35 Fun Things to Do in Yuma, Arizona


11 min read
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A lake with green trees on the shore and mountains in the background
There are many amazing historic, cultural, and natural landmarks to see in Yuma

Yuma is a desert town located in Arizona on the United States-Mexico border. This destination is home to a variety of historical Arizona landmarks, outdoor attractions, and more.

Fun things to do in Yuma, Arizona, include hiking nature trails, boating on the Colorado River, and visiting historical sites like the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park. If you're planning a weekend getaway from Yuma, the city is also close to well-known destinations like Phoenix and San Diego.

If you want an answer to the question "What is there to do in Yuma, Arizona?" keep reading for 35 suggestions!

  • 35 Yuma things to do

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35 Fun Things to Do in Yuma, AZ

  1. Snap photos with dinosaurs at Anza Borrego State Park
  2. Explore the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area
  3. See historical buildings at Colorado River State Historic Park
  4. Travel back in time at the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
  5. Hang out at West Wetlands Park
  6. Hike in East Wetlands Park
  7. Visit the Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center
  8. Look around the Castle Dome Mine Museum & Ghost Town
  9. Marvel at the Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area
  10. Spot animals at the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge
  11. Relax at Gateway Park
  12. Tour a date farm at Martha’s Gardens
  13. Go on a road trip to Phoenix
  14. Search for bighorn sheep in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge
  15. Learn about Arizona's railroads at Pivot Point Plaza
  16. Stroll around the Sanguinetti House Museum and Gardens
  17. Enjoy outdoor activities at Joshua Tree National Park
  18. Wander through the Yuma Conservation Garden
  19. Discover the Bridge to Nowhere
  20. Cook creative dishes at St. Paul’s Cultural Center
  21. Pick up a coffee at Cafecito in Downtown Yuma
  22. Let your kids play at Z Fun Factory
  23. Spend the day at Waylon’s Water World
  24. Follow the Telegraph Pass Trail
  25. Swim at Mittry Lake Wildlife Area
  26. Boat on the Colorado River
  27. Shop at the Yuma Community Farmers Market
  28. Catch a performance at the Yuma Art Center
  29. Grab a beer at Pint House Bar & Grill
  30. Watch a movie at Regency Main Street Cinemas
  31. Play at the Stewart Vincent Wolfe Creative Playground
  32. Find out about the Cocopah Tribe at the Cocopah Museum
  33. Eat at Lutes Casino
  34. Walk around the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge
  35. Plan a road trip to San Diego

Show all

Yuma Things to Do Map

A map of Yuma. Use the map to explore all the things to do.

© ericlaudonien93 via Depositphotos
A T-rex sculpture in a desert with some greenery in the foreground
Anza Borrego State Park features interesting dinosaur sculptures

Snap photos with dinosaurs at Anza Borrego State Park

If you’re up for the drive, going to Anza Borrego State Park is highly recommended. Located approximately two hours and 20 mins away from Yuma and across the border in California, the state park boasts scenic trails and beautiful wildflowers.

An interesting feature within the park is a selection of sculptures of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures. Once you find the statues, taking some unique photos with them is a must!

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Explore the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area

Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is one of the most renowned attractions in the city. This site features two state historic parks, riverfront trails, and restored wetlands.

The five most famous landmarks to see are Colorado River State Park, Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park, West and East Wetland Parks, and Pivot Point Plaza. A trip to the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area has to be on your Yuma bucket list!

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See historical buildings at Colorado River State Historic Park

Located in the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, Colorado River State Historic Park features a range of significant buildings. Also known as Quartermaster Depot State Historic Park, things to see here include the quartermaster’s quarters and depot and some exhibits with artifacts from the 1800s.

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© adameq2 via Depositphotos
An old stone building with prison cell doors and a courtyard in front of it
Yuma Territorial Prison was an active prison from 1876 to 1909

Travel back in time at the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park

Opened in 1876, the Yuma Territorial Prison closed 33 years later in 1909. Today, you can visit the site and walk through the prison. As you do, you’ll be able to see cells and guard towers. There’s also a museum with photographs and artifacts from the prison’s operational days.

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Hang out at West Wetlands Park

Another of the Yuma, Arizona, things to do in the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is spending some time at West Wetlands Park. The 110-acre park has a beach, lakes for boating, and walking trails, among other outdoor attractions. If visiting with children, they can enjoy a playground too.

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Hike in East Wetlands Park

East Wetlands Park, sometimes known as the East Wetlands Environmental Restoration Area, features wetlands and nature trails for hiking and biking. You’ll also be able to spot a variety of wildlife, including multiple species of birds, turtles, beavers, and foxes. You can also kayak or canoe in the park.

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Visit the Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center

Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center is a US military history museum in the Arizona desert. The fascinating attraction has a selection of military vehicles to view, plus exhibits and artifacts relating to the US army and wars that have been fought. There’s also a theater showing educational films.

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Look around the Castle Dome Mine Museum & Ghost Town

Castle Dome Mine Museum & Ghost Town is an 1870s mining village that has been left untouched for decades. As you look around this ghost town, you’ll discover old homes, shops, and even a graveyard.

A trip to Castle Dome Mine Museum & Ghost Town has to be on your list of Yuma, AZ, things to do!

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Sand dunes under a blue sky with light clouds
The dunes at Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area can reach 300 feet high

Marvel at the Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area

One of the most impressive sites near Yuma is the Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area. Dunes here can reach heights of 300 feet, and the desert landscape is breathtaking. Activities to participate in include exploring the area in an all-terrain vehicle and dirt biking.

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Spot animals at the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge

Established in 1941, the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge covers 30 miles along the Colorado River. It intends to protect creatures living in the area.

Over 350 species of animals call the refuge home. Just a few of the animals to spot during a visit include various birds, jackrabbits, antelope squirrels, and lizards.

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Relax at Gateway Park

Gateway Park sits on the Colorado River next to Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park. This park has a lake and sandy shore, perfect for swimming or relaxing on the sand.

You can also find bike paths, a playground, and picnic areas and can view the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Bridge. Gateway Park is the perfect place to unwind a little after seeing Yuma’s top landmarks and attractions.

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Tour a date farm at Martha’s Gardens

One of many unique Yuma things to do is touring the date farm at Martha’s Gardens. On a tour, you can learn about how dates are grown and harvested. You can then try the fruits and buy boxes of Medjool dates to take with you.

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A city skyline with trees in front of it under a blue sky
Phoenix is a popular road trip destination from Yuma

Go on a road trip to Phoenix

Arizona’s capital city of Phoenix is located just three hours from Yuma. If you’re looking for a road trip destination, Phoenix should definitely be at the top of your list.

You can find an array of things to do in downtown Phoenix, including going to the Japanese Friendship Garden, shopping at markets, and visiting trendy bars. Slightly outside of central Phoenix, you’ll also find some great parks to explore.

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Search for bighorn sheep in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

Established in 1939, Kofa National Wildlife Refuge was created to protect desert bighorn sheep and their habitat. While hiking in the vast refuge area, you’re likely to spot some of these creatures. Other animals to see include badgers, foxes, and ground squirrels.

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Learn about Arizona's railroads at Pivot Point Plaza

Pivot Point Plaza marks the place where the first railroad train came into Arizona in 1877. The area today features a 1907 locomotive, plus artifacts relating to the railroad. Wandering around the site allows you to learn more about the importance of the railroads to the development of the state.

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Stroll around the Sanguinetti House Museum and Gardens

Operated by the Arizona Historical Society, the Sanguinetti House Museum and Gardens comprise a 19th-century home and stunning gardens. When visiting, you’ll find a museum inside the house that has exhibits on Yuma’s and Arizona’s pasts.

Before you leave, be sure to look around the gardens which are filled with brightly colored flowers.

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A Joshua tree in a desert environment with rock features and shrubs
A trip to Joshua Tree National Park is worth the two-and-a-half-hour drive!

Enjoy outdoor activities at Joshua Tree National Park

One of the best things to do near Yuma, Arizona, for lovers of the outdoors is going to Joshua Tree National Park in California. The attraction is one of the best national parks on the West Coast and is two and a half hours away from Yuma when driving.

While visiting this famous California landmark, you can hike, admire the desert landmark, and see the park’s namesake Joshua trees.

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Wander through the Yuma Conservation Garden

Another great outdoor place to visit is the Yuma Conservation Garden. The 28-acre attraction has gardens filled with cacti and other Sonoran desert plants.

There’s also a pond, waterfalls, and wildlife like waterfowl and tortoises. Yuma Conservation Garden has a fascinating collection of antique farm machinery too.

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Discover the Bridge to Nowhere

The McPhaul Suspension Bridge is known by many as the “Bridge to Nowhere” due to it no longer being in a condition to walk or drive across. The bridge opened in 1929, closed in 1968, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. Today, you can view the bridge that still spans the Gila River. Just don’t attempt to cross it!

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Cook creative dishes at St. Paul’s Cultural Center

Constructed in 1909 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, St. Paul's Cultural Center is now an events venue. One of the fun things to do at the center is taking a cooking class. You’ll learn to make a variety of things, including traditional Mexican dishes and those using local produce.

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An orange and green sign that says "Downtown Yuma" on a tree-lined street
Downtown Yuma has lots of great eateries, like the coffee shop Cafecito

Pick up a coffee at Cafecito in Downtown Yuma

The city’s historic downtown is full of Yuma attractions. It’s also the perfect place to grab a coffee. One of the best coffee shops in the area is Cafecito.

Craft coffee drinks on the menu range from classic lattes and mochas to lavender and honey or horchata cold brews. You can also get snacks like acai bowls, avocado toast, or oatmeal with various toppings.

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Let your kids play at Z Fun Factory

If visiting Yuma with kids, taking them to Z Fun Factory is an ideal way to keep them occupied. The attraction has a mini-golf course, go-karts, bumper boats, and a batting cage. There’s also an arcade, plus a bar for adults if your children are old enough to enjoy the amusements alone.

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Spend the day at Waylon’s Water World

Located next to Z Fun Factory, Waylon’s Water World is another family-friendly attraction. Things to do at the waterpark include going on waterslides, floating along the lazy river, and splashing around in multiple swimming pools. There are also kiddy pools for young children.

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Follow the Telegraph Pass Trail

If you enjoy hiking, another of the things to do near Yuma, AZ, that you'll want to try is tackling the Telegraph Pass Trail. The loop trail is 5.3 miles long, and hiking the route will take around three hours.

Although it’s of moderate difficulty, it’s still doable for most activity levels. As you hike, you’ll be able to admire mountainous views and spot a variety of birds.

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© CheriAlguire via Depositphotos
A sign that says "Mittry Lake Wildlife Area" surrounded by green plants
Mittry Lake Wildlife Area is a perfect place to swim, boat, and hike

Swim at Mittry Lake Wildlife Area

Mittry Lake Wildlife Area is a nature reserve with a large lake that’s perfect for water sports. In the summer, it’s the ideal place to go swimming and cool off. You can also boat here, and there are nature trails to follow.

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Boat on the Colorado River

Yuma sits right on the banks of the Colorado River, making water sports popular in the area. Boating on the river is a great idea and will allow you to take in the beautiful surrounding vistas as you sail down the waterway. You can also kayak or canoe on the Colorado River.

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Shop at the Yuma Community Farmers Market

The Yuma Community Farmers Market is held on Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday. At the market, you can shop for local produce, other food items, and handmade craft products. Best of all, proceeds go to programs that help the homeless.

Other markets to check out include the 224 Downtown Market and the Vendors’ Village Market.

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Catch a performance at the Yuma Art Center

One of the best Yuma, Arizona, attractions for art and culture enthusiasts is the Yuma Art Center. The center features galleries and the Historic Yuma Theatre. At the arts center, you can see art exhibits and attend events like art classes. You can also watch a range of plays at the theater.

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Grab a beer at Pint House Bar & Grill

A popular local spot to get a beer and some snacks is Pint House Bar & Grill. The eatery has over 50 craft beers on tap, plus mixed drinks. You can accompany your beer with pub food like wings, fried pickles, burgers, and artisan pizzas. On sunny days, you can sit outside on the bar’s patio too.

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© CheriAlguire via Depositphotos
One of the fun things to do in Yuma, Arizona, is going to Regency Main Street Cinemas
Going to Regency Main Street Cinemas is one of the fun things to do in Yuma, Arizona

Watch a movie at Regency Main Street Cinemas

Locally owned Regency Main Street Cinemas is the most popular place to see a movie in Yuma. The theater has eight screens and shows most new releases. Before you enter the theater, you can also purchase classic cinema snacks to enjoy with your film.

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Play at the Stewart Vincent Wolfe Creative Playground

The Stewart Vincent Wolfe Creative Playground is found in West Wetlands Park and is a fun place to let your kids play. The playground boasts a castle play structure with slides and climbing features. Your kids can also enjoy a splash fountain and zipline course.

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Find out about the Cocopah Tribe at the Cocopah Museum

Cocopah Museum is one of the numerous fascinating Yuma, AZ, attractions to add to your must-visit list. The museum has exhibits on the history and culture of the Cocopah Tribe. You’ll be able to see a range of artifacts too, including clothing, jewelry, and artworks.

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Eat at Lutes Casino

Another popular place to eat in Yuma is Lutes Casino. The quirky restaurant serves American classics like burgers, fish tacos, and grilled cheese sandwiches. They also have some Mexican-inspired dishes and a kids’ menu.

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Walk around the Cibola National Wildlife Refuge

Cibola National Wildlife Refuge is a great place to go for the day. Located an hour and 15 minutes from Yuma, the wildlife refuge houses many endangered species. As you wander around the park, you’ll see a variety of animals including waterfowl, quail, and coyotes.

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A path in front of the ocean and a skyline with grass and lampposts on either side
Planning a road trip to San Diego from Yuma is a fun idea if in the city for a while

Plan a road trip to San Diego

If you’re in Yuma for a while and want to plan a day or overnight trip, going to San Diego is a must! The Californian destination is located just over two and a half hours from Yuma. Once in the city, you can visit an array of attractions and see San Diego’s landmarks.

Just a few of the things to do include going to beaches and state parks, seeing animals at the San Diego Zoo, and walking around the harbor. If you do stay overnight, you’ll also find numerous things to do in San Diego at night.

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In Summary

If you're planning a trip to the Grand Canyon State and want to know what to do in Yuma, Arizona, this list will have provided some fun ideas. From outdoor activities to visiting museums and historical landmarks and checking out local eateries, you can find lots to keep you busy in Yuma!

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Written by Alli Sewell

allisewell WRITER Currently based in Canada, I've also lived and worked in the UK and Brazil and travelled in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. I love finding the best photo-ops and food and drink locations wherever I go!


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