Yuma Arizona gets a lot of attention for the amount of annual sunshine that it receives. During the year's daylight hours, the sun shines 90 percent of the time in Yuma, and thanks to the warm climate, many northerners venture down during the winter months to escape the northern cold. Yuma Arizona is one of the hottest cities in the country, and while it's too hot for most during the summer months, this is a fine place to be in the winter. Early spring and late fall are also good times to visit this interesting city in the southwestern corner of the state, and thanks to a revitalization of sorts, the city is seeing an increase in visitors. There are plenty of fun things to do in Yuma.
Yuma Arizona history sees this desert city in the Southwest starting out as a Native American settlement, and to this day, the descendants of the first tribes live on the Quechan and Cocopah reservations near town. Thanks to Yuma's position along the Colorado River, more settlers eventually came, and by the late 1770s, explorers from Spain had started to explore the region. Subsequent expedition parties moved through, and in the mid-1800s, a military fort was established. Yuma's position near Mexico and modern day California made it a good place for a fort, as did its position on the Colorado River.
Not long after Fort Yuma was established, a town sprang up, and thanks to the town's position on the banks of the Colorado River, it became a significant crossroads hub. The Yuma Crossing was the name of the city's river port, and all roads in the region led to it. In the 1870s, the railroad to California passed through Yuma, only cementing its place as a regional hub. There are lots of great state parks in Arizona, and one of them is the Yuma Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park. Easily one of the best Yuma attractions, this historic park offers excellent insight into the city's early days as a military supplies distribution center and all around regional hub. The park's five original depot buildings figure among the highlights. It is worth noting that four of these five depot buildings boast interesting museum exhibits.
When looking for things to do in Yuma Arizona, visiting the Arizona Historical Society Sanguinetti House Museum and the Yuma Territorial Prison State History Park are worth considering. The former offers wonderful insight into pioneer life in the Yuma area, while the latter is a good place to learn about the seedier side of the Wild West. The Yuma Territorial Prison opened in 1876, and is perched above the Colorado River on a bluff. Inside, some of the more interesting exhibit pieces are the photos of past inmates.
Cultural enthusiasts might also wander over to the Yuma Art Center Museum. Found in the historic Downtown District, this high-quality cultural center is an excellent place to check out some artwork, not to mention take art classes. Thanks to the restored theater, the Yuma Art Center Museum is also a good place to catch some performing arts presentations.
Getting in touch with regional history and embracing the arts are two of the top things to do in Yuma, and when cultural buffs aren't enjoying these historic attractions, they can enjoy side trips to the Painted Rock Petroglyph Site. Found off of Interstate 8 about twelve miles from Gila Bend, this site boasts hundreds of petroglyphs that were left behind by ancient cultures. It is possible to picnic at the Painted Rock Petroglyph Site, and since it's a relatively long drive out from Yuma, you might stay overnight. Primitive camping can be done at the site, and there are also some hotels in the general area for those who prefer a room to a tent. Closer to Yuma itself, Dateland can also make for an excellent side trip destination, especially when it is extra hot outside. In the village of Dateland, it's all about the date industry, and on hot days, there may be nothing finer than sipping on a cold and sweet date shake.
The Yuma attractions include several golf courses, and golfing enthusiasts might be interested to know that they figure among the most affordable courses in the state. The best, and most expensive, public course in and around town is arguably the course at the Mesa del Sol Golf Club. Outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for things to do in Yuma won't be limited to golfing. Other options include canoeing and fishing on the Colorado River. Yuma is a world-class bass fishing destination, and the area waters also yield plenty of other fish species, including tilapia, crappie, and catfish, to name a few.
There are some enticing options when it comes to the Yuma attractions, and interesting side trips. Crossing over into California and exploring the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area can be a blast, for example, and back over on the Arizona side, both the KOFA and Cabeza Prieta national wildlife refuges can be a joy to explore for animal enthusiasts. Desert bighorn sheep figure among the animals on display at these refuges, as do elf owls, rattlesnakes, and desert tortoises, among other curious creatures.
Yuma Arizona can easily satisfy a few days at least, and if nothing else, travelers who are driving along Interstate 8 should find that it makes for a good place to break for a night. Whether you plan on sticking around for a while or you just need a place to rest before continuing on down the road, there are lots of Yuma hotels to choose from. As is true of the Yuma golf courses, the Yuma hotels are reasonable on the whole, so staying on top of your travel budget shouldn't be hard on a Yuma visit.