Southern Arizona, also known as Baja Arizona, is the southernmost portion of The Grand Canyon State. And although the state’s most famous landmark is further north, a pet-friendly adventure to this region of sky islands and desert landscapes promises incredible sights, unique stays and delicious eats along the way.
Posted by Billy Francis
Things to Do
Mosey through an old mining town, soar in an aviation museum and paint the town red with your “pawtner” by your side in Sonoran Desert country.
Take Flight With Fido
Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson is one of the most pet-friendly aviation museums in the country. You and your furry co-pilot can meander through six hangers and view almost 400 aircraft on display, including a Wright Flyer, a Boeing 787, and a Douglas A-26 Invader from World War II. You can spend hours perusing the exhibits to learn about sea planes, amphibians, aircraft carriers, women in flight, and so much more. Included with your ticket is admission to the 390th Memorial Museum, which houses the last B-17 Flying Fortress flown by any branch of the U.S. Military and details the experiences of the 390th Bomb Group who were captured during World War II.
Mine With Your Mutt
Take your furry outlaw to the dog-friendly town of Tombstone. Famous for the 1881 gunfight at the O.K. Corral, this wild west tourist hotspot is a great place to explore with your ‘pawtner’ in crime. Start with a 45-minute guided walk on the Good Enough Mine Tour, traveling underground to see what silver mining was like in the late 1880s. After sniffing out some silver, Fido can rest his paws during a 25-minute carriage ride on the historic 1880s Butterfield Stage Coach or a 40-minute ride on the Good Enough Trolley. Take a break to let Fido enjoy an ice cream cone topped with a dog biscuit from T. Miller’s Tombstone Mercantile before joining a Tombstone After Dark ghost tour.
Go for a Desert Drive
Sky Island Scenic Byway is the only paved road to the highest point in the Santa Catalina Range, Mount Lemmon. Also referred to as the Mount Lemmon Highway and Catalina Highway Scenic Drive, this winding scenic road is one of the most picturesque pathways in the southwest and also one of the most diverse over a short distance. At only 27 miles long, it starts in the desert and ends up in the high forest. Stunning views of sky islands await you and your pooch as you climb high into the rocky surroundings.
Paint With Your Pup
With painting classes every single night, you won’t miss an opportunity to paint with your pooch at Arte Bella. Artistic Alsatians are invited to join you as you learn how to paint charcuterie boards, wine glasses, watercolor, wood signs, and try other artistic techniques like string art and acrylic pours on canvas and vinyl records.
Peep at the Peak
Picacho Peak State Park is one of the most pet-friendly parks in Southern Arizona. Leashed dogs are invited to explore a Civil War battlefield and hike trails that wind around the craggy peak to viewing points of colorful wildflower displays during springtime and desert views lined with cactus for miles around. Make sure you keep Fido away from all the prickly locals.
Visit the Gateway to the Southwest
Yuma is lovingly referred to as the Gateway to the Southwest. The historic city is situated on the Colorado River and preserves the remnants of a Wild West prison on its banks. First, explore one of the jewels of the town, West Wetlands Park. The lower section of this 110‐acre park is planted with native trees and grasses, there’s also a lake and a paved riverfront trail. After a day on the trails, play on the agility equipment and meet the locals at the Bark Park.
Go to the Great House
The Sonoran Desert was once inhabited by the Salado Indians, who were Pueblo people, which meant they lived in villages and relied on agriculture. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument preserves the remains of a “Great House” and a network of canals used for irrigating farmland constructed by the Salado around 700 years ago between 1300-1350 AD. Leashed dogs are welcome to join you on the paved trails that surround the preserved building.
Places to Stay
Wake up with your dog in the Doc Holliday Suite, write a poem in tranquil surroundings, and glamp in the desert.
Rest in Tombstone
At Katie’s Cozy Cabins, dogs are welcomed with western hospitality. Located in the heart of the ‘Town Too Tough to Die,’ the cabins are within walking distance to all of Tombstone’s pet-friendly attractions. During your stay, take Fido for a walk in Katie’s Cozy Park and don’t miss the beautiful Arizona sunset from your cabin porch.
Sierra Vista Escape
Southern Arizona is home to seven sky islands, which are mighty and isolated mountains that provide a place for vegetation and animals to survive away from the harsh desert surroundings. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of these mountains in the distance at this Arizona sky island escape. Fido will share the large fenced backyard with a flock of hummingbirds who live in the Sierra Vista, the Hummingbird Capital of the World.
Peaceful Retreat With a Pool
If Fido’s a poet who doesn’t know it, reserve a weekend at the Tucson Poet's Studio. A peaceful retreat in the heart of the city's Poet’s Corner, where all the roads are named after famous poets, this relaxing getaway was built using sun-dried adobe and has a beautiful corner beehive fireplace inside. As an added bonus, the backyard of the studio is walled and fenced.
Calling All Cowboys
Spend the night in one of Tombstone’s most historic properties. Mama P’s Historical Inn: The Doc Holliday Suite once belonged to China Mary, the godfather of the Chinese Tombstone community in the late 1800s. Decorated to reflect the late 1800s, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time when you check in at this supposedly haunted location.
Touch down for the night at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. Your pup will be treated to a "Loews Loves Pets" amenity kit upon arrival. Don’t miss the pet room service menu offering delicious, one-of-a-kind items from the hotel’s executive chef. If you’d prefer to dine out alongside Fido, head to the hotel’s dog-friendly Cascade Lounge or the patio of Bill’s Grill.
Situated adjacent to Saguaro National Park and surrounded by an 11-acre sculpture park, this groovy glamping experience in the Sonoran Desert is unlike anywhere else. Wake up in a vintage camper to the calm tranquility of the desert and soak in the interesting artistic installations. Due to the size of the camper, contact your host if your dog is over 20 lbs.
Budget Stay With Your Best Friend
Shilo Inn & Suites Yuma welcomes dogs of any size to spend the night. This popular budget hotel has a large shady pet area for late-night pee breaks and is conveniently located between the Bark Park and West Wetlands Park.
Secret eats, tasty tapas and bubbling brews await you and your pooch in Southern Arizona.
Head down to Barrio Brewing Company for a beer on the patio with your best friend. Treats and water are provided to distract your dog while you dig into wings, tacos, quesadillas, and more from the food menu.
Taste the South
Southern comfort, hospitality and community are all part of the mantra at The Parish in Tucson. Inspired by food from Louisiana, Texas and Arizona, you can taste the South in every bite that comes from the mind of an Iron Chef-winning chef. The menu includes Guedry's Gumbo with crawfish hushpuppies, drunken angel pasta, and double-boned pork chop marinated in sweet tea.
Pints on the Patio
After exploring downtown Yuma, sample a pint with your pooch at a popular pet-friendly establishment. With 50 beers on tap and a varied food menu, you’ll never be stuck for choice at The Pint House Bar & Grill.
Culver’s is a pet-friendly chain of restaurants that has been serving up ButterBurgers and fresh frozen custard since 1984. Canines who rock up at the window can bag themselves a pooch-sized-portion of the chain’s trademark fresh frozen custard topped with a Milk-Bone from the secret dog menu.
Cozy Up to the Cantina
Sample Sonoran Mexican cuisine prepared with recipes that have been passed down through five generations at Contessa’s Cantina in the Mule Mountains. Fill up with a full plate of fish tacos on the shady patio.
Sip on a Cabernet with your canine at Tapas at Coronado Vineyards, where you can enjoy beautiful vineyard views in the outdoor space and taste wine made with grapes from Southern Arizona Wine Country.
Dine in Historic Surroundings
Build your own Bloody Mary and make your way to the patio at Cup Cafe at The Hotel Congress. The Hotel Congress was the scene of the capture of infamous bank robber John Dillinger in 1934. Nowadays, you can sample delicious eats with your dog on the patio and think about a bygone era.
What are your favorite dog-friendly things to do in Southern Arizona? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!
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