A new direct flight from New York's JFK Airport to Tucson Arizona makes it easier than ever to discover Marana and the beauty of the Sonoran desert. Marana is a perfect winter getaway for those cold, darks days on the East coast. In just a few hours you can go from wearing a hat and gloves, to laying by a sparkling pool, golfing, and enjoying hiking, mountain biking and endless outdoor recreation!
A Sonoran Desert Adventure Awaits
What’s the first thing you imagine when you think of the Sonoran Desert? If your mental image consists of a parched landscape with inhospitable mountains of sand, think again. The varied and complex ecosystems of Southern Arizona feature dense groves of flowering mesquite trees, drooping with bean pods that sustained the itinerant tribes who inhabited this land for thousands of years, long before Spanish settlers arrived. Here you’ll also find towering mountains with snowy summits climbing almost two miles above sea level. These “Sky Islands” are home to lofty pines, wind-carved hoodoos, and even a nascent herd of reintroduced big horn sheep. For those ready to explore this bountiful desert, this haven from winter, this Arizona oasis, Marana is the perfect springboard from which to launch your Sonoran Desert adventures.
For many travelers, Marana has the perfect hidden gem tucked into the quiet canyons of the Tortolita Mountains. The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain is Arizona’s only Five-Star, Five-Diamond Resort and Spa, a distinction earned by its welcoming staff, sumptuous rooms, and picture-perfect location. Its three salt-water pools all offer stunning views of rock-strewn and saguaro-studded slopes. Every room includes a private balcony from which you can take in all the colors of a desert sunset. Here, a sunset isn’t something you so much see, but rather experience. Book a massage at its incomparable spa, and you’ll enjoy the therapeutic elements and time-honored traditions of the Sonoran Desert.
Dude Ranch Experience
If you’re interested in exploring Southern Arizona’s roots, consider a stay at the White Stallion Ranch. This classic dude ranch experience includes communal meals beneath an ocotillo rib ceiling, horseback riding during the day, movies or line dances at night, and a rodeo every week. White Stallion has welcomed guests for fifty years, and when you enter their vast acreage, you leave behind the outside world. There’s lots to do here, but perhaps the its greatest draw is what it doesn’t have: incoming emails, buzzing texts, or strategy meetings. If peace and quiet is the recipe for your perfect vacation, look no farther than White Stallion.
And for those rugged visitors who eschew the resort experience, we’ve got plenty of options for you as well. A dozen affordable hotels provide guests with easy access to all the major highways that will get you quickly to whatever attractions call out to you.
Mountains to Explore
Attractions like the incredible hiking opportunities in the Marana region. Mt. Lemmon imposes itself in our corner of the Sonoran Desert, as if daring intrepid hikers to test their mettle on its precipitous pinnacles. Catalina Highway, itself a remarkable feat of engineering, snakes its way all the way to the top and offers a number of trailheads along the way. You choose the biome that’s right for you—majestic saguaros, sweeping grasslands, alpine forest, and many more in between—and then just stop at the appropriate elevation.
World-Class Golf Courses
For those who prefer the fairway to the hiking trail, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Marana is home to a variety of world-class golfing facilities, designed by legends of the links like Jack Nicklaus, John Fought, and Arthur Hills. Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you have to put away your clubs until spring. In Marana, fall, winter, and spring are the perfect seasons for hitting the greens and teeing up.
Endless Dining Options
After long days of hiking, golfing, and exploring, you’ll enjoy tucking into a feast of classic, old-fashioned Mexican cooking. Don’t forget, it was only 150 years ago that this land was part of Mexico, and we haven’t forgotten our roots. Enchiladas smothered with chili verde, exquisite moles, and abuela-sourced tamales are dietary staples here.
Just a few months ago, Tucson became the first UNESCO World City of Gastronomy in the U.S. As a breadbasket of Southern Arizona, Marana is home to a variety of heritage crops, like White Sonoran Wheat, a grain used in local breads, beers, and even pizza doughs. Grounded in these ingredients, Southern Arizona’s rich cultural tapestry has fostered a local cuisine that draws not only on Mexican influences, but also on Native American methods, Middle Eastern spices, and American West sensibilities. With a restaurant scene distinct even from such nearby neighbors as Santa Fe and Phoenix, Marana and Southern Arizona offer a dining experience you won’t want to miss.
Book a Direct Flight!
And you know the best part of all? All this is now only one direct flight away from New York City. American Airlines’ new route direct from JFK to Tucson means that right now you may be huddled under the covers on a chilly winter night, but five hours from now, you could be drinking in the gentle rays of the desert sun, margarita in hand, foot in pool. We’ll see you soon.