If you are looking for something new and fresh for your vacation, consider a trip to Bisbee. This town has a good deal of history and is filled with attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. In addition to the sights and action, the city also offers plenty of outdoor activities for enthusiasts.
The City History
The town of Bisbee, AZ, originally started as a mining town in 1880. People flocked to the area to search for copper, gold and silver. Named for one of the financial backers of the adjacent Copper Queen Mine, the town is named after Judge DeWitt Bisbee. The town flourished in the early 20th century and enjoyed continued growth. However, that changed when the copper mining operations were halted in 1975. As miners left the area and the city faced the possibility of dying off, Mayor Chuck Eads had a clever idea.
While dealing with the loss of one industry, he found a way to create another by offering limited tours of the world-famous Copper Queen Mine. Volunteers cleared the rubble and re-timbered the workings. A federal grant helps fund the mine project along with some improvements to the downtown area. Since that time, the city has enjoyed a successful tourist business.
Tour a Mine
The Copper Queen Mine remains open to this day for tours. It is a step back in time, and the tours give people a feeling for the difficult job miners had. The cool environment is also a welcome reprieve from the desert heat. Reservations are highly recommended because this is a popular attraction.
See a Ghost
Take a walking tour through the streets, alleys and even stairways of Old Bisbee. The town has its share of ghost sightings and interesting stories. Learn about Julia, the lady of the evening, or hear the story of Nat the miner who owed money and paid for it with his life. There are plenty of colorful stories to enjoy, and it makes for a fun and memorable evening.
Small Town Shopping
Enjoy small town atmosphere with a fun shopping experience at the Pan Terra gallery. This boutique is found on Main Street in the historical section, and they focus on fine art photography, handbags, jewelry, accessories and fun gifts.
Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory
Learn something new about the native birds of the area at the observatory. They offer walking tours throughout the year, and you can also check the schedule of their educational evens. It’s fun for adults and children alike to spot new birds and learn something new about the local birds.
Stay in Historic Buildings
While there are modern hotels, you can also step back in time by staying in one of the many historic buildings. The Copper Queen hotel features historic and unique rooms. This century-old building has hosted celebrities like John Wayne, Julia Lowell and Teddy Roosevelt.
The Bisbee Grand Hotel is another century building now with modern amenities. In addition to comfortable suites and the historic feel, visitors can also enjoy an old fashioned saloon. The back bar fixture dates back to the 1880s when it was housed in the Pony Saloon of Tombstone.
Hummingbird Hill House is a vacation rental where you can enjoy a more private stay. Other options include the Canyon Rose Suites which has been fully restored and updated to provide visitors with all the modern conveniences. However, the beauty and history of this building have been preserved. Finally, consider spending a few nights at the School House Inn Bed and Breakfast. The school dates back to the height of the town’s mining days in 1918.
Life on the Ranch
Ranches are also popular in the region, and visitors can take in a day at the ranch. The Apache Spirit Ranch offers guided horseback riding tours for people who want to take in a little more of the surrounding area.
Hiking, Biking and Golfing
The area is excellent for hiking due to the reasonably level terrain and clean air. Cyclist also enjoy taking a ride through the surrounding parks and paths. While you’re out exploring the landscape, make a stop at the Lavender Pit Mine to view what’s left of the open pit mine.
Bisbee also has its share of annual activities that are enjoyed by tourists and locals alike. The Historic Home Tour takes place in November, and there is a Copper Classic Car & Motorcycle Show every May. There is a ghost hunting weekend in July, a Pirates of the High Desert celebration in August and a garden tour in September.
Bisbee was once an active mining town, and it is now an active tourist spot with an incredible amount of activities and attractions to offer. If you are looking for a vacation destination where you can experience something new and learn something, then you should consider taking a vacation to Bisbee.