Tucson is a trendy, Mexican-infused town that lies in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, surrounded by the iconic Saguaro cactus. In this Travel Guide we’ll share our travel tips for Tucson and how to best see the Saguaro National Park.
You can check out more from our Southwest USA road trip in our complete Blog here.
How to get to Tucson
Tucson lies in the southern part of Arizona, in the United States, just an hour away from the Mexican border. As part of our road trip around the Southwest, we drove 6 hours from Joshua Tree to get to Tucson.
Otherwise you can take a flight arriving into Tucson itself, or to the state capital of Phoenix (only 1.5 hours drive away). Just remember to grab a hire car as you’ll need the freedom and flexibility to explore the region.
Where to stay in Tucson
We stayed at The JTH Tucson – a boutique, five suite Posada bordering the amazing Saguaro National Park. The creators Sara & Rich have curated the ultimate retreat, each room home to thoughtful treasures to invoke your inner wanderlust.
At its heart is the desire to help you reconnect with nature, slow down & leave inspired! We loved lounging in the refreshing canyon pool, soaking in the hot spring & relaxing in the many common spaces (our fav was the rooftop terrace with 360 degree views of the National Park).
Some of our best photos taken from Tucson were actually wandering around the grounds of JTH Tucson, it’s that beautiful. Early morning strolls with a local coffee was delightful and the colours at sunset are mind blowing!
Tip: The Posada is hugely popular & due to its boutique size you’ll want to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Also to note, The JT House originated in Joshua Tree and we loved their property here just as much!
Book your stay at JTH Tucson here.
While in Tucson we also stayed at Desert Vibrations, a retro themed hacienda on the other side of town. This stay has a cozy feel and refreshing pool, and the lovely owners even organised us a surprise sunset horse ride far us. We loved this experience, so don’t miss this!
Book your stay at Desert Vibrations here.
What to do in Tucson
The cactus of Saguaro National Park is the main reason why we made the trip out here. So our biggest recommendation is to explore the national park, especially at sunset. The soft lighting gives for breathtaking scenes across the endless desert landscape. And seeing the silhouettes of America’s largest cactus against a blazing sunset is something you’ll want to see more than once!
Really anywhere that’s safe to pull over will give you epic views. So take your car and drive around, stopping wherever grabs your attention.
TIP: We found the Western side of the National Park best for saguaro viewing, so definitely head here first!
You can also explore the hiking trails through the national park. We took an early hike one morning to beat the sun and get up on the peak of the Western mountains. We were rewarded with sweeping views across the surrounding desert.
Though we honesty found the best saguaro cactus viewing to be at the base of the mountains and not very far from the roads. The Manville Trail and trails around the Red Hills Visitor Centre (both in the Western National Park) were amazing!
The Bajada Loop Road is a stunning drive which also gives you great access to some of the parks best hikes, as well as offering a chill way to see a lot of the national park from your vehicle.
TIP: Remember to take plenty of water on hiking trails!
Where to eat in Tucson
Tucson has a massive Mexican influence when it comes to food. Luckily this is our favourite cuisine! Our favourite places to eat were Penca for delicious and stylish Mexican dining, and Seis Kitchen for cheaper but equally tasty Mexican.
And if you’re coffee addicts like us, try Exo Roast Co in downtown Tucson for a great brew in a quiet, trendy little coffee shop.
I hope you love Tucson as much as we did!
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