Saturday, January 2, 2010

RV Travel...Tucson, Arizona...the short stay!

City of Tucson
I found a journal yesterday. It was one I wrote back in the days before my computer was a permanent part of my travel baggage. Reading a few of the pages brought back a time when I was figuring it all out. I had forgotten how basic things simply stymied a me upon arriving in a new city or even a small town. Wouldn't it be nice to just know everything right from the time you check into the motel or park the RV? I think it would!

After traveling up and down the Interstate I-5/I-10 corridors for 10+ years I have learned a thing of two. So let me share a few ideas with you...over the next few days.



There are two large RV Resorts in Tucson owned by Rincon Country . The westside resort is very large and has everything you could possibly want in that type of facility. It is located off Mission Road, close to A Mountain and the sunsets are sensational because the park is close to the Tucson Mountians. It is not close to downtown though. Their other park, Rincon Country East, is located on the east edge of the city and getting down town is a pain. But Rincon Country Resorts are not the only show in town. There are a number of smaller RV parks in Tucson. Just be warned that key words used to describe the park like "easy access from I-10" means you can see the freeway from your motor home and the noise on this very busy interstate highway will make a difference in how much you enjoy the view of the sunsets. Prince of Tucson RV Park is just one of the parks with a location like this.

Located on the north side of Tucson, Prince of Tucson does have some real advantages. Some of the best restaurants are close by, the University of Arizona and Desert Museum are all on the west side of town and that easy off the freeway also means it is easy on too. We avoided this type of location because we were in Tucson for long periods of time and we wanted a quieter atmosphere associated with a resort life style. But if we had been just passing through this would have been great. A quick, easy visit to a big city that has a small town feel can be a wonderful experience. So lets talk about what is available on that side of town.


Tucson has some wonderful old standbys that should not be missed. El Charro's in the downtown location just happens to be one of them. From Prince you will get on the freeway, travel south to the Broadway exit, travel east to Granada, turn left and travel one block north to W. Alameda, turn right and continue east to N. Court Ave. Turn left on to N. Court. You will find a large parking lot across the street from the restaurant. Located in the barrio part of Tucson it features Sonoran style food. This kind of Mexican food is unique and for the adventurous eater, the perfect evening meal. PLUS a stroll around the neighbor hood is wonderful. There are several classic adobe type buildings in the area. This is the core area of the historic old Tucson barrio.

Remember, not only is Tucson a place where you can get a taste of Mexico it is also the home to a very large university. U of A is located just north of downtown Tucson and the stadium is visible from a considerable distance. If you are staying at Prince, you can get on the freeway and go south to Speedway, exit and go east and follow it east to 4th Avenue. The University will be to your right (south) off Speedway.

Here is where the fun begins. This huge campus is home to some really good places to eat. Caruso's, a wonderful old Italian restaurant is located on 4th Avenue and the neighborhood is a the place to visit late in the afternoon. Quirky shops line the street and a college atmosphere prevails.

University Blvd. is the main street that will enter the core of the campus. Park as close as you can get and pick a lunch/happy hour place. Anything will do I guess but I always go for out door seating if the weather is good. It is just fun to hang out late in the afternoon with college students. Friday night is especially busy...something I love a lot.

Arizona Inn

If you are up for a real dining experience find Arizona Inn located off Campell Avenue north off Speedway. Follow Campell north to Elm. This is a very old neighborhood and Elm is definitely not a main street so watch carefully. Turn east (right) and just drive slowly down the street, take in the old charming villas that line the street and find a parking place as close to the Inn as you can (on the right hand side of the street). Reservations are a good idea and you can eat in the charming old dining room or on a beautiful patio that has a view of the gardens. Or, if you just want to look, wander around, take pictures. Better yet book a room and stay in the great location. Arizona Inn is not a huge hotel so the atmosphere may be just what you want.

There is one last place I want to mention...The Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson. The Congress is an old hotel located near the Amtrak station on Congress Street. Since the center of the city has fallen on to hard times most of what happens in that part of Tucson has to do with business and government. The Congress is a quirky yet wonderful place for lunch. Exit freeway at Broadway going east you will need to go to 5th Ave, turn north, cross Congress and go to 10th Street, turn right and park in back of the hotel.


The Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum is located on the west side of Tucson and believe me it is worth your time. Not only is the drive to the museum a treat, the museum in and of itself can take the whole day. Just when you think that desert is dry and empty you, you discover the wonderful wildlife and plants that live in this glorious place. You can get up close and personal with Javelinas, snakes and Hummingbirds. I absolute recommend that you take the time to visit this park. The Saguaro National Park is on the east side of Tucson and if you follow the freeway headed toward El Paso there will be signs to direct you there.

I am not going to go into the motels in the Tucson area other than to say that I would recommend that you find something near the University, near one of the big malls or in Marana north of town. There is a Four Points Sheratin and a Marriot less than a mile from campus. The motels located near downtown and the freeway are noisy and more likely to have problems with the clientele. Cheap is not really a good thing in this city. Remember, Tucson has one of the highest crime rates in the nation and you can just avoid that part of the scene totally by getting away from seedy motels.

These are just ideas if you should choose to stay in north Tucson. If you are in a motor home and just want to spend a few days this might be perfect for you.

Related Links:
Tucson Pubs

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