There are many awesome things to do in Tombstone AZ whether you are here on a day trip, making a quick stop on your road trip, or checking off your bucket list of the best Arizona ghost towns.
If you have time, I highly recommend planning at least a weekend getaway in Tombstone Arizona as you will have a fabulous trip, whether traveling alone or with your family.
Do you know? Tombstone is the largest authentic old west town still in the United States.
If you are a fan of the old wild west, there is no better place than Tombstone to experience this part of American history.
Founded in 1877 and named after the first silver mine discovered by prospector Ed Schieffelin, Tombstone was one of the richest old west mining towns in Arizona during the gold rush.
It was a flourishing silver mining town home to thousands of settlers.
Tombstone, thanks to its proximity to Mexico, was also a place for lawlessness of all sorts, with a deep connection to American lawman and gunslinger Wyatt Earp.
Set in the southeastern corner of Arizona in Cochise County, an hour from Tucson, Tombstone is best known as the place of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, a famous 30-second shootout between law enforcement officers and outlaws in 1881.
Tombstone housed more than a hundred saloons, a busy red-light district, a post office, historic administrative buildings, museums, schools, churches, restaurants, and even one of the first community swimming pools in Arizona.
Today, it is one of the tourist attractions in Arizona as there are many activities in Tombstone with something for everyone, and the town continues to live up to its legend as “The Town Too Tough to Die”.
Read on to learn all about the best things to do in Tombstone AZ for a quirky weekend to travel back in time to the days of the Old Wild West with your kids.
HOW TO REACH TOMBSTONE, AZ?
By Air – Tucson International Airport(TUS), is the closest major airport 70 miles north of Tombstone.
Tombstone is a popular day trip from Tucson, offering plenty of fantastic things to do and see. I recommend keeping at least 3 days in Tucson if you have time.
From there, I recommend renting a car for a comfortable journey to Tombstone as there are no public transport options.
If you are flying, compared to Tucson, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport sometimes has more budget-friendly options for airfare than Tucson, so I suggest checking for flights to Phoenix first.
By road – If you’re on a road trip, it takes approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes from Tucson and about 3 hours to get from Phoenix to Tombstone.
The most convenient way to access is taking Interstate 10 to Benson and continuing on Highway 80 South to arrive at Tombstone.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT TOMBSTONE ARIZONA?
Like most cities and towns in Arizona, the best time to visit Tombstone is spring from March to May or fall from September to November. Both seasons offer manageable and pleasant temperates ideal for outdoor activities.
During these seasons, the average high temperature is in the 70s and 80s with enjoyable evenings.
If you want a snowy holiday in Arizona and love the cold weather, December to February is also a great time to visit Tombstone. Expect fewer crowds and cheaper prices as well during these months.
I suggest avoiding the summer months from June to August as it is hot and dry, with average high temperatures in the 90s and low 100s.
THE BEST TOURS TO EXPLORE THE THINGS TO DO IN TOMBSTONE AZ
Although you can explore the main sights in Tombstone on foot, I recommend taking the unique stagecoach tour, private guided tour of Tombstone or a walking tour to get to know the town the best, especially if with your kids.
Check out these highly-rated guided tours in Tombstone, Arizona:
BEST THINGS TO DO IN TOMBSTONE AZ
WATCH THE GUNFIGHT AT O.K.CORRAL
Your trip to Tombstone must include the iconic attraction indeed.
The OK Corral, one of the top things to do in Tombstone AZ is infamous for the tragic shoot-out in 1881 between the leading Earp and Clanton gangs, a legendary event in the Old West.
At The O.K. Corral is located next to the small Tombstone City Park, watch a reenactment of this famous gunfight performed by actors in period costumes and with period weapons, recreating the events of that day as accurately as possible, where you can hear the sounds of pistols firing and gun smoke in the air.
Apart from watching the reenactment, there are many activities here.
Check out the life-size replicas of the nine gunfighters in the same way as the setting was in 1881 at the exact location of the original O.K. Corral gunfight.
With the tickets to OK Corral, you can also check out the Historama theatre, collect a free newspaper souvenir at the Tombstone Epitaph, and tour the stables and C.S. Fly’s Photo Gallery.
Check out the museum home to artefacts from the lives of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, antique cowboy saddles, and gear from the Old West including gear related to gun smithing, leather working, and blacksmithing.
Visit the Cowboy Bunkhouse, see the original Corral office to learn about daily life in the Corral, pan for gemstones, and sit in a buggy.
Timings – The gunfight re-enactments are held daily at 11 AM, 12 PM, 1 PM, 2 PM, and 3:30 pm. Since the timings are seasonal, check on the website for the updated hours before you go.
Prices – Each show lasts about 30 minutes and tickets cost $10 per person that you can buy at the gift shop on the day of the performance.
VISIT THE HISTORAMA THEATER
Another of the best things to do in Tombstone AZ is the Historama Theater, which you can visit while at the O.K. Corral since the exact tickets give toy access to this unique theatre.
One of the top attractions in Tombstone, Historama Theatre is the best start to getting to know about the rich history of this mining town.
This 30-minute video presentation, narrated by the legendary actor Vincent Price gives you glimpses of the area’s history presented on a large-scale rotating diorama.
GET YOUR FREE SOUVENIR AT THE TOMBSTONE EPITAPH
Who doesn’t love a cute souvenir, especially when it is free, right?
One of the top free things to do in Tombstone AZ is the iconic Tombstone Epitaph, a local newspaper founded in 1880 by John Philip Clum widely covered the happenings of the town, including the first big stories of the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
See the printing techniques of the 1880s at the print shop and museum and read the original reports of the gunfight in 1881, the many exhibits depicting the history of the Old West.
Also, check out the original press on display.
Do you know? The Epitaph is Arizona’s oldest newspaper that is continuously in operation even to this day.
If you purchase a ticket to the O.K. Corral gunfight ask for a copy of the original 1881 newspaper report about the gunfight.
JOIN ONE OF THE SPOOKY NIGHT TOURS
If you are looking for a thrilling night in Tombstone, choose from one of the many fun night tours for hunting the ghosts in the town, one of the fun activities in Tombstone AZ.
Not only will you be taken to the most haunted places in the town home to otherworldly beings, but you will also hear spooky stories and legends about the town that will send chills down your spine.
Here are some of the best ghost tours in Tombstone AZ I recommend:
CHECK OUT C.S.FLY’S PHOTO GALLERY
When visiting the OK Corral, also stop by C.S. Fly’s Photo Gallery, one of the top things to do in Tombstone AZ for art lovers.
Since the tickets give you free access to the gallery, it is worth checking out this small gallery housing the works of Camillus Sydney Fly, a legendary early photojournalist and well-known photographer in the Old West.
In the early 1880s, C.S. Fly ran a boarding house with a photographic studio in Tombstone. He was one of the few witnesses of the O.K. Corral gunfight and took a photo of the deceased men in their caskets, displayed at the O.K. Corral facility.
Among his legendary captures are his photos of the negotiations between Geronimo and General George Crook, and many photographs of the Native Americans explicitly.
Take a quick tour of the gallery for these glimpses of the past that are major portions of the identity of Tombstone town.
EXPLORE ALLEN STREET
Regarded as the heart of the town, strolling along Allen Street is one of the best things to do in Tombstone AZ.
Although most of the history of Tombstone is well-preserved, Allen Street takes you straight to the 1880s as you walk along the pedestrian-only street packed with homes, retail shops, businesses, and restaurants functioning amidst historic buildings, famous saloons and landmarks.
Although many of the original buildings were burned during multiple fires, most have been rebuilt to look exactly like the venues of the Wild West.
It is also the best place to click pictures with cowboys roaming the streets in the perfect costumes.
If you visit in the afternoon, you can witness a free gunfight in the street at 1 PM as Allen Street is also the scene of occasional historical re-enactments, where performers put on staged gunfights, and barroom brawls break out.
TOUR THE BIRD CAGE THEATER
The Bird Cage Theater is one of the iconic landmarks in Tombstone and among the top places to visit in Tombstone AZ.
Constructed in 1881, The Bird Cage Theater was the centre stage of actions throughout the 1880s as it functioned as a saloon, bar, theatre, and brothel.
The Bird Cage got its name for the 14 Bird Cages suspended from the ceiling, adorned with red velvet drapes, a hand-painted stage and an original curtain.
The Bird Cage Theatre never closed during its eight years, operating for 24 hours.
Unlike many of the buildings that were destroyed by fire in Tombstone, the Bird Cage is one of the best-preserved landmarks containing authentic artefacts that you can check out on a paid tour.
See the original chandeliers, drapes, gambling tables, jukebox, grand piano, and 9-foot bar painting marked with 6 bullet holes.
Being the venue for many fights between lawless people inhabiting at the time, the theatre stands as a testimony to those violent days displaying more than 140 bullet holes in the wall and ceiling.
Located across the street from the Tombstone Mercantile, the Bird Cage Theater is one of the rumoured haunted places in the town, and if you are up for something spooky, I highly recommend joining the ghost tour of the theatre in the evening.
You can either choose a family-friendly tour or this adults-only tour.
STOP AT BOOT HILL GRAVEYARD
One of the quirky things to do in Tombstone AZ is visiting the local cemetery in the town, Boothill Graveyard, the final resting place for the victims of the violence and the residents that occupied the mining town and beyond.
Home to nearly 300 graves, Boothill was founded in 1878 and was then known as the City Cemetary.
The graveyard gets its name “Boothill” as it was a common name given to graveyards home to gunfighters and outlaws dying violent deaths or “died with their boots on.”
Unlike the usual graveyards, here you can see the cause of the death marked on the tombs, ranging from drowned to shot down.
Among the many outlaws and cowboys, you will find Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers, who died at the O.K. Corral gunfight. Entrance is $3 per adult.
VISIT SHIEFFELIN HALL
Among the notable landmarks in Tombstone was Shieffelin Hall, a prominent entertainment venue and one of the top places to see in Tombstone.
Considered the largest standing adobe structure in the Southwest, this hall functioned as a popular venue for opera shows, theatre performances, recital hall, and location for town meetings. Today it houses the mayor and city offices.
Do you know? Shieffelin Hall has been in continuous operation since 1882 and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1966.
It is here that Morgan Earp attended a performance with his brother Wyatt before heading to play cards at Campbell & Hatch’s Saloon where he met his fate.
Across the street from Schieffelin Hall, you’ll find the Tombstone City Hall.
Built in 1881 by Albert Schieffelin, the brother of Tombstone’s founder, although it has been completely restored multiple times since 1963, you can still see the rich heritage and its past as you explore this monument south of Allen Street.
CHECK OUT TOMBSTONE COURTHOUSE STATE HISTORIC PARK
The Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, the Tombstone Historic District, is a historic museum listed on the US National Register Of Historic Places since 1966.
The Tombstone Courthouse, now a State Historic Park, was built in 1882 but abandoned in 1929 when the county seat moved to Bisbee.
The courthouse was home to a jail, the sheriff, the recorder, the treasurer, and the board of supervisors.
Today you can explore the historic buildings and unique architecture of the era, and the museum itself is worth your time.
Check out many exhibits including a replica sheriff’s office, courtroom, jail, mining exhibit, and a saloon and gambling room, and a replica of the gallows in the outdoor courtyard where convicted murderers were put to death.
ATTEND ONE OF THE FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
Tombstone attracts large crowds during the year when many events happen throughout the year. If you are looking for a vibrant experience, one of the best times to visit Tombstone is around these events.
If you are here in spring, check out Schieffelin Days, while Halloween and Christmas are more popular as the whole town gets decked up with holiday lighting and colourful Christmas displays.
FUN THINGS TO DO IN TOMBSTONE AZ
RIDE ON A STAGECOACH
Tombstone is where you can enjoy a ride in a stagecoach is one of the fun things to do in Tombstone with kids.
The Wells Fargo Stagecoach line, one of the oldest companies in the world, played a large role in Tombstone’s history.
This historic stagecoach was the primary transport for mail, money, gold, goods, and passengers. But thanks to the many lawless inhabitants, the stagecoaches were also the venues for many infamous stagecoach robberies and murders n the 1800s.
Today, you can enjoy a ride between 20 to 30 minutes on the guided stagecoach tours run by two companies.
In a replica stagecoach pulled by a team of mules, on this thrilling ride, you will be taken through the same route as the original stagecoach line, which took passengers from Tucson to Tombstone and beyond.
Buy tickets from a booth on Allen Street near the O.K. Corral, which costs $10 per adult, and $5 per kid.
CHECK OUT THE ANCIENT SALOONS IN TOMBSTONE
Tombstone was home to over a hundred saloons when it was a flourishing mine town.
Today, there are a few well-preserved saloons that give you peeks of their history and operations of them.
Hopping these famous saloons is one of the fun things to do in Tombstone AZ. Crystal Palace Saloon is among the top tourist attractions in Tombstone.
The Crystal Palace Saloon, originally known as the Golden Eagle Brewing Company, was one of Tombstone’s first saloons.
Many celebrities and powerful people resided here, including Wyatt Earp, a regular patron of the Crystal Palace.
Today the saloon is home to one of the top restaurants in Tombstone and is known for its delicious food and drinks. Stop here for lunch or a quick bite.
Big Nose Kate’s Saloon was a part of the legendary Grand Hotel, one of the finest and most luxurious in the West that got destroyed in a massive fire only two years after its opening.
Today it is one of the best Old Western Bars in the United States that you should definitely visit.
The Campbell & Hatch Billiards and Saloon is another old Saloon on Allen Street.
The original building was burned, rebuilt, and then closed during the prohibition era and is now one of the historic hotspots in Tombstone.
The Campbell & Hatch Billiards and Saloo are known for being the location where Morgan Earp was fatally shot in the back through the window of the door while playing cards.
If you want to witness another of the classic gun fights in a saloon, stop at the Oriental Saloon, which was frequently visited by Wyatt Earp.
Today, you can enjoy snacks enjoying live music, and karaoke besides watching gunfights.
JOIN AN UNDERGROUND MINE TOUR
One of the best ways to get a closeup of the mining history of the town is by joining the underground mine tour at the Goodenough Mine.
One of the fun things to do in Tombstone AZ, you can take an underground tour and learn about the workings of the mine, and stories about the miners at 100 feet below the surface to the remnants of this silver mine, accessible only by a 100-foot vertical shaft.
The Goodenough Mine was one of the major silver-producing mines that started in 1879. For many decades, the mine was one of the top producers of silver leading to the boom of Tombstone.
The Good Enough Mine was claimed in 1878 by Ed Schiefflin, the founder of Tombstone.
The other popular mines in Tombstone of the period were Tough Nut and the Lucky Cuss.
The entrance of the mine is in the basement of Big Nose Kate’s Saloon located just south of Allen Street.
You can take an underground mine tour or an above-ground trolley tour, depending on your preference.
The Good Enough Mine Underground Tour lasts for about 45 minutes and takes you 100 feet down into the darkness of a silver mine, including climbing down a few stairs. If you are claustrophobic, I recommend avoiding this option.
The Good Enough mine is also said to be haunted, and you can even join one of the ghost tours to explore the mine.
SEE THE LARGEST ROSE TREE
One of the unique things to do in Tombstone is the most giant rose tree in the world, an unbelievable thing that is worth your visit.
The barren desert of Tombstone is home to the Rose Tree Museum, which boasts the largest rose tree in the world.
A young bride from Scotland received the stems of this Scottish Rose from her family that she planted on the grounds of the Arcade Boarding House where she resided.
The Scottish rose plant turned into this rose tree that still continues to grow today.
Today it is the famous Rose Tree Inn home to the Rose Tree Museum. You can spend overnight in one of the suites as well, or tour the grounds for $5 per person.
The best time to visit is in the spring between March and April to witness the colourful rose blooms.
TAKE A TROLLEY TOUR
Another unique way of exploring the mines and their history is joining a trolley tour, one of the fun things to do in Tombstone AZ.
Running through the Good Enough Mine, the trolley ride lasting for about 45 minutes takes you to all the major attractions in Tombstone AZ, including the Boothill Cemetery and dozens of landmarks.
You can also do both the underground and the trolley tour. The tickets are available at the Good Enough Mine. I recommend going for the combo ticket if you wish to do both.
EXPERIENCE MORE OF THE OLD WEST IN TOMBSTONE
If you want to experience more of the Old West of America, head to the Old Tombstone Western Theme Park, one of the best things to do in Tombstone AZ with kids.
The Old Tombstone Western Theme Park also hosts many gunfight shows, a top attraction here, including recreating the famous shootout at the O.K. Corral and other Old West shootouts.
The Old Tombstone Western Theme Park is perfect for the entire family since the gunfights are more comical and give good laughs to the whole family unlike the more gruesome one at the OK Corral.
The Old Tombstone Western Theme Park also has plenty of rides and activities for kids and adults including a vintage carousel, a train ride through the park, and a mine tour through a simulated underground mine that kids will enjoy.
There is a 17-hole miniature golf course, a shooting Gallery, an opportunity to pan for gold, and a jailhouse.
If you are here on Friday and Saturday nights, go for the trolley tour that covers Tombstone’s most haunted landmarks, including the Boot Hill Graveyard, regarded as Tombstone’s most haunted hot spot.
TASTE THE BEST BREWS AT THE LOCAL BREWERY
If you are a fan of Craft Beer, one of the must things to do in Tombstone I recommend is stopping at Tombstone Brewing Company, famous for its local breweries and one of the best in the Southwest.
Depending on the season and the week, you will be spoilt with choice with their many delicious brews best tasted with snacks.
It is the best way to spend an evening and cool down after being in the hot outdoors when in Tombstone.
WEAR PERIOD COSTUMES
What is better than exploring the history of the Old Wild West? Dressing up in cowboy boots, and everything that screams of the Old West attire
You can accompany many locals and actors dressed up in the Old West and stroll downtown. Although there are no rental shops, you can buy clothes at the small shops that you can also take home as souvenirs.
STOP AT TOMBSTONE MERCANTILE AND HOTEL
T. Miller’s Tombstone Mercantile and Hotel is one of the best stops to make on your Tombstone trip. This 1913 vintage soda bar is the best place to grab an ice cream cone for your kids while you order their best drinks.
You can also shop for cute souvenirs and gifts at the Antique and Cowboy Collectibles Store here.
WHERE TO STAY IN TOMBSTONE?
WHERE TO STAY?
Best B&Bs and cabins that I recommend for couples and families.
Katie’s Cozy Cabins – Located in historic Tombstone, this inn is 5 minutes’ walk from O.K. Corral and Big Nose Kate’s Saloon. This self check-in property features a porch with a swing with each bungalow.
There is a fully equipped kitchenette, a bathroom with a shower and a sofa bed in the living room of each accommodation at Katie’s Cozy Cabins. Find the reviews and book your details here.
Virgil’s Corner B & B – Virgil’s Corner B & B features air-conditioned accommodation in Tombstone. The bed and breakfast also offers free WiFi, free private parking and facilities for disabled guests. Find the details here to book.
Tombstone Bordello Bed & Breakfast – Offering a seasonal outdoor pool and hot tub, Tombstone Bordello Bed & Breakfast is set in Tombstone, Arizona, 33 km from Bisbee.
The rooms include a private bathroom and free fresh made breakfast every day. A pet-friendly room is available with a separate entrance. Find the details here.