Yuma is a city of about 90,000 people, located in the southwest corner of Arizona. Yuma is a desert town, and the summers are very hot and dry. Those moving to Yuma will discover the hottest city in the nation during the summer, with temperatures well over 100 degrees typical in the months of August and September. Yuma is located on the banks of the Colorado River and is only seven miles from the Mexican border.
Yuma's median income is lower than the rest of the state. Its cost of living is quite a bit lower than the national average. Unemployment is significantly higher than in the rest of the state at close to 20 percent. The majority of jobs in Yuma are with the Border Patrol, the city government and schools.
The Colorado River was treacherous in the past, and the area of Yuma provided a natural crossing. This made it an ideal spot for people to live, and the Cocopah and Quechan Indians had been living there for time out of mind. Spanish explorers arrived there in 1540 and immediately saw the advantage of the natural river crossing. Nothing much happened there until Father Kino arrived, establishing missions throughout Arizona, New Mexico and California. In 1774, the Viceroy of New Spain wanted to find an overland route to California, and Juan Bastia De Anza established the De Anza Trail and Yuma was on the map, so to speak. Eventually, Mexico was forced to give the US the areas of New Mexico, Arizona and California. When gold was discovered in California in 1849, Yuma became the best and quickest way to the gold fields. The city proved its importance over and over during the 1800s. The city was incorporated in 1871, and officially named Yuma in 1873. In the early 1900s, Yuma lost its wild west mystique and became an agricultural area.
Yuma has two golf courses. In February, they celebrate Yuma River Daze. Also in February is the Annual Yuma Art Symposium, with exhibits and lectures. In March, Yuma Lettuce Days is a festival celebrating the agriculture around Yuma. The Colorado River offers all water-related activities, including boating, swimming, camping, tubing and waterskiing. In April there is the annual Yuma Birding and Nature Festival, which includes field trips into Mexico and to the Salton Sea. The Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area is one of the largest masses of sand dunes in the nation. There are two sites near Yuma where you can view ancient petroglyphs.