Outdoor adventure—and romance—for active types.
Deep in the southern Arizona desert, Tubac is a refreshing, off-the-beaten-path alternative to busier, more northerly hubs. First established as a Spanish mission, the town is best known today for its collection of artsy and kitschy shops (open regularly from the fall through the spring) and proximity to good mountain biking routes.
Biking Tubac’s 13-mile-long Elephant Head Trail, which starts near the top of Madera Canyon, can be a little hair-raising (the steep pitch means you’ll pick up some serious speed). A guided daylong spin with Sol Journeys includes a picnic lunch, plus post-ride yoga stretches and a 20-minute massage.
Tubac Golf Resort
The 98-room Tubac Resort, just a 40-minute drive south of Tucson, stands out in the crowded Arizona hotel scene thanks to the property’s history: the site dates back to 1789, when the 500-acre Otero family hacienda (with wood-hewn ceilings, archways, and fireplaces) was built near the Tumacácori and Santa Rita mountains. Though the ranch became a resort in 1960, it retained its artsy sensibility: the 200-year-old barn was transformed into a dining room, and the family’s original hacienda is still intact. The spa, set in a private building, features Southwest-inspired products (such as a rejuvenating margarita lime salt exfoliation), while Stables Ranch Grille—on the site of the original stables—offers seasonally inspired Southwest specialties including buffalo short ribs and prime rib in green chile jus. For golfers, the resort also has historic significance: it’s where Kevin Costner filmed Tin Cup, which showcased the hotel’s championship 27-hole golf course, designed by Red Lawrence and bordered by old-growth cottonwoods and mesquites.
Kirby Newby Gallery
One of the town’s best galleries also has a sculpture garden.