If you absolutely dread the thought of planning an event around the weather, let us to introduce you to Yuma, Arizona. With an average of 4,055 hours of sunlight per year — that’s 91 percent of daylight hours — this Arizona city holds the Guinness World Record for sunniest place on Earth.
Sunshine isn’t the only thing going for Yuma. Located in the southwestern-most corner of The Grand Canyon State, the Yuma region is rich with history, culture, and outdoor recreation. It is here you will find a community surrounded by stunning views of the Sonoran Desert and the meandering flow of the Colorado River as it heads south for neighboring Mexico, alongside an assortment of terrific sports facilities and modern accommodations suited for all budgets.
In September 2017, the City of Yuma opened the gates to a brand-new, 50-acre Pacific Avenue Athletic Complex (PAAC), conveniently adjacent to Historic Downtown, a large outdoor shopping district, and the Interstate 8 corridor. A true state-of-the-art gem, the PAAC is a desert oasis for softball tournament organizers who value quality facilities in a destination which won’t break the bank for teams or spectators.
Complete with playground areas, clean concession spaces, large paved parking, and digital scoreboard systems, the PAAC sits beautifully near East Wetlands’ walking and biking trails, and beaches up and down the river. Perfectly positioned for visibility, PAAC events are likely to be enjoyed by Yuma’s passerby tourists and visitors which almost double the local population during winter months. Peppered throughout the city, Yuma’s auxiliary softball fields make for great satellite locations when tournaments require additional play space.
On the south side of town, Yuma’s Ray Kroc Sports Complex is the former Spring Training grounds for Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres and Nippon Professional Baseball’s Tokyo Yakult Swallows. Sporting three, full-size baseball diamonds and Desert Sun Stadium (with field converted for soccer and football), the Ray Kroc Sports Complex remains Yuma’s premier event space which occasionally hosts local and semi-pro spectacles. Seating at Desert Sun Stadium accommodates up to 6,590 spectators. For events requiring additional facilities in support of operations, the 43,000-square-foot Yuma Civic Center is within a very short walking distance.
For golf organizers, Yuma’s predictable weather and fast-paced greens provide for some stellar tournament play. With more than 12 18-hole, nine-hole and Par-3 courses to choose from, golfers will quickly appreciate the area’s diversity of neatly-manicured desert links.
On Yuma’s east mesa, Veterans Memorial Stadium is a well-maintained, lighted football field which can also accommodate soccer and track and field events. It’s east- and west-facing grandstands can seat 5,000. In 2011 and again in 2016, “The Vet” hosted the National Junior Collegiate Athletics Association’s (NJCAA) Championship football game named El Toro Bowl.
Searching for alternate motorsports venues? Cocopah Speedway in Yuma’s sister city of Somerton is a semi-banked, three-eighths-mile dirt and clay oval with a seating capacity of 3,700.
Off the track and field, there’s even more fun to be had. In a community where tourism is one of the largest economic contributors — third only to agriculture and military — local hotels, restaurants, shops, and attractions are familiar with welcoming visitors into the community. From November to April, vacationers come from all over to enjoy blue skies, warm weather, and a calendar chock-full of events which celebrate our distinct rural lifestyle. Between May and October, a hefty hike in temperatures only means river recreation becomes more popular while sporting events wait for sundown.
Equidistant from San Diego and Phoenix, Yuma can be easily accessed via Interstate 8, which runs between Mission Bay, California to Casa Grande, Arizona. From the north and south, drivers can reach Yuma via U.S. Highway 95. Travelers arriving by air connect with Yuma International Airport via a 30- minute American Airlines flight from Phoenix Sky Harbor. No matter the chosen mode of transportation, expect to be greeted by gorgeous desert terrain which transforms into a valley of fertile farmland, green with winter vegetable crops and a wavy amber come summer.
So stop fretting over the forecast. Give Visit Yuma a call today at 928-376-0100 or email Leslie@VisitYuma.com to start planning your next event with Leslie McClendon, our expert group sales manager. A native Yuman, Leslie will assist with bookings and space reservations to meet your needs, and can create a custom itinerary with additional opportunities for entertainment and recreation while you and your participants are in town. For more information about Yuma as a travel destination, go to VisitYuma.com or call our Visitor Information Center at 800-293-0071.