Tombstone, Arizona, often referred to as “The Town Too Tough to Die,” is a historic gem nestled in the arid desert landscapes of the American Southwest. This iconic town preserves the spirit of the Wild West, offering visitors a glimpse into the turbulent times of the late 19th century. From its legendary gunfights to its well-preserved buildings, Tombstone invites travelers to step back in time and immerse themselves in the rich history and unique attractions it has to offer. In this blog post, we will take you on a virtual tour of Tombstone and highlight the top things to do when you visit.
- Witness the Historic Gunfight at the O.K. Corral:
No trip to Tombstone is complete without experiencing the famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Step into the boots of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and their adversaries, the Clanton and McLaury brothers, as you watch a reenactment of the infamous shootout. Immerse yourself in the intense atmosphere and get a sense of the lawlessness that once dominated this town.
- Explore the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park:
Located in the heart of Tombstone, the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park is a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts. Step inside the beautifully restored courthouse building and explore the exhibits that chronicle the town’s colorful past. From mining artifacts to original courtroom settings, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of Tombstone’s role in shaping the American frontier.
- Take a Stroll Down Allen Street:
Allen Street is the main thoroughfare in Tombstone, lined with authentic Western-style buildings that have been meticulously preserved. As you walk along the wooden sidewalks, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into an Old West movie set. Browse through the numerous shops, saloons, and museums, and soak in the lively atmosphere of this iconic street.
- Visit Boot Hill Cemetery:
For a sobering glimpse into the harsh realities of life in the Wild West, pay a visit to Boot Hill Cemetery. The final resting place of those who met untimely and often violent ends, this cemetery provides a poignant reminder of Tombstone’s turbulent past. Explore the gravestones, each with its own story to tell, and gain insights into the lives of the early pioneers and outlaws who called this place home.
- Immerse Yourself in Western History at the Tombstone Epitaph Museum:
The Tombstone Epitaph Museum is a treasure trove of information about the town’s past. Housed in the original location of the historic newspaper, this museum offers visitors a chance to delve into the headlines, stories, and photographs that captured the Wild West era. Uncover tales of famous shootouts, outlaw legends, and the rise and fall of the mining industry through interactive exhibits and engaging displays.
- Ride the Historic Tombstone Trolley:
Take a leisurely ride on the Historic Tombstone Trolley and explore the town from a different perspective. The trolley tour offers a narrated journey through Tombstone’s historic district, providing insights into the town’s unique history and architecture. Sit back, relax, and let the trolley transport you back in time as you learn fascinating facts and anecdotes about Tombstone’s past.
- Explore the Goodenough Mine:
Embark on a guided tour of the Goodenough Mine and discover the fascinating world of mining in the Old West. Descend into the depths of the earth and witness the conditions that miners endured as they sought their fortunes. Learn about the mining techniques, equipment, and challenges faced during this era while gaining insight into the pivotal role mining played in Tombstone’s development.
- Attend a Western Show or Live Music Performance:
Experience the vibrant entertainment scene of Tombstone by catching a Western-themed show or live music performance. From gunfight reenactments to cowboy poetry, there are various shows that bring the spirit of the Wild West to life. Enjoy the energetic atmosphere, talented performers, and the chance to engage in lively interactions with the characters that populate this historic town.
- Visit the Rose Tree Museum:
Take a moment to admire the world’s largest rose bush at the Rose Tree Museum. This magnificent botanical wonder is over 130 years old and covers an area of 8,000 square feet. Learn about the history of the rose bush and its significance to Tombstone while enjoying the beautiful blooms and serene surroundings. The museum also offers a collection of artifacts and photographs showcasing the town’s early days.
- Explore the Tombstone Historic Walking Tour:
Embark on a self-guided walking tour of Tombstone and discover the town’s hidden treasures at your own pace. Pick up a map from the Visitor Center and follow the designated route that takes you to key landmarks and lesser-known sites. From historic homes and churches to scenic viewpoints and hidden gems, the walking tour allows you to immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere and charm of Tombstone.
- Take a Haunted History Tour:
For those intrigued by the paranormal, Tombstone offers haunted history tours that delve into the town’s ghostly legends and eerie tales. Join an experienced guide as they lead you through haunted buildings, alleyways, and cemeteries, sharing chilling stories of spirits that are said to still roam the streets. Whether you’re a believer or simply enjoy a good ghost story, these tours offer a thrilling and atmospheric experience.
- Indulge in Western Cuisine:
Tombstone boasts a variety of restaurants and eateries that embrace the Western heritage. Sample mouthwatering barbecue, savor a hearty steak, or indulge in traditional Southwestern cuisine. Many establishments feature authentic Western décor, creating an immersive dining experience that transports you back to the days of cowboys and saloons.
- Horseback Riding in the Desert:
Experience the beauty of the Arizona desert on horseback with guided trail rides. Several local outfitters offer horseback riding adventures that allow you to explore the scenic landscapes surrounding Tombstone. Enjoy the serenity of the desert, spot wildlife, and appreciate the rugged beauty of the area as you traverse the trails on horseback.
- Take a Ghost Tour:
Delve into the paranormal side of Tombstone with a ghost tour. These guided tours take you to haunted locations, sharing chilling stories and accounts of supernatural occurrences. Explore reportedly haunted buildings, listen to tales of ghostly encounters, and learn about the town’s haunted history. It’s a thrilling experience for those with an interest in the supernatural.
- Attend a Western Festival or Event:
Tombstone hosts various Western-themed festivals and events throughout the year, providing an opportunity to immerse yourself in the Wild West atmosphere. From the Helldorado Days celebration to the Tombstone Western Music Festival, these events feature live music, reenactments, parades, and other entertainment that capture the essence of the Old West. Check the event calendar and plan your visit accordingly to enjoy the festivities.
- Visit the Bird Cage Theatre:
Step inside the infamous Bird Cage Theatre, one of the most notorious establishments in Tombstone’s history. Take a guided tour of this historic landmark, which operated as a theater, saloon, and gambling hall during the town’s heyday. Explore the original building, view the preserved artifacts, and hear stories about the theater’s wild past, including tales of gunfights, gambling, and the spirits said to still haunt its halls.
- Explore the Dragoon Mountains:
Just a short drive from Tombstone, the Dragoon Mountains offer stunning natural beauty and outdoor adventure. Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails to discover picturesque landscapes, rugged canyons, and breathtaking vistas. Keep an eye out for wildlife and enjoy the tranquility of the desert as you explore this scenic mountain range.
- Pan for Gold:
Tap into your inner prospector and try your luck at gold panning. Several tour operators in Tombstone offer gold panning experiences, providing you with the opportunity to learn the techniques used by early prospectors and search for your own treasure. Whether you strike it rich or not, it’s a fun and immersive activity that connects you to the area’s rich mining history.
- Go on a Jeep Tour:
Take an off-road adventure through the desert terrain surrounding Tombstone on a Jeep tour. Hop aboard a rugged 4×4 vehicle and let an experienced guide lead you through scenic trails, offering insights into the region’s flora, fauna, and geology. Capture stunning photographs, learn about the desert ecosystem, and enjoy the thrill of off-roading in this unique landscape.
- Explore Nearby Historic Sites:
While in Tombstone, consider visiting other nearby historic sites that enrich the understanding of the region’s past. Head to Bisbee, a picturesque mining town known for its well-preserved architecture and vibrant arts scene. You can also explore the Chiricahua National Monument, home to fascinating rock formations and hiking trails. These nearby destinations offer additional opportunities to immerse yourself in the history and natural beauty of the area.
Tombstone, Arizona, is a destination that truly embodies the spirit of the Wild West. With its rich history, immersive attractions, and diverse range of activities, there is something for everyone to enjoy. From exploring historic sites and participating in thrilling adventures to embracing the town’s cultural heritage and attending lively events, Tombstone promises an unforgettable experience that will transport you back to a bygone era of cowboys, outlaws, and frontier life.