Cities & Towns
Visit Yuma serves all of Yuma County, and there’s so much more to see in addition to the city of Yuma. We encourage visitors to get out there and check out all the communities within our bounds! Each city or town has its own flavor, its own pace and its own particular attractions and unique spots that make it special.
Here’s a peek into every corner of Yuma County:
Starting in the southwest corner, San Luis, Arizona, is twinned with its sister city, San Luis Rio Colorado, on the other side of the border, in Mexico. Both “San Luis’s” have bustling commercial centers, busy shopping districts with big-box chain stores as well as local proprietors. The San Luis Port of Entry and the border wall divide the cities, with Friendship Park bridging the two sides, a gathering point for families from both sides of the border for more than thirty years. The population has sky-rocketed from fewer than 2000 residents in 1980 to more than 25,000 residents presently. In San Luis Rio Colorado, which is a modern and cosmopolitan city, medical and dental services have increased significantly, offering medical tourism specialty services such as dental implants, cosmetic surgery, and prescriptions.
Moving north up Highway 95 towards Yuma, the City of Somerton has a rich heritage and culture, and they’re always up for a good fiesta, with visitors welcome! Most known for the annual Somerton Tamale Festival in December which draws more than 20,000 visitors each year, Somerton also hosts many other events for residents and visitors. They host a large, patriotic 4th of July celebration which features giveaways of 500 watermelons and hot dogs. The Corn Festival celebrates an important food in a Southwestern diet; Petpalooza features chihuahua and Greater Days has hot music, a parade and activities for kids.
“The Foothills,” formerly known as Fortuna Foothills, is a community largely comprised of winter visitors, to the east of Yuma along Interstate 8. It has become increasingly popular for permanent residents of the area as well, and shopping and services have been increasingly being added in the Foothills over the last several years. A lighted vehicle parade miles long and Hank Days Celebration Car Show & BBQ bring people out to explore the Foothills, in addition to lots of open desert for hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding.
Farther to the east, Wellton, Tacna, and Dateland are all along I-8, small agricultural and ranching communities. Wellton hosts a couple of events each year to bring in visitors as well as area farmers. The Wellton Tractor Rodeo takes place in January, and the Pioneer Day Parade and Fiesta is in February. Visitors and locals also head towards Wellton for golfing and locally-favorite restaurants.
Dateland is well known for its date groves, home to Dateland Travel Center and their yummy Date Shakes. Established in the early 1920s, Dateland was originally a water stop along the railroad lines. During the 1940s, it was the site for two of General Patton's desert training camps, Camp Horn and Camp Hyder. All that remains are many of the original foundations in the Hyder area.
At one time, there was a hot springs located in Agua Caliente, just a few miles from Dateland. First named Santa Maria del Agua Caliente by Franciscan friars Father Sedelmayer and Father Garces in 1775, it was enjoyed by indigenous people and traveling European explorers. By the 1850’s it became a stop along the Butterfield Overland Mail Stage and it became an exclusive resort. In the early 20th century, it was visited by many of the famous movie stars of that generation. Eventually, the hot springs dried up due to the tremendous amount of agriculture in the valley.
Across the (state) border
There isn’t much to the west of Yuma in Arizona, since Yuma is close to the state border, along the Colorado River. However, our neighbors to the west on the California side of the River include Winterhaven and Bard, Calif. Both are small agricultural communities, with many of the Quechan tribe living in the Winterhaven area. Bard is where the most Medjool dates are produced of anywhere in the United States. Visitor attractions include a stop at Imperial Date Gardens and also Johnny Cloud’s Cloud Museum.
Heading west just a bit farther, Felicity, Calif. only has a population of two people, Jacques-Andre Istel and his wife, Felicia, who together have created from nothing a 2,600-acre attraction called the Museum of History in Granite. In 1985, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors designated Felicity as the Official Center of the World.