Spectacular desert scenery, a wealth of history and culture and one of America's greatest rivers all help to make the Arizona city of Yuma a thrilling place for travellers. Yuma was once the safest crossing point on the mighty Colorado River, and pioneers fleeing the Oklahoma dust bowls, Spanish explorers and intrepid adventurers all headed to this exciting gateway to the Southwest.
The city has more sunshine per year than any other city in the world, making it a popular choice at all times of year. It's the perfect destination if you enjoy the great outdoors, and you can choose from activities as diverse as golf, boating, off road driving in the desert, kayaking, horse riding, fishing and hiking.
There's more than enough to satisfy your interest in history and culture too, and historic downtown Yuma is right by the river. Main Street has been a focal point of events since back when it marked the end of the Gila Trail - interestingly, the trail is the oldest of the ancient western trails - and was the route that prospectors heading to the gold fields of California walked to reach the ferry over the Colorado River back in 1849. Main Street today is where you'll find City Hall and the Arts Centre, and highlights of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area include the Ocean-to-Ocean Bridge and Wetlands Park.
Pivot Point Interpretive Plaza is an essential stop, and the exciting exhibit within the public park highlights the point where the very first train entered the state in 1877. As well as a locomotive, two lasers define the railway's path out over the river after dark, and a water cascade at the edge of the plaza defines the historic bank line. It's worth noting that the laser feature may not be available during the hottest months - normally June to August - as lasers need to be chilled in order to work. Learn about Arizona's first prison at Yuma Territorial Prison Park & Museum, or explore some of the city's wonderful parks like West Wetlands Park, Gateway Park, or Roxaboxen Park which was inspired by the children's stories of Alice McIerran.
A choice of great restaurants, live music venues and friendly bars, as well as three casinos mean that you'll find plenty to keep you happy after the sun goes down.