Experience many of Arizona’s unique attractions with a road trip in Pinal County, the heart of Southern Arizona, between Phoenix and Tucson.
You’re in Arizona, so slip into the saddle for a horseback riding adventure at Apache Junction’s Superstitions O.K. Corral Stables. Then head up the Apache Trail (State Route 88) into the Superstition Mountains to Goldfield Ghost Town, an 1890s gold mining town, and Historic Goldfield Museum. Entrance is free, with fees for some attractions, including a zipline, a narrow-gauge railroad, mine tours and gold panning, with free gunfight shows.
The San Tan Mountain Regional Park is a 10,000-acre rural/suburban park with picnicking and a well-equipped visitors center. The park has over 20 miles of non-motorized trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Look for petroglyphs and Sonoran plants and animals, from javelinas to Gila monsters. Special events include stargazing with provided telescopes.
Coolidge is home to the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, a true Arizona treasure. The four-story building was built in about 1350 by the Hohokam people and named Casa Grande (Big House) by Spanish missionary Father Eusebio Kino in 1694. This was the first historic site to receive protected status by the United States government, in 1892.
The Museum of Casa Grande provides a detailed look at the area’s heritage. Explore the early days of Arizona with artifacts and exhibits from prehistory to modern day. Many special programs and events are held here each year.
Don’t miss Skydive Arizona in Eloy, the world’s largest parachuting resort and frequent host of national and world skydiving championships! Check out the famous Bent Prop Saloon & Cookery.
The Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch in Picacho fills that need for something different on this road trip. The family-owned ostrich ranch and petting zoo has been featured on numerous television shows. There are many different critters to feed, with an amusement park, outdoor recreational activities and affordable family fun for all ages.
The absolutely unique Biosphere 2 in Oracle is now a University of Arizona Earth science research facility. Built to study living in an artificial environment, the 7.2 million-cubic-foot enclosed ecological system is the largest closed system ever built. Time-Life Books calls it “one of the 50 must-see wonders of the world.”
The Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior is Arizona’s largest and oldest botanical garden, with 4.75 miles of trails. With over 3,900 plant species from around the world, the riparian area attracts Sonoran Desert wildlife and over 270 migrating bird species. An Audubon Society “Important Bird Area.”