Thursday, June 1, 2023


Tubac, Arizona = Southwest art, pottery, clothing, food, history

General Store in Tubac, Arizona. (Julianne G. Crane)

The recorded history of Tubac dates back to 1691 when Padre Kino established a mission at Tumacacori and the Tubac area became a mission farm and ranch. Established as a community in 1752, Tubac is sits in south central Arizona, 45 miles south of Tucson, just east of I-19 at exit 34.

It lies in the Santa Cruz River Valley and is bordered by Santa Rita, Tumacacori and San Cayetano Mountains. By the mid-1800s the area boomed with the discovery of gold in the nearby mountains.

Jimmy Smith looking through pottery. (Julianne G. Crane)

Today, Tubac is an arts and crafts colony that boosts more than 100 eclectic shops, galleries and cafes.

This internationally known artist community, with numerous historic sites, hosts a variety of special events annually including: Festival of the Arts (February); Art Walk (March); Anza Days (October); Art Experience (November); Luminarias (December).

Artisan jewelry in General Store

It’s easy to pass a lazy morning simply browsing through a handful of shops, then pausing for lunch at one of the many local eateries before returning to a few more stores for original art work, including local pottery, wood and silver work, stitchery, and amazing Southwest clothing.

Plaza Road in Tubac, Ariz. (Julianne G. Crane)

As for historical interest, Tubac has been home to at least five distinct cultures: Hohokam
(300-1400 AD); O’odham (Pima and Papago) in the 1500s; Spanish
(1752-1821); Mexican (1821-1853); and American (1853-present).

Tubac’s fortunes rose and fell with the establishment and withdrawal of military forces from 1752 through the surrender of Geronimo in 1866.

Tubac Center of the Arts on north of Plaza. (Julianne G. Crane)

The Presidio San Ignacio de Tubac was the first European settlement in what later became the state of Arizona. The village preserves three significant buildings on the National Register of Historic Places: Arizona’s second oldest Territorial School House (1885),  the Rojas House (1890), and the Otero Hall (1914).


For more information:
Tubac Chamber of Commerce:

To learn more about the nearby Tumacacori Mission click here for a post on RV Short Stops.

And for more about other local places to visit, click on: the Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Co. and the Tumacacori Outpost, with its hodge-podge of antiques and collectibles.

To enlarge photos, just double click on them.
To read more writing by Julianne G. Crane, go to

Julianne G. Crane
Julianne G. Crane
Julianne G. Crane writes about the RVing and camping lifestyles for print and online sites. She was been hooked on RVing from her first rig in the mid-1980s. Between 2000-2008, she was a writer for The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Wash. One of her popular columns was Wheel Life about RVing in the Pacific Northwest. In 2008, Crane started publishing RV Wheel She and her husband, Jimmy Smith, keep a homebase in southern Oregon, while they continue to explore North America in their 21-foot 2021 Escape travel trailer. Over the years they have owned every type of RV except a big class A. “Our needs change and thankfully, there’s an RV out there that fits every lifestyle.”


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