Yuma, Arizona Read Guide >
Staying in town will generally mean staying on the southeastern quadrant, which puts you near shopping, nightlife, the military base, and the hospital which also employs a sizeable number of Yuma residents. The most desirable, newer developments are available in the area bounded by Avenues B and C and 24th and 32nd streets, namely the Barkley Ranch development for single family homes. Large, new 3BR and 4BR homes are renting here for as low as $1200 and come very nicely appointed. Condo and townhouse developments can be found in the area near the hospital and convention center and will average around $600 for 1BR or around $800 for 2BR, most with flexible lease terms so you can reverse snowbird it up to Canada when the heat index hits 120 F in the shade come July.
If Yuma had to be summed up in one word it would be sunshine! They have it covered in the sunshine department. So, for all those North Easterners looking for an escape from the bitter cold, snow, and ice that winters bring, Yuma, AZ is the place to fly! Yuma is a warm sunny town with very friendly people! If you long for a bit of excitement away from town just hop in the car and you are there! Mexico is 20 min away, with excellent shopping and culture. If you feel adventurous head to San Diego and do a bit of surfing. Or if you are feeling lucky, take a trip to Sin City! No matter what you do in Yuma, you will be a world away from winter!
By far the most highly recommended area for families in the Yuma area is the Foothills. Located to the east of town, the Foothills is home to numerous, newer, family-oriented subdivisions of primarily single-family homes, the most popular of which is the Mesa del Sol neighborhood. Driving into a job in town or to the military base can be a hassle in the winter months since you’re contending with myriad grannies heading to bingo or shuffleboard meetings, but the location is prime if your commute is to the nearby Arizona Western College. As for schools, your progeny will be districted to Yuma schools, specifically to the new elementary and Gila Ridge High School only recently completed. Homes here are mostly 3BR and 4BR and will range from $800 to $1800, depending on the presence of a pool. Yuma residents will universally tell you to go for the pool in order to combat the brutally hot, brain-liquefying summer months.
A definite perk to living in the Yuma area is the very near availability of beautiful desert mesa property to the south of town and the sunsets that come with it. This is no New England landscape with forests and frolicking deer, but sand dunes and succulents have never looked so good. Living out on the land is easy here, with mobile homes and RV rentals possible, as well as some pretty great country estates. Acreage on the South Mesa comes in a minimum of two acre parcels and is irrigated, meaning grass and trees have a chance at a brief life instead of immediately withering in the Arizona sun. This area is supremely quiet and provides the ultimate desert hideaway for retirees or a family looking to raise kids steeped in country values like cow tipping. Homes here will go for around $1000 a month and mobile homes for as little as $500.
Unfortunately for Yuma, the historic part of town has yet to benefit from the same revitalization efforts as in other cities. The old streets north of 16th street with Victorian or Craftsman homes on tree-lined streets are regrettably not recommended due to the crime rate, so if this sort of architecture is what you’re looking for, you may be out of luck. Why the heck do you want to live in a Victorian home in the middle of the desert, anyway? All the cool kids have adobe style homes here now, so jump on the bandwagon. For those short-term relocations to Yuma – I’m looking at you, Nanna– many places in Yuma come fully furnished and with variable lease terms. It is also important to note that many in Yuma still make a valiant effort at trying to grow grass for lawns, but the attempt is mostly vain and you may find it spectacularly more frustrating than just embracing the sand, dirt and cacti and xeriscaping the whole front lawn. Think of it as a really big zen garden.
Contrary to what you may have learned in old Western movies, most people in Yuma now drive cars instead of horses. They also have a flashy new contraption called a ‘bus’, and Yuma County Area transit operates five routes through town, with the mall as the hub. Oh, consumerism. For shopping destinations outside of Yuma, Highway 8 will take you straight to San Diego and the Mexican border is only 20 minutes away by car. Please do your patriotic duty and declare all Mexican goods at the border, including the many varieties of tasty chili candies.
Yuma may not have a lot going on for it, but peaceful desert vistas count for something and the ridiculously mild winters count for a lot more. You will assuredly have to deal with a large number of snowbirds for part of each year, and you may find that they make driving around town a bit of a nuisance, but you’ll get used to have your cheeks pinched and the presence of Bundt cakes goes up dramatically so really it’s a win for everyone. Heck, just bring your Nana with you! Yuma awaits.
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