Tombstone Shot Out

Tombstone is one of those destinations that everyone has to visit at least once. Forget the touristy attractions and put your head into the era of Wyatt Earp and the Clanton gang. And, really, doesn’t everyone need to have a picture of themselves at the O.K. Corral? We typically take the trip to Tombstone when we are showing visitors around Arizona.

OK Corral Sign


Our two youngest boys think they are actual cowboys! So, of course, they always go decked-out in cowboy costume for our “cowboy adventure!” But, they weren’t out of place! Everywhere in Tombstone you see cowboys (good guys and bad guys!) wandering around. Actors/Stuntmen and tourists alike get into the mood of the time by dressing up.Kids at Ok Corral


The best way to park in Tombstone is to find a free spot on one of the side streets or free lots near Allen Street. Allen Street is the main drag in Tombstone’s historic area, and is filled with stores, saloons, and restaurants. It’s fun to just wander in and out of the stores, and definitely worth stopping in for a sarsparilla!


You need to see the re-enactment of the gunfight at the real O.K. Corral at least once in your life. My recommendation would be to stop at the O.K. Corral first and buy your tickets for the show. It is located on Allen Street near 3rd Street.  Their hours are 9-5, but the gunfight plays daily at 2pm. If you purchase your tickets early, you will have time to wander the street and explore. Plus, included with your ticket is the OK Corral exhibits, The Tombstone Historama, and a visit to the Tombstone Epitaph, which includes a free historic newspaper. We bought our tickets at 12, and had plenty of time to explore before the gunfight started at 2. I thought the Epitaph was pretty cool. And I love the free old newspapers!


If you have time, I would also recommend a tour of the historic Bird Cage Theater.  The stories and history of this famous old Saloon is amazing and really gives you a glance into the time period. It is full of old artifacts and atmosphere…and bullet holes! They also have night tours, since the place is rumored to be haunted! There were paranormal experts there when we visited with their handheld spirit finder devices…it was kind of cool. But, sadly, we did not feel or see any ghosts. <sigh>

 Card Table

There are a lot of great tours of Tombstone. Our kids especially loved the Stage Coach tour! There are several “Stage Stops” along Allen Street. You get a ride in a real horse-drawn stage coach, and a pretty tour of the area. The kids thought they were in a parade and waved to everyone along the way, and I liked the historic tour!



A stop at the Boothill Grave Yard is easy on the way in or out of Tombstone. It is just north of the town and very well marked. You have to enter through the gift shop, but the grave yard is free to visit. There is a booklet that is a good thing to get for $1 donation. It details all of the people that are buried, which is cool to have since the headstones don’t tell much. I guess this is not the original location for the cemetery. Apparently the graves were dug up and moved to this location, since the road was going through the original location. It can be a 15 minute or 1 hour visit, depending on your interest. We have a lovely glued-together souvenir from the gift shop since my 3 year old grabbed a bell and dropped it! Yikes!


Check out Tombstone the next time you are in the southern Arizona Area! It is about half-way between Benson and Bisbee on AZ-80. You can make a day of it, or spend half a day and see some of the other southern Arizona sights too!