Surprising Yuma, AZ

Delight in green fields, orchards, trails, boating, breweries and a prison museum

date palm farm
Martha’s Gardens date palm farm photo by author

If you think, like I did, that Yuma would be pure, dry desert, you’d be wrong. So wrong.

Yuma, it turns out, is a rich agricultural area along the Colorado River where 90% of your lettuce comes from. So do dates, oranges, broccoli and cauliflower. Find a u-pick orchard for oranges and lemons.

farm near Yuma, AZ
Lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower grow near Yuma, AZ
Surprising Yuma, AZ: If you think, like I did, that Yuma would be pure, dry desert, you’d be wrong. So wrong. Share on X
dates from Imperial Date farm in Winterhaven, CA
Medjools from Imperial Date Gardens in Winterhaven, CA

Enjoy the short drive, minutes away, through vegetable fields to get to Imperial Dates in Winterhaven, CA.

platter of food to share at Prison Hill Brewery Co. in Yuma, AZ
Brisket platter at Prison Hill Brewery Co. in Yuma, AZ

Martha’s Gardens offers a date farm tour that is quite eye-opening. You might be surprised how much tending goes into your dates. Here’s a little lesson about date tree pollination.

Dine in downtown Yuma, bike the trails along the river, or visit Yuma’s Prison Museum.

The Prison Hill Brewery offers large plates of brisket to share with a friend. Close by, the bike path runs 7.5 miles along wetlands parks.

Don’t miss the museum. Prisoner labor brought electricity to the prison before the town! Prison cells were open-air. Each prisoner had a story. I share one of them in “What the Travel Channel’s ‘Mysteries at the Museum’ Missed” about one man’s extracurricular activity.

The Mexican border town to Yuma is Los Algodones. It’s a great place for inexpensive prescription drugs, dental work and prescription eyeglasses, but doesn’t really hold the charm you would hope for. We did find a place for pleasant lunch in a courtyard under a shady tree.

courtyard restaurant in Los Algodones, Mexican border town to Yuma
Courtyard restaurant in Los Algodones, Mexico, border town to Yuma

It’s a short drive west from Yuma to the California crossing where you can park and then walk across the border right into town. Check to see how long wait times are to get back into the U.S. It took us an hour of standing in line. You do get to chat with other visitors, so the time can pass easily.

Big-horned sheep at Hidden Shores Resort
Big-horned sheep graze the golf course at Hidden Shores Resort

Take a boat out on the Colorado River or drive ATVs out on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) trails. Hidden Shores Resort has a golf course and launch area. When the golf course closed for a couple of days, the big-horned sheep took advantage of the greens, not to work on their short game ~ for grazing.

Pull up to Dirty South for BBQ either in your ATV or car; it’s a relaxed, and popular, place.

Dirty South BBQ near Yuma

RVers can find several parks for short and long-term stays in Yuma. If you make it to the Quartzsite RV show, pick up sizeable discounts for your first stay. Villa Alameda is a lively RV community that welcomes transients. Fortuna de Oro RV resort is closer to ATV trails. Both offer pools and are close to Da Boyz, a local, popular pizza joint.

If Yuma is on your way, it’s worth a stay!

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