Catalina State Park
Because of the wonderful display of bird species, the Audubon Society designated this park near Tucson an Important Birding Area. Among the giant saguaros and desert habitat, spot rufous-winged sparrows, yellow-billed cuckoos, and Bell’s vireo and varied buntings. Other wonders include the Romero Ruin, a Hohokam pueblo and ball court occupied between 550 and 1450 AD. Enjoy the park and the nearby Santa Catalina Mountains by foot, horseback, or bike. For an overnight stay, choose from 120 campsites.
Yuma Territorial Prison State Historic Park
Sometimes described as the desert version of Alcatraz, this former prison in Yuma opened in 1876 and shuttered in 1909. It is Arizona’s third historic park, and it has preserved the original cellblocks, guard tower, entrance gate, library room, and the solitary confinement “dark” cell. Interpretive panels throughout the site help orient and educate visitors, and a 3,600-square-foot museum displays historic artifacts and an informational video presentation. Most years, the park hosts a variety of living reenactments.