Somerton might be small (by the last count, it had just 7000 residents to its name), but what it lacks in size it makes up for in attractions. Thanks to its location just a few miles from the much larger Yuma, visitors and residents have a wealth of things to see and do on their doorstep. Regardless of whether you want to check out the parks, take a trip down memory lane at its living history museums, or take a tubing expedition down the Yuma River, you'll have no problem keeping busy. Here, we take a look at the 20 best things to do in Somerton, Arizona.
20. Relax at Somerton Parks
As The Crazy Tourist notes, with two parks just a stone’s throw from each other, you'll have no problem in finding a place to unwind after a hard day of sightseeing. The first of the two parks is Perricone Park, which is located west of Avenue F. The second, Somerton Park (or Main Street Park, as it's sometimes called), is a few blocks to the southeast, on the south side of Main Street. Both offer visitors a lovely place to relax in the sun and enjoy a stroll, a picnic, or simply the chance to lay back in the grass and soak up the rays. Regular events are held throughout the year at both parks, so check the city’s parks department website before you go.
19. Enjoy a beer at 85350 Bar and Pizzaria
There's only one sports bar in Somerton, but fortunately, it's a goodie. The 85350 Bar and Pizzaria is a lively, welcoming place that's ideal for watching a game, grabbing a slice of pizza, and enjoying a glass of something cool and refreshing with friends.
18. Research your family tree at Somerton Branch Library
If you want to kick back and relax with a book for a few hours, head for Somerton Branch Library. It's got a great selection of books from different genres, including a good assortment of books on local history - perfect if you want to find out a little more about the town and its surrounding area. If you have any family in the area, you could even use its historical records and database to research your family tree. There are often guest speakers or readings, so be sure to check the website to see what's on.
17. Grab a coffee at Coffeeton
If you're in need of a caffeine fix, head to Coffeeton. They've got a huge selection of Frapps flavors that you'll struggle to find elsewhere, along with a very tempting line of crepes - the Nutella crepe with Lechera drizzled strawberries & banana comes particularly highly recommended.
16. Take a trip to the Center of the World
Located just a short distance from Somerton in Felicity, California, the Center of the World Monument is worth the drive. For some reason, the Mayor and founder of the town, Jacques-Andre Istel, decided that Felicity was the center of the world and erected a monument to let everyone know as much. A lot of other places have claimed the same, but that aside, it's still quirky enough to warrant a few photos. If you're in luck, you might even get to take a snap with Istel himself, who can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity.
15. Visit the Cocopah Tribal Museum
The Cocopah Tribal Museum opened in 1996 with a mission to preserve the Cocopah's heritage by educating visitors about the traditions, history, and customs of the tribe. It's home to a vast collection of fascinating exhibits, including historic clothing, footwear, musical instruments, houseware, and even weapons. Set on the same site at the Cocopah Casino, this small but infinitely intriguing museum is a must-visit for anyone in the Somerton area. Entrance is free, but donations are accepted.
14. Check out the exhibits at Casa De Coronado Museum
Located just a short hop, skip, and a jump away in nearby Yuma, the Casa De Coronado Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning a little more about the area's rich history. As inspirock.com explains, the museum is set in the middle of the historic Coronado Motor Hotel Complex, which served as the first hotel in the state to be built with rooms next to one another, rather than in individual cabins (as was the norm in those days). It now chronicles the history of the tourism industry in the area through a collection of vintage tourism pamphlets and brochures, travel guides, historic photos, and furniture and appliances that date back to the 1900s. Before you leave, stop by the Yuma Landing Bar & Restaurant to grab a bite to eat on the same spot that the very first plane landed in Arizona.
13. Float down Yuma River
If you're visiting Somerton between April and September, why not enjoy a lazy float down the Yuma River? The Yuma River Tubing Company will help ensure the experience goes smoothly, from providing you with the necessary equipment to transporting you back and forth between drop-off points. As you float down the river on your tube, you'll pass through some of the most scenic surroundings in Arizona. Just be sure to wear sunblock...
12. Visit Yuma Conservation Garden
Located just 25 minutes away in Yuma, the Yuma Conservation Garden is perfect for nature lovers. Described by yumaconservationgarden.org as a "community treasure," the garden boasts over 28 acres of wildflowers, native Arizona cactus, trees, and quite a few indigenous critters too. Just a few of the attractions not to be missed include the large pond (perfect for spotting waterfowl, hummingbirds, and even a few desert tortoises) and the display of historic farm equipment. Open every weekend from November to April, it's a must-visit for nature lovers.
11. Try your luck at Cocopah Casino
If you're feeling lucky, be sure to stop by the Cocopah Casino while you're in Somerton. The site is managed by the Cocopah Tribe of western Arizona, who also own multiple other entertainment sites across the area. Regardless of whether you want to roll the dice, play the slots, enjoy some delicious food, or watch the entertainment, the only thing you can't do here is be bored. While you're there, be sure to stop by the Artisan Restaurant, which does the swankiest and tastiest seafood and prime rib buffet you'll find in the state.
10. Visit Sanguinetti House Museum and Gardens
The Sanguinetti House was built in the 19th century as the home of one of the city's richest merchants. Eventually, it passed into the hands of the Arizona Historical Society, which now operates it as a museum. With a fascinating collection of exhibits and a very peaceful garden to visit, it's an intriguing place that the whole family can enjoy. Before you leave, stop by the cafe (the tea is excellent) and grab a few homemade sweet treats from the chocolate shop to enjoy on the way home.
9. Tuck into some tasty eats at the Pollos El Correteado
Recommended as one of the best restaurants to eat in Somerton by Yellow Pages, Pollos El Correteado is a fun, welcoming eatery that offers great food, excellent service, and very affordable prices. If you're looking for a great lunchtime stop, it's hard to beat.
8. Browse the shops at Brinley Avenue Historic District
The Brinley Avenue Historic District is a treasure trove of shops, historic buildings, and galleries. So significant are some of the buildings, the entire area has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Whether you want to browse the boutiques, grab a coffee at one of the quirky cafes, admire the exhibits at a gallery, enjoy a meal at one of the top-notch restaurants, or take a seat at an outdoor terrace and watch the people go by, there's a little something here for everyone.
7. Visit Yuma Territorial Prison State Historical Park
Yuma Territorial Prison was only open for 33 years, but even so, it gained a reputation as one of the toughest and bleakest prisons in the US. So horrific was it at first, the first lot of prisoners were even forced to build their own cells. These days, the prisoners are long gone, and instead of guards, there's a group of very friendly staff who'll be happy to fill you in on the site's horrible history. A tour comes highly recommended, offering visitors the chance to view the actual cells the prisoners once called home along with the prison cemetery, a place that many believe to be one of the most haunted places in Arizona.
6. Check out the art at Yuma Art Center
If you like art, skip on over to nearby Yuma to enjoy a morning or afternoon at the Yuma Art Center. Located in the historic downtown area, it's one of the most celebrated art centers in the state, attracting around 100,000 visitors each year. Along with the permanent and temporary exhibits, the center organizes a series of art awareness programs that are always a lot of fun, and regularly hosts, festivals, fairs, art shows, plays and other special events. If you fancy picking up a paintbrush yourself, you could even join in a class.
5. Visit Yuma Quartermaster Historic State Park
Located in a scenic position on the banks of the Colorado River, the Quartermaster Historic State Park is a lovely place to find out more about the area's history. As Wikipedia explains, the Yuma Quartermaster Depot was established in the 1800s by the US Army to store and distribute ammunition, food and clothing to frontier army posts. Almost 1000 mules were used to transport the goods between the depot and the river. Although the mules have long since gone, the park still boasts five of the depot's original buildings, four of which house exhibits, including a fascinating historic recreation of the depot as it once was. There's also a biologic exhibit of fish species found in the Colorado River, along with a steam boiler, ramadas, a steam boiler, a stone-built reservoir, and a fleet of wagons.
4. Watch a race at the Cocopah Speedway
Named as one of the top attractions in Somerton by Trip Advisor the Cocopah Speedway is located in between Yuma & Somerton on the Cocopah Indian Reservation. With a fast semi-banked three-eighths-mile dirt/clay oval and a 3700 seat capacity grandstand area, it's a great place to watch a race. While you're on the reservation, be sure to check out the other attractions on offer, which include the Cocopah RV & Golf Resort, Cocopah Wild River Family Entertainment Center, Cocopah Rio Colorado Golf Course, Cocopah Museum, Cocopah Casino, and Cocopah Resort & Conference Center.
3. Check out the howitzers at Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center
Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center is the kind of place that appeals to everyone, regardless of age. Back in World War II, it was a desert training site, and it's still an active military base to this day. You'll need to get through security to get in, but providing you're not carrying anything silly, it's not difficult. Once you're in, you'll be treated to a huge display of tanks, attack helicopters, howitzers, and more besides. If you've any questions, feel free to lob them in the direction of the docents, all of whom are veterans who've spent time at the facility on active duty. Best of all, admission is free.
2. Visit the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge
If you're looking to escape the city for a few hours, set the sat nav for Imperial National Wildlife Refuge and prepare for a day of first-rate outdoor adventure. Offering stunning views over the mountains, desert, river, and wetlands, its scenery needs to be seen to be believed. With an expansive network of trails and superb wildlife spotting opportunities, it's a must-visit for nature lovers.
1. Have a blast at Wild River Family Entertainment
Whenever anyone in Somerton or Yuma are in the mood for a good time, Wild River Family Entertainment is the place to head. It's packed with things to do, with 24 lanes of glow-in-the-dark bowling, laser tag, pool tables, darts, and a huge video arcade. Whether you're 5 years old or 50, there's something here to please everyone. If you get peckish, you'll have no problem finding something tasty to eat from the site's multiple restaurants. There's even a hotel if you decide to spread the fun over a couple of days.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn