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March 11, 2024

A Travel Guide to Yuma, the Sunniest Place on Earth

A thriving cultural scene, a vast desert and plenty of historical monuments.

By Elite Traveler

While recognized as the sunniest place on earth by Guinness World Records — averaging about 91% annual sunshine — Yuma, Arizona, offers much more than a good tan as this travel guide proves.

A thriving cultural scene, a vast desert and plenty of historical monuments, such as Fort Yuma — erected in 1850 on the banks of the Colorado River to protect against attacks by the Yuma Indians — are part of its rugged charm.

It eventually became the historical Yuma Quartermaster Depot, a 19th-century ammunition storage facility for the US Army that has taken on new life as a state park. And nearby is Yuma’s Marine Corps Air Station, an elite training base specializing in air-to-ground instruction for US and NATO forces.

[See also: Arizona Biltmore: Luxurious Charm Meets Natural Wonder]

Yuma from above
Yuma from above / ©Shutterstock

Downtown Yuma is a jewel of the American West; visit the beautifully restored, 643-seat Historic Yuma Theatre, which dates back to 1912. The nearby city center boasts a lively hub with quaint shops and bustling restaurants, such as the aviary eatery Garden Café, and one-of-a-kind watering holes such as the Old Town Wine Cellar, which offers an impressive selection of international vintages.

Both business and leisure travelers can enjoy the gaming options at Quechan Casino Resort, a fully stocked gambling den that boasts 1,000 of the latest slot machines and a live poker room.

Adrenaline junkies need look no further than the Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area, more than 40 miles of inland sand dunes, which extends along the eastern edge of Imperial Valley in California; every year, over a million visitors come to race four-wheelers across the dunes, paying homage to Star Wars, part of which was filmed here.

Where to sleep

The 166-room hotel at Quechan Casino Resort is an oasis right in the heart of the desert. Eight 800-sq-ft suites, accented with fitting ocher palettes, face the heated full-size pool. Stop to enjoy a juicy sirloin steak at Ironwood Steakhouse before taking in a live show at the 20,000-sq-ft, 2,300-seat Pipa Event Center.

525 Algodones Road Winterhaven, CA 92283 +1 877 783 2426

Where to eat

Prison Hill Brewing Company, located in historic downtown Yuma, brews its own beer on-site and serves imported craft beers, ales and lagers. Yuma’s first and only microbrewery, it serves hearty gastropub fare to complement the ever-changing beer menu. Order the Prison Hill Smoked Meat Plate — a choice of BBQ beef, brisket, pulled pork or Kammann Sausage.

278 S Main Street Yuma, AZ 85364 +1 928 276 4001

Where to fly

Relocated to the Yuma International Airport, Million Air continues to provide outstanding service for private jet travelers. The FBO is a preferred destination for companies that conduct flight tests and that require wide-ranging ground support and high quantities of fuel. It is also centrally located to serve military charters destined for the nearby Marine Corps Air Station.

Million Air Yuma (NYL) Yuma International Airport 3681 S Burch Way Yuma, AZ 85365; +1 928 247 9571;;

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