15 Best Things To Do In Benson, Arizona

things to do in benson arizona

What gives in Benson, Arizona? To begin with, the weather here is pretty is easy to deal with. The city was founded in 1880 during the mining boom in Arizona. Here in its vicinity, you will be able to absorb the Old Western culture and delve deep into its railroad heritage. Walk along its river-valleys and soak in the sights that will refresh any weary set of eyes. Yes, this place is eccentric in its own way, yet special too. One that deserves a nod on your travel plans. Here’s a list of the best things to do in Benson, Arizona. Keep reading to learn more.

1. Horseshoe Café & Bakery

Horse Shoe Cafe
Source: Photo by Flickr user Ross Griff used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Since 1936 and several generations after, Horseshoe Café & Bakery continues to serve their classic home-style desserts and dishes to their loyal patrons in Benson. You won’t miss their iconic café on E 4th street with the longest neon sign hanging on the façade. This café was even featured in several movies and it is everyone’s favorite destination to satisfy their food cravings or to celebrate a special occasion. Drop by for a snack, brunch, or dinner and have a taste of their sumptuous offerings made from locally sourced and fresh ingredients. Start with newly prepared soups, meals, and sandwiches and have a sweet ending with a fresh-from-the-oven celebration cake or chocolate pie.

Horseshoe Café & Bakery

Address: 154 E 4th St, Benson, AZ 85602

Website: Horseshoe Café & Bakery

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 6am - 8pm; Sun: 6am - 2pm

2. Double R Guest Ranch

Source: Photo by Flickr user Colin Brown used under CC BY 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Bring the whole family to Double R Guest ranch and have a real cowboy adventure. For over 30 years, the ranch has been providing visitors with guided mountain tours on horseback. You can be assured that you will be safe in the hands of professional cowboys who know the trails and landscapes like the back of their hands. Explore the mountains that were formerly the homes of the Apache Indians. Enjoy the scenic trails, go bird watching, and learn how to ride a horse! It’s a unique way to celebrate your birthday or any special occasion or simply to enjoy a weekend in the outdoors.

Double R Guest Ranch

Address: 440 W Cimmaron Ln, Benson, AZ 85602, United States

Website: Double R Guest Ranch

Opening hours: 7am - 7pm (daily)

Price: From 475 USD

3. Quarles Art Gallery

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Quarles Art Gallery on Friday, November 9, 2012

Art enthusiasts will find Quarles Art Gallery to be one of the coolest places to visit in Benson. The gallery is owned by the couple Sharon and Doug Quarles. It is a former movie theater transformed into a gallery that exhibits all of its artwork. Both artists have learned their photo-realistic style of painting on their own. They are popular for their lifelike murals and paintings depicting the beautiful landscapes, livestock, and life in the Old West like Arizona and its cities. The exhibits were shown in various parts of the state like Tombstone, Wilcox, Sierra Vista, Tucson, and others before finally settling in Benson in 2013.

Quarles Art Gallery

Address: 1020 B, W 4th St, Benson, AZ 85602, United States

Website: Quarles Art Gallery

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 9am - 5pm (closed on Sun)

Price: Varies

4. Forever Home Donkey Rescue and Sanctuary

At Forever Home Donkey Rescue
Source: Photo by Flickr user Clay Gilliland used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

If you love animals, a visit to Forever Home Donkey Rescue and Sanctuary may be a unique and exciting experience for you. Formerly a private sanctuary, it was opened to the public after converting into a non-profit sanctuary for the rescue of donkeys, mules, and horses, in February 2020. You will have to book a tour of the sanctuary at least 24 hours before you intend to visit. Kids and adults can pet, feed, and clean these well-mannered animals. Aside from mingling with these beautiful beasts, you can arrange to adopt them. The sanctuary also serves as the last home for these donkeys when no one else wants to take them in.

Forever Home Donkey Rescue and Sanctuary

Address: 360 E Rockspring Rd, Benson, AZ 85602, United States

Website: Forever Home Donkey Rescue and Sanctuary

5. Benson Historical Museum

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Benson Historical Museum on Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Visit this small but well-organized museum to learn about the history of the Benson and St. David area of San Pedro Valley. It is well-curated with exhibits of documents, artifacts, pictures, and displays of significant persons and events that shaped the Old West history. Get to know the life of Doctor Matt Hesser, a local doctor who founded the first hospital in Benson, and Sid Wilson, a former actor who became Tombsone’s former mayor. Imagine yourself riding the first horse-drawn school bus (that’s on display) on your way to class. There are more of these amazing artifacts and exhibits that will keep you enthralled, plus there’s a tiny gift shop with locally made handcrafted items.

Benson Historical Museum

Address: 180 S San Pedro St, Benson, AZ 85602, United States

Website: Benson Historical Museum

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 10am - 2pm (closed on Mon & Sun)

Price: 5 USD

6. Arena Bar

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Arena Bar is not your typical watering hole, but it does have a lot of beer and action! It only has five employees but they are very friendly and entertaining. There is an area where you can drink cheap beer and have delicious bar chow while mingling with locals. There’s a huge outdoor arena where most of the events take place. You can watch a rodeo show or an outdoor concert with a live band. There are bleachers, grandstands, outdoor bars, and designated areas where they serve food. Grab a beer and party hardy as the cowboys do! Keep an eye on their billboards for the announcement of their events.

Arena Bar

Address: 250 N Prickly Pear Ave, Benson, AZ 85602, United States

Website: Arena Bar

Opening hours: 11am - 2am (daily)

7. City of Benson Parks & Recreation

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

The parks and ramadas are the heart of the city for these places are where citizens gather to picnic and have some fun. Benson has three major public parks, all vast and verdant. Lions Park has sports facilities like a skate park, playgrounds, volleyball, basketball courts, walking trails, restrooms, grills, and ramadas. Apache Park, located in the historical district, was donated in 1949 to the city by Apache Nitrogen Products, Inc. Union Street Park, which is beside the Community Center and Public Pool of the city, also has grills, ramadas, and a playground for kids. The ramadas charge a small fee for a few hours of use.

City of Benson Parks & Recreation

Address: 1204 N Johnson St, Benson, NC 27504, United States

Website: City of Benson Parks & Recreation

Opening hours: Mon & Wed: 6am - 9pm; Tue & Thu: 7am - 9pm; Sat: 9am - 12pm (closed on Sun)

Price: From 5 USD

8. Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by St Vincent De Paul Benson AZ on Monday, June 1, 2020

Reconnect with your spirituality and visit St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store. Bargain hunters will definitely be delighted when they visit the store with the wide array of second-hand items up for sale. The collections include household items, handbags, purses, appliances, clothes, and old furniture that were donated by the parishioners. The store is operated and managed by volunteers. The sales proceeds are used to help Benson’s disadvantaged people with their financial needs. They also give out fresh produce for free and provide assistance to out-of-towners with free food and one-night hotel stay. Visiting the store restores your hope in humanity and offers a sense of well-being when you help in other charitable ways.

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

Address: 181 S Patagonia St, Benson, AZ 85602, United States

Website: Society of St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store

Opening hours: Tue - Sat: 9am - 2pm (closed on Sun & Mon)

Price: Varies

9. The Thing

2006-08-20 - Road Trip - Day 29 - United States - Arizona - The Thing - Adolph Hitler - Rolls Royce 4889597902
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user CGP Grey used under CC BY 2.0

The Thing beckons roadside travelers around Arizona with many billboards across its highways. Travelers who have visited The Thing talk about the realistic-looking mummy pair; that of a mother and her child. The mummies are apparently the creations of Homer Tate. Entrance to The Thing costs 1 USD for adults and 0.75 USD for kids. When you’re done looking around at the awesome exhibition pieces here, get some souvenirs and head on to the next attraction of Benson!

The Thing

Address: 2631 Johnson Rd, 85602 Benson, AZ

Website: The Thing

10. Kartchner Caverns

Kartchner Big Room
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mike Lewis used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The highlight of this state park has got to be its show cave, which runs for 3.9 kilometers (2.4 miles). Kartchner Caverns was discovered by the local cave explorers in 1974 and is full of alluring speleothems that have been growing for more than 50,000 years. These interesting speleothems are still growing to this day.

Two major parts of the cavern are open to the public - the Big Room, which has the most comprehensive formation of brushite moon milk, and the Throne Room, which hold’s one of the globe’s longest soda straw stalactites. How long exactly? It stands at a mighty 6.5 meters (21 feet and 2 inches).

Kartchner Caverns

Address: Highway 90, 9 miles (14 km) south of Interstate 10, 85602 Benson, AZ

Website: Kartchner Caverns

11. Whetstone Mountains

Apache Peak AZ
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pete Forsyth used under CC BY 3.0

This picturesque place lies within the Cochise County range, at the Coronado National Forest. Whetstone Mountains can be accessed by foot, through the hiking trails of Kartchner Caves State Park. History tells us that Whetstone is the very place where Wyatt Earp fought in a good old’ cowboy gunfight, back in 1882. The highest peak is Apache Peak, which reaches the height of 2,351 meters (7714 feet).

Whetstone Mountains

Address: Highway 90, 9 miles (14 km) south of Interstate 10, 85602 Benson, AZ

Website: Whetstone Mountains

12. Gammons Gulch

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Ever wondered what it would be like to visit a real-life ghost town? Gammon Gulch delivers just that to you, complete with a full-scale movie set and a museum to educate you on its history on movie filming too! The site has been used for many movie shots and even for music videos too. The Gammons still run the place, and you’d be amazed by the tales that the tourist guides bring to life behind each movie set and the films that have been shot here. The sets include a jail, a saloon and a mercantile store. Do note: there’s no gift store at Gammon Gulch.

Gammons Gulch

Address: 331 W Rockspring Lane, 85602 Benson, AZ

Website: Gammons Gulch

13. Benson Visitor Center

Benson AZ Visitor Center
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user StellarD used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you’re not sure on where to go in Benson, drop by its resourceful visitor center. The staff has been acclaimed for being friendly and helpful, and you’ll also have a chance to discover the displays within. Leave with a couple of informative leaflets, and admire the model train that runs all about the room.

Benson Visitor Centre

Address: 249 E 4th St, 85602 Benson, AZ

Website: Benson Visitor Centre

14. Butterfield Overland Mail Station ruins

Pony Express Map William Henry Jackson
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user William Henry Jac... used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

The Butterfield Overland Mail Station was founded by John Butterfield back in the 1800s. The Apache Pass station and the Dragoon Springs station is part of the series of stations which run around Tucson and the Arizona border. The ruins consist of the former walls of the stations. A mighty historical site to visit if you’re interested in the history of railways in America.

Butterfield Overland Mail Station

Address: Interstate 10 East, Dragoon Road, Exit 318

Website: Butterfield Overland Mail Station

15. San Pedro Golf Course

Golf Driver Sport
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Who says you have to leave your golf cravings behind when you’re in Benson? The 18-hole golf course was completed in 2003 and is a public golf course that provides access to golfers to play at a reasonable price. The golf course rates start at 25 USD. Don’t forget to check out the Benson City Grille for a quick bite. We hear that their Baby Back Ribs Basket and Grilled Buffalo Chicken Sandwich are to die for!

San Pedro Golf Course

Address: 926 N Madison Ave, 85602 Benson, AZ

Website: San Pedro Golf Course

It's always interesting in Benson

Yes, the town certainly has its old day charm to it. If you’re up for a glimpse into what the old West looked like, it’s time to buy your tickets and find your way down here. Take a good look at its intriguing architecture and otherworldly scenic sites. We bet that you’ll return home with treasure and smiles lining your faces.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our privacy policy for more information on how we use your data

A woman who loves her books and passport with equal passion. Travelling opens up many different outlooks on life, so why should one be confined to just one place?

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Benson
Looking for accommodation?
Good things are meant to be shared!