Small Towns and Tourism

What Small Towns Can Offer Tourists: Yuma –Agriculture and Military

Convention and Visitor Bureaus may wonder what small towns can offer tourists. They can learn a lot from the example of Yuma, Arizona. How do I know about Yuma? I lived there for one year while I was a visiting professor at Northern Arizona University’s satellite campus. (When I write my life story, it will be the Bonita in the Desert chapter.)

Yuma Lettuce DaysLocated in the US near the Mexican border, from early times it was the best place to ford the mighty Colorado River. Of course now there are bridges to cross the river, so why should anyone visit Yuma which is only known for agriculture and military bases, not top visitor attractions? The visitor bureau decided that there were foodies that would want to visit if the right tours were developed.

Agricultural Tours in Yuma

Just want to look? There are farm tours with musical entertainment, lunch and door prizes.

Want to pick? You can visit a farm and pick your own produce to take home with you. After you enjoy a meal using local ingredients prepared by culinary students.

Want to cook it yourself? Local restaurants have culinary classes where you can learn to cook regional specialties.

Yuma could be called the lettuce capital of the world with 350 days of sunshine a year so don’t forget Lettuce Days at the end of February! It includes cooking demonstrations, beer pairing, salad bar tossing and stories by the field hands that make the lettuce growing possible.

Military Tours in Yuma

Yuma is home to the US Army Proving Ground where weaponry is tested. Usually off limits to civilians, special tours have been developed for people who like things that go boom!

Yuma Proving GroundJust want to take a look? The At Ease Tour includes a bus tour of the base, visit to the heritage center and a chance to eat at the on base restaurant with military personnel.

Want to see behind the scenes? The tour will also take you to see areas that are usually off-limits to civilians.

So now you know what small towns can offer tourists. Yuma took two industries without direct ties to tourism and packaged them as family friendly visitor experiences.

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