"Yuma In the Great Southwest" Top 5 Page for this destination Yuma by bilgeez

Yuma Travel Guide: 226 reviews and 492 photos


Yuma, Arizona is in the southwest corner of Arizona, it is actually SOUTH of California!
Yuma was first setteled in the late 18th Century and two missions were established there in 1779, however the missionaries were driven out by the local indigenous people. It was not permanently settled by Caucasian people until 1850, when it was a way station for people travelling to the California gold rush in the San Francisco/Sacramento area.
The territorial prison was located there from 1876 until 1909. Parts of it remain, and there is a park and tour of the restored area today.
Yuma is located at the confluence of the Colorado and Gila rivers. Both were more trecherous to cross in the past, before damming them slowed them down. Yuma was one of the narrowest and least treacherous points to cross these two rivers, hence it became a stop on the way to California.
Today, Yuma is home to Yuma Marine Corps Air Station where Harrier V/STOL fighter jets are stationed. Also, the Army's desert proving grounds are not far north of Yuma. It has also becoming more popular as a retirement community as it has very mild winters, less expensive property prices, and is just a 2-3 hour drive to San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, and Las Vegas.
The city's population doubled in the last 10 years and is now over 100K. Of course, many residents are Marine and Army personnel and their families, but the real growth is in the retirement community.
Yuma is out-of-the-way, almost isolated, there is not much to do in the area. It is quiet, even with Harriers circling the area most of the day and night. They don't tend to fly directly over the city. The Imperial Dunes in California, are not far away, for those who want to drive dune buggies and four-wheelers over some awesome sand. One can participate in water sports on the Colorado River, which is just north of the city.
There are many fine motels, hotels and camping areas for RVs and back packers in the area.
The area is compact, Fourth Avenue, holds most of the restaurants and lodging places, and it is but a few minutes drive to all points in the area.
If one is seeking a relatively quiet area, away from the crowding of southern California, yet has great winter weather, Yuma may be the place to visit.

Yuma Marine Corp Air Station

MCAS Yuma has been there since the 1950s. It is now home of the infamous "Black Sheep" Squadron, VMA 214, that was started by Gregory "Pappy" Boyington in WWII.
In the past Yuma had A-4 and F-4 fighter jets as the main aircraft housed here. Today the Harrier AV-8 V/STOL (vertical/short take off and landing), so-called "jump" jets are the main aircraft housed here.
My son is a Marine and a mechanic for these aircraft of VMA 214. I recently got a chance to visit him after he did his second tour in Iraq with this wing and was able to tour this fascinating facility and see the planes up-close and personal.
The base is generally off-limits to the public, unless one has a close friend or relative that is stationed there. The end of February, however, the base has an open-house and display of aircraft and flight demonstration by the Blue Angels of the Navy or the Thunderbirds of the Air Force.

Yuma Territorial Prison

The old Territorial Prison in Yuma was opened in 1876 and was used for about 33 years until it was closed in 1909.
It was a very spartan facility and was harsh in the summer, as the daytime temperatures soar to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celcius) most of the time from mid April to late October.
Many criminals were hanged here during the time the prison was open and are buried in the adjacent cemetary, along with the others who died from heat-related syndromes and disease.
The prison is open year-round for visitors, if one wishes to tour inside the old compound, there is a fee, see my "Things to do" pages for more info.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Good winter weather, uncrowded, quiet
  • Cons:Isolated, not much to do or see close by
  • In a nutshell:Great place for quiet and space if you are not into many activities
  • Last visit to Yuma: Mar 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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