Go on a Wild West Adventure in Tombstone, AZ

The American Frontier Preserved

Exploring Legends of the Wild West in Tombstone, AZ

I had just arrived at what is possibly the Wild West’s most famous and legendary town. A plethora of signs proudly welcome visitors with its motto; “the town too tough to die” – Tombstone, Arizona. Isolated from the modern cities, Tombstone is situated in the desolate desert just miles from the Mexican border.

Walking down the boardwalk

Walking down the boardwalk

I had just arrived at what is possibly the Wild West’s most famous and legendary town. A plethora of signs proudly welcome visitors with its motto; “the town too tough to die” – Tombstone, Arizona. Isolated from the modern cities, Tombstone is situated in the desolate desert just miles from the Mexican border.

Tombstone was founded in 1879 by Ed Schieffelin against everyone’s advice. After striking it rich in a mine, it quickly became a prosperous silver boom-town with a population growing from 100 to over 14,000 in under 7 years. With the promise of wealth came hoards of new fortune seekers, outlaws and numerous saloons / brothels to keep them entertained and rowdy. Having nearly vanished into a ghost town, today Tombstone has been rebuilt into a tourist destination with romanticized folklore, a blend of fun comedy and factual history.

Travel Tip: The best time of year to visit is October-April with less extreme temperatures than the summer months. With highs maxing out at an average of 94 in June it’s wise to dress lightly and prepare for sun exposure. Throughout 2014 on the 4th Saturday of each month there’s “Tombstone at Twilight” with free gunfights on the street.

Take a stroll down Allen Street and you’ll find historic saloons, restaurants and shops. Make sure not to miss the great attractions below before kickin’ off your cowboy boots and high-tailin’ it out of town.

Boothill Graveyard

Visiting the Eery Boothill Graveyard

Visiting the Eery Boothill Graveyard

Dust blows with the wind as I arrive at the Boothill Graveyard – the cemetery serves as final resting place to an unknown number of souls, including the 3 men killed at the O.K. Corral gun-battle. Restored wooden grave markers indicate all manners of death including now-forgotten illnesses, murders and lynchings – a somber reminder of the tough and wild times of the 1880’s.

O.K. Corral Gunfight

Location of the legendary gunfight

Location of the legendary gunfight

It’s considered the most famous gunfight in old west history although it only lasted 30 seconds. Stand on site and imagine witnessing the event. Imagine the moment, the anticipation, the excitement and fear -then watch a reenactment performed by one of the many companies that offer daily shows. Get your fill of the historic battle as well as comedic and non-factual shows to boot.

Bird Cage Theatre

The famous Bird Cage Theatre

The famous Bird Cage Theatre

Once serving the town as part theatre, saloon, brothel and gambling hall the Bird Cage is one of Tombstone’s few remaining original buildings not burned down in fire. Untouched and unrestored you see it just as it was back in the 1800’s. The original bar, bullet-riddled paintings, and poker table are all out and on display along with a peak into the old guest rooms.

The bird Cage is rumored to be haunted by those who lived and died inside its old walls. It’s been featured on numerous paranormal themed TV shows such as Ghost Hunters. Nightly ghost tours are available for those brave enough.

 Other Notable Attractions

  • Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park
  • The Tombstone Epitaph
  • Rose Tree Museum

Stay the Night

There are several historic Bed and Breakfasts in town that offer a relaxing night’s sleep and continue taking in the mystique of the wild old days with excellent western decor. I stayed at Virgil’s Corner, a house once belonging to the legendary Earp family. Click to read full review.

About the Author

avatar200James has an insatiable passion for travel of all kinds. Read more about his adventures in the U.S. and across many borders on his adventure travel blog EscapingAbroad.com

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3 Comments on this post

  1. Love it! Still have not visited here, even though I have lived in AZ for almost 20 years! I better get on it!

    Pointsandtravel / Reply
  2. […] Traveler, (2014). Go on a Wild West Adventure in Tombstone, Arizona. [online] Available at: http://thefairytaletraveler.com/2014/05/19/tombstone-wild-west/ [Accessed 26 Nov. […]

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