Tucson with Teens: A Perfect Family Day

Tucson with Teens: A Family Vacation


Planning a family vacation in Tucson with teens and need a few tips for your trip itinerary? Tucson not only offers a panoramic, scenic view of the "desertscape" but also hosts numerous fun things for families to explore together.


Start off your Tucson family adventure with breakfast at The Good Egg (5350 East Broadway Boulevard, 520-512-0280) for amazing dishes like eggs benedict, steak and eggs, Sun Devil Scramble, omelettes, crepes-eggs, pancakes, French toast and frittatas. A local favorite is the "Old Pueblo," which consists of chorizo (pork) and mild, green chilies with potatoes and melted cheese, topped with pico de gallo and two eggs cooked to order, plus a side of salsa and flour tortillas. The Good Egg is also open for lunch, serving sandwiches, salads, and other southwest favorites.

Hours: Daily 6:30AM-2:30PM

After an energizing breakfast, take a hike at Sabino Canyon (5900 North Sabino Canyon Road, 520-749-2861) in Tucson's Coronado National Forest and take in the desert view of cacti-donned mountainsides. Don't feel like walking on foot through the desert? Jump on the tram to enjoy the scenic route. The tram takes you on a 45-minute tour through the beautiful area surrounding the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The narrated tour makes nine stops, and you may hop off at any of them to look around. The tram conveniently comes around about every 30 minutes. Tram fees are $8.00 for adults and $4.00 for children ages 3-12, while children 2 years of age and under are free.

Hours vary by season, so check the website for details.


Next on your family vacation in Tucson, take your teens to a Wild West showdown at Tucson Studios (201 South Kinney Road, 520-883-0100). This famed frontier posed as the backdrop for many classic western movies. It is dubbed "Hollywood in the Desert" and is the place where John Wayne and Clint Eastwood once roamed. Take a guided tour of this Tucson landmark and discover its rich film history. Go back in time and get dressed up in a pair of desperado duds, so you can say cheese for an old-fashioned photo (makes a great holiday card). Old Tucson Studios also offers a shooting range for your "young guns" to get a little target practice, a place to pan for gold in the gold mines and antique car rides on a guided track. They also have live performances, thrilling stunt shows, saloon musicals and trails led by horseback through the scenic landscape. General admission, including shows and tours, is $16.95 for adults 12 and over and $10.95 for ages 4-11, while children ages 3 and under are free. Games, food, stagecoach and trail rides are available for an additional fee.

Hours vary, so check the operating calendar before attending.

After a little adventure, how about a little science? Enter the Biosphere2 (32540 South Biosphere Road, Oracle, AZ, 520-838-6100). The Biosphere2 mimics the conditions and environments present on Earth within a manmade structure just outside of Tucson. With teens in your group, there is simply no better place to visit, as this attraction will fascinate anyone and everyone. The 3.14-acre facility houses a million-gallon ocean with a coral reef, wetlands, a tropical rainforest, savannah grassland and a fog desert with a 91-foot ceiling at its highest point. The Biosphere2 is a hub for research regarding the Earth and its future, a place where scientists can discover the consequences of global climate change and pass their findings to the public through educational programs and tours. Adult admission is $20.00, children 6-12 are $13, and children under 5 are free.

Hours: Daily 9AM-4PM


Learning can make you hungry, so after your family adventure in Tucson with your teens, enjoy some authentic Mexican cuisine at Guadalajara Grill (1220 East Prince Road, 520-323-1022). Here, they prepare fresh salsa at your table to your specifications, and they host live mariachi bands every night of the week. The menu is extensive, and they also have a large vegetarian menu. The restaurant prides itself on quality ingredients and home-made tortillas. Each month, the menu features special, traditional entrees with an original flair that you will not likely find in any other Mexican restaurant in Tucson. Of course, you can always order the typical burritos, fajitas, and quesadillas stuffed with beef, chicken or steak, but where else can you get a halibut enchilada? Prices range from $9.95 to $19.95, and reservations are recommended for dinner dining.

Hours: Daily 10AM-10PM

Hope you left room for dessert because after dinner, you simply have to get a treat at Something Sweet Dessert Lounge (5319 East Speedway Boulevard, 520-881-7735). Feast on tasty treats like Peanut Butter Cake, Chocolate Volcano Cake, "Oh My God, You've Got To Be Kidding" Éclair, Coconut Cream Pie, and Black Forest Cheesecake, just to name a few. The slices of cake are quite large, so sharing is also a great option. Prices per slice range from $3.95 - $6.95. While enjoying your dessert, feel free to take a game from the bookshelves to play at the table. They have family favorites like Connect Four, Scattergories and Monopoly. The pastry shop also offers an Internet café, which is quite handy.

Hours: Sun-Thu 5PM-midnight and Fri-Sat 5PM-2AM

From hiking to noshing on decadent desserts, there are endless options for your family vacation in Tucson with teens. And if you ever run out of ideas, just ask a passerby – the city is full of friendly people who would be happy to make recommendations!

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