Tucson, the second largest city in Arizona is situated around 60 miles south of Phoenix and is easily reached via I10 in around 2 hours. Situated deep in the Sonoran desert the city of around half a million people lies next to the Catalina mountains that dominate the skyline. To the East and West are two separate units of Saguaro National Park that allow the visitor to experience the Sonoran desert and its unique flora. As the name suggests there are high concentrations of the iconic Saguaro cactus to be found in the park together with numerous other cacti species. Tucson has a relaxed and casual atmosphere.
There are several attractions in the immediate Tucson area and there are also several places worth visiting that are within reach of a day trip. This means that Tucson is a great base for a stay of several days.
The climate is cooler than Phoenix but summer temperatures can still hover around the 100 degrees mark. There is plenty of sunshine as Tucson is the sunniest city in the US with an average of around 350 sunny days per year but afternoon and evening thunderstorms are common during the summer “monsoon” season. Winters are mild with
day time temperatures ranging into the mid 60’s, although nights are cool with the very occasional overnight frost.
It is possible at certain times of year to leave the sunny desert, take the catalina highway and climb 6000 feet to reach the Mount Lemon ski resort and fresh snow. All within 90 minutes or so.
Tucson has a long history and is sometimes known as the “Old Pueblo”. In 1700 Mission San Xavier Del Bac was founded by Spanish missionaries and shortly thereafter a fortified settlement (Presidio) was established that was the genesis of modern day Tucson. At this time the Arizona territory was part of Mexico and significant hispanic influences remain in Tucson. Not least of which is the easy availability of authentic Sonoran Mexican cuisine.