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Things to Do
Three golf courses in Santa Cruz County are sure to challenge your game while providing breathtaking views of the rivers, mountains, and wildlife.
Nogales, Arizona has long been a destination shopping spot for visitors from south of the border while Americans have relished in the curio shopping and price haggling available in Nogales, Sonora. Paul Bond Boots has made custom boots for well known actors, singers, and others for decades.
Enjoy a variety of museums on both sides of the border offering interpretations of local art, history, and culture.
Nogales and the surrounding area is a "Dark Skies" area thanks in part to the Fred Whipple Observatory located in the Santa Rita Mountains. Dark skies provide brilliant stargazing opportunities year round.
Boating, Fishing, and Hunting
Pena Blanca Lake and Patagonia Lake State Park offer tranquil fishing and boating experiences for individuals and families alike. The mountainour regions around Nogales lend themselves well to hunting all sorts of small and medium sized game.
Nogales and Santa Cruz County was the getaway home for movie stars like John Wayne, Stewart Granger, and Jean Simmons, and many more. There are a variety of places of interest to visit in the area for film buffs. In fact, more than 120 major motion pictures have been filmed in Nogales and Santa Cruz County, in addition to countless independent and documentary films. The following is just a small list of movies filmed by location in and around Nogales and Santa Cruz County. Not all areas are open to the public. Please check availability before entering.
A treasure hunt awaits for the more adventurous types of people who want to go back to the wild west and mining days of Southern Arizona between 1880 and 1920. With more than a dozen ghost towns throughout Santa Cruz County, the rugged terrain and adventures will keep you busy for days on end. Ghost towns on private property should be respected, and those on public lands are accessible.
Start your expedition of the Historic Anza Trail from Nogales to the San Francisco Bay area. Begin at the 1904 Courthouse in downtown, stop at Las Lagunas on Country Club Drive, continue north through Rio Rico to the Tumacacori National Historical Park, and finally end up at the Tubac Presidio State Historical Park. The entire drive with stops can be done in a few hours, or spend an entire day biking or hiking the trail.
The Nogales region has long been known for its birding and wildlife watching. Start at the Las Lagunas marshland in Nogales, then head east to the Sonoita Creek State Natural Area with its year round springs and creeks to catch a glimpse of rare birds and a bevy of hummingbirds. Head south to the San Rafael Valley, recognized as an area with the most diverse mammal life in North America. Finally head west to Sycamore Canyon and north to Madera Canyon to catch a sight of the Trogon.
Self-Guided Tours & Architecture
Architecture buffs will have a heyday in Nogales. Follow the RED, BLUE, and GOLD self guided tours to explore the Sonoran, Queen Anne Cottage, Second Empire, Spanish Colonial, Pueblo Revival, Mediterranean, and Bungalow styles all found in the downtown Ambos Nogales area.
Nogales is surrounded by a number of mountain ranges that offer hiking trails for all levels. Popular trails include the Arizona Trail, Anza Trail, Atascosa Lookout, Sonoita Creek, Pajarito Wilderness, and many others around "Old Baldy" in the Santa Rita mountains.
The Sonoita/ Elgin area is among the very first winegrowing regions to be granted American Viticulture Area (AVA) status by the federal government. It is the largest concentration of wineries and at present the only federally recognized wine growing region in Arizona. It was recognized as one of the top ten wine trails in the country by USA Today.
National and State Parks & Natural Areas
Nogales has a number of State Parks and Natural Areas around it providing ample outdoor activities for the entire family.
A number of local parks can provide a simple diversion for kids and adults like for a few minutes of several hours.