Things to Do...
So much adventure awaits you.
Greater Tucson Area
Tucson area attractions listed on PINTEREST: Happy Cactus Vacation Rentals
1. SABINO CANYON / BEAR CANYON (HIKE TO 7 FALLS)
Approx 30 min drive from rental house. MUST SEE!! Enjoy a narrated tram tour within Sabino Canyon. 9 Optional off/on stops throughout Sabino for hiking and picnicking. Stop 8 has a waterfall and an area where you can "canyon ball" if water levels are high enough. Free Junior Ranger Program. Tram prices: $10 adults, $5 children.
2. SEVEN FALLS (IN BEAR CANYON)
3 mile hike to the falls and 3 mile hike back if you take the tram to the trailhead. Do not attempt with young children. Note: depending on the season, water may or may not be present within the canyon. It is best to call the visitor center at Sabino Canyon first and check with a ranger or do some online forum searches.
3. DESERT MUSEUM
MUST SEE! Approximately 40 minute drive from rental property. Take the gates pass route for breathtaking scenery. This mainly outdoor museum features all of the native plants, animals and geology of the Sonoran desert region. Highly educational. There is a kids booklet you can pick up for $1 at the admission booth to collect foot print stamps of the native animals throughout the museum.
4. CATALINA STATE PARK
5 minutes away from rental. Pick up a trail map at the visitor center on the way in. Multiple hiking options. Good 1 mile nature loop hike for kids. $7 per car admission. Most Saturdays you can catch a free Nature Program (native reptiles, insects, animals etc..) at the trailhead 10 am - 1pm. Hike to Romero Pools (5.6 miles RT / Moderate-Difficult)!
Oro Valley: Hilton El Conquistador, The Views ***, Crooked Tree***, Golf Club at Dove Mountain.
Our family loved this adventure. The Zipline EcoTour allows you to zip on 5 different spans ranging in length from 400 to 1,500 ft. and lasts approximately 2 hours in the amazing sonoran desert setting.
40 min away. Saguaro National Park is actually divided into 2 sections (Saguaro West and Saguaro East). In between the park is the city of Tucson.
Saguaro West (aka Tucson Mountain District) has more dense cacti, great overlooks, ancient petroglyphs, a super visitor center (Red Hill Visitor Center) with a movie you should watch, Bajada Loop Drive (6 mile unpaved road) and some great hiking (See Hiking for more Info). The west side is close to the Desert Museum and Old Tucson Studios.
Saguaro East (aka Rincon Mountain District) is closer to the mountains, has a paved 8 mile loop (cactus forest drive), The Rincon Visitor Center.
There is a Junior Ranger Program at the park and it is FREE. Designed for children aged 5-12 years, these booklets can be picked up at the visitor center. They will also loan out a discovery pack which includes pens, pencils, field guides, clipboard magnifying glass and binoculars. Activities include identifying desert plants, animals, critters, native people etc.. After the books are complete, the ranger goes over the booklets with the kids and they receive a badge and a certificate.
Keep in mind that all 4th Graders in the USA receive a Free National Parks Pass. Print out your pass at https://www.everykidinapark.gov/
I would recommend Saguaro West for first timers to the park.
30 min away. FREE. We love it!! Combine it with a delicious meal at one of our Spotlight Downtown Restaurants such as La Cocina, Congress Hotel or El Charro.
The Turquoise Trail (formerly called the Presidio Trail) is a 2 ½ mile long self-guided walking loop trail through downtown Tucson that highlights structures and sites of historic interest and is marked by a turquoise stripe on the sidewalk. It begins at the site of the northeast corner of the reconstructed Presidio San Agustin del Tucson, founded in 1775. This presidio or fort was the first European structure in urban Tucson , constructed by the Spanish to mark the northern frontier of the Spanish empire in the Americas. The trail was created by the Tucson Presidio Trust for Historic Preservation. You can pick up walking tour brochures at the Presidio Museum or at the Tucson Visitors Center located at 811 N. Euclid Avenue on the corner of Euclid and University, adjacent to Main Gate Square. Downtown is also becoming an urban art art area with multiple murals to take in.
1 hour away. Worth the drive. Do the horseback riding if you go to the cave also.
This is a “dry cave”, meaning there is no water in it. The tour route is a half mile long and takes about 45-50 minutes to complete. As your guide describes the Cave’s history, legends, and geology, you will walk down and back up about six and a half stories (363 stair steps) and see beautiful cave formations like stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, boxwork, and helictites.
Tours are given daily, on the hour, year-round. You need no special clothing in the Cave, which is always 70 degrees and dry and you are welcome to take pictures inside.
Definitely a Bucket Lister. Get up super early in the morning and depending on the wind direction, you will be directed to a specific place for launch. We took a ride over the Tucson Mountains watching the sun rise and landed in a Cotton Field. Pretty much an experience of a lifetime.
There are two children’s museums owned by the same company.
- Oro Valley- 9 min away. Small, 1 Room. Ok for an hour for kids<5 years. Downtown location is recommended.
- DownTown- 35 min away. Awesome! Big, Lots To Do and very interactive. All kids enjoy it. Adults will enjoy it too! Good for ages 1-13 y/o.
Combine your trip with the Turquoise trail walking tour or a good downtown restaurant such as La Cocina, Hotel Congress or El Charro Cafe. You can also ride the Tucson StreetCar.
1 hr, 15 min away
This is a “living cave” with a WOW factor! See the book I purchased (should be in the coffee table).
There are two tours: The Rotunda/Throne Tour and the Big Cave Tour.
So far we have only done the Rotunda/Throne and it was amazing.
Be sure to watch the movie before going on your tour. It will explain everything about how the cave was found and is really interesting.
45 min away. Our entire family surprisingly enjoyed this indoor/outdoor museum! (even our daughter).
One of the world's largest non-government funded aerospace museums. The museum features a display of nearly 300 aircraft spread out over 80 acres on a campus occupying 127 acres. A tram tour and Boneyard tour are optional. Open 7 Days a Week 9 a.m. to 5pm (last admission at 3 p.m.) Passport Coupons. Plan for a minimum 3-4 hour stay if your do a tour.