Yuma has a rich history that dates back to the gold rush when it served as the only safe crossing for travelers who needed to get over the Colorado River and into California. The city has grown from its days as a rope ferry port and today is an area rich in history and beauty. If you happen to get a chance to visit this beautiful desert city here are a few things to put on the to-do list.
Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
Whether you like history or spooky sites, the Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park will fit the bill. The prison was actually built by its own prisoners and held over 3,000 prisoners over its 33-year lifespan in the Old South West. Living conditions weren’t much better than what visitors see today, which is why it is not surprising that 111 died during their time in the joint. Some people swear it’s haunted, some people just think it’s cool, but either way, make sure you snap a photo at the mirror which flips the photo image to show a front and side profile in one shot.
Historic Downtown Yuma
While some might view the downtown as worn down, there is a certain charm to the old pueblo buildings and Spanish-styled plaza fountains. Book a tour of the North End to learn about the history of the region, or just wander around the town and enjoy some authentic Mexican food and one-of-a-kind boutiques. There are also regular downtown events and fairs so check the local town schedule after booking your trip to see if there are any special events to enjoy during your stay.
Relax with your family at Gateway Park and gaze up at the magnificent Ocean to Ocean bridge while the kids play at the playground. The breathtaking suspension bridge was originally constructed to carry highway traffic but it was closed to vehicle traffic for decades until 2002 when it was opened again.
Castle Dome Mine Museum & Ghost Town
If the earlier idea of ghosts in an abandoned prison spiked your interest, then you will really want to take some time out to visit Castle Dome Mine Museum & Ghost Town. Once an overpopulated mining town, today Castle Dome stretches over 300 abandoned mines and features 50 empty buildings that are reasonably preserved and reveal an up-close look at life in the Old West.