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Which Mission to Visit in Tucson, Arizona? 5 Reasons to Visit Mission San Xavior del Bac


Which Mission to Visit in Tucson, Arizona? 5 Reasons to Visit Mission San Xavior del Bac

Which mission should you visit in Tucson, Arizona? We had to make the same decision on our quick 48-hour trip.   

We only had a small amount of time to sight-see between Adam's tax talk at the RVer's Escapades and our flights. 

I had done some research and was uncertain which mission to see while we were there. 

I intended to go to San Pedro Chapel from a Pinterest find, but through a series of mis-#nuventures we ended up at Mission San Xavior del Bac. 

I'm so glad we did! The special history, the beauty, and the views around the mission make it an amazing spot to visit. We spontaneously stepped back in time to the 18th Century! 

Here are 5 reasons to fit the Mission San Xavior del Bac into your trip:

1. It's free

You can't get better than free. And, you'll be amongst hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world who come to the Mission to see some of the best Spanish Colonial architecture in the US. 

2. The beauty outside

The Mission was built in 14 years between 1783 and finished in 1797. The architectural details for that time period are amazing!

March is a great time to visit. The cacti on the Mission's grounds will be blooming!

3. The beauty inside

Since the mission was completed in 1797, the interior work is all hand carved and hand painted. It's still in tact and has been maintained very well. The detailed craft work is incredible!

Make sure to admire the details. The door handle to the sanctuary is a serpent (click the left picture above to get a closer look.) And, you can see where the original nails in the doors were hammered in by the masons (click the right picture above to see). 

4. History

Throughout the mission's history, it's remained in the same place but has been a part of three different countries. 

When the Mission was first constructed, it was in the area of New Spain. Then, when Mexico gained it's independence in 1821, it became a part of Mexico. About 30 years later in 1854, after the Gadsden Purchase, the mission found itself in United States Territory. 

These walls have experienced a lot (including an earthquake)! 

5. The Views

To the right of the mission, you can climb a small hill with a cross at the top. Up here, you can light candles, pray and see the amazing view surrounding the mission. Enjoy!

Keep the history going by making a donation at the gift shop at the end of your trip to help maintain the Mission:)

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10 Must Pack Items for the Desert in Tucson, Arizona: Don't Forget these Essentials Like I Did!


10 Must Pack Items for the Desert in Tucson, Arizona: Don't Forget these Essentials Like I Did!

What to pack for a trip to Tucson, Arizona in March? I have the list for you-- after I learned from all of my mistakes while visiting Tucson's Sabino Canyon.

We pulled into our parking spot at Sabino Canyon's car park at 2:36 PM. 

With the air conditioning blasting, I was eager to run out into the desert on a long hike. I couldn't wait to see the Saguaro cacti and the waterfalls I'd heard about!

Right after I turned off the car, Arizona’s heat didn't hesitate. The temperature started rising in the car. We jumped out to escape the creeping heat. 

I snagged my backpack from the backseat. In the seconds standing at the backdoor, I could already feel the asphalt's heat radiating up my calves.

"Man, the sun is brutal today!" I commented looking up to the sun blinding myself. 

Then, I looked at my backpack.

All I had was a small water bottle. No sunglasses, no hat, no sunscreen, and not enough water. 

The road runner was running to shade, too!

The road runner was running to shade, too!

My senses immediately started responding to what they knew they'd be feeling soon enough in this heat.  A headache started creeping in, my mouth was now thirsty, and I had visions of myself in pain in bed from a scorching sunburn. 

Shoot! We did this all wrong. I was totally unprepared for the desert and we made the terrible decision to romp around in the desert in the heat of the day.

I confessed first-- "Adam, I can only handle 30 minutes out here."

"Me too!" 

Well, at least we were in agreement.

A long hike was off the docket today. We weren't going to see any waterfalls. 

Our visit to Sabino Canyon was going to be a quick in and out.

If I had only packed four essential items, it would have transformed our experience and I would have been able to adventure further into the canyon to see the beautiful waterfalls out there. 

We do suggest going early in the morning or more toward sunset--- not 2:30 PM in the heat of the day!

To see more pictures of our Sabino Canyon experience, click here

Sabino Canyon's 1/2 Mile Nature Trail- no shade here!

Sabino Canyon's 1/2 Mile Nature Trail- no shade here!

To prepare yourself to have fun in Arizona's desert, pack these items.

10 Must Pack Items for Arizona's Desert

Be prepared for the heat of the day and the cool nights with this gear:

  1. Hat

    1. make it a big hat providing lots of shade!
  2. Sunglasses

  3. Sunscreen

  4. Water- lots of it!

    • How much is enough?
    • Here's a suggestion from the Grand Canyon: Drink one-half to one full quart of water or sports drink each and every hour you are hiking in the heat. 
    • Carry your water bottle in your hand and drink small amounts often. 
    • By the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated.
  5. Buff

    1. use this for covering your neck, pulling your hair back, or wiping sweat:)
  6. Short sleeve shirt

  7. Long sleeve shirt

    1. to cover your arms, chest and shoulders during the day and to keep you warm at night
  8. Shorts

  9. Long pants

    1. to cover legs from the sun during the day and to keep you warm at night
  10. Hiking/running shoes


Have fun out there!

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3 Places You Gotta Visit in Tucson, Arizona


3 Places You Gotta Visit in Tucson, Arizona

It's 4:46 AM on a Tuesday morning and here I am standing in Hartsfield- Jackson Atlanta International Airport snaking my way through the security line. We were preparing to get on a cross-country flight to Tucson, Arizona for a 48 hour trip.

It was a mad dash for us. We had so much fun!

Here’s 3 places in Tucson, AZ you have to visit!

1. Sabino Canyon

5900 N. Sabino Canyon Rd., Tucson, AZ 85750

Sabino Canyon is a 30 minute drive from Tucson’s airport at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. There’s no shade in this desert. Our suggestion: only visit in the early morning or go at sunset.

We went midday and it was so hot we only lasted 30 minutes. Those thirty minutes were awesome, though!

We took the 0.5 mile nature trail and saw awesome cacti and wildlife.

Here's a packing list of 10 essential pieces of gear to have with you.

2. El Charro Cafe

311 N Court Ave, Tucson, AZ 85705

El Charro Cafe, Tucson, Arizona, Best Place to Eat, Best Restaurant in Tucson, Arizona, Near Sabino Canyon

El Charro Cafe was a yelp treasure we found and glad we did! 

We got in on a 95-year-old tradition by ordering the Carne Seca Recipe platter. For ninety five years, the restaurant has been solar cooking the carne on top of buildings in downtown Tucson in cages over several days to be served in your burrito.

Tucson has the perfect arid environment for the meat to be cooked by the sun. The owners won’t even do it at their Phoenix location. Pretty unique!

Ask for a sample before you order, though. Our waitress Bridgett said you either love it or you hate it. We loved it! We were so stuffed, we didn’t have room for their flan. Bridgett said they have the best flan. Our suggestion: save room for dessert and order the flan. We missed out. 

3. Mission San Xavior del Bac

1950 W San Xavier Rd, Tucson, AZ 85746

San Xavior is a thirty minute drive from Tucson's airport. The architecture, the surrounding views, and the history make it an awesome spot to stop! 

San Xavior is the oldest intact European structure in Arizona. The building has belonged to three different countries since it was completed in 1797. This was when Southern Arizona was a part of New Spain!

Then in 1821 when Mexico gained it's independence, the mission became a part of Mexico. Then, with the Gadsden Purchase, the mission became a part of the United States. Crazy history!

Mission San Xavior del Bac, Tucson, Arizona, Things to do in Tucson, Arizona, Things to See in Tucson, Where to Go in Tucson, Places to Visit in Tucson, Arizona, Desert

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