How To Plan A Trip To Yuma, Arizona — The Sunniest Place On Earth

Stacey Leasca
10 Min Read

Yuma, a city tucked away in the southwest corner of Arizona, is a sun lover’s paradise. And we don’t mean that lightly. After all, statistically, it’s the certified sunniest place on Earth.

According to the “sunshine hours” index by the World Meteorological Organization, Yuma experiences more than 4,000 hours of sunlight per year.

“Yuma’s year-round sunshine and unique offerings make it a special place to visit. The Yuma community is just as warm as its sunny weather, offering a blend of cultures, a rich history, and the easygoing spirit of the Southwest,” Marcus Carney, executive director at Visit Yuma, shared with Travel + Leisure. “More sunlight means more time to enjoy all that the region has to offer — from sunrise hikes at Kofa National Wildlife Refuge to late-night floats down the Colorado River during the summer months, and plenty of activities in between.”

This city has more of a small-town feel, and it offers easy access to some stunning natural scenery. Here’s how to plan a trip to Yuma, Arizona, including where to stay, what to do, and the best time to visit.

A guide to Yuma, Arizona – The sunniest place on earth

Yuma, Arizona

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  • Yuma offers bountiful sunshine all year long.
  • History buffs will adore Yuma’s perfectly preserved historical attractions.
  • Nature lovers will love spending time near the Colorado River or in its various nature preserves.
  • Yuma is a fantastic destination for groups and families, especially thanks to its plentiful vacation rentals.
  • Get a taste of the region at the city’s restaurants, or go fully local by grabbing anything with dates.

Best hotels and resorts

La Fuente Inn & Suites

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La Fuente Inn & Suites offers visitors the chance to kick back and relax around its mid-century modern pool, lined with bright, lime-green loungers ideal for sunning. Guests can choose between courtyard or pool-view rooms (several of which are ADA-compliant). There’s also complimentary breakfast in the lobby, as well as an evening happy hour for mixing and mingling with other guests.

Book your stay at La Fuente Inn & Suites via

Book your stay at La Fuente Inn & Suites via

The Dandy House

Yuma has a fantastic selection of vacation rentals, including The Dandy House, a three-bedroom home close to all the action in town. The property is large enough for six guests and comes with plenty of communal spaces such as a backyard fire pit, an oversized kitchen, and a living room with cosy furniture and a fireplace.

Townhouse in Yuma

Another beloved rental, this townhouse in Yuma is rated as an Airbnb guest favourite. The stylish home is large enough for up to six guests, and it’s even pet-friendly, so every member of the crew is welcome to come along. Cook a feast in the chef’s kitchen, dining next to the fireplace, and enjoy a bit more outdoor time in the home’s grassy backyard.

Best things to do 

Kayak the Colorado River

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One of the best things to do in Yuma is get on the Colorado River, and 3:10 Kayak and Paddleboard Rentals is happy to help. The company will deliver the equipment to the water’s edge, which you can rent for two-, four-, or six-hour sessions or book for an entire day.

Tour Castle Dome Mine Museum

History buffs will love visiting the Castle Dome Mine Museum, which offers a glimpse at life in this mining town in the 19th century. Explore more than 50 preserved buildings, and venture into the caves to see a kaleidoscope of colour thanks to the natural fluorescent and phosphorescent minerals lining the walls.

Drive an ATV through the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area

Get an adrenaline rush with an ATV ride through the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, located near Yuma. The vast landscape made up of rolling sand dunes is the perfect place for some thrills with friends. Check out outfitters like Jet Rent for tours and rental information.

Visit Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park

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Make one more Wild West-era stop on your tour of the city with a visit to the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park. Travelers can explore the preserved prison cells and guard towers, as well as learn more about the inmates who spent time here in the 1800s. The park is open every day, except for Christmas.

Hike Telegraph Pass

Head down Telegraph Pass for an afternoon hike. The trail is rated as moderately difficult and takes people on a 5.7-mile (9.17 km) loop through rugged terrain, offering fantastic views at every turn. Make sure to set aside about three to four hours to complete the trek, and bring plenty of water because, as you already know, things can get hot and sunny around here.

Best Restaurants

The Garden Cafe

The Garden Cafe offers a respite from the hustle and bustle, even if it’s just for a cup of coffee or two. The charming cafe is, as its name suggests, nestled within a garden, providing the perfect backdrop for breakfast. Go for plates like the Country Scramble, made with ham, cheese, green onions, tomato, and potatoes grown right in their garden.

The Chile Pepper

Enjoy a little spice? Make your way to The Chile Pepper, a family-run restaurant known for its Mexican fare. Here, you can order a Sonoran-style burrito and top it with any number of salsas, or opt for a taco, including carne asada, adobo chicken, and whole bean options.

Naked Dates

It’s worth the 30-minute drive from Yuma to Wellton to visit Naked Dates. The certified organic farm produces Medjool dates grown on its eight-acre farm — you can buy them in bulk or get a taste at the farm’s cafe. Get everything from sandwiches like the bacon date melts to flatbreads topped with dates to tacos with, you guessed it, dates.

Best time to visit

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“If you prefer fewer crowds and a slower pace, we recommend visiting April through October,” Carney explained. “The warmer summer months are great for sunrise hikes followed by a dip in the lake or river. Cool off in the afternoon as you dine around town, shop, or visit a museum.” As a hot tip, Carney noted the Sanguinetti House Museum & Gardens offers air-conditioning and “refreshing Shirley Temple drinks” for guests. And on those summer evenings, Carney suggested visiting “Lute’s Casino and taking in the Summer Jazz Series while you enjoy a Lute’s Special or potato tacos. Tip: During the summer months, we recommend calling ahead before visiting museums or attractions.”

But, as Carney also noted, “With the year-round sunshine, there’s no bad time to visit Yuma. Truly!”

How to get there


Travelers who wish to fly to Yuma can book a flight directly to Yuma International Airport, which is served daily by American Airlines.


Travelers who prefer the rails can get there via two Amtrak lines: the Sunset Limited and Texas Eagle. Both will take you straight to the Yuma train station.


Yuma is also easily accessible for road trippers, especially those coming from the American West. It’s just a 2.5-hour drive from San Diego or a three-hour drive from Phoenix, making it an ideal weekend getaway.

How to get around

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Attractions are quite spread out in Yuma, Arizona, making a car the easiest way to get around. Bring your own or pick up a rental at Enterprise, Avis, Hertz, or Budget — all near the airport. Taxis and Ubers are both available across Yuma as well.

Public transportation is an option, too, via the Yuma County Area Transit, which offers a fixed route around town. You can see its map and schedule here.

(Feature image credit: Cavan Images/Mark Lipczynski/Getty Images)

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Stacey Leasca

2024-01-12 02:58:36 , "arizona things to do" – Vivrr Local

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