If the temperature in Phoenix is just a little too hot, or the air is too dry, you may feel pleasantly comfortable in Tucson. Due to elevation, the city is generally a bit cooler than Phoenix, and the air is more moist, without being overly humid. The pleasant climate and abundance of sunshine is one of the reasons why folks flock to this city to live and visit. Of course, with sunny days, you would expect plenty of opportunity for outdoor fun, right? Well, this is exactly what you will get here! Here are things to do in Tucson.
This place is a botanical garden, natural history museum, and world-renowned zoo all in one. There are two miles of paths to walk on that spread across two acres of desert. Within the grounds of the museum, you will enjoy 1,200 types of plants and more than 300 animal species, including mountain lions, big horn sheep, and prairie dogs. There is even a gorgeous aviary ; be sure to spend some time in the hummingbird section.
The scenery alone is reason enough to visit Mount Lemmon regularly. Add the fact that you can walk, run, bike, picnic, camp, and fish, and it becomes a haven for the outdoor enthusiast. Many people don’t realize that this is the highest point of the Catalina Mountains, so it only makes sense that there would be skiing here too! Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley has ski and snowboard rentals, and you can even take lessons. In the summer you can still ride the ski lift to look for black bears, white-tailed deer, bobcats, mountain lions, and more.
People of all ages can go here every day and really never get bored. Funtasticks offers go-karts, laser tag, mini golf, bumper boats, and batting cages. There is even a Kiddie Land, with an air bounce jump castle, go-karts, and a few rides, including a kiddie rollercoaster.
The courses in Tucson are so nice that it is nearly impossible to not take up golfing, even if you never had the urge to swing a club before. La Paloma Golf Course is well-known for its perfectly manicured Jack Nicklaus course, and the Arizona National Golf Club is typically peaceful, and awards great views of the mountains.
Here you can enjoy a rewarding hike through the Catalina foothills. Sabino Canyon is a desert oasis, with natural waterfalls, streams, and natural lakes. There are a variety of hiking trails that range from easy to strenuous. Seven Falls Trail is picturesque, providing an abundance of photo opportunities of cascading falls, while the seven-mile Blackett’s Ridge Trail will have your muscles pretty sore. Bring a hat and a lot of water!
Catalina State Park
This is a favorite park for walking, biking, and hiking. There is a nice variety of trails. Some are only a few miles and perfect to run your dog. There are natural pools here too that you can jump in. If you want to have a picnic, grills are available around the campground.
Horseback riding in Tucson is a must. Pantano Stables and Spanish Trail Outfitters are both highly recommended. If you have never taken a ride before, instructors will go over all the basics, and there is a wide variety of tours at both stables; some are several hours long taking you through desert and the foothills of the Tucson Mountains. If you can, catch an evening ride when the sun is going down over the desert; it will be an experience you will never forget.