Yuma, Arizona, is a lively city with a good combination of historical attractions and enjoyable activities. The Yuma Territorial Prison is a major highlight of your trip. In addition, there are plenty of beach and swimming activities that will keep you occupied.
In the sweltering summer, visitors to Yuma can cool down at Waylon’s Water World or by going tubing on a group outing.
Besides that, the city is only 10 miles from the US-Mexico border.
Take a stroll through Yuma’s Historic Downtown district. While you’re here, stop by the city’s progressive visitor center. The digital kiosk installed here will help you plan your itinerary and save the required information to your mobile device.
Check out our list of the top things to do in Yuma, Arizona, whether you’re seeking for indoor activities or outdoor excursions.
- 1. Tour the Yuma East Wetlands
- 2. Tour the Yuma Proving Grounds
- 3. Tour the Historic Yuma Territorial Prison
- 4. Check Out the Sanguinetti House to See How a Rich Merchant Lived
- 5. Have a Beach Picnic at Gateway Park
- 6. Plan Your Trip at the Yuma Visitor Center
- 7. Go rafting on the Colorado River
- 8. Explore an Old Mining Town at the Castle Dome Mining Museum
- 9. Visit the Yuma Art Center to View Community Art
- 10. Visit the Colorado River State Historic Park
- 11. Relish on a Date Shake at Martha’s Date Farm
- 12. Waylon’s Water World Water Park is a fun Place to Splash Around
- 13. Bird-watching Excursions in the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge
- 14. Visit the Beach at West Wetlands Park
- 15. Visit The Peanut Patch to Sample Fresh Peanut Butter
- Best Places to Eat in Yuma AZ
- Best Places to Stay in Yuma AZ
- When are you Planning your Trip to Yuma?
1. Tour the Yuma East Wetlands
The Yuma East Wetlands, which are part of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, were originally a dump site, and a homeless settlement. The 1,400 acres have been converted into a protected wetland area with equestrian, biking, and hiking trails.
Today, the wetland nestles numerous birds and animals, including two endangered bird species, and is among the top Yuma attractions.
It’s a very well-liked location for birding, and there is interpretive signage to help visitors learn about the surroundings and the local birds.
The main heritage trail Walk is a 2.6-mile, dog-friendly, paved circle trail with educational information placed along the way.
|Address:||Yuma Crossing Bike Path (Colorado River Levee Multi-Use Path), Yuma, AZ 85364, United States|
|Public Rating:||4.5 out of 5|
2. Tour the Yuma Proving Grounds
Just as its name suggests, a proving ground is a place where something is put to the test to see if it works.
This is the research facility for the US Army where they plan, execute, analyze, monitor, record, and manage scientific tests, manufacturing tests, and operational tests.
To put it another way, they test everything for the armed forces, from tanks to tents, and are among the top things to see in Yuma AZ.
There are additional weapon and ordinance testing ranges at the YPG. It was purposefully chosen for its extreme, exotic locale in the midst of the arid desert adorned with pure wilderness.
Tanks and trucks are tested in the hard, scorching desert environment, which is as intense as anywhere on the planet.
Yuma Proving Grounds is a functioning Army installation. There is a visitor center and museum with an outdoor display of some really spectacular tanks and missiles.
The public is welcome to visit, however a visiting pass is necessary because these locations are on an Army base. They do background checks on all visitors, and this is only accessible to citizens of the United States and Canada.
The visitor’s center is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Before you enter the base, there are two M65 nuclear cannons on either side of the entryway.
|Address:||301 C St, Yuma, AZ 85365, United States|
3. Tour the Historic Yuma Territorial Prison
Yuma Territorial Prison State Park’s main facility, which served as an penitentiary since the 18th century., and is among the top Yuma attractions.
Yuma was not a location you would ever want to go, considering how hot it can get there in the summer, with highs of over 120 degrees.
The innovative prison did include “amenities” that many residents did not have, such as lighting, regulated ventilation, and indoor plumbing with baths and showers.
The prison is now an open-air museum maintained by the state park system, and you can go inside to tour it. You can look around the living quarters, penitentiary yard, and common area.
Today, it is Yuma’s most popular tourist destination. You can take a self-guided walking tour of the grounds and there is a small museum on the property.
Between November and June, the prison is open seven days a week from 9:30am to 5pm. It is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the summer. There is free parking and a huge area that can accommodate RVs and tow trucks.
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4. Check Out the Sanguinetti House to See How a Rich Merchant Lived
The Arizona Historical Society manages this venue and is known as the “Jewel of Historic Yuma.”
It is a stunning mansion, or adobe house and garden, from the 19th century that belonged to a highly prosperous local businessman named E.F. Sanguinetti.
His home and garden were dedicated to the city as a museum after he passed away in 1945.
One of the unique things to do in Yuma AZ where you can take a trip inside the lovely mansion will make you want to live there. It will also show you what life was like at home for a prosperous family in late-nineteenth-century Yuma.
Everything inside is replicated from the time period, including furniture, style, and decor, so you truly feel like you’re walking back in time.
Don’t forget to spend some time at Mr. Sanguinetti’s lovely rose garden, which is one of his favorite places. The Sanguinetti House Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. It’s a mile off the I-8 motorway in old downtown Yuma.
|Address:||240 S Madison Ave, Yuma, AZ 85364, United States|
5. Have a Beach Picnic at Gateway Park
Gateway Park, located beneath a bridge along the Colorado River, is named after Yuma, which served as the border between the Arizona Territory and Spanish Mexico.
The motorway bridge provides much-needed cover to the beach, making it a favorite swimming spot throughout the summer.
There are also covered picnic spaces known as ramadas that may be rented and reserved online. A children’s play area, restrooms, and outdoor showers offer additional picnic amenities.
The main attraction in this location is the expansive beach, but there is also open space and fishing piers to explore. Gateway Park is located at the very end of Madison Avenue, in Historic Downtown Yuma.
One of the incredible things to do in Yuma is the hour-long Yuma River tubing activities that begin at Gateway Park here.
6. Plan Your Trip at the Yuma Visitor Center
This informative site is housed in an antique storefront along Main Street in Yuma’s Historic Downtown.
The Visitor Information Center is staffed by friendly volunteers who adore Yuma and can provide up-to-date information on what’s going on in the city.
They can help with vacation plans and itinerary creation, provide information on lodging and camping.
You can also partake in the self-guided tour of the entire Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.
The visitor center does include traditional paper maps, pamphlets, and booklets. In addition, Yuma has embraced the digital world, and there is a big-screen kiosk where you can utilize the mobile app.
7. Go rafting on the Colorado River
One of the fun activities here is to simply float on an inflatable tube. This is the most enjoyable way to explore Yuma from the river.
Yuma River Tubing offers an all-inclusive tubing experience that includes tube rental, and a shuttle bus journey to the starting location. You can currently begin at Gateway Park for a one-hour ride or at the confluence of the Gila and Colorado Rivers for a three to four-hour float.
West Wetlands Park is where you’ll locate parking and pick-up. There’s a beach nearby, so it’s easy to find.
One of the best things to do in Yuma with kids and family, and is also pet-friendly.
You can bring food and beverages and even rent an empty tube to transport your belongings.
The tubing season typically lasts from April through October. Trips are scheduled on weekends and during the week based on demand. For travels over the weekend, advance reservations are highly urged.
8. Explore an Old Mining Town at the Castle Dome Mining Museum
It takes approximately an hour to get to the Castle Dome Mining Museum from Yuma’s downtown, but the trip is definitely worth it.
It’s a ghost town that is more than simply a museum, and Castle Dome City is a recreated version of that town.
It consists of more than 50 buildings that resemble a big movie set and were originally built for mining operations. All have been refurbished and restored, with the majority still in their original locations.
Some items have been relocated or recreated, but it is intended to look and feel like a mining village from the 18th century.
You can explore every structure, and it is full of antiques from that era.
There is a chapel, a bank, blacksmith shops, corner stores, taverns, residences, and all different kinds of enterprises from the town’s heyday.
Visitors to the Castle Dome can pick from a number of activities, ranging from a self-guided walking tour of the town to a comprehensive underground mine tour.
|Address:||Castle Dome Mine Rd, Yuma, AZ 85365, United States|
9. Visit the Yuma Art Center to View Community Art
The Yuma Art Center is a few doors down from the Yuma Visitor Center on Main Street. Yuma Art Center is both a community organization and a physical location where people can view and make art.
It arose from an ancient Vaudeville theater as an artistic community. The art center features the historic Yuma Theater, where live performances of performing arts are held. There are art galleries inside that display artifacts from all across the globe.
The lobby galleries are often full of excellent shows, frequently featuring more than one local artist. Yuma has public art (including murals on the back of the building), and the art center can assist you plan a self-guided walking tour of it.
Lectures, courses, movie screenings, and other community-oriented arts activities are also held at the center.
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10. Visit the Colorado River State Historic Park
The Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area encompasses an entire section of Yuma, including the Colorado River State Historic Park and the Yuma Territorial Prison State Park.
Along with the Historic Downtown District, it also has a number of city parks along the river.
Learn about the past, present, and future of the Colorado River and how it influenced the Southwest by visiting the Colorado River State Historic Park.
Before roads and large train networks, the river was the only route to carry products.
The Yuma Quartermaster Depot was a 19th-century Army supply and distribution depot. The park discusses this history and the future through displays and signage.
Until today, it has been a complicated issue given the severe drought and massive demand for the Colorado river water from bordering states and Mexico.
|Address:||254 S Main St, Yuma, AZ 85364, United States|
11. Relish on a Date Shake at Martha’s Date Farm
Medjool dates, a fruit originally from Morocco, were introduced to the Southwestern US in the early 20th century.
Since then, it swiftly took off in the hot, arid desert environment. At present, Yuma became one of the world’s leading producers of the huge, sweet kind of the fruit – so sweet, they call it “tree candy.”
One of the top things to do in Yuma where you may learn culinary history while having a date shake.
The family-run date farm is located close to the Marine Corps facility in rural Yuma. The farm is open to visitors Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm
They provide golf cart-based, one-hour guided tours every Wednesday through Friday at 10:30 a.m. between November and March. The excursions demonstrate what it takes to cultivate, gather, and deliver this well-known fruit to clients all over the globe.
|Address:||9747 S Avenue 9 3/4 E, Yuma, AZ 85365, United States|
12. Waylon’s Water World Water Park is a fun Place to Splash Around
Because Yuma gets so hot in the summer, a visit to Waylon’s Water World weekend water park is a great way to cool down.
The only outdoor water park that is open exclusively during the summer, and is one of the fun things to do in Yuma AZ.
There are numerous covered and open waterslides. One such is a giant funnel bowl where you plunge down the drain. The other major highlight is a mat racer flume where you compete with other daring souls on a carpet down a huge wet roller.
A long, lazy river circles everything, flows under it, and has special places designated for babies and young children.
If you’re going with a group, there are tents and cabanas available. Go-karts, batting cages, mini golf, and a large arcade are available in the ZFunFactory, which is open during the winter and fall.
|Address:||4446 E County 10th St, Yuma, AZ 85365, United States|
13. Bird-watching Excursions in the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge
This sprawling wildlife park safeguards 30 miles of bird species along the lower Colorado River.
It’s fascinating to note that this wildlife refuge, which is today an important stop for migratory birds and a habitat for wildlife, was only established in 1938, when the Imperial Dam was erected.
This area would simply be a dried-up river without the dam.
The waters behind the dam created backwaters and marshy areas along the river’s borders, providing a safe haven for birds and other species.
The lakes and wetlands that the dam has produced are a lush respite in the otherwise barren landscape.
You should start out by touring the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge. They can help you arrange your visit by showing you an orientation video. A nice place for quick trips is the observation platform and hiking trails.
The tourist center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from November to May, and by appointment only during the summer. Yuma is around a 90-minute drive away from the sanctuary.
|Address:||12812 Wildlife Way, Yuma, AZ 85365, United States|
14. Visit the Beach at West Wetlands Park
West Wetlands Park is a sizable, 110-acre open area along the river with a sizable lake at the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area.
Castle Park is a state-of-the-art, big, castle-themed children’s play area with physical challenges such as climbing structures, ziplines, and obstacle courses.
A license is necessary and can easily obtained online. In addition to the playpark, there is a lake stocked with largemouth bass where you may go fishing.
Off the Centennial Beach region, there is a boat launch and trailer parking. Centennial Beach is a man-made beach area on the Colorado River. It’s a large stretch of beach that’s ideal for swimming or wading in the warm sea.
|Address:||282 N 12th Ave, Yuma, AZ 85364, United States|
15. Visit The Peanut Patch to Sample Fresh Peanut Butter
The Peanut Patch is a pecan, brownie, and candy shop situated on a working peanut farm just outside of downtown, close to Martha’s Date Farm.
When the farm’s founders inherited some land in the 1940s, they discovered that the sandy soil was ideal for producing peanuts rather than other crops. They subsequently started creating sweets, fudge, and other goods in addition to opening a farm stand to sell their nuts. That farm stand has grown into a sizable culinary delights, chocolate, seed, and farmers market with a pleasant, wayside touristic feel.
The Peanut Patch is one of the top things to do in Yuma because of its high-quality handcrafted sweets, toffee, and peanut snacks.
Additionally, it’s a fantastic location to buy gifts and travel mementos. You can have your purchases mailed for free with them, thus eliminating the need to carry them around.
|Address:||4322 E County 13th St, Yuma, AZ 85365, United States|
Best Places to Eat in Yuma AZ
Located on the Colorado River’s banks Yuma, Arizona, is a historically significant city known as “the crossroads of the Southwest,”. This dynamic and diverse community boasts an equally impressive food scene. See our list of Yuma’s top 10 eateries.
River City Grill
The menu of River City Grill is diverse and international, ranging from Indian and Pacific Rim cuisines to Italian and Caribbean fare. The popular eatery has received favorable reviews for this as well as for its trendy, urban ambiance. River City Grill, housed in a restored adobe structure, is elegant and cozy, with a specific flair for inventive fish dishes. Enjoy mustard-crusted halibut with spinach ricotta ravioli and olive tapenade, or Indian curry prawns with mango chutney on basmati rice. There are also lots of meat, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free alternatives.
Address – 600 W 3rd St, Yuma, AZ 85364
This is the city’s top restaurant, where “the elite gather and Yuma dine” since the early 1940s, and it is housed in a 19th century mansion. As a result, Lutes Casino is a traditional staple of Yuma’s eating scene. The iconic Lutes American and Mexican menu include must-try items like its yam tortillas, which are stuffed with yam, sweet potatoes and deep-fried before being served with shredded lettuce, cucumber, mustard, and Cotijia cheese.
Address – 221 S Main St, Yuma, AZ 85364
Prison Hill Brewing Company
Yuma’s one and only microbrewery, proudly serves substantial American gastropub meals along with pints of its handcrafted brews and various craft and foreign ales and wheat beers. The brewpub’s name alludes to the nearby Yuma Territorial Prison Museum and Park. A large portion of Prison Hill’s menu consists of tacos, steaks, sandwiches, and smoked meats, while its weekly lineup of beers is a must-try.
Address – 278 S Main St, Yuma, AZ 85364
Das Bratwurst Haus
It is the only location you should go when dining out in Yuma if you want authentic German food and beverages. The interior of Das Bratwurst Haus is decorated with images from Barbara’s native Bavaria, which look over customers as they eat traditional German fare. Included in this list are sausages, beet soup, spätzle, and wiener schnitzel. They are offered with classic sweets like Red Truffle and Black Forest cake.
Address – 204 S Madison Ave, Yuma, AZ 85364
Best Places to Stay in Yuma AZ
Yuma is the county seat of Yuma County and is known as the “Sunniest City on Earth.”
It is one of the leading agricultural cities, producing more than 175 different kinds of crops.
Yuma is a top summer vacation spot with many recreational areas, including the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge and Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area, which are particularly well-liked by outdoor enthusiasts.
In addition to its natural beauty, this city has places like the Sanguinetti House Museum and Gardens, Downtown Yuma, and the infamous Proving Grounds that are ideal for a day of learning and pleasure.
Spend a few days visiting Yuma on your next vacation to learn why it has become a popular travel destination.
Hampton Inn & Suites Yuma
The Hampton Inn & Suites Yuma, located off I-8, has 90 roomy suites, an outdoor pool, and even free breakfast. When you stay here, you can visit family-friendly attractions like the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, Children’s Museum of Yuma County, Inc., and the Colorado River State Historic Park and easily explore the city. These attractions are just a stone’s throw away from here.
Address – 1600 E 16th St, Yuma, AZ 85365
Shilo Inns Yuma –
Shilo Inns Yuma offers 134 spotlessly clean rooms, an outdoor pool, an outdoor jacuzzi, and convenient access to numerous city attractions. It is located in a tranquil and fascinating area close to the Yuma International Airport. The Shilo Inns Yuma is an excellent choice if you’re local and looking for beautiful cheap hotels in Yuma where you can have a pleasant holiday. Your stay will be comfortable thanks to the hotel’s warm rooms and amazing amenities.
Address – 1550 S Castle Dome Ave, Yuma, AZ 85365
La Fuente Inn & Suites
The La Fuente Inn & Suites, located less than 10 minutes from the city’s historic district, has a stylish décor. It features 96 modern rooms with a traditional touch, an outdoor swimming pool, and a patio with BBQ grills. The La Fuente Inn & Suites is the ideal choice if you’re seeking for the greatest luxury hotels in the Yuma area.
Address – 1513 E 16th St, Yuma, AZ 85365
Radisson Hotel Yuma
One of Yuma’s top-rated accommodations has 154 stylish and comfortable rooms, the Market Grill Steak & Seafood restaurant, an indoor pool, and more. It is a great choice for couples looking for a romantic weekend in the city if you’re searching for five-star hotels in Yuma.You can then return to the hotel, have a satisfying lunch at Market Grill Steak & Seafood, and spend the remainder of the evening in your cozy room.
Address – 1501 S Redondo Center Dr, Yuma, AZ 85365
When are you Planning your Trip to Yuma?
As always, the top things to do in Yuma, Arizona will vary depending on your personal interests. For example, if you’re a history buff, try the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, which is one of the ten most-visited outdoor attractions in Arizona. If you’re looking for a beautiful mountain biking trail, try the Ghost Rider Trail. However, there are plenty of other activities that can entertain you.
If you live in Yuma, or you’re planning to visit it soon, you’ll probably find our list helpful. It has the best top ranked things to do in Yuma AZ that won’t leave you disappointed!
You’ll find the weather in Yuma to be quite favorable throughout the year. The summers are hot, but it rarely gets too hot to bear. This makes Yuma a good place for your next getaway.