Tombstone – the town too tough to die

Tombstone Arizona street and OK Corral

Tombstone Street and OK Corral

Made infamous by the gunfight at the OK Corrall, Tombstone lives on as a tourist focussed destination. It is popular too with locals so expect Tombstone to be busy at weekends particularly in the school vacation season. Even if you’re not looking for mock gunfights there is enough real history left here to make for an interesting half day or so. Tombstone was established as mining camp in 1879 and the local mines are reckoned to have produced several hundred million dollars of silver and gold. There were many other mining towns throughout Arizona but Tombstone is one of the few to have survived in a good state of preservation. Walking the streets here gives a very good idea of what the frontier towns of the southwest would have looked like. Tombstone is around 90 minutes south of Tucson.

Historic Sights

Boothill Cemetary

Just off the highway into Tombstone from the North is the cemetery that served the old town.  Some infamous characters are buried here including Billy Clanton who was killed in the gunfight.

Birdcage Theatre

birdcage theatre Tombstone Arizona

Birdcage Theatre

A combined music hall and casino this entertainment venue operated 24 hours a day from 1881 to 1889. The building has survived largely untouched and is reputed to be haunted. What is clear is that there were wild times here as there are many bullet holes in the building.

The theatre is open daily and includes some rooms that were used for playing poker as well as the main theatre. There is also a small museum area. Special evening tours are offered with the emphasis on the paranormal activity that has been recorded in the building.

Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park

As the names suggests this is a museum housed in the historic Tombstone Courthouse. This is a good opportunity to learn about the history of Tombstone through the many items that are on display.

Other Things to do

a stagecoach in Tombstone Arizona

Tombstone Stagecoach

Wandering the small downtown area will take you past plenty of diversions including souvenir stores, bars and place where you can have a photo taken in period dress. You can also enjoy a brief stagecoach ride.


Western gunfights performed regularly by stunt performers.

Crystal Palace Saloon

One of the original Tombstone saloons, still serving food and drink.


A good range of things to do can be found on the local websites focussing on Tombstone, including Tombstone Web.

In summary, Tombstone is a good stop off if you are travelling further south in Arizona from Tucson. Equally it makes sense as a day trip from Tucson and could possibly be combined with Bisbee to make a full day out.