picture of rocky mountains and cacti in arizona

Tucson To Tombstone: How To Get There And 9 Best Road Trip Stops

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Are you ready for a wild west adventure?

Then join us on a road trip from Tucson to Tombstone, the town too tough to die!

With breathtaking landscapes, historic sites, and fun wineries, this road trip is the perfect way to explore the American Southwest.

Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or just looking for a fun road trip, this guide has everything you need to know about getting there and the best stops.

So buckle up, and let’s hit the road!


Options To Get From Tucson To Tombstone Besides Driving

There aren’t many options to get to Tombstone without a car.

Flight

As Tucson International Airport is the closest airport to Tombstone, you won’t be able to fly closer.

Bus

There are no direct routes between Tucson and Tombstone via bus.

You have one option, though it doesn’t make much sense. You could catch the bus from Tucson to Bisbee, which is further than Tombstone.

The problem is that you would have to backtrack (and sit in a bus longer than you need to) and still find a way to get from Bisbee to Tombstone, which is about 20 miles.

the red rocks seen around tucson against a bright blue sky

Take A Tour To Tombstone

This is actually a great option if you don’t have a car, don’t feel like making the drive yourself, or just plain enjoy group tours for the comradery.

Tours from Tucson visit both Tombstone and Bisbee. So you get to step back into the Old West AND see an interesting mining town as a bonus.

We suggest this tour. On Fridays, it heads to Tombstone and Bisbee. It is rated five stars and is a great way to see Tombstone plus more.

โžก๏ธ Book the Tour Too Tough To Die


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How Far Is Tombstone From Tucson

The shortest driving distance and quickest route to Tombstone from Tucson is around 75 miles.

Without any stops along the way, it will take you just shy of 1.5 hours to get to Tombstone.

Optional Routes For Your Road Trip From Tucson To Tombstone

We are going to discuss two different routes to get between these cities. But you can also do a combination of the routes to mix and match our suggested road trip stops.

I-10 E / Az -80 E

This route is the shortest and quickest way to get between Tucson and Tombstone, taking about 1.5 hours.

google map of one route option from tucson to tombstone

I-19 S / AZ-83 S / AZ-82 E

The alternative route we are suggesting takes about 2 hours instead. If you are interested in wine, then this will be your preferred route.

a longer but possibly more scenic route from tucson to tombstone via google map

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Best Road Trip Stops To Make When Heading To Tombstone

Ready for your road trip? Here are some of the best stops you can make along the way to make an adventure of your travel day.

A couple of the items below are a bit off the direct google map driving path. But as they are relatively close, we felt they wouldn’t take too much time to veer off course and visit if you want to see them.

Along The I-10 E / Az -80 E Route

Here are some stops along the I-10 route.

1. Pima Air & Space Museum

The Pima Air & Space Museum is a must-visit for aviation enthusiasts and history buffs.

a space suit on display at the air museum
Photo Credit: Olu Gbadebo

This museum, located in southern Tucson, is one of the world’s largest aviation museums. It is packed with a wide variety of aircraft and space artifacts.

You can see everything from vintage biplanes to modern military jets, spacecraft, and moon-landing memorabilia at the museum. It also features an outdoor display area where you can walk among the aircraft and get up close to the planes.

One of the museum’s highlights is the B-29 Superfortress, a massive four-engine bomber used during World War II and the Korean War. You can peek inside the bomb holding area for a unique look at one of the most important aircraft of the 20th century.

Besides the aircraft displays, the museum has a wealth of educational exhibits. You can enjoy hands-on presentations and interactive simulations that help you understand the science and technology behind flight.

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2. Colossal Cave Mountain Park

Colossal Cave Mountain Park is a unique and fascinating natural attraction located southeast of Tucson.

stalactites close up in a dark cave, the colossal cave is a perfect stop from tucson to tombstone
Photo Credit: Jakub Micuch

The park is home to Colossal Cave, a massive underground cave system carved out of the surrounding limestone over millions of years.

Book a tour of the cave system and explore the incredible underground formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstone. You will also learn about the area’s geology and natural history on tour.

Colossal Cave Mountain Park offers plenty of other activities and attractions to keep you entertained as well. You can take a scenic drive through the park or hike on the nature trails. You can even camp under the stars if you want to stay overnight.

The caves are truly a one-of-a-kind attraction, and the park’s beautiful natural surroundings make it a great place to get away from it all and explore the great outdoors.

๐ŸŒต Ready to rev up your engine for a road trip from Phoenix to Tombstone? Grab your cowboy hat and buckle up as we take you on a journey through Arizona’s historic heartlands, right here!

3. Gammon’s Gulch Movie Set

You’ll love Gammon’s Gulch Movie Set if you’re a fan of Western movies and TV shows. This outdoor movie set is located near Benson, and it’s a great place to experience the Old West up close and personal.

a cactus in arizona
Photo Credit: Jakob Owens

At Gammon’s Gulch, you can tour the movie set, which is made up of a variety of western-style buildings. It includes everything from a saloon to a jail to a bank.

The movie set has been (and still is) used as a backdrop for various film and TV productions, and it’s a great place to see where and how these Old Western productions are made.

It took the Gammons more than 40 years to build this movie set to what you see today, an incredible feat and labor of love.

It is truly a unique attraction and offers an excellent opportunity to step back in time and onto a movie set for a couple of hours.

๐Ÿ“Ž Important Note: Currently, this is not open to the public. You need to set up a private tour or see if you can join one already set up. But if you can get on a tour or it opens back up, this is a must-see if you love movies and want to be on an actual movie set.

Along The I-19 S / AZ-83 S / AZ-82 E Route

Here are a few stops along the AZ-83 route.

4. San Xavier Del Bac Mission

The San Xavier del Bac Mission is a beautiful and historic Spanish mission located south of Tucson, worthy of a visit. This mission was established in the late 1700s and is an excellent example of Spanish colonial architecture.

San Xavier Del Bac Mission exterior

Make sure to head inside San Xavier del Bac Mission to explore the stunning interior of the church. The mission is known for its intricate carvings, sculptures, and beautiful stained glass windows.

San Xavier is a great place to experience the area’s rich history and cultural heritage. It is even still used for religious services to this day.

We wish our local churches were this fancy!

Beautiful desert gardens and outdoor spaces also surround San Xavier del Bac Mission. So if you are looking for some peace, you will indeed find it here.

5. Titan Missile Museum

This museum is built around a decommissioned Titan II intercontinental ballistic missile. At the museum, you have the chance to learn about the history of the Cold War and the role of nuclear weapons in the 20th century.

You can take one of the guided tours of the missile silo to see the deactivated missile. On tour, you will learn about the technology and engineering that went into building these weapons.

You’ll also learn about the political and cultural context of the Cold War and the role that these missiles played in maintaining the power balance between the Soviet Union and the US.

The museum also features various interactive exhibits and displays that help bring the Cold War’s history to life.

picture of rocky mountains and cacti in arizona
Photo Credit: Frankie Lopez

6. Las Cienegas National Conservation Area

If you’re looking for a scenic nature activity for one of your road trip stops, look no further than Las Cienegas National Conservation Area.

This beautiful park is found in Arizona’s rolling grassland area. It is a great place to escape the everyday hustle and bustle and enjoy the great outdoors.

The conservation area has a variety of ecosystems, from rolling hills to grasslands to wetlands. It is a great place to hike, bike, use an off-road vehicle, or relax and enjoy the scenery.

Unique to the area, this conservation has a creek that never dries. This means the site is vibrant with more green than you are used to seeing in Arizona. You will also have a better chance of seeing wildlife as it comes and goes from the water source.

๐Ÿ“Ž Tip: If you’re a birdwatcher, you’ll love Las Cienegas – the park is home to various bird species, including prairie falcons and yellow-billed cuckoos.

7. Sonoita

If you’re a fan of wine, you should check out Sonoita, the wine region of southern Arizona. This area is known for its beautiful vineyards, tasting rooms, and wineries, and it’s a great place to spend some time exploring the local wine scene.

a windmill in the wine area of sonoita, this stop on the way from tucson to tombstone is ideal if you are a wine lover
Photo Credit: Glen Rushton

Sonoita is home to several wineries and vineyards, each with its unique character and style.

A couple of wineries you can visit and taste some high-quality wine in the area are Racho Rossa Vineyards and Lightning Ridge Cellars. Both are open from Friday to Sunday for tastings and to learn about winemaking.

If wine isn’t your specialty, beer is, then stop by the local microbrewery.

If you aren’t a drinker, we might suggest a horseback ride. Arizona Horseback Experience offers guided horseback rides through the beautiful countryside. It is a great way to experience the area’s scenic beauty up close and personal.

From Both Routes

These final two are about equidistant to either route. Both of them are slightly off the main routes but should take little time to reach and are well worth a visit if you choose to experience one of them.

8. Kartchner Caverns State Park

Are you interested in nature and geological wonders? If so, you’ll want to check out Kartchner Caverns State Park.

This park is home to one of the most spectacular cave systems in the world, and it’s a great place to spend an hour exploring the underground world.

Kartchner Caverns was discovered in the 1970s and is home to various stunning formations.

During a tour, you’ll have the opportunity to see some of the most spectacular formations in the caves. This includes giant stalactites, delicate soda straws, and otherworldly flowstones.

Your guide will provide information about the geology and history of the caves, and you’ll learn about the formation of these fantastic underground wonders.

And you know when we said the caves earlier were one-of-a-kind? I guess they might be two-of-a-kind, but both of these attractions are spectacular and you certainly couldn’t go wrong picking either one (or both!).

๐Ÿ“Ž Tip: Because the cave system is part of a state park, it is surrounded by beautiful desert scenery. So after seeing the caves, stay for various other outdoor activities, including hiking and bird-watching.

9. Coronado National Forest

This stunning forest covers over a million acres in southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. It is home to an expansive wilderness filled with dramatic mountain peaks and deep canyons.

a creek in the shade runs through coronado national forest as the sun shines on the rocky backdrop
Photo Credit: Nicolas Quiroz

Coronado National Forest is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, and there are plenty of activities to enjoy, including hiking, biking, camping, and more.

The forest is home to a number of scenic trails, including the popular Seven Falls via Bear Canyon Trail, and it’s a great place to explore and discover the beauty of the Southwest.

It also serves as a haven for incredible wildlife, from mountain lions and javelina to over 150 species of birds, including Montezuma quail.

The forest offers breathtaking landscapes to explore, ranging from cactus-filled deserts to alpine meadows complete with creeks and streams, making your experience unforgettable and enjoyable.


FAQs For A Road Trip To Tombstone

Let’s answer a couple of popular questions.

Is Tombstone Worth Visiting

Definitely, yes! Tombstone is a unique and historic western town that is worth at least one visit in your lifetime.

With its rich history, charming western atmosphere, an abundance of places to stay, and attractions to see, Tombstone is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the Old West.

From the legendary gunfight at the O.K. Corral to the well-preserved Bird Cage Theatre, Tombstone is a fascinating and enjoyable place to explore.

There are plenty of museums, historic sites, and attractions to visit. Places like the Boothill Graveyard, the Gunfighter Hall Of Fame, and the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, are just a few.

In addition to its historical attractions, Tombstone has plenty of shops to peruse and restaurants to enjoy along the main street.

Whether you’re a fan of western movies or history or simply looking for a unique and memorable experience, Tombstone is definitely worth visiting.

a red carriage pulled by two horses along east allen st in tombstone

Is Tombstone Close To The Grand Canyon

No, Tombstone is not close to the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is located in northern Arizona, while Tombstone is located in southeastern Arizona. The drive between Tombstone and the Grand Canyon is approximately six hours if you are coming from the South Rim.

It would be even longer if you were at the North Rim.

While Tombstone and the Grand Canyon are far from each other, both destinations are worth visiting if you’re exploring Arizona.

The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic natural wonders in the world. A visit here is an unforgettable experience.

Conversely, Tombstone offers a unique experience as you wander back in time to the Old West.

How Far Is The Mexican BOrder From Tombstone

Tombstone, Arizona, is located approximately 30 miles from the Mexican border.

The closest city to cross into Mexico is Naco.

Despite its small size, Naco has a rich history and cultural heritage. The town is known for its friendly residents, lively atmosphere, and rich history.

Many locals who live in southeast Arizona cross into Naco for cheaper alternatives to everyday items, as the town is relatively safe to visit.

Overall, Naco is a charming and vibrant border town. It is well worth a visit for those looking to experience the Mexican side of the border while in southern Arizona.

Allen Street Tombstone Arizona

To Finish – Your Tucson To Tombstone Road Trip Guide

A road trip from Tucson to Tombstone is a must-do for anyone looking to experience the beauty and excitement of the Southwest.

From the historic town of Tombstone to the breathtaking beauty of Kartchner Caverns State Park to the saguaros in Tucson, there’s something for everyone along the way.

So pack your bags, grab your friends or family, and hit the road for a journey filled with memories that will last a lifetime.

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