what to do in Tombstone, AZ with kids
These tips for visiting Tombstone, Arizona are part of a sponsored post for Nature Valley.
Tombstone, Arizona is one of the best US destinations for a family day trip with kiddos. We just recently arrived back home after a little Arizona tour where we visited friends in both Phoenix and Tucson. While in Tucson, we ended up daytrippin’ to Tombstone, which is rich with history and packed with fun, educational activities for kids. As any parent knows, never leave home without delicious, fuel-providing snacks for the kiddos. Our must-have this trip was Nature Valley Biscuit Sandwiches, in three incredible flavors: Cocoa Almond Butter, Coconut Butter and Almond Butter.
Back in 1877, a man named Ed Schieffelin found silver in what is now known as Tombstone. It quickly became flooded with miners looking to strike it rich. Of course, mining is the second thing you think of when you hear Tombstone. The Wild West town is most infamous for becoming overrun by outlaws and the gunfights that occurred.
Walk down Allen Street
This is the main street to walk in Tombstone and it is closed to traffic except for the horse-drawn stagecoaches. A simple walk down this street is taking a step back in time, like a tour through an Old West movie set. It is considered to be one of the best preserved frontier towns existing. You never know what you’re going to encounter on this street!
Meet the guys
As soon as we arrived in Tombstone, there they were – Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp – ready for a photo opp. Your kids will be so thrilled to meet the most famous Wild West deputies, including the infamous Wyatt Earp who survived that legendary fight (we’ll get to the fight soon).
Ride on a horse-drawn stagecoach
Relax for a bit and take the stagecoach with the kiddos. The 15 minute tours are presented by descendants of John Escapule, who moved to the area in 1877. Along the ride, hear stories about the town that have been passed down from generation to generation, and also see the most famous sites in town.
Lunch at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon
Okay, this was my favorite part of the trip, so I’m breaking it down into a few must-dos. Big Nose Kate’s Saloon was originally the Grand Hotel, an original building built in 1881. You can just FEEL the history in this place. When we walked in it was packed, buzzing with patrons there for drinks at the bar, kid-friendly food at the tables and extracurriculars. They have an easy menu to order from for kids and adults. As a gluten-free vegan, my option was a corn tortilla taco salad without the chicken, which was actually pretty great. Our server, dressed as a cowboy, put on a show for us teasing one of our younger kids, which was fun for everyone. He also remembered our party of 8’s entire lunch order without writing it down.
While we ate, there was also a man playing a keyboard who sings and tells hysterical jokes.
Photo opps at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon
Big Nose Kate is famous for being Doc Holliday’s girlfriend. His life story is terribly interesting, but in short he was a dentist, professional gambler and Tombstone deputy who took part in the gunfight at O.K. Coral and died very young from tuberculosis. But back to Kate. Kate is also known as the first… lady of the evening… in Tombstone so you know she liked to dress up and look pretty. While visiting the saloon (aka waiting for your order) have the kids dress up and sit on the piano for the CUTEST free Wild West photo opp ever. I mean seriously… my daughter and her BFF will have this photo framed for their whole lives!
A tour of Bird Cage Theatre
WOWOWOW is this place spooky. This is an original building, opened in 1881, that was a saloon, theatre and gambling parlor. Walk in for free to see some relics and hear stories from the past, then pay $10 to tour the old theater.
If you have kids, come during the day. If you want to be totally creeped out, come at night for the ghost tours. This place is legit haunted and you can just feel the energy walking through (even in the day). Legend has it that 26 people were killed inside this theatre and 140 bullet holes still remain in the walls/floors, so it is no surprise that it’s haunted. Inside the main hall you will find a museum of authentic items with descriptions, plus see the theatre itself. Down in the basement, there is a poker room that was the site of the longest-running poker game in history – 8+ years. Kids will learn a lot about the Wild West here and be super entertained.
Most famous of all, and completely mandatory to visit, is iconic O.K. Corral. The parking lot behind the O.K. Corral is the site of the notorious gunfight in 1881, a 30 second showdown between lawmen like Doc Holliday/Wyatt Earp and a group of outlaws called the Cowboys. Now, on that very spot, you can watch the reenactment with your kids – so cool!
Also behind O.K. Corral, you can pan for gemstones, which is always something my kids love to do. After all, Tombstone is not just about cowboys and gunfights, but also the miners that created the town.
There are so many important historical items to see and learn about here. Tour C.S. Fly’s Photo Gallery to see his world-famous photos of the Apache warrior Geronimo and historic photos of Tombstone life in the 1880’s. In the stables, you’ll find an awesome collection of buggies, saddles and blacksmith items. Don’t forget to try your hand at lassoing!
On your way out of Tombstone, stop at Boothill Graveyard. Pay your respects to those who “fell with their boots on” including the three outlaws who died in the notorious O.K. Corral gunfight.
These are my musts for visiting Tombstone, AZ but there is so much more to see and do. As a homeschool/roadschool mom, I’m quite obsessed with visiting locations that will not only be fun, but also educational for my kids. Tombstone ranks super high on my list of absolute top places to visit with kids.
This road trip through Southern Arizona was one of my favorites yet. Together, we got to visit with our two favorite AZ families, see amazing sights, learn new things and, for the most part, my kids really got along. Any successful road trip is made possible by the right snacks. Every parent knows that when kids get hungry or run out of steam, they get cranky! A new family favorite is Nature Valley Biscuit Sandwiches.
Before you head out on your next adventure, make sure to stop by Walmart for snacks. Top of your list needs to be Nature Valley Biscuit Sandwiches. My whole family loves them in these flavors: Cocoa Almond Butter, Coconut Butter and Almond Butter. My personal favorite is the Coconut Butter – so yummy!
where will you go on your next adventure?