Tubac: Arizona’s Little Secret

When you think of visiting a small town in Arizona, Tubac (pronounced Tu-back) will not be first on your list, but should be or near the top.  I just spent a weekend in this interesting place and had a wonderful time.  Why doesn’t more people stop to visit and why isn’t Tubac on the road signs?  I am not sure about the signs, but I can give you reasons to visit.  I will put in this post some general reasons, and in posts to follow (here or on my Julie Ferguson Designs blog), I will break down the various B&B’s, restaurants, shops, and must see historic sites nearby.

Tubac can be found along Highway 19, between Tucson and Nogalas.  It is only 40 minutes south from Tucson, and 20 minutes from Green Valley.  It is also a short drive west from Patagonia.  Many people pass it by because they may think it is just a resort and golf course, or they just don’t see it because it is not right on the highway.  In other words, those who have plans of visiting know exactly where to look.  The one thing Tubac can boast is the largest artist festival in February.  The Tubac Festival of the Arts draws thousands of people from all over who pack this tiny town to enjoy all the activities and various arts.  I hear it is something not to be missed.

Only 9 miles south of Tucson, and on your way to Tubac on highway 19, you can’t miss the imposing white figure of the San Xavier Mission.  It was built in the late 1700’s and stands as “the oldest intact European structure in Arizona”.  Another historic mission you must see is only 4 miles south of Tubac.  The Tumacacori (pronounced tuma-cock-cori) mission was built in the 1700’s by Father Kino.  These missions have amazing art and carvings found on the walls and ceilings of these massive structures.  I will do posts on each of these historic sites.  Another historic site in Tubac is the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park.  Inside the visitor’s center is a 7 minute video of the history of this location and on the grounds is ruins, other structures, and a museum.  Another worthy place I will do an individual post on.  Also, about an hour and 15 minutes south of Tubac is the ghost/mining town of Ruby.  Many of the old mining structures are still standing.  I wanted to visit Ruby, but we were told that we had to have an appointment.  They let you wander through the town, but you must do volunteer work in order to do so.  For every hour you work, you have that much time to check out Ruby.  I was willing to pay money to see the town, but not work for it.  It was 95 degrees that day, so I am sure you can understand why.  Maybe, someday a group of us will do the work and be able to have a ghost investigation in this well-known haunted location.

Historic sites are not the only things you can find in downtown Tubac.  They offer many, many varieties of shops, galleries, and different varieties of food venues.  If you are a shopper like me, you will love it.  If you are not, I think you will love it anyway.  Along with the shops and restaurants, they have a few places to stay.  My sister-in-law and I stayed at the Poston House Inn B&B.  We had a lovely experience there, so look for my post on the place.  That should be one of the next I write about.  Not only will I have several posts on my visit to Tubac, but I took lots of pictures for you to enjoy.

Looking down Plaza Road, Tubac.

San Xavier Mission

Tumacacori Mission


  1. What an amazing place! I had not heard of it before, so thank you for posting about it Julie! The photos are ecellent, as usual. -John Newbury

  2. I felt this town needed a shout out because there is more to Tubac than many people think. The people working and living there were wonderful and we enjoyed talking with them. Many would give us a history lesson on each place we went to. Lots of interesting stories.

  3. I've lived in AZ since 1977 and don't think I've ever heard of it. I'm sure the citizens like that. Sounds historic and charming.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

26 Bar Ranch (John Wayne Ranch)

Historic Downtown Payson

Cowboy Mummy Found in Desert