If you want rugged outdoor adventure, Yuma's the perfect jumping-off spot to hundreds of square miles of wilderness in the Imperial, Kofa and Cibola national wildlife refuges, and the gateway to the Imperial Sand Dunes - a popular movie location from the days of Rudolph Valentino to Star Wars.
Just steps from downtown, you can wander through the Yuma East Wetlands, where nearly 500 acres of what was a trash-strewn jungle of non-native vegetation has been transformed into a beautiful wetlands area. Five miles of nature trails give access to this haven, which provides habitat for more than 330 species of birds and wildlife.
With the Colorado River at its doorstep, Yuma offers both year-round sunshine and water fun, from a quiet paddle to waterskiing. Yuma River Tubing can get you afloat in a tube or kayak right in town, try Yuma River Tours for jet boat trips or a cruise on the Colorado King sternwheeler.
Yuma has tours in the air or on land as well: Get a bird's eye view from a hot-air balloon with Balloons Over Yuma, or new this year, explore the deserts and mountains via Jeep and ATV with Running Boy Tours.
The Yuma Birding & Nature Festival, www.yumabirding.com, usually held in April, will take a hiatus in 2012, but return in 2013.