the captivating Yuma Crossing Bike Path and provides visitors with various recreational opportunities.

You can explore the area and discover some of its hidden secrets.

The scenic nature trails also provide great opportunities for hiking, biking, and even horseback riding.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try some of the nature activities the park offers.

East Wetlands Park is where you can enjoy Yuma’s unique landscape and captivating beauty.

Discover the Secrets of Yuma Conservation Garden

Yuma Conservation Garden is a popular botanical garden located at East 32nd Street, right at the northeast corner of Highway 80 and Pacific Avenue.

Spanning 28 acres, this site boasts a stunning botanical garden with Sonoran desert plants, an interactive watershed model, and a lake where domestic and wild waterfowl playfully congregate.

The Yuma Conservation Garden gives you an overview of the rich vegetation and wildlife of this desert region and its impact on Yuma’s development.

Stroll through the meandering paths and take in the pleasant sights in this free destination.

Get a glimpse of Yuma’s rich cultural and historical heritage at the Yuma Conservation Garden.

Go Window Shopping at Yuma Indoor Marketplace

Visiting a shopping district doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank.

The Yuma Indoor Marketplace in the Palo Verde Village downtown Yuma is great for window shopping and discovering local stores.

This outlet mall is a great spot to experience the bustling ambiance of downtown Yuma with its unique selection of stores and eateries.

With local boutiques and vintage shops, this place is an excellent way for visitors to discover the best of Yuma’s artisanal and fashion scene.

Take a stroll through this free open-air shopping center and discover Yuma’s hidden gems.

You can even find great deals from vendors in this vibrant marketplace.

Let Your Pup Romp and Run at Bark Park

The Bark Park is a large three-acre dog park fully fenced for your pup to run and have fun.

At East Palo Verde Street, you’ll find a park equipped with all the amenities needed for an enjoyable time, from water and benches to agility equipment and clean-up stations.

Unleash your pup within the secure enclosures: dogs are allowed to roam freely in these areas.

These areas are perfect for socializing, playing, and getting active.

For those looking for a more thrilling experience, the park offers agility equipment featuring a crawl tube, rail jump, and jump window—perfect for daring dogs!

Witness the Breathtaking Scenery at Telegraph Pass

Feeling adventurous?

Then get ready to explore the scenic trails of Telegraph Pass!

This is a great spot to see the breathtaking vistas of Yuma as you explore the rugged terrain.

You can also spot birds of prey, coyotes, lizards, rattlesnakes, and other animals in their natural environment.

The trail is 5.3 miles long and offers an excellent opportunity for hikers, bikers, and adventure seekers.

This moderately challenging trail usually takes roughly three hours to complete, making it an excellent option for those looking for an adventurous but manageable excursion.

Telegraph Pass is also a much sought-after region for bird enthusiasts, hikers, and mountain bikers, so expect to bump into other adventurers while traversing the area.

Be One with Nature at Mittry Lake Wildlife Area

At this point, it’s safe to say Yuma has many outdoor activities.

One of Yuma’s best-kept secrets is the Mittry Lake Wildlife Area.

Mittry Lake Wildlife Area encompasses approximately 600 acres of aquatic habitat and 2400 acres of marshland or uplands that have been transformed into a single recreational landscape.

This lush wildlife area provides visitors with abundant natural wonders and is an excellent spot for bird-watching and other outdoor activities.

This idyllic location is home to a wealth of vegetation and wildlife, framed by the breathtaking sight of three mountain ranges.

An abundance of winding streams and creeks flow into the main lake, allowing for a captivating boat journey.

For a taste of serenity, explore the Mittry Lake Wildlife Area.

Final Thoughts

Yuma, Arizona, is truly remarkable and offers numerous free and exciting activities.

The city boasts unique art galleries, exciting outdoor recreational areas, and beautiful trails for those looking to explore the great outdoors.

Whether it’s the Bark Park, Telegraph Pass, or Mittry Lake Wildlife Area, plenty of free attractions will keep you busy and entertained in the city.

If you’re ever in the area, explore what this city offers, starting with these free things to do in Yuma, Arizona.

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