Summer may be hot, but Cochise County’s deals are hotter. In fact, this Southern Arizona region boasts the best summertime deal in the state: cool weather, chill adventures and refreshing value.
When many of Arizona’s drivers are considering traveling with oven mitts on their hands, Cochise County’s residents use them to prepare homemade goods for farmers markets. They trade in flip-flops for hiking boots. Even the birds flock to Cochise County. What are you waiting for?
Cochise County natural and historic sites
A towering wonderland of rocks outside the Cochise County town of Willcox welcomes visitors to Chiricahua National Monument. These scenic expanses of volcanic rocks are yours to enjoy for free, year-round. From birding and wildlife to the secrets of the Apache people, the Chiricahuas have plenty of adventures to share.
Just to the north, you’ll find Fort Bowie Historic Site. From 1868 to 1894 it was a key outpost during the territorial dispute with local Apache Indians, which, after a long struggle, resulted in the surrender of Geronimo. The no-fee entry allows you to experience the landscape and life of the Apaches and soldiers as many times as you like.
About an hour and a half south, outside of Sierra Vista, lies Coronado National Memorial, which honors a journey of conquest and exploration. Hike to Coronado Cave, take a guided tour and adventure among the vast landscape and wildlife…all for a price that cannot capture the invaluable experience: free.
History buffs can walk through Tombstone’s O.K. Corral stables as they appeared in the 1880s, and learn what caused the 30-second showdown that left three cowboys dead and Virgil and Morgan Earp wounded. The $10 admission fee includes a live gunfight reenactment, a visit to Tombstone Historama and a free copy of the Tombstone Epitaph newspaper with original reports of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
Cochise County is birding central
Celebrate Cochise County’s birds at the annual Southwest Wings Birding Festival in Sierra Vista August 1–4, 2018. In addition to its paid field trips, the event offers free programs to the public beginning at noon on August 1 and continuing through 3 p.m. on August 4. Between four and nine programs are presented each day, such as Magical Birds of Miller Canyon and Beginners Guide to Identifying Hummingbirds. Visit swwings.org for more information.
A SABO volunteer helps a hummingbird drink. / Credit: Cochise County
Really interested in hummingbirds? Join the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory for a hummingbird banding session. Nearly 10 species of hummingbirds use the San Pedro River near Sierra Vista as a freeway between their tropical winter retreats and northern nesting grounds. SABO staff and volunteers capture, band, measure and release these tiny travelers as part of long-term studies. Experience this fascinating close-up look at hummingbirds for the cost of a donation to SABO.
Fun at farmers markets
South of historic Bisbee awaits a Saturday affair: the Bisbee Farmers Market. Vendors offer local fruit, veggies, honey and herbs, as well as homemade baked treats, delectable tamales, tortillas, Mexican cheese, machaca, a Mexican food truck (think chorizo breakfast burritos – yum!) and coffee – plus, attractive crafts and jewelry to boot.
In Sierra Vista’s Veterans Memorial Park more than 50 vendors gather every Thursday for the Sierra Vista Farmers Market. They offer locally raised meats, including such delicacies as natural lamb, emu and yak. Farm fresh eggs and seasonal fruits, vegetables and nuts share space with mouthwatering baked goods, honey, jams, salsas, tortillas and locally roasted coffees. Keep your eyes open for food trucks and live music to join the great farmers market deals.
Mexican heritage festival
Bring your wish list for Mexican goods to SonoraFest 2018 on Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17. Immerse yourself in the heritage and culture of our friends to the south with pottery, leatherworks, rugs and culinary delights. This two-day mega-region festival will share the richness of Sonoran culture, gastronomy, sports and commercial goods. Join the fun in Sierra Vista for great border deals. Visit http://www.sierravistaaz.gov/event/sonorafest-2018/all to learn more.
Wine tasting in Cochise County
In Willcox, you’ll find wine specials at Bodega Pierce and Carlson Creek. Bodega Pierce is “Going Vertical,” by offering select library wines for $10 per person. June 28–July 1 tastings feature Emotiva (2013–2015), July 26–29 features Cabernet Sauvignon (2013–2015) and August 23–26 features Syrah (2010, 2013 and 2015). Quantities are limited. Learn more at BodegaPierce.com.
Carlson Creek showcases its 2013 Sauvignon Blanc at its Willcox tasting room. Buy two for the price of one at $19 (while supplies last). For more information, visit CarlsonCreek.com.
Visit Cochise County, where the summer deals are hot and the weather is not. Plan your legendary adventure at www.explorecochise.com today.
Brought to you by the Cochise County Tourism Council, (520) 432-9215, ExploreCochise.com.