More places to visit in Arizona

We were finally able to tear ourselves away from the sights of Tuscon and discover more places to visit in Arizona. Our next adventure took us to Kartchner Caverns State Park, our home base, while visiting Kartchner’s magnificent caverns and Arizona’s wild west.

Kartchner Caverns State Park

We learned about Kartchner Caverns from another RV camper’s Facebook post! I did not know about these caverns at all. Steve and I are always grateful and amazed at the valuable information we find in these RV groups. Email me or comment below if you’d like the Facebook links.

We camped here three nights. The Park has electric and water hookups and a central dump station at a very reasonable price. Back-in and pull-through RV spots are reasonably large (35′ to 60′) and separated by trees and shrubs, as well as a tarantula, grasshopper, and raven here and there.

more places to visit in Arizona

One of the joys of camping we experienced here was falling asleep each night to our talented neighbors’ peaceful music and singing. Very subtle, nonintrusive, and delightful to listen to. We were invited to join them, but it was far too late for us old folks.

Kartchner is a great camping destination, but reservations are challenging, and the presence of the caverns add to its popularity. Planning is a must if you want to camp here for a few days, and it is easy to make reservations at the Park’s website if any are available.

Kartchner Caverns

more places to visit in Arizona

Discovery Center at Kartchner Caverns

This well-preserved limestone cavern is the most carefully protected one we have ever visited. Check-in for the cave tour is at the Discovery Center, which contains exhibits illustrating the history and discovery of the cave.

Timed small group tours begin with an informative introduction to the cave’s history, but try to make time for the Discovery Center. After the introduction, the tour group boards a fun little tram car that carries us up the mountain a short distance to the cave’s entrance.

more places to visit in Arizona

After exiting the tram and entering the cave, we walk through two sets of airlock doors designed to prevent desert air from entering the cave and causing damage to the fragile formations. It took place so quickly I did not have time to get claustrophobic!

We also walk through a very light misting system similar to a grocery store vegetable mister. I thought this was just a bit odd, but the excellent purpose is to prevent lint and hair on our clothes from settling on cave formations or walls.

Photos are not allowed inside the cave; however, the Park offers different tours, including a unique photography tour. The fragility and protection of the cave are a big focus throughout the tour, and the few housekeeping chores are part of the beginning of each group tour.

Then, this extraordinary tour begins in earnest, moving into various rooms full of stunning stalagmites and stalactites. Very comfortable (wheelchair accessible) walking paths run throughout the cavern, making this a lovely leisurely walk through an outstandingly beautiful space.

more places to visit in Arizona

What a unique way to obtain donations! Each slot has a state label, and you drop your quarter in your state!

Kartchner Caverns, discovered in 1974 by Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, were owned by James and Lois Kartchner. The Kartchner property was acquired by the Arizona State Park system in 1988 and opened in 1999. Click on the Cavern website above to read the great history of these caverns.

Tombstone, AZ

Tombstone Dry Camping RV Park

365 S. 3rd Street
Tombstone, AZ

There are several RV parks to choose from in the Tombstone area, but we spent one night in Tombstone at Tombstone Dry Camping RV Park. This Park is an open grassy lot down the hill just a few feet from Tombstone’s historic Courthouse. A minimal fee is charged to park here.

more places to visit in Arizona

There is nothing fancy here, just an open space with room for several RVs and tents. No hookups or facilities, but this is our favorite way to camp. We met some remarkable people here (@neverenoughsunsets) and enjoyed a safe and peaceful night’s sleep.

Tombstone Historic Courthouse

more places to visit in Arizona

The Tombstone Cochise County Courthouse, constructed in 1882, served at the county seat courthouse until 1931, when nearby Bisbee became the county seat. In 1959 the Courthouse became the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park and opened as the first State Park in Arizona.

more places to visit in Arizona

I have mentioned before that we particularly enjoy small-town museums. The Tombstone Historic Courthouse is one of those exceptional ones chock-full of history from the wild west and contains insight into people’s lives in Tombstone in its early days.

more places to visit in Arizona

Courthouse safe

The courthouse backyard contains a replica of the gallows where the hanging of the five men convicted in the Bisbee massacre in 1883 occurred. Read more about this historic event at The Bisbee Massacre cost five lives—actually 11 lives.

more places to visit in Arizona

The gallows

Heath, the gang’s ringleader, received a second-degree murder conviction which did not go over very well with the residents of Bisbee. They stormed the Courthouse, removed him from his jail cell, and lynched him.

more places to visit in Arizona

Coroner’s report on Heath’s cause of death!

The convicted and hanged men, including Heath, are buried at the Boothill Graveyard in Tombstone.


more places to visit in Arizona

Today, Tombstone is a popular tourist destination, known for its wild-west history in the late 1800s, specifically the Gunfight at OK Corral. This shootout took place in 1881 between Virgil Earp (brother of Wyatt), other law enforcement officers, and the outlaws known as the Cowboys.

This is the way Tombstone looks today. Many streets are pedestrian-only streets.

The town conducts fully costumed reenactments of the famous shootout and is full of wild-west themed restaurants, saloons, gift shops, stagecoach tour rides, even ghost tours.

We spent a wonderful afternoon at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon.

Remember the movie Tombstone starring Kurt Russell? Actual events in Tombstone, Arizona, created the basis for that film, although it is a theatrical production and only remotely factual. Filming did not take place in Tombstone, Arizona.

Boot Hill Graveyard

more places to visit in Arizona

We almost skipped Boot Hill in Tombstone. We visited Boot Hill in Dodge City, Kansas, not too long ago and didn’t care for the experience. Dodge City’s Boot Hill is part of a prominent tourist attraction. Some probably find Dodge City great fun and exciting, but it was not something we enjoyed.

more places to visit in Arizona

Tombstone’s Boot Hill Graveyard did not have a touristy feel like Dodge City. The approximately 250 people buried here are not all notorious outlaws. Also, it is unusual that in the late 1800s, the town permitted men, women, children, and people from all races and economic groups to be buried here, side-by-side.

more places to visit in Arizona

Most of the wooden markers are replacement markers of the original ones, mainly to make them easier to read; however, some of the stone markers are original.

Colossal Cave Mountain Park

We attempted to visit these caverns also, located not far from Tucson. We drove up the winding mountain road to the Park but were disappointed to discover there was no place large enough to park our RV. I should have called ahead before we drove up that winding mountain road! Wonder what we missed?

We had another great week discovering Arizona. There are still many more places to visit, so yes, Arizona is still on our travel destination list. It was a great few days visiting Kartchner’s magnificent caverns and Arizona’s wild west.

I’d love to know about do not miss Arizona sights you have visited or have on your travel destination lists. I am confident we have weeks of adventures left to enjoy in Arizona.

More places to visit in ArizonaMore places to visit in Arizona

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