Titan Missile Museum Review | (Tucson, AZ)

If you’re ever in the Tucson area and looking for something completely unique, fascinating, and eye-opening to do then look no further than the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley, AZ, just outside of Tucson.

It’s a historic site that provides visitors with a pretty chilling encounter of just how close the world came to World War III.

In this review, I’ll tell you everything you need to know before visiting the museum so that you’ll be able to make the most out of your visit!

What is the Titan Missile Museum?

The Titan Missile Museum is a National Historic Landmark that houses the only remaining Titan II site open to the public.

Titan II missiles were the largest land-based missile ever deployed by the US and they served a crucial purpose during the Cold War.

The Titan II launch complexes, which housed the W-53 nuclear warheads, were “on alert” from 1963 to 1987 in an effort to show the Soviet Union that mutually assured destruction would be imminent upon a launch of one of their own nuclear missiles.

Today, you can take a guided tour of the site that allows you to get up close and personal with a Titan II and also learn about how these powerful missiles could have been used during the Cold War.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Where is the Titan Missile Museum?

The Titan Missile Museum is located at: 1580 W Duval Mine Rd, Green Valley, AZ 85614.

Green Valley is a smaller city just south of Tucson which, depending on what side of Tucson you’re coming from, should only take you about 20 to 30 minutes to get to.

Other Tucson sites:

Titan Missile Museum Access (prices & hours)

Titan Missile Museum hours are typically 9:45am to 5:00pm.

In terms of ticket prices for guided tours, here is what you can expect:

  • Adult (Ages 13-64): $15.50 
  • Pima County Resident Adult: $14.50 
  • Seniors (65+): $14.50 (Proof of age required at check-in)
  • Child (Ages 0-4): $1.00
  • Junior (Ages 5-12): $12.50

As soon as you arrive, you will need to check in with the front desk at the gift shop.

Unfortunately, this means that you may need to wait in the line of gift shop customers before you can check in (which is the one thing I would change about this experience).

If you arrive early, there are some museum exhibits to check out connected to the gift shop which tell some of the story of the Cold War and give you some insight into the power of these nuclear weapons.

I’d wait until the end of the tour to check out the exhibits just because you will appreciate them more.

The guided tours are 45 minutes but there is an optional self-guided portion at the end. In total, we spent about one hour and 20 minutes touring the museum which I feel is a perfect amount of time.

Titan Missile Museum gift shop

Titan Missile Museum history

After World War II, the US and the Soviet Union faced off for over four decades in what would be known as the Cold War.

During this time, tension between the nations grew and the reality of all-out nuclear warfare became a real possibility.

As a deterrence strategy, the US knew that it had to show the Soviet Union that it had the means to cause at least as much destruction as the Soviet Union could, so in 1960 they began constructing 54 Titan II silos.

These missiles — known to be the largest land-based missile ever deployed by the US — were extraordinarily powerful.

In fact, compared to the atomic bombs dropped during World War II they were about 600 times more powerful.

If that doesn’t sound impressive enough consider that they were also more powerful than all of the bombs combined used by combatants in World War II.

Each individual bomb could easily wipe out an entire major city.

So we’re not only talking World War III stuff here — we’re talking end of civilization as we know it.

titan II missile launching
Image via Titan Missile Museum.

These silos were built underground so that they could withstand a potential nuclear attack.

They would not be able to survive a direct attack (warhead landing right on top of the complex) but Soviet missiles were not known to be very accurate so they would stand a good chance to survive in the event of a missile missing its target.

Moreover, the Titan II missiles were designed differently from the Titan I to ensure that they could be launched much quicker.

We’re talking a launch time of under a minute.

Not only could they be launched quicker but after launch, it would only take 30 minutes to hit their target.

This was very important to the deterrence effect because the Soviet Union had to believe that the US was capable of retaliating instantly in the event of an attack.

Therefore, the silos were ready to go 24 hours a day and always “on alert” during the Cold War between 1963 and 1987.

Many processes were developed to ensure that the silos could always receive launch orders.

Even if Washington was destroyed they were able to receive commands for nuclear launches via the “Looking Glass.”

That was an aircraft that acted as a command center in the sky that was constantly flying for 29 years straight around the US to have a way to orchestrate a response to nuclear threats even if bases on land were wiped out.

While there were 54 Titan II silos built, these were not located randomly throughout the US.

Instead, there were three groups of 18 missiles and they were found near three bases: 

  • Davis–Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona
  • Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas
  • McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas

So the silo at the Titan Missile Museum was only one of many in the Tucson area, although it is the only one still available to visit.

Check out the map below to see where all of the other ones were.

Titan II Missile Sites Tucson Arizona

The particular launch complex at the museum (Launch Complex 571-7) came off alert on November 11, 1982.

Immediate efforts took place to preserve this place as a museum which was a tall order because parties like the Air Force had to be convinced.

But thanks to a lot of hard work and special agreements with other nations, the Titan Missile Museum opened up to the public on May 21, 1986.

The Titan Missile Museum experience


Your first stop will be a small room where you’ll get a very brief overview of what was going on with the Cold War and the purpose these missiles served.

The big theme here is MAD: mutual assured destruction.

Because there were so many of these silos and they were so powerful with the ability to be quickly launched, any opposing force would be assured that the US would respond with an equal if not heavier use of force against them following a nuclear attack.

It’s a theory that many people have debated the merits of but throughout the Cold War I think it proved to be effective. After all, we were able to avoid World War III.

As some will refer to it, it was “peace by deterrence.

Mutually Assured Destruction Theory | by Patrick Hollis | Medium
Photo via Medium.

Our tour guide was a former employee that actually worked at the silo and I believe that at least some of the other guides are as well.

In my opinion, this seriously upgrades the value of the tour as you get to not only experience the silo yourself but also hear from someone who lived and breathed in that space for years.

It’s truly living history.

Descend to the Blast Lock Area

After the short film, you will head outside to the Access Portal Entrance of the Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) complex.

It’s here where you will enter the complex en route to the Blast Lock Area.

The entire complex you’ll be visiting is has a pretty simple layout.

There are basically three buildings that make up the entire complex: 1) Missile Silo, 2) Blast Lock Area, and 3) Control Center.

You’ll be visiting level two of the Missile Silo, the Blast Lock Area, and level two of the Control Center.

To find out more about each section, you can click here.

Titan Missile Museum complex diagram
Image via Titan Missile Museum.

Beyond the Access Portal Entrance, stairs await you.

While the missile is 103 feet tall and the entire silo about 150 feet, you will only head down 35 feet below the surface via 55 metal grate stair steps which is not that bad.

Note: They do have an elevator it is not available for visitors.

Once you get down to the Blast Lock Area, you’ll encounter the massive 3-ton steel blast doors which were designed to protect the crew from a potential nuclear blast.

If you’re over 6′ 2″ tall, watch out for the ceiling because it is a pretty tight fit. I’m 6’1″ and I could feel my head just getting by without grazing the ceiling in the cableways.

Launch Control Center

Your third stop will be in the Launch Control Center.

This is where you can check out all of the actual controls used to launch one of these missiles.

Because decisions and actions were so “consequential” in this room, at least two crew members had to be present there at all times and one of them had to be an officer.

Titan Missile Museum command center

You’ll be briefed on the entire process used to launch these nuclear warheads and witness what it would have looked and sounded like in the command center.

To me, this was the coolest part of the tour.

You discover that the launch process is a sequence full of redundancy and decoding with a little bit of escape-room trickery.

It’s a bit chilling to hear the sirens and nuclear codes ringing through the speakers knowing that this type of alarm would have signaled a likely apocalypse upon the earth.

If you want to take your experience to another level, my advice would be to get to the front of the line before entering Launch Control Center so that you can take one of the seats.

This isn’t to rest your feet but to ensure that you can personally act out what would’ve been one of the most radical moments in the history of the planet.

The seat in the middle is reserved for the Missile Combat Crew Commander (MCCC) and the seat closer to the side of the wall is designated for the Deputy Missile Combat Crew Commander (DMCCC).

If you snag one of the seats you get the lucky opportunity of turning one of the keys to initiate the launch and walk away with your own personal proof you did it!

Titan Missile Museum command center

The missile silo

After the launch session, you’ll journey down the cableway to level 2 of the missile silo.

You are still only seeing about a third of the rocket whenever you look up but it’s extremely interesting to see the rocket so up close.

Titan Missile Museum missile

One of the best story lines to these Titan II rockets is that they were used for scientific purposes.

Specifically, NASA used them for Project Gemini — NASA’s second human spaceflight program. These rockets played a major role in the space race and helped with our mission to be be the first country to land someone on the moon.

Historic - Titan II Rocket
Image via Nasa.

Apparently, these rockets made an interesting noise when they were launched. See if you can pick up the noise in the video below.

Back to the surface

After a close encounter with a Titan II, you’ll head back out of the bunker and you have the opportunity to wander around and inspect all of the objects on the surface. Watch out for rattlesnakes.

From the top you’ll see you can look down and get a great view from atop the Titan missile.

At over 100 feet, it’s a pretty long way down.

You’ll notice that the cover is permanently locked in a half-open position and that the tip of the missile (re-entry vehicle) is also missing a section, allowing you to see right in.

As you’ll learn, these were all conditions required by the mutual agreement between the US and the Soviet Union as they disarmed their silos.

The Soviets needed to trust that this rocket was not going to suddenly be launched one day and wanted to be able to use scout it out themselves using their own satellites.

Titan Missile Museum missile

While you’re up there, you’ll also learn about all of the different antennas set up to ensure that communications could still take place even after a nuclear blast.

You can also check out some of the engines, radar systems, and other vehicles that were utilized at the facility.

Gift shop plus exhibits

After you check out everything outside, head back in and take a look at some of the exhibits in the visitor center.

They have some interesting things to check out and one of the artifacts that stood out was an edition of Life magazine that contained a letter from JFK telling the American people what to do in the event of a fall out. I just really cannot imagine reading something like that.

Final word

Overall, this was well worth the visit. It’s unbelievable to think about the power that these missiles could unload and the responsibility that the personnel had inside these silos.

A visit to this museum will force you to ponder how close we came to the destruction of mankind during the Cold War.

But it will also make you re-think what it means to retain world peace.

The Oil Leak at The USS Arizona Memorial: A Moving Yet Controversial Site

Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial is one of the most moving experiences you’ll ever have as a traveler.

It’s a beautiful memorial but one of the things that sticks out when you visit is the oil leak.

It’s a leak that is moving to witness but also controversial with a lot of people worried about the environmental impact from the oil spilling out over the decades.

Below, I’ll give you more information on the oil leak and explain both sides of the debate while also giving you practical advice on how to view the site yourself.

What is the oil leak at the USS Arizona?

On December 7, 1941 the Empire of Japan launched a surprise attack at Pearl Harbor in Oahu.

The Japanese destroyed or damaged 19 Navy ships, including 8 battleships, one of which was the USS Arizona which suffered a fireball explosion killing 1,177 men on board. This amounted to nearly half of the total deaths that day at Pearl Harbor.

Unlike other ships that could be salvaged, only parts of the USS Arizona could be salvaged and the majority of the ship remained submerged below the shallow waters of the harbor.

The USS Arizona was topped off with oil the day before the attack and after being sent to the bottom of the harbor with 1.5 million gallons (5.7 million liters) of oil aboard it has constantly leaked oil from its submerged tanks for decades.

The amount of oil that leaks every day varies but estimates are that it leaks up to nine quarts of oil every day. That’s approximately up to 1 gallon per day.

It’s believed between 14,000 and 64,000 gallons of oil have leaked from the USS Arizona since the attack but about 0.5 million gallons (1.9 million liters) remain.

Related: USS Arizona Memorial Review (Pearl Harbor, Hawaii)

Did you know? Oil is also leaking from the USS Utah although it seems that much less is known about that oil leak.

The Oil Leak at The USS Arizona Memorial

Why do they still allow the oil to leak?

There are two main reasons why the oil is allowed to leak.

First, the site is an active military cemetery and stopping the leak could force them to disturb the cemetery and potentially result in an environmental catastrophe.

Second, the leaking oil contains symbolic importance and is part of the experience for many people.

Active military cemetery

The USS Arizona is considered an active military burial site.

More than 900 of the 1,177 servicemen who died aboard the USS Arizona remain entombed in the ship. 

In addition, over 44 survivors of the attack have chosen to have their urns placed within the turret of the ship.

You have to step back and remember this was one of the worst losses of life in American military history that rivaled Normandy on D-Day.

Moreover, the Arizona Memorial is a memorial for all members of the armed services who lost their life in Pearl Harbor. And by extension, it kind of serves as a memorial to all of those who died in World War II in the Pacific Theater.

It’s easily one of the most sacred places in the US.

Therefore, the military and the National Park Service want to interfere with it as little as possible out of respect for all of the fallen sailors and marines.

By taking actions to prevent the oil from leaking, it’s possible they will have to significantly impact the structure of the ship which would disturb the fallen’s final resting place.

“We just don’t know if the oil is creating pressure in the tanks that’s helping the structural integrity of the ship,” said the National Park Service’s Bojakowski according to CivilBeat.

“I wish I had more studies but I do know that there are a lot of really dedicated government employees who are very passionate about the environment and cultural resources and are working hard to kind of answer those (questions).

And in addition to disturbing the cemetery, if the efforts to contain the leak are not successful, it could result in an environmental catastrophe.

It’s a moving and symbolic site

The oil leak, also called the “Arizona tears” or “black tears” is also a visually moving site to witness.

When you see it in person it sort of connects you to the ship and all of the lives lost in a way that closes the gap on the many decades since the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Think of it this way: you are seeing oil that may have been refilled the day before the attack and there is just something surreal about that experience.

It’s also hard not to feel the symbolism from the glistening black tears when standing quietly on the memorial — it’s as if the ship is still mourning from the attack.

I’ve personally never experienced anything quite like it.

I think the Navy and National Park Service are well aware of this effect and it’s just another major reason why they are reluctant to remove the oil.

Environmental impact and Marine life

While the leaking oil is a moving site, it’s also something that is no doubt impacting the environment in a negative way.

The question is: just how much of a negative impact does it have?

It’s reported that the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have all completed studies on the impact of the oil leak although the results of the studies don’t appear to be widely publicized.

The Department of Defense back in 2008 did their own 500+ page report and found:

Arizona’s hull does not appear to be in any danger of imminent collapse, and consequently there is no urgency to remove the oil to preserve the environment or prevent “environmental catastrophe.”

But they also stated more research is “needed to inform management decisions that address the actual environmental impact of the Arizona oil release.”

So it seems there is still a lot of unknown when it comes to the long-term effects of this oil leak and which steps to take to correct it. (Funding seems to have been an issue here.)

We do know that lots of marine animals currently inhabit the USS Arizona.

You can find coral growing on the ship and marine animals like sea turtles, seahorses, sharks, and several types of fish abound in the area. In fact, during our visit we saw a sea turtle swim to the surface over the ship.

There’s debate over what this presence of marine life means for the environmental impact.

On the one hand, the presence of such marine life means that life is still able to survive/thrive in this area. In fact, some forms of algae or bacteria might be thriving too much and could be contributing to the deterioration of the hull.

On the other hand, more marine life means more animals impacted by the oil leak.

Even if there is no danger of an imminent environmental catastrophe (based on the outdated report from 2008), the long-term exposure to the toxins in the oil could be having detrimental effects on different forms of marine life.

Sea turtle at USS Arizona Memorial

How to see the oil leak at the USS Arizona

In order to get a close glimpse of the oil leak at the USS Arizona, you’ll need to make a proper visit to the USS Arizona Memorial.

The memorial is located at Pearl Harbor and you’ll take a short boat shuttle ride from the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center to the USS Arizona Memorial.

You want to make reservations for the shuttle boat a few weeks before your visit to ensure that you have a spot and it will cost one dollar per person to make the reservation. Otherwise, the experience is free.

They do offer paid audio guides you can purchase to enhance your experience.

Also, at the visitor center you’ll find different ways to immerse yourself in the history of the USS Arizona such as through museum exhibits and even virtual reality.

Once you make it to the memorial, you’ll be walking above the USS Arizona that is mostly sunken.

The oil from the ship can pop up just about anywhere depending on the current and there’s never a guarantee of how much oil you’ll see.

I’ve seen aerial photos showing the oil flowing from either side of the ship/memorial and I’ve even seen photos with no visible oil on the water’s surface.

In our case, there was a steady stream of oil bubbling up the entire time we visited.

By the way, we have a detailed guide on visiting Pearl Harbor and all of the different sites so be sure to check that out if you haven’t already.

How long will the oil leak for?

The National Park Service estimates it could continue to leak oil for 500 years. That’s assuming that there is no intervention until that time and that the ship does not deteriorate before then.

If the environmental concerns continue to mount, I think there’s a good chance that something might be done about the leak before then.

It also sounds like while there may not be imminent danger of a structural collapse we don’t really know how quickly the ship will deteriorate. Things could rapidly change from decade to decade.

It seems that studies are still taking place to learn about the deterioration effects and some people estimate that the ship will only hold its current form for a few more decades.

Final word

Visiting the USS Arizona Memorial is easily one of the most moving experiences you can have in Hawaii.

Catching the black tears from the oil leak adds an element to the experience that almost acts as a time machine making your visit all the more memorable.

But there do appear to be some serious environmental concerns that may need to be dealt with in the near future, so it’s not clear to me how much longer the oil leak will be visible.

Mount Lemmon Ultimate Guide [2022]

A visit to Mount Lemmon can be a perfect day trip but also an amazing weekend or multi-day getaway.

Below, I’ll go into detail for all of the different things you need to know to plan an awesome trip, whether you are spending six hours or six days on the mountain.

I’ll cover things like dining, lodging, hiking, and all of the other activities you might be interested like stargazing.

Mount Lemmon overview

Mount Lemmon is the name of the highest “peak” of the Santa Catalina Mountain range at 9,159 feet (or 9,171 feet according to some).

I put peak in quotations because the summit of Mount Lemmon is not very prominent like a typical mountain peak.

But because it’s the highest point, a lot of people refer to the entire Santa Catalina Mountain range as “Mount Lemmon.”

That can be a little confusing and misleading because this mountain range is a huge area full of canyons and peaks many of which are many miles away from the summit of Mount Lemmon.

For purposes of this article, I will refer to “Mount Lemmon” as the attractions and sites that could be easily accessed from Mount Lemmon Highway. (I’m leaving out lots of the sites on the north side of the mountain and those found in lower elevation areas like Sabino Canyon.)

These sites also fall within Coronado National Forest which covers a large portion of the Santa Catalina Mountain range.

Mount Lemmon dining and lodging

We’ll kick off this guide by talking about the different dining and lodging options on Mount Lemmon.

These are all located near the top of the mountain which means that you’ll need to complete the Mount Lemmon Highway scenic drive to get to them.

Mount Lemmon Restaurants

If you work up an appetite on Mount Lemmon you have a few options at your disposal in the main town of Summerhaven where you will come across the following dining options:

  • Sawmill Run Restaurant
  • Cookie Cabin
  • General Store

Sawmill Run Restaurant

The Sawmill Run Restaurant is the spot you want to head to for burgers and sandwiches. They also have a nice little bar area as well as a cool patio for outdoor dining.

Cookie Cabin

If you’re up for the challenge, try to take on the ultimate cookie at the Cookie Cabin. If you’re in the mood for something more savory you can also find pizza by the slice which you can enjoy in their outdoor dining space.

General Store

If you forgot to pack your bug spray or sunscreen or even if you just need some type of snack, the general store will have just about everything you need including some irresistible fudge treats.

They also have a fair amount of souvenirs and random gear you can purchase.

Mount Lemmon general store fudge

Mount Lemmon Fair

On weekends in the summer you can find the Mount Lemmon Fair going on which is like an arts and crafts/mini farmer’s market.

Among the dozen or so stands, you can find some cool souvenirs and snacks to hold you over while you’re up there in Summerville. It runs all day on Saturdays and Sundays.

Just a couple of minutes up the mountain from Summerhaven you have more dining options including:

  • The Iron Door
  • Miner’s Sweet Tooth fudge shop
  • Grub Stake

The Iron Door

The Iron Door is my favorite restaurant on Mount Lemmon!

It has great views from some of the windows indoors and also has an outdoor patio where you can dine under beautiful aspen trees. If it’s cold outside, be sure to try out their awesome hot chocolate!

Tip: If you order a breakfast item you can get a free pass to the ski lift.

The Iron Door mount lemmon
The Iron Door mount lemmon

Miner’s Sweet Tooth fudge shop

The Miner’s Sweet Tooth fudge shop is a cool little hut to stop at for some sweets. Just like at the General Store, you can find some irresistible fudge along with unique treats like Dr Pepper jellybeans. They also serve coffee, popcorn, and homemade caramel corn.


While Mount Lemmon is a perfect day trip destination you can take the experience to a different level by staying a couple of nights on the mountain.

This will allow you to truly relax in the fresh mountain air and appreciate what the mountain has to offer.

New lodging is popping up every year but for now you have a few options.

One popular route is to go the Airbnb route and find a cabin, which can be a great option especially if you are traveling with a lot of people or large family.

We recently stayed at the Mt. Lemmon Hotel which is basically a series of small cabins located in Summerville. We really enjoyed our weekend at the Mt. Lemmon Hotel and you can read more about the experience here.

Mount Lemmon things to do

Scenic drive

The main road that heads up Mount Lemmon goes by several names: Mt Lemmon Highway, Catalina Highway Scenic Drive, and General Hitchcock Highway.

To make things simple we’ll just call it the “Mt Lemmon Highway.”

The 27-mile Mt Lemmon Highway is no doubt one of the primary attractions in Tucson and I would argue in Arizona/the Southwest as a whole.

It’s one of the most striking scenic drives I’ve ever done and it boasts an incredible and quick transition from desert to mixed-conifer forests. I don’t know how many other mountain roads in the world offer such a rapid transition in vegetation and scenery but it can’t be many!

It takes about 45 minutes to get from the base of Mount Lemmon up to Summerhaven and an additional 5 to 10 minutes to get near the summit.

If you’re heading up there on the weekend be prepared to drive a little bit slower with all of the cyclists making their way up on the side of the road. And if you are a slow driver be sure to utilize the pull outs so that faster drivers can pass you.

Mount Lemmon Highway

You’ll find many overlooks and pull outs as you climb up over 6,000 feet in elevation!

I’d recommend making several stops along the way but one area you definitely don’t want to miss is Windy Point Vista. It’s here where you can wander around a rocky playground and admire the phenomenal views looking over Tucson.

Windy Point Vista

During your drive on the Mount Lemmon Highway, if you visit when the snow is melting or during monsoon season after rains, you can find waterfalls flowing at various points in the mountain.

It’s not the most dizzying mountain road I’ve driven on but for those prone to motion sickness popping a Dramamine before your drive might not be a horrible idea.

Mount Lemmon Hiking

From the base of Mount Lemmon to the summit, you have dozens of hiking trails to choose from.

We’ve almost done every hike on Mount Lemmon and many of them are extremely scenic hikes. Below, I’ll give you a breakdown of some of the most popular hikes grouped by elevation/terrain.

There are plenty of more trails including back country trails and lesser known spots but I can’t be giving away all the local’s secrets. 😉

Also, a lot of these are moderate to strenuous hikes but you can always make them easier by just cutting the distance in half.)

Desert trails

If you want to get a feel for the Sonoran Desert, towards the beginning of the Mount Lemmon Highway you can look for the following trailheads: Soldier Trail and Babat Duag, and Molino Basin.

The Soldier Trail (Length: 5.3 mi; Elevation gain: 1,938 ft) is a moderate to strenuous hike that wastes no time and picks up elevation quickly before leveling off and opening up to beautiful canyon views and when the creeks are running, a couple of waterfalls.

The Soldier Trail .

Babat Duag (Length: 5.2 mi; Elevation gain: 1,204 ft) is an easy to moderate hike with great views. It takes you through the upper zone for saguaros and introduces you to the high desert scenery.

The Molino Basin is an easy to moderate trail where you can appreciate high desert scenery where rolling foothills of oak and agave have replaced the saguaros.

Transition trails

The Bug Springs Trail (Length: 9.5 mi; Elevation gain: 1,991 ft) will offer you the chance to experience the transition from the high desert to pine forests firsthand.

On this strenuous hike, you’ll start off with amazing views and then make your way through a rocky playground before dropping down into a shaded pine forest. It’s one of my favorite trails but it’s popular with mountain bikers so be on the lookout because they fly down this thing!

Bug Springs Trail.

Pine country

Once you are in the pine country of Mount Lemmon at around 6,000 feet plus in elevation you may consider trails like the Green Mountain Trail and Incinerator Ridge.

The Green Mountain Trail (Length: 8.8 mi; Elevation gain: 2,575 ft) is a strenuous trail that starts near the Mount Lemmon Highway but eventually works its way into more remote scenery.

The last time we attempted this trail part of it was closed due to repairs so you might have to cut your journey a little bit short.

The Green Mountain Trail

The Butterfly Trail Sunset Loop (Length: 9.3 mi; Elevation gain: 2,362 ft) is another great strenuous option that is home to beautiful views, a seasonal waterfall, and even plane wreckage.

The trail can be quite overgrown during certain parts of the year so pants might be needed to minimize thorn cuts. I found this to be a pretty amazing trail to do in the evening since it can be pretty exposed in the morning.

The Butterfly Trail on Mount Lemmon

Higher altitude trails

And finally when you are near the summit some of the great trails include:

  • Sunset Trail
  • Marshall Gulch and Aspen Trail Loop
  • Wilderness of Rocks Trail

The Marshall Gulch and Aspen Trail Loop (Length: 4.2 mi; Elevation gain: 872 ft) is definitely a fan favorite and can get a little bit busy.

It’s a great trail because it takes you through some pretty diverse scenery including a beautiful creek and Aspen Grove. It’s definitely suffered some damage from recent fires though.

The Marshall Gulch trail
The Marshall Gulch Trail overlook.

My favorite part about the trail is that once you make your way to the Marshall Gulch saddle you have the option of continuing on and making the hike a little bit more strenuous or simply turning around and going for an easier hike.

The Sunset Trail is an easier hike that has a lot of bang for buck in terms of views. And if you make your way near the summit of Mount Lemmon the Meadow Trail is an easy hike worth looking into.

The Sunset Trail.

Mount Lemmon picnic areas

There are tons of picnic areas located throughout Mount Lemmon.

Most of these do require you to pay the fee which is eight dollars for a day but if you have an America the Beautiful pass a.k.a. the annual pass for national parks, you can use that to use these facilities for free.

Some of the picnic areas will have shaded areas, grills, and primitive bathrooms. It looks like reservations are not required at most of these.

High desert

Pine country

These are three picnic areas that are perfect for those looking for a cooler experience among the pine and oak forest. These are located near the Green Mountain trailhead so you have easy access to a pretty cool hiking trail.

Lakeside picnic

Group picnic areas at Rose Canyon Lake open from mid April until mid October. These group picnic sites can be reserved by calling 1-877-444-6777.

Cooler elevations

These picnic areas are all located nearby each other in the higher elevations where you can expect temperatures to be 20 to 30° cooler than what you would find in Tucson.

These are very close to Summerhaven so you can easily pick up food from the general store or from one of the restaurants and enjoy it in one of the picnic areas.

High elevation picnicking

This picnic area is one of the highest you’ll find on Mount Lemmon and it is near the trailhead for Marshall Gulch. Here you can relax near Sabino Creek which appears as a small creek but it winds down into one of the most scenic canyons in Arizona as it makes its way down to lower elevations.

You could always continue to make the drive up to near the summit of Mount Lemmon where temperatures will drop even more and the wind will likely kick up some. Here, you can just find a spot to picnic yourself but there is no official picnic spot up there.


Of course, if camping is more your style you have tons of campsites available:


The stars really come out on Mount Lemmon and depending on which side you are on, it’s very possible to shield yourself from light pollution. It’s a great place to watch meteor showers and to take in the Milky Way when it’s visible.

Lyrid meteor shower

If you want to take your astronomy experience to the next level consider booking a tour with the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter.

They offer a few different tours but the most common one is to spend an evening learning about the stars and looking through one of the high powered telescopes located on the summit of Mount Lemmon. Doing a tour is also the only way to access the summit which is pretty cool.

Mount Lemmon SkyCenter
Mount Lemmon SkyCenter

You’ll get a chance to look through some of amazingly powerful telescopes and view celestial objects like planets, galaxies, and star clusters.


If you’re visiting when the snow has melted then you can use the ski lift as a way to just admire the beautiful mountain scenery and forest. It’s about a 30 minute round-trip total ride and it’s just a really peaceful experience.

Mount Lemmon ski lift

Check out the visitor center

On your way up the mountain you may want to stop by the Palisades Visitor Center.

It’s a pretty small visitor center but you can get information about the mountain and perhaps buy a map to help you find some of the different trailheads.

AllTrails is great but they don’t show you all of the trails and it’s always good to get some personal recommendations from a friendly park ranger.

They also have a few interesting exhibits to check out that give you a sense of the local vegetations and wildlife among other historical background information.

Rock climbing/bouldering

Mount Lemmon is one of the best places for rock climbing in Arizona. It has more than 1,500 climbing routes, many of which can accessed by the Catalina Highway. Read more about rock climbing at Mount Lemmon here.

Mount Lemmon rock climbing

Mountain biking and road biking

Mount Lemmon is one of the best places for mountain biking in the area and I’ve seen many mountain bikers navigating some pretty technical terrain.

There’s even something known as the lemon drop which takes you basically from the top to the bottom of the mountain.

The Mount Lemmon highway is also a popular road biking route. You can find out more about road biking Mount Lemmon here.

Skiing and other winter activities

Mount Lemmon has many claims to fame and one of them is that it is the southernmost skiing destination in the continental US. Enjoy skiing, snowboarding, or just riding a sled through the snow.

You can get all the information you need to plan a ski trip to Mount Lemmon here.


If you’re into fishing I’d highly suggest you check out Rose Canyon Lake, a beautiful 6 acre lake surrounded by rocky slopes and towering ponderosa pine trees.

It’s a popular place to go fishing for rainbow trout which may be large enough to take home. They are released in the lake about once a month from early April through the end of August.

Lake parking day use is $10.00 per day but you cannot use your interagency pass.

There is a campground store next to the parking lot and it is open Thursday to Sunday, 10am-5pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Unfortunately, no swimming is allowed at Rose Canyon Lake.

Read more about the lake here.


Birdwatching is a super popular activity in this area of Arizona and Mount Lemmon is a great place to do it.

On just about every hike I’ve done on Mount Lemmon, I’ve come across a variety of beautiful birds including hummingbirds, warblers, woodpeckers, owls, and more.

I could only imagine all of the birds I could have seen by now if I were setting out to observe them in a more patient and focused way. Find out more about Mount Lemmon birdwatching here.

Mount Lemmon passes (cost)

Mount Lemmon is free to visit but certain facilities require you to purchase a pass. These include parking at trailheads, picnic areas, etc.

Below are the prices for Mount Lemmon fees:

  • Day-use: $8 per vehicle
  • Weekly: $10 per vehicle

You can purchase a pass online or purchase a pass on site with cash or check.

Because this is a national forest site, you can get in for free with a valid Coronado National Forest Annual Pass or Interagency (America the Beautiful) Pass, including the Annual, Senior, Access, or Military Pass.

Just make sure that you display the pass on the driver side of the vehicles dashboard.

Final word

As you can tell, there is a ton to see and do on Mount Lemmon. It might just be my favorite place to spend time in the Tucson area. It can be an action packed experience or also just a relaxing and low-key visit where you can enjoy beautiful forest scenery and cooler temperatures. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Using Turo in Hawaii (Prices & Tips) 2022

Are you thinking about using Turo on an upcoming trip to Hawaii?

In this article, we’ll break down the cost for using Turo in Hawaii on different islands including: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and The Big Island. We’ll show you the average prices for different types of vehicles like cars, SUVs, trucks, and even electric and hybrids.

Finally, we also provide you with some tips from firsthand experience so that you’ll be prepared for your first Turo experience in Hawaii!

How much does Turo cost in Hawaii?

We analyzed 285 data points from Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and The Big Island and figured out the average for a one day, three day, and seven day rental for 5 different classes of vehicle.

Below are the average prices you can expect to pay:

Rental TimeVehicle ClassAvg. Price
1-Day Rental
Electric Hybrid$171.75
3-Day Rental
Electric Hybrid$536.98
7-Day Rental
Electric Hybrid$1,164.35

Key considerations for using Turo in Hawaii

If it’s your first time booking Turo in Hawaii there are a few key considerations you want to think about when making your booking.

Island time

The first thing I would point out is that some of the vehicle owners you’re renting from operate on “island time.”

In other words, they may not show up right on time. So be prepared to potentially be waiting a few extra minutes for your vehicle to arrive and plan accordingly.

Personally, I would not try to cut anything close with your booking time.

It does not take very long for the vehicle owner to handover the keys and for you to do your inspection but if you were planning on heading out within five minutes of your scheduled rental time, that may not be doable.

For that reason, if you have somewhere to be I would push back your rental time by about 20 to 30 minutes to ensure that you have ample time for the vehicle to arrive and for you to get the keys.


You do have the option to select add-ons like a child safety seat, prepaid fuel/prepaid EV Charge, coolers, beach/snorkeling gear or camping gear for an additional charge.

Obviously, in Hawaii you’re probably spending a lot of time on the beach and so having all of your beach gear and snorkeling gear ready to go is a big plus.

One of the most expensive add-ons you may come across is a “guided trip.”

You can be taken along to local hotspots where your host will help with photography to provide you with valuable memories. Some of these guided trips can cost over $500 though so they are not for everybody.


Some cars offer early bird booking discounts and multi-day discounts. If you take a look at the pricing data points for the multi-day rentals, you can see some of these discounts reflected.


Your auto insurance may or may not cover you with Turo.

And if you typically rely on a credit card to provide you with primary rental car coverage, you most likely will NOT get that when riding with Turo.

So you may need to look into buying coverage for the car which can increase your cost anywhere from $20+ a day to $70. They offer three different plans (Minimum, Standard or Premier) and you can see the pricing details below.

You can also choose to decline the insurance all together.

Premier plan 

  • Cost is 65% to 100% of the trip price; minimum charge of $14/day.

Standard plan

  • Cost is 40% of the trip price; minimum charge of $12/day.

Minimum plan

  • Cost is 18% of the trip price when the trip price is more than $250; minimum charge of $10/day.
  • Cost is 25% of the trip price when the trip price is less than $250; minimum charge of $10/day.

Beware that if you are flying through the booking process a lot of the vehicles automatically add the premier insurance to the booking which could change the price dramatically!

Older vehicles

If you are on a budget there are usually plenty of older vehicles that are offered for a cheaper price; I’ve seen some up to 20 years old!

Obviously, that may come with a risk of a sub-par vehicle so be prepared for potential issues like the check engine light coming on. But if you’re willing to take a little bit of a risk, you could end up saving hundreds.

Trip fee

Don’t forget about the trip fee!

The trip fee is a percentage of the trip price. It’s calculated at checkout by Turo and varies dynamically based on the expected cost of each trip.

Several factors unique to each trip can influence the trip fee calculation, including the:

  • Vehicle’s value (a higher-value vehicle may incur a higher trip fee)
  • Lead time of booking (trips booked further in advance can lower the associated trip fee)
  • Trip duration (shorter trips contribute to a higher trip fee, while longer trips can help reduce the trip fee)

Delivery fees

If you don’t want to pick up your vehicle at the host’s location, you can have them deliver it to you at your hotel or Airbnb or wherever you’re staying.

The thing about getting the car delivered is that usually you will have to pay a delivery fee and those delivery fees can add up pretty quickly.

Here are some Turo delivery fees from HNL airport.

  • 4 door car (2021 Tesla Model 3) – $60
  • Convertible (2021 BMW Z4) – $50
  • Jeep Wrangler (2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited) – $75
  • Cheap car (2015 Nissan Altima) – $45

Parking fees at hotels

Parking fees at hotels in Hawaii can be really expensive in certain areas like Waikiki, Oahu. But then, on other islands like Kauai you may not have to pay for parking at all so it really varies based on the island and property.

Just don’t forget to factor in those prices and in case you’re wondering what the prices might look like here is the overnight parking rate for 10 popular hotels in Waikiki. (The self parking price is on the left and valet is on the right if available.)

  • Holiday Inn Express Waikiki – $45
  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort – $55 / $65
  • The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, Waikiki – $35 / $45
  • Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa, Waikiki Beach – $42 / $55
  • Halekulani Hotel – $50
  • The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach – $41.80
  • Sheraton Waikiki – $35 / $45
  • Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa – $45 / $50
  • Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort – $40
  • Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort And Spa – $50

Uber vs Turo

Before you make your booking it’s a good idea to think about if using Uber could be cheaper. We did an entire breakdown on Uber versus Turo in Hawaii that you can check out.

Basically, the findings boil down to the following:

If you plan on taking one or two day trips to a specific destination (and nowhere else) Uber can be the cheaper way to go, but if you plan on getting out pretty far from your hotel or if you think you’ll be making trips with multiple stops then renting a car through Turo can be much cheaper.

And if you have a party of five or more, renting a car through Turo can be significantly cheaper than UberXL.

With all of that out-of-the-way, below is the complete list of our data points.

We tested out pricing for one day rentals, three day rentals, and seven day rentals.

And to give you an accurate estimate we broke them down into five different vehicle classes. Keep in mind that all prices are without any type of insurance plan added or any type of other add-ons.

1 Day Rental


The Big island

  • 2022 Toyota Corolla – Hilo, HI – $90.85
  • 2011 Chevrolet Camero – Hilo, HI – $122.26
  • 2022 Kia Rio – Hilo, HI – $99.74
  • 2022 Subaru Impreza – Hilo, HI – $138.47
  • 2018 Nissan Altima – Kailua-Kona, HI – $78.80


  • 2019 Subaru Crosstrek – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $150.39
  • 2018 Ford Mustang – Kahului, HI – $121.66
  • 2020 Nissan Altima – Kahului, HI – $110.08
  • 2015 Mini Cooper Countryman – Kahului, HI – $126.27
  • 2021 Honda Accord – Wailuku, HI – $104.45


  • 2021 Toyota Corolla – Waipahu, HI – $100.79
  • 2017 Audi A4 – Aiea, HI – $83.88
  • 2018 Kia Optima – Pearl City, HI – $66.97
  • 2015 Nissan Altima – Pearl City, HI – $82.99
  • 2017 Jaguar XE – Aiea, HI – $115.29


  • 2013 Toyota Camry – Lihue, HI – $240.04
  • 2012 Mazda 3 – Lihue, HI – $228.72
  • 2012 Nissan Versa – Lihue, HI – $260.42
  • 2016 Kia Soul – Lihue, HI – $280.77


The Big Island

  • 2020 Honda CR-V – Hilo, HI – $114.13
  • 2021 Toyota 4Runner – Hilo, HI – $230.97
  • 2013 Toyota Sequoia – Hilo, HI – $164.96
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Hilo, HI – $204.01
  • 2021 Jeep Cherokee – Kailua-Kona, HI – $95.81


  • 2021 Subaru Forester – Haiku, HI – $120.55
  • 2017 Jeep Renegade – Haiku, HI – $105.23
  • 2017 BMW X1 – Kahului, HI – $132.60
  • 2022 Volkswagen Taos – Kahului, HI – $99.24
  • 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Wailuku, HI – $137.77


  • 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee – Waipahu, HI – $170.41
  • 2020 Jeep Wrangler – Aiea, HI – $138.76
  • 2016 Mercedes Benz GLC – Aiea, HI – $138.76
  • 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Mililani, HI – $131.08
  • 2017 Toyota 4Runner – Aiea, HI – $126.90


  • 2014 Toyota RAV4 – Koloa, HI – $176.93
  • 2021 Nissan Rogue – Lihue, HI – $185.49
  • 2022 Honda HR-V – Lihue, HI – $182.34
  • 2016 Kia Sorento – Anahola, HI – $185.49
  • 2020 Subaru Forester – Princeville, HI – $168.35


The Big Island

  • 2021 Toyota Tacoma – Kailua-Kona, HI – $156.88
  • 2022 Toyota Tacoma – Kailua-Kona, HI – $185.49
  • 2019 Toyota Tacoma – Waimea, HI – $204.01
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Kalaoa, HI – $283.64


  • 2020 Toyota Tacoma – Haiku, HI – $241.07
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Kahului, HI – $251.22
  • 2019 Chevy Silverado – Lahaina, HI – $184.55
  • 2020 Toyota Tacoma – Wailuku, HI – $183.42
  • 2018 Toyota Tacoma – Makawao, HI – $176.03


  • 2021 Chevrolet Colorado – Kaneohe, HI – $149.70
  • 2022 Chevrolet Silverado – Ewa Beach, HI – $139.62
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Ewa Beach, HI – $172.92
  • 2019 Ford F-150 – Honolulu, HI – $116.45
  • 2019 Toyota Tacoma – Pearl City, HI – $122.02


  • 2017 Toyota Tacoma – Kilauea, HI – $185.49
  • 2017 Toyota Tacoma – Kilauea, HI – $202.57
  • 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 – Lihue, HI – $185.49
  • 2014 Nissan Frontier – Kapaa, HI – $193.18
  • 2018 Toyota Tacoma – Kapaa, HI – $162.62


The Big Island

  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Kailua-Kona, HI – $185.49
  • 2015 Dodge Grand Caravan – Kalaoa, HI – $202.57
  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Kalaoa, HI – $229.85
  • 2016 Honda Odyssey – Kailua-Kona, HI – $411.23
  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Kailua-Kona, HI – $355.13


  • 2019 Honda Odyssey – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $143.51
  • 2014 Honda Odyssey – Kahului, HI – $148.95
  • 2011 Toyota Sienna – Kahului, HI – $184.55
  • 2019 Honda Odyssey – Lahaina, HI – $121.66


  • 2015 Nissan Quest – Nānākuli, HI – $92.41
  • 2020 Honda Odyssey – Kapolei, HI – $133.85
  • 2015 Toyota Sienna – Ewa Beach, HI – $160.33
  • 2017 Chrysler Pacifica – Aiea, HI – $126.90
  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Honolulu, HI – $171.50


  • 2010 Chrysler Town and Country – Lihue, HI – $241.18
  • 2012 Nissan Quest – Lihue, HI – $168.35


The Big Island

  • 2019 Honda Insight – Waimea, HI – $151.14
  • 2018 Tesla Model 3 – Volcano, HI – $287.54


  • 2021 Lexus RX Hybrid – Wailuku, HI – $258.80
  • 2018 Tesla Model 3 – Wailuku, HI – $125.11
  • 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid – Kahului, HI – $88.83
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe – Kihei, HI – $263.60
  • 2017 BMW i3 – Kihei, HI – $133.69


  • 2018 Tesla Model 3 – Honolulu, HI – $161.47
  • 2020 Toyota Prius Prime – Honolulu, HI – $151.14
  • 2017 Honda Accord Hybrid – Honolulu, HI – $144.23
  • 2021 Tesla Model 3 – Honolulu, HI – $116.75
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe – Mililani, HI – $166.87


  • 2010 Toyota Prius – Lihue, HI – $105.77
  • 2018 Lexus RX 450h – Lihue, HI – $249.51

3 Day Rental


The Big Island

  • 2021 Toyota Camry – Volcano, HI – $511.85
  • 2018 Kia Stinger – Hilo, HI – $553.58
  • 2022 Subaru Impreza – Hilo, HI – $399.50
  • 2018 BMW 3 Series – Waikoloa Village, HI – $561.90
  • 2021 Ford Mustang – Kahaluu-Keauhou, HI – $508.68


  • 2016 Chevrolet Malibu – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $239.42
  • 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $347.34
  • 2018 Honda Accord – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $330.70
  • 2021 Nissan Altima – Haiku, HI – $300.06
  • 2021 Nissan Sentra – Makawao, HI – $261.60


  • 2011 Mercedes Benz E Class – Waipahu, HI – $250.64
  • 2019 BMW 4 Series – Waipahu, HI – $247.36
  • 2019 Ford Mustang – Pearl City, HI – $333.03
  • 2021 Hyundai Accent – Pearl City, HI – $274.42
  • 2017 Jaguar XE – Aiea, HI – $332.01


  • 2018 Honda Accord – Lihue, HI – $405.22
  • 2014 Ford Fiesta – Koloa, HI – $436.39
  • 2021 Honda Civic – Kalaheo, HI – $466.68
  • 2022 Kia Forte – Lihue, HI – $464.17
  • 2015 Nissan Versa Note – Lihue, HI – $466.68


The Big Island

  • 2021 Toyota 4Runner – Volcano, HI – $795.76
  • 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe – Volcano, HI – $606.84
  • 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Volcano, HI – $669.96
  • 2017 Jeep Cherokee – Hilo, HI – $533.55
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Hilo, HI – $591.04


  • 2015 Honda CR-V – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $334.57
  • 2021 Subaru Forester – Haiku, HI – $280.68
  • 2019 Toyota 4Runner – Haiku, HI – $400.85
  • 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $411.06
  • 2021 Toyota 4Runner – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $367.32


  • 2022 Hyundai Tucson – Waipahu, HI – $411.28
  • 2020 Infinity QX60 – Mililani, HI – $447.41
  • 2016 Mercedes Benz GLC – Aiea, HI – $400.35
  • 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan – Honolulu, HI – $396.13
  • 2013 Ford Explorer – Honolulu, HI – $402.87


  • 2017 Toyota CR-V – Lihue, HI – $511.85
  • 2022 Toyota 4Runner – Lihue, HI – $561.90
  • 2022 Honda Pilot – Lihue, HI – $566.91
  • 2019 Nissan Pathfinder – Lihue, HI – $592.44
  • 2022 Mazda CX-5 – Lihue, HI – $570.24


The Big Island

  • 2021 Toyota Tacoma – Volcano, HI – $669.96
  • 2021 Nissan Frontier – Volcano, HI – $669.96
  • 2021 Ford Ranger – Hilo, HI – $561.62
  • 2020 GMC Canyon – Hilo, HI – $814.75
  • 2020 Jeep Gladiator – Holualoa, HI – $769.31


  • 2015 Toyota Tundra – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $534.19
  • 2017 Toyota Tacoma – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $434.30
  • 2020 Jeep Gladiator – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $663.24
  • 2017 Toyota Tacoma – Paia, HI – $569.17
  • 2021 Ford Ranger – Makawao, HI – $509.27


  • 2013 Chevrolet Avalanche – Honolulu, HI – $408.74
  • 2019 Chevrolet Silverado – Honolulu, HI – $436.49
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Ewa Beach, HI – $500.16
  • 2020 Toyota Tacoma – Aiea, HI – $361.57
  • 2020 Dodge Ram 1500 – Honolulu, HI – $368.32


  • 2019 Nissan Frontier – Kapaa, HI – $511.85
  • 2018 Toyota Tacoma – Kapaa, HI – $520.21
  • 2021 Chevrolet Colorado – Kapaa, HI – $583.55
  • 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 – Kapaa, HI – $636.76
  • 2015 Ford F-150 – Kalaheo, HI – $636.77


The Big Island

  • 2020 Toyota Sienna – Volcano, HI – $764.34
  • 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan – Hilo, HI – $623.47
  • 2019 Chrysler Pacifica – Hilo, HI – $617.65
  • 2015 Honda Odyssey – Kailua-Kona, HI – $570.24
  • 2022 Kia Carnival – Waikoloa Village, HI – $699.80


  • 2015 Honda Odyssey – Kahului, HI – $484.32
  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Kahului, HI – $484.32
  • 2022 Honda Odyssey – Kahului, HI – $464.33
  • 2017 Ford Transit Connect – Wailuku, HI – $417.58
  • 2021 Honda Odyssey – Kihei, HI – $467.67


  • 2019 Honda Odyssey – Ewa Beach, HI – $432.29
  • 2021 Kia Sedona – Wahiawa, HI – $504.33
  • 2015 Toyota Sienna – Ewa Beach, HI – $463.32
  • 2022 Kia Carnival – Honolulu, HI – $332.35
  • 2017 Toyota Sienna – Honolulu, HI – $456.62


  • 2013 Toyota Sienna – Kilauea, HI – $453.26
  • 2022 Kia Carnival – Koloa, HI – $466.68
  • 2016 Honda Odyssey – Kapaa, HI – $442.08
  • 2019 Kia Sedona – Lihue, HI – $591.04


The Big Island

  • 2018 Tesla Model 3 – Volcano, HI – $795.76
  • 2019 Honda Insight – Waimea, HI – $436.49
  • 2021 Tesla Model 3 – Kailua-Kona, HI – $633.77
  • 2022 Tesla Model Y – Kalaoa, HI – $827.83
  • 2014 Toyota Prius – Hilo, HI – $435.15


  • 2018 Honda Accord Hybrid – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $330.70
  • 2018 BMW 3 Series Hybrid – Waihee-Waiehu, HI – $449.30
  • 2021 Lexus RX Hybrid – Wailuku, HI – $564.30
  • 2018 Tesla Model 3 – Wailuku, HI – $402.05
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe – Kihei, HI – $652.60


  • 2018 BMW Series 5 Hybrid – Honolulu, HI – $451.56
  • 2021 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid – Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, HI – $470.03
  • 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid – Honolulu, HI – $470.03
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe – Mililani, HI – $482.89
  • 2019 Tesla Model 3 – Pearl City, HI – $513.29


  • 2021 Tesla Model 3 – Lihue, HI – $703.11
  • 2020 Kia Niro – Kilauea, HI – $595.04
  • 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid – Lihue, HI – $553.58
  • 2018 Chevrolet Volt – Lihue, HI – $435.15

7 Day Rental


The Big Island

  • 2022 Subaru Impreza – Hilo, HI – $911.00
  • 2010 Ford Mustang – Hilo, HI – $687.13
  • 2022 Subaru Outback – Hilo, HI – $649.92
  • 2018 Toyota Corolla – Hilo, HI – $841.67
  • 2021 Hyundai Elantra – Hilo, HI – $771.67


  • 2002 Lexus SC 430 – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $633.62
  • 2017 Honda Civic – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $581.42
  • 2017 Mazda MX-5 Miata – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $715.70
  • 2017 Hyundai Sonata – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $607.11
  • 2021 BMW 3 Series – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $802.18


  • 2021 Honda Accord – Waipahu, HI – $896.37
  • 2018 Hyundai Sonata – Mililani, HI – $876.35
  • 2016 Chevrolet Camero – Waipahu, HI – $803.11
  • 2017 Jaguar XE – Aiea, HI – $687.91
  • 2015 Cadillac XTS – Ewa Beach, HI – $803.11


  • 2018 Honda Accord – Lihue, HI – $829.33
  • 2021 Toyota Corolla – Lihue, HI – $1,131.87
  • 2020 Kia Rio – Lihue, HI – $1,131.87
  • 2021 Honda Civic – Kalaheo, HI – $1,064.73
  • 2015 Honda Fit – Kalaheo, HI – $995.61


The Big Island

  • 2021 Toyota 4Runner – Volcano, HI – $1,455.28
  • 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe – Volcano, HI – $1,110.77
  • 2019 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited – Volcano, HI – $1,378.83
  • 2017 Jeep Cherokee – Hilo, HI – $1,046.69
  • 2017 Acura MDX – Hilo, HI – $1,079.32


  • 2022 Toyota 4Runner – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $944.72
  • 2022 Honda Pilot – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $1,181.45
  • 2017 Volkswagon Tiguan – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $937.44
  • 2021 Jeep Renegade – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $914.11
  • 2021 Acura RDX – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $990.60


  • 2021 Hyundai Palisade – Wahiawa, HI – $1,095.42
  • 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee – Waipahu, HI – $1,074.26
  • 2018 Nissan Armada – Waipahu, HI – $1,090.60
  • 2018 Infinity QX80 – Aiea, HI – $1,070.67
  • 2021 Toyota RAV4 – Aiea, HI – $946.83


  • 2016 Jeep Patriot – Lihue, HI – $1,064.73
  • 2017 Honda CR-V – Lihue, HI – $1,110.77
  • 2014 Ford Explorer – Koloa, HI – $1,294.67
  • 2017 Chevrolet Equinox – Kalaheo, HI – $1,034.02
  • 2014 Mazda CX-5 – Kalaheo, HI – $841.67


The Big Island

  • 2021 Toyota Tacoma – Volcano, HI – $1,149.12
  • 2021 Nissan Frontier – Volcano, HI – $1,072.41
  • 2021 Ford Ranger – Hilo, HI – $1,111.92
  • 2020 Jeep Gladiator – Holualoa, HI – $1,760.52
  • 2022 Nissan Frontier – Waikoloa Village, HI – $1,306.54


  • 2020 Jeep Gladiator – Kahului, HI – $1,028.82
  • 2021 Ford Ranger – Makawao, HI – $1,162.38
  • 2021 Toyota Tacoma – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $1,210.05
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $1,210.05
  • 2015 Toyota Tundra – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $1,196.70


  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Ewa Beach, HI – $937.94
  • 2021 Ford Ranger – Kapolei, HI – $1,168.29
  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Ewa Beach, HI – $1,034.02
  • 2020 Toyota Tacoma – Waipahu, HI – $1,079.69
  • 2019 Chevrolet Silverado – Honolulu, HI – $995.60


  • 2021 Jeep Gladiator – Kapaa, HI – $1,371.19
  • 2021 Chevrolet Colorado – Kapaa, HI – $1,239.88
  • 2019 Toyota Tacoma – Kapaa, HI – $1,345.18
  • 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 – Kapaa, HI – $1,386.48
  • 2015 Ford F-150 – Kalaheo, HI – $1,378.83


The Big Island

  • 2020 Toyota Sienna – Volcano, HI – $1,309.98
  • 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan – Hilo, HI – $1,378.83
  • 2019 Chrysler Pacifica – Hilo, HI – $1,332.95
  • 2019 Honda Odyssey – Captain Cook, HI – $1,417.06
  • 2022 Kia Carnival – Kailua-Kona, HI – $1,608.01


  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Kahului, HI – $1,053.65
  • 2022 Honda Odyssey – Kahului, HI – $1,059.38
  • 2015 Honda Odyssey – Kahului, HI – $1,070.82
  • 2022 Kia Carnival – Haiku-Pauwela, HI – $1,162.38
  • 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan – Paia, HI – $1,028.82


  • 2022 Kia Carnival – Honolulu, HI – $1,049.37
  • 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan – Honolulu, HI – $1,020.58
  • 2021 Kia Sedona – Wahiawa, HI – $1,113.07
  • 2018 Toyota Sienna – Honolulu, HI – $1,103.88
  • 2016 Honda Odyssey – Pearl City, HI – $1,053.22


  • 2009 Mazda MAZDA5 – Lihue, HI – $1,110.77
  • 2013 Toyota Sienna – Hanalei, HI – $1,187.45
  • 2016 Honda Odyssey – Kapaa, HI – $1,023.05
  • 2019 Kia Sedona – Lihue, HI – $1,283.18


The Big Island

  • 2018 Tesla Model 3 – Volcano, HI – $1,730.02
  • 2019 Honda Insight – Waimea, HI – $995.60
  • 2019 Tesla Model 3 – Waikoloa Village, HI – $1,302.33
  • 2021 Toyota Camry – Kalaoa, HI – $841.67
  • 2021 Tesla Model 3 – Kailua-Kona, HI – $1,372.33


  • 2022 Hyundai Tucson Hybrid – Kahului, HI – $1,105.17
  • 2018 BMW 3 Series Hybrid – Waihee-Waiehu, HI – $1,025.60
  • 2018 Tesla Model S – Pukalani, HI – $1,393.78
  • 2019 Tesla Model 3 – Kahului, HI – $1,295.72
  • 2021 Lexus UX – Makawao, HI – $975.32


  • 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E – Honolulu, HI – $1,046.69
  • 2021 Tesla Model Y – Honolulu, HI – $1,136.02
  • 2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4xe – Mililani, HI – $1,051.13
  • 2019 Tesla Model 3 – Pearl City, HI – $1,114.51
  • 2018 BMW 5 Series Hybrid – Aiea, HI – $1,217.62


  • 2020 Kia Niro Hybrid – Kilauea, HI – $1,283.95
  • 2022 Ford Escape Hybrid – Lihue, HI – $1,053.22
  • 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid – Lihue, HI – $1,228.45
  • 2018 Chevrolet Volt – Lihue, HI – $972.54
  • 2020 Tesla Model 3 – Lihue, HI – $1,145.29

Final word

Turo can be an extremely convenient way to snag a rental vehicle in Hawaii. But you need to be aware of all of the fees that you could be hit with and be prepared to make a decision on add-ons like rental coverage.

This article should provide you with a good idea of how much you can expect to pay on your next trip to Hawaii!

How Many Miles Do You Cover When Driving Across the US?

In this article, we’re going to take a look at different distances required to travel from one end of the United States to another.

We will dissect the country into a handful of different routes to give you a true sense of all of the different ways to get across the US.

You’ll see how many miles are required travel east and west across the US as well as north and south. Plus, I’ll give you some suggestions on cities and sites to check out along the way.

How Many Miles Do You Cover When Driving Across the US?

Depending on which route you choose to take across the United States, you may have to cover anywhere from 2,448 miles to 3,662 miles when traveling east to west (or vice versa). This means that driving laterally across the United States could take anywhere from 36 hours to 56 hours!

Driving across the US vertically is a much shorter journey requiring you to cover about 1,384 miles if traveling north to south near the West Coast and 2,071 miles if you’re traveling up and down the East Coast.

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Breakdown of miles across the United States

Endpoint #1Endpoint #2RouteMilesTime
Jacksonville, FLSanta Monica, CALateral2,44836 hours
Virginia Beach, VASan Francisco, CALateral3,02645 hours
Eastport, MECape Flattery, WALateral3,57555 hours
Key West, FLCape Flattery, WADiagonal3,66256 hours
Imperial Beach, CAVan Buren, MEDiagonal3,43656 hours
Blaine, WAImperial Beach, CAVertical1,38422 hours
Key West, FLVan Buren, MEVertical2,07132 hours

The times given are based on you driving through nonstop.

So this means that if you took the shortest lateral mileage across the US, you would still be driving for a day and a half continuously!

There is so much to see and do along these routes that I would never recommend just driving straight through unless: 1) that is your specific goal or 2) you have to do so out of necessity.

Below, I’ll go into a little bit of depth for each of these routes to give you a sense of what you can expect and the type of cities and sites you’ll come across.

Lateral Routes (east and west)

Typically, when people ask how many miles across the US is they are talking about traveling from east to west or vice versa.

Because the US is such a large country full of so many highway networks, there are a few different ways you could travel laterally across the US.

We’ll take a look at three different routes.

Each of these routes will be vastly different in terms of the scenery and also with respect to the history.

The southern route (Florida to California)

  • Distance: 2,448 miles
  • Time: 36 hours
  • 8 states

Interstate 10 begins in Jacksonville, Florida, just west of the starting point for this measured route which we will officially begin at Jacksonville Beach.

This route across the United States is one of the most interesting because you can stay on one highway the entire time and it literally takes you from coast to coast. Pretty crazy.

The highway efficiency and shorter distance of around 2,450 miles makes this one of the most doable ways to drive across the US.

After starting on the Atlantic coast of Florida, this route runs through the Florida Panhandle where you could check out cities like Tallahassee and Pensacola, along with some beautiful Gulf Coast beaches.

You’ll make a very short trip through Alabama hitting up Mobile and then make a short ride through Mississippi as well.

New Orleans is not far off the route at all so it’s a perfect time to hit up “The Big Easy.”

You’ll also get taken to Baton Rouge, home to LSU and also a place where you will cross the mighty Mississippi River.

You’ll head through bayou country until you enter The Lone Star State and eventually arrive in Houston, Texas — the fourth largest city in the US.

From there, it’s on to historic San Antonio were you can take some time to visit the Alamo before heading through the beautiful Texas Hill Country which is a perfect spot to take in during the spring when the bluebonnets are popping.

Related: How Long Does It Take to Drive Across Texas? (Essential Tips)

Once you’re beyond the Hill Country, the scenery makes a dramatic change as you enter the desert of West Texas. Mountains soon emerge over the horizon and there’s nothing but highway and open space for miles upon miles.

West Texas is home to two national parks (Big Bend National Park and Guadalupe National Park) but they are a decent drive off the interstate so you would need to dedicate a lot of time to hit up those spots.

When you finally make your way to the end of Texas, you’ll arrive in El Paso and then make the ride through Las Cruces and the rest of southern New Mexico. White Sands National Park is just off the route and is a very tempting pit stop.

You’ll get to see what beautiful southern Arizona is all about as you head through the mountainous Sky Island region of Tucson (home to Saguaro National Park) and then you’ll be on to the sprawling city of Phoenix.

From there it’s a pretty barren drive until you arrive in California and approach Joshua Tree National Park.

You can check out Palm Springs and then make your way through Los Angeles where you will arrive at your final spot when you finally hit the Santa Monica Pier.

Related: 40 Places to See in The Western United States (Vacations, Landmarks)

Middle of the country

  • Distance: 3,026 miles
  • Time: 45 hours

This next route will take you from Virginia Beach, Virginia, to San Francisco, California, right through the middle of the country.

It kicks off with cities like Norfolk and Richmond and takes you on Interstate 64 right through Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. (If you’re a history buff, you’ll find lots of interesting side stops along the way.)

You’ll get a good dose of the Appalachian Mountains as you wind through Virginia and West Virginia en route to Kentucky.

Then it’s on to Missouri where you can visit St. Louis and Kansas City before heading through the Great Plains in Kansas.

From there, you can hit up Denver with an easy stop to the magnificent Rocky Mountain National Park. Enjoy the fresh mountain air and gorgeous scenery before venturing a little bit into Wyoming and then dropping down into Salt Lake City.

That’s a good time to pay a visit to the Golden Spike where the transcontinental railroad was completed and perhaps check out the Bonneville Salt Flats.

After Utah, you head west through Nevada on Interstate 80. There’s not too much going on at this stretch of Nevada but you’ll soon pass right by the stunning Lake Tahoe and then head to Sacramento and on to San Francisco.

The north route (Maine to Washington)

  • Distance: 3,575 miles
  • Time: 55 hours

Finally, if you start up north in Maine you could begin at Eastport, Maine, (the easternmost city in the US) and travel along northern states to the tip of Washington located at Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States.

This is a long but pretty phenomenal route to experience some of the most stunning national parks in the US and also it allows you to get a taste of some interesting cities like Boston and Chicago.

If you’re into colonial history there is plenty to see and explore.

If you’re willing to go a little bit off route, you can kick off this trip with a stop to the stunning Acadia National Park and be sure to indulge in a lobster roll or two as you head to Portland, Maine.

If you’re starting this road trip off in late September or early October, you have a chance to see some pretty stunning color change in Maine, upstate New York, and other states like New Hampshire and Vermont.

You’ll dip down and have the option of checking out historic Boston and Salem, Massachusetts, where you can re-trace the steps of the Salem witch trials.

You’ll then drive right through historic Albany, New York, before hitting up Syracuse and Buffalo which is just a stones throw away from Niagara Falls.

Albany, NY.

From there, you’ll be riding along Lake Erie through Cleveland, Toledo, and on through Chicago at the bottom of Lake Michigan.

Then it’s time to head up north through Madison, Wisconsin and through the bottom of Minnesota until you arrive in South Dakota.

You’ll be heading close to the Black Hills National Forest where you could make a pitstop at Mount Rushmore before heading into southern Montana. Yellowstone National Park is not too far to the south of you as well as Grand Teton National Park.

You’ll venture through Missoula and if you have the time you could always make a side trip to Glacier National Park.

Along interstate 90, you’ll get a little taste of Idaho before making your way to Spokane and seeing what Eastern Washington has to offer.

You have the option of checking out Seattle before heading through the stunning Olympic National Park and arriving at the tip of Cape Flattery.

Diagonal routes (corner to corner)

If you’re someone interested in pushing the limits you might be looking at routes going from one corner of the country to another.

For example, you could travel from the tip of Florida to the Pacific Northwest corner of Washington. Or you could venture from the bottom of Southern California to the northern tip of Maine.

These are going to be some of the longest routes you can put together when traveling across the United States.

Let’s take a look at these two routes.

Key West to Cape Flattery (Florida to Washington)

  • Distance: 3,662 miles
  • Time: 56 hours

Traveling from the southernmost point of the mainland US to the most northwest point at Cape Flattery is an adventure of extremes and honestly a pretty impressive accomplishment.

You are essentially driving from the Caribbean to the Canadian Rockies, which is an epic transition to say the least.

Starting from Florida, this is a pretty fun drive as you get to begin in paradise in the Florida Keys, crossing the Seven Mile Bridge, and then hitting up hotspot cities like Miami and Orlando on your way to Atlanta, Georgia.

From there you have more interesting cities to see like Nashville, Tennessee, and then you’ll begin your journey west through St. Louis and Kansas City, as you join on Interstate 90.

That gives you a chance to check out big-name national parks like Yellowstone National Park and sites like Mount Rushmore as well as the others mentioned above on I-90.

The only major drawback to this route is that you miss out on what the Southwest has to offer but in terms of the diversity of terrain, you’re gonna be covering a lot on this trip!

California to Maine

  • Distance: 3,436 miles
  • Time: 56 hours

On the opposite side of this extreme is heading from the tip of Southern California to the northeastern most tip of Maine, near Van Buren.

This journey begins at the border of the US and Mexico at Friendship Park of the Californias in Imperial Beach, where you can see an interesting border fence that protrudes out into the Pacific Ocean.

You’ll travel along Interstate 8 which runs close to the border of Mexico until you get closer to the Phoenix area where you will head north through some beautiful forest regions.

Interstate 40 will take you to Petrified Forest National Park and run through Albuquerque, New Mexico, on your way to Amarillo, Texas and then on to Oklahoma City and Tulsa.

From there you’ll get to hit up cities like St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Columbus, Ohio. Then you follow Interstate 90 to New England on the same route mentioned above.

Once again, if you’re doing this route during the fall the White Mountains in New Hampshire will be a perfect place to explore as you approach the Canadian border.

Vertical routes (north and south)

It’s probably less common but another way to travel across the US is to travel north to south or vice versa.

These routes will not be as long as traveling east and west but they still are going to take some time for you to knock out.

Here are a few north and south routes across the US:

Blaine to Friendship Park of the Californias

  • Distance: 1,384 miles
  • Time: 22 hours

This is an interesting route because you can begin at the border of the US and Canada and head all the way down to the border of the US and Mexico. Just like the Interstate 10 route above, this route allows you to stay on one single highway the entire time (I-5).

However, it almost feels like a crime to not drive along the stunning Pacific coast so if you chose to make this drive I almost certainly would add on several hours to drive along Highway One for at least a portion of it.

If you decided to hug most of the coastline you could easily add on 10 hours to this route so it does take quite a bit of time but it will be worth it!

Florida to Maine

  • Distance: 2,071 miles
  • Time: 32 hours

Traveling north to south across the US along the East Coast is a longer journey. You are looking at about 32 hours to get from the bottom of the Florida Keys to the top of Maine. There’s a lot of history along this way so this is a great route for history buffs!

Final word

There are quite a few different ways to drive across the United States. But as you can see, you’re most likely looking at around 36 hours to 55 hours depending on which direction you choose to conquer. My advice would be to move at as slow a pace as your lifestyle and budget will allow.

Mt Lemmon Ski Valley Sky Ride Review [2022]

Mt Lemmon is one of the primary attractions in Tucson, Arizona.

There’s a million different ways to explore Mt Lemmon but one of the coolest ways to check out the scenery is to book a ride on the Ski Valley Sky Ride. In this article, I’ll give you an idea what to expect when riding the Ski Valley Sky Ride (outside of ski season).

Mt Lemmon Ski Valley Sky Ride

The Ski Valley Sky Ride is a ski lift ride that lasts approximately 30 minutes round-trip. It offers sweeping views near the summit of Mount Lemmon and takes you up on a mountain ridge over 9,000 feet in elevation where you can explore different viewpoints and venture down different trails.

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Mt Lemmon Ski Valley Sky Ride Prices

The Mt Lemmon Ski Valley Sky Ride is open every day except for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The prices for the sky ride are below:

  • Adult (18-64): $15
  • Seniors (65 and up): $12
  • Military: $12
  • Youth (13-17): $12
  • Children (4-12): $10
  • Children 3 and under, free

Related: Titan Missile Museum Review | (Tucson, AZ)

You can purchase your tickets at the Motherlode Gift Shop, were you can also find souvenirs and items like beanies, gloves, stuff animals, etc.

It’s also next to the Miner’s Sweet Tooth fudge shop where you can purchase fudge and Grub Stake where you can grab hot food items like pizza.

If you’re more interested in sitting down at a restaurant there is the Iron Door pretty close by, which is an American restaurant located near the entrance of Ski Valley.

Related: Mount Lemmon Hotel Review (Summerhaven)

Mt Lemmon Ski Valley Sky Ride experience

As you head up Mount Lemmon, you need to take the turn towards Ski Valley on E Ski Run Road. Just look for the sign for Ski Valley and make sure that you don’t head towards Summerhaven.

Once you get up there, you should be able to find parking in a pretty good sized parking lot. (If you need to go to the bathroom they have portable toilets up there.)

To purchase your tickets head inside the Motherlode Gift Shop.

Tickets will be good for a round-trip ride which will take about 30 minutes total.

You’ll lineup at the base station and handover your ticket stubs and then two people can be seated in each ski lift chair.

Related: Loews Ventana Canyon Resort Review |Tucson, Arizona

They space out the rides to optimize the balance and so there may be 3 to 4 ski lift chairs between each person or couple riding. This is an added plus in my opinion because it contributes to a quieter experience.

When it is your time to board, you’ll be called to stand on a line and the chair will come up behind you without stopping (unless you’re having issues).

You’ll then sit down on it and the tip bar will be pushed down which acts as sort of your seatbelt. You can rest your feet on the bar below you or you can simply let them dangle — it’s up to you.

Tip: Keep your legs pointed towards the edge of the seat so that you don’t get your knee knocked by the bar that comes down in the middle.

Mt Lemmon Ski Valley Sky Ride

It’s a pretty smooth ride up to the top but it may occasionally pause due to people getting on or off. You also might experience a slight bounce but nothing too scary.

Also, you’ll find signs reminding you to not bounce the chair yourself and this is for your own good.

It’s a very peaceful and quiet ride as well which is perfect for taking in the beautiful forest scenery with towering pines and fir trees.

Mt Lemmon Ski Valley Sky Ride

As you admire the vegetation, it feels like you’ve been instantly transported to Colorado which is one of the coolest things about living in the Tucson area.

Mt Lemmon Ski Valley Sky Ride view

Be sure to say hello to the bear if you spot him!

Even if it is warm at the base of the mountain when you begin your drive up, temperatures can be quite cool and breezy at the ski lift. So I would recommend wearing some type of jacket especially if you are prone to get cold.

Once you arrive at the top you’ll need to push up the tip bar as you approach the station.

If there are two people in the chair, each person will step off towards the direction that they are seated on. So for example, the person sitting on the left steps off to the left and the person sitting on the right steps off to the right.

A staff member will be up there to assist you if needed but you can just walk off the boarding platform once you’ve exited the chair.

(If you don’t want to hop off you can just stay in your chair and head back down but I would recommend hopping off just to explore a little bit.)

Mt Lemmon Ski Valley Sky Ride

At the top, you’ll be able to walk along the ridgeline which has great views of Tucson.

You can see all of the surrounding mountain ranges like the Rincon Mountain and Santa Rita Mountains, including the tallest peak in the area Mount Wrightson.

There will be a dirt path you can walk along that will lead to a nice overlook and also lead you to different trailheads. This area was recently affected by a bad fire in 2020 so you’ll also see some of the burned areas.

The wind can start to pick up once you are up on the ridge so again a jacket really does come in handy.

If you want to do a hike, you can choose from several different trails.

A few things to keep in mind about these trails.

First, as just mentioned a major wildfire made its way through here so some of the trails are still recovering. You might have to deal with ash and loose dirt which can be a little bit of a problem on steep terrain. For that reason, some of the trails might be closed whenever you arrive.

Second, because you are pretty much starting at the top of the mountain these trails are going to lead you down and up. It will be similar to a canyon hike and so keep in mind that for every step you take down hill you will also need to head back up.

The Meadow and Mount Lemmon Trail #5 Loop is a pretty easy and short trail you can do which will not require you to make a lot of preparation.

One of my favorite trails is the Marshall Gulch Trail/Aspen Trail. You can access the trail from the top of the ski lift but it’s much better to start this at a different trailhead located at the end of North Sabino Canyon Creek Road (near the Marshall Gulch Picnic Area).

If you want to do a strenuous trail consider the Lemmon Lookout, Wilderness of Rocks, and Mount Lemmon Trail Loop. It’s about 9 miles round-trip with approximately 2,300 feet elevation gain.

Those are only a couple of trails you can begin from this area though as there are dozens of trails that go out in all different directions.

If you want to go to the very top of Mount Lemmon you need to book some type of tour that will take you up there.

They have some really cool astronomy stations and telescopes and they offer experiences to the public which you can book in advance.

Also, you can take a mountain bike back down although that is considered a very advanced route so only very experienced mountain bikers should attempt that.

Mt Lemmon Ski Valley Sky Ride view
Mt Lemmon Ski Valley Sky Ride view summer

Final word

The Mt Lemmon Ski Valley Sky Ride is a nice little attraction, perfect for escaping the desert heat. You’ll get to experience nature in a unique way and take in some great views from over 9,000 feet in elevation!

Trinity Site Open House Guide (New Mexico)

Over the years of turning out content for this blog, I’ve visited a lot of historical sites but I’ve never visited a site quite like the Trinity Site in New Mexico.

It’s an ultra-remote site barely ever open to the public and it’s home to one of the most pivotal moments in mankind’s history.

If you have any type of interest in the atomic era, this is a bucket-list worthy destination for sure.

In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting the Trinity Site’s open house.

What is the Trinity Site?

The Trinity Site is where the first nuclear bomb exploded on July 16, 1945 at 5:29 AM mountain war time. Two days out of the year there is an open house that allows the public to visit the site along with other related sites like the McDonald Ranch House.

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How to visit the Trinity Site

It is free to visit the Trinity Site but you can only visit the site two days out of the year, which is usually the first Saturday of April and October. However, sometimes they do change the dates around a little bit.

There are three main ways that you can visit the Trinity Site.

Alamogordo Caravan

One way to experience the Trinity Site is to take part in the Alamogordo Caravan.

Line up for the caravan begins at 7:00am at the Tularosa High School Athletic Field parking lot and the tour will enter the missile range through the Tularosa Gate at 8:00am and arrive at Trinity Site around 10am.

It is only open to the first 125 vehicles that show up. 

The journey is 85 miles one-way to Trinity Site.

Stallion Gate

The other way to experience the Trinity Site (which is the way that we did it) is to simply arrive at the Stallion Gate. This gate is located on the north side of the missile range on U.S. highway 380, 12 miles east of San Antonio, NM.

The Stallion Gate Hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and the Trinity Site closes promptly at 3:30 p.m

Once you show up at the military testing site, you’re not allowed to take any photos until you arrive inside the Trinity site so keep that in mind.

It’s about a 30 minute drive from the Stallion Gate to the parking lot for the Trinity Site.

At the Stallion Gate, you’ll go through a security checkpoint where every passenger 18 years and older will need to show an ID and declare that they are not bringing in weapons or any illegal items. (It only takes a few seconds to get through.)

Once you arrive at the parking area, military personnel will direct you to your specific parking spot.

Related: New Mexico Safety Corridors Explained 

Book a tour

You can also book a tour to get you there.

For example, the New Mexico Museum of Space History offers a package deal where you can get a bus ride to and from the site, some snacks, and access to the museum.

We checked out the museum and thought that it was a pretty well done space museum. They also have a small exhibit on Trinitite which was cool to see.

Where to stay

You might consider staying in Albuquerque, New Mexico, or in Alamogordo which is where we stayed because we decided to explore the New Mexico Museum of Space History and White Sands National Park the next day.

If you’re headed to Albuquerque, be sure to check out The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History and consider adding Los Alamos as an additional stop.

Los Alamos was the headquarters for the Manhattan Project and they still have a couple of museums you can check out like the Los Alamos History Museum and the Bradbury Science Museum.

Trinity Site history

To fully grasp and appreciate the history of the Trinity Site it helps to understand how it fits into the overall efforts of creating the atomic bomb.

The history of the atomic bomb begins in Berlin, Germany when in 1938, scientists discovered how to split the nucleus of the uranium atom (fission).

This discovery came close to the beginning of World War II when Adolf Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939.

The breakthrough in fission created serious worry that the Nazis would get their hands on a nuclear weapon which would obviously not be ideal to say the least.

Concerned Hungarian physicists helped write a letter to President Roosevelt (FDR), signed by none other than Albert Einstein, to warn the US about the prospect of an “extremely powerful” Nazi atomic bomb.

After that, it didn’t take long for FDR to authorize a top-secret project to begin researching the atomic bomb.

The initiative went through a few name changes but ended up as the: Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD).

Things took off after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 when the US found itself involved in World War II with a formal declaration of war on both Japan and Germany.

President Roosevelt authorized the Manhattan Project on December 28, 1942 and on the 18th floor of 270 Broadway in New York City, the Manhattan Project began.

General Leslie Groves was appointed to lead the Manhattan Project after just just finishing the completion of the Pentagon.

Groves went on to recruit Robert Oppenheimer, an instructor at the University of California at Berkeley and a bit of an odd selection given his lack of managerial experience and associations to communism via family members.

But he proved to be an ideal candidate and an excellent recruiter of scientific talent.

The Manhattan project sought to create atomic bombs from two substances: uranium and plutonium.

For uranium, they were focused on acquiring U-235 and they built a huge complex and town in Oak Ridge, Tennessee to accommodate 30,000 workers.

For Plutonium, the Hanford Engineer Works produced plutonium at a site along the Columbia River in Washington state.

They also needed a place to develop and test the bombs.

They wanted somewhere secret and remote but still appealing enough to attract renowned scientists all over the world so they went with Los Alamos, New Mexico.

On January 1, 1943, the Los Alamos Laboratory — known as Project Y — was formally established.

And a few months later, the University of California signed a contract with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to operate the secret laboratory.

They once again built an entire city just for the purpose of the Manhattan Project and hundreds of people would arrive to the city with no clear idea as to what they were actually building.

(Pretty much only scientific personnel had an idea of what they were doing.)

Questions were highly discouraged and on paper the city didn’t actually exist.

Many experiments were done as the teams collaborated to construct the bombs and waiting for the nuclear material to arrive. At some point, though, it became clear that the plutonium bomb was going to be an issue.

The issue was that creating an explosion with plutonium was a much more complicated process.

The scientist had to create an entirely different type of mechanism to initiate the chain reaction and that’s when they came up with implosion.

The implosion-type nuclear weapon, “held a core of subcritical plutonium which would reach criticality when high explosives surrounding the core detonated causing the core to compress instantly.”

The creation of this new type of work and was so challenging that it required bringing in a lot more scientists. Unfortunately, when bringing in more talent at least one Russian spy made his way into the team.

The team would ultimately make progress but unexpected challenges arose in April 1945 and the work was interrupted when FDR died in office.

Shockingly, the Vice President Harry Truman did not even know about the Manhattan Project when he took office!

A month later, on May 7, 1945, Germany would surrender but the war was still going strong in the Pacific Theater and an atomic weapon was being considered for use against the Empire of Japan.

The allies had battered the Empire of Japan’s military down to a shadow of what it had been before but casualties were still running very high.

But before any bombs would be dropped, some testing needed to be done.

Testing at the Trinity Site

Back in September 1944, around the time nuclear material was arriving, New Mexico’s Alamogordo Bombing and Gunnery Range (aka the Trinity Site) had been selected as the the test location.

It was located about 210 miles south of Los Alamos, and in November 1944 construction of the base camp began.

All of the components of the uranium atomic bomb had been tested giving scientists the mathematical certainty they needed to know that the bomb would work.

But because the plutonium bomb was more complex they needed a test run to ensure that it would work.

The plutonium bomb set to be tested at the Trinity Site was known as “Gadget.”

The core of the bomb consisted of a grapefruit-sized ball of plutonium and was delivered to the McDonald Ranch House on July 11, 1945 and the bomb was assembled on July 13, 1945.

The bomb, a large 6-foot sphere covered with wires and patched up with tape, was then hoisted up a 100-foot steel tower for the test.

At the time, none of the scientists truly knew what was going to happen. In fact, many thought the bomb would be a dud.

On the day of the test, the weather did not cooperate at first and the team postponed the test until the skies cleared up a little bit.

Then at 5:29:45 a.m. Mountain War Time on July 16, 1945, first atomic bomb was tested.

After the bomb exploded, clouds of bright reds and purples filled the sky up to 40,000 feet high. People said they felt the warmth of the sun.

Local newspapers were told that an ammunition depot had exploded which had resulted in the spectacular display but those at the site knew the truth: humankind had entered the atomic age.

The Trinity site

Ground zero

Ground Zero is about a quarter mile away from the parking lot so you have to walk a little bit to get there.

trinity site

Once you arrive, you’ll see a monument towering in the middle.

Erected in 1965, The Trinity Monument is a lava-rock obelisk about 12 feet (3.7 m) high that marks the explosion’s hypocenter.

Crowds gather around the monument pretty quickly so you might need to exercise some patience to get a photo.

trinity site monument

Right next to the obelisk, you can find the remains of the 100 foot steel tower that hoisted Gadget.

trinity site steel tower remnants

Along the perimeter of Ground Zero, you’ll find photos hanging from the fence that will give you some insight into everything going on at the time of the test. It’s best to start from right to left when viewing these.

There’s a structure that covers some of the original soil from the test but sand and dust got in and covered up the original soil so the viewing window has been closed.

trinity site

There’s also a bomb casing that I believe was going to be used for future atomic bombs. It’s almost identical to the casing used for the fat man bomb which was dropped on Nagasaki.

trinity site monument fatman bomb casing


Trinitite is a radioactive green glass-like substance that covered the depressed area where the explosion took place after the test.

There’s different explanations as to how the trinitite was formed.

The simple and long-held explanation is that the heat simply heated the sand until it became glass.

One hypothesis is that the explosion brought pieces of sand and rock into the fireball and liquefied the pieces which eventually fell down like rain into the crater and hardened.

I’m not sure which explanation might be more accurate but I think it’s safe to say that it had a lot to do with the heat from the explosion.

trinity site trinitite

Most of the trinity it is light green but other pieces are slightly different colors. Some are black and others look slightly red and that’s because those contain elements that were vaporized during the test.

For example, the black pieces contain elements from the steel tower and the red pieces contain elements from the copper in the wires.

If you stroll around Ground Zero and look closely at the ground it won’t be very difficult to find pieces of trinitite.

They possess background levels of radiation and you are okay to touch them but probably not a good idea to do something stupid with them like swallow them. It’s also a federal crime to remove them from the property.

You’ll also want to stop by the trinitite fueling station. Here, you can get a close look at trinitite and also use a geiger counter to detect the radiation levels of the trinitite.

trinity site trinitite

McDonald Ranch House

The McDonald Ranch House is where they assembled the bomb on July 13, 1945. Built in 1913 by Franz Schmidt, a German immigrant and acquired by the McDonald family in the 1930s, the ranch was eventually taken over by the government in 1942.

In order to get there, you need to head to the bus stop which is located right by the parking lot. It’s only about a 5 to 10 minute bus ride to get to the ranch house. Keep in mind that dogs are not allowed on the bus unless they are service animals.

When you arrive, you can simply wander through the McDonald Ranch House at your own pace. There should be somebody inside that can help answer any questions you might have and who can show you around.

They also had a table with photographs set out in front so you can learn a little bit more about the structure.

McDonald Ranch House

The northeast room was designated the assembly room where they had work benches and tables.

McDonald Ranch House Assembly room

To keep all of the sand and dust from ruining the instruments, they covered the windows and walls with plastic. In fact, you can still see some of the nails that were used to seal up the windows.

McDonald Ranch House Assembly room door

As mentioned above, the plutonium core was delivered to the ranch house on July 11, 1945 and it was assembled on July 13, 1945.

The explosion occurred only 2 miles (3.2 km) away and it blew most of the home’s windows out but did not significantly damage the structure.

Instead, it was the years of rain water leaking through the roof that was responsible for the deterioration.

In 1984 it was restored by the National Park Service to appear as it did on July 12, 1945


Near the main parking lot you’ll see Jumbo which is a large structure which was once the heaviest object to ever be transported by rail.

The 25-foot jumbo container was initially going to be used to contain the plutonium with its 14 inch thick walls in the event of a botched explosion.

However, after they realized that they would have plenty of plutonium for additional bombs they didn’t need to use jumbo for the explosion.

So they hoisted it from a tower about 800 yards away from ground zero and while that tower would be vaporized during the explosion, jumbo would remain intact.

While they did not use it for this explosion, it was used on April 16, 1946, when an Army ordnance team detonated eight 500 lb bombs in the bottom of the steel container.

trinity site jumbo

Food and souvenirs

You’ll also be able to find food and souvenirs at the Trinity site.

Souvenirs range from about $3 to $20 and they have a lot of the typical stuff like magnets, stickers, patches, and T-shirts.

As for food, they’ll have breakfast burritos, hamburgers, hotdogs, and some other snacks. I believe the registers should take credit cards but I would bring cash just in case.

Also, they do have bathrooms which are a little bit of a walk from the parking lot.

Final word

Visiting the Trinity Site is not very easy because it is only open two days out of the year and it’s basically in the middle of nowhere.

But it is still absolutely worth planning out a visit because it’s hard to find a location that compares to the Trinity Site in terms of its importance to the history of mankind.

New Mexico Safety Corridors Explained [2022]

If you’ve ever done a road trip through the southwest and driven through New Mexico you’ve probably noticed safety corridor signs along the highway.

As someone who lives in Arizona and constantly goes on road trips through New Mexico, I’ve certainly noticed them all over the state.

But what exactly do the signs mean and what do you need to know about them?

In this article, I will break down exactly what these safety corridors are and provide you with all of the information that you need to know about them.

What is a New Mexico safety corridor?

A safety corridor is a stretch of highway that has been deemed to have an increased risk of traffic accidents. In these zones, penalties for violating traffic laws increase.

For example, in New Mexico you may have to pay double the traffic fines for violations such as speeding, texting while driving, driving under the influence (DUI), failing to indicate a lane change, etc.

Another characteristic of these corridors is that they have a zero tolerance policy for infractions.

So if you’re the type of person who often gets lucky with law officers and gets off with a warning, that probably will NOT happen if you get pulled over in a safety corridor.

It’s also possible that you might notice an increased presence of highway patrol officers inside a safety corridor. Both state police officers and local officers may play a role in enforcement.

In some safety corridors you might see signs encouraging you to use your head lights. These seem to be optional recommendations and I don’t believe you’ll be ticketed for failing to turn on your lights.

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

New Mexico Safety Corridor sign

Where are the New Mexico safety corridors?

The safety corridor program in New Mexico started around 2002 and as a result you can find the safety corridors in many different regions of New Mexico, including on interstate highways (I-10, I-40, I-25) and also on state highways (NM-128, etc.).

The New Mexico Department of Transportation divides the state into six districts and each district will have recommendations for different stretches of highway that could qualify as safety corridors.

For example, below is an older map of few districts with certain highways marked as higher risk. As you can see, some stretches are in red indicating that they are highest risk while orange and yellow are lower risk.

According to the New Mexico policy, areas with 10 or more injury or fatal crashes per five miles are closely examined and the top 10 to 15 roadways per district are then ranked.

The New Mexico DOT will then work with local officials to get opinions on what should be done and what areas might be impacted the most by designating them a safety corridor. The process then goes through a district engineer and a review of things like signage and equipment.

A public awareness campaign is a part of the process as well.

Related: McGinn’s PistachioLand – World’s Largest Pistachio (New Mexico) Review

New Mexico Safety Corridor map 2011

An area can be designated a safety corridor based on increased traffic accidents but also other risks like the terrain, weather, increase in drunk drivers, aggressive driving, speeding, and ignoring traffic signs.

Often times, these safety corridors exist where you see a high volume of 18 wheelers. In some instances, truckers might make up close to 80% of the traffic on that stretch of highway.

Since traffic accidents involving automobiles and 18 wheelers can be so much more dangerous, it’s no surprise that these segments of the road make up safety corridors.

Keep in mind that certain stretches of highway may become more or less dangerous as time goes by. Therefore, the safety corridors can change over time.

A safety corridor might be based on the data from the last 3 to 5 years and will probably run for at least three years. After three years, the safety corridor could be “decommissioned.” At that point, another stretch of roadway will likely fill its place.

Keep tabs on the New Mexico Department of Transportation to hear about announcements of new safety corridors.

New Mexico Safety Corridor sign

How to tell if you are in a New Mexico safety corridor

It’s generally pretty easy to tell if you are driving through a New Mexico safety corridor. If you are a reasonably alert driver you should notice the New Mexico safety corridor signs on the side of the road.

Not all of the signs look the same, though.

Some of the signs will be posted on top of speed limit signs but others will be standalone signs.

So you should not look for one specific shape or size but instead focus on the text of the sign.

Also, you should see a sign telling you that you have reached the end of a New Mexico safety corridor.

There is no standard length when it comes to how long a safety corridor is in New Mexico. For example, you could go through one that is a short as 7 miles or 40+ miles.

Typically, you’re probably looking at about 15 miles, though.

States tend to try to avoid having too many safety corridors because they will soon lose their effectiveness if essentially every highway is deemed a safety risk.

Check out: Buc-ee’s Ultimate Guide (Locations & Facts)

New Mexico Safety Corridor sign

Criticisms of the safety corridors

Critics of the safety corridors feel like these are just money grabs for the state.

Basically, the state could set up a safety corridor on a popular commuter route where drivers are regularly driving over the speed limit.

At that point, officers have more justification to issue citations for less egregious offenses than they would outside of a safety corridor. For example, it might be more common to get pulled over when going only five to ten over the speed limit.

On top of that, because the fines can be doubled they are able to generate more revenue.

Regardless of how you feel about the corridors though, the fact is you could be paying double for traffic infractions so it is best to abide by the law as best you can while in these zones.

The big question is do these safety corridors actually work?

The overall goal is to reduce crashes and fatalities on these segments by at least 20% but it’s hard to find recent data that shows if that goal has been met on the various safety corridors.

It’s also worth pointing out that New Mexico is not the only state that has safety corridors.

You can also find them or a close variation of them in states like: Alaska, California, Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, and others.

Final word

You can find safety corridors in almost every part of New Mexico. They usually have a zero tolerance policy and traffic fines can double so you definitely don’t want to push things when driving through these zones. Also, these can change every few years so you have to keep your eyes open to make sure you know where they currently are.

McGinn’s PistachioLand – World’s Largest Pistachio (New Mexico) Review

Most visitors to Alamogordo, New Mexico are coming to explore the beautiful rolling dunes at White Sands National Park.

But only about 30 minutes away there is another unique attraction which is the world’s largest pistachio found at McGinn’s PistachioLand (aka the New Mexico pistachio farm).

Below, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about visiting McGinn’s PistachioLand including where to find it and what to expect whenever you arrive.

What is McGinn’s PistachioLand?

PistachioLand is a famous pitstop near Alamogordo, New Mexico.

It’s home to the worlds largest pistachio and also a country store where you can buy various souvenirs, snacks, and of course pistachios. You can enjoy a refreshing treat at the ice cream parlor, partake in wine tasting, and if you have more time even go on a tour of the farm.

It’s a worthwhile pitstop if you are in the area on a long road trip although for some people it’s now a primary destination. Keep reading below to find out more about this unique attraction!

Tip: Use the free app WalletFlo to help you travel the world for free by finding the best travel credit cards and promotions!

Where is McGinn’s PistachioLand?

McGinn’s PistachioLand is located at: 7320 US-54 #70, Alamogordo, NM 88310.

It’s about 10 minutes from Alamogordo, New Mexico and about 30 minutes from White Sands National Park. The open hours are 10 AM to 5 PM.

They also have a satellite location at #37 Highway 82 Alamogordo, NM 88310.

Tip: If you’re looking for hotels near PistachioLand, your best bet will probably be to stay in Alamogordo.

McGinn’s PistachioLand Experience

There’s a few different ways you can enjoy your time at McGinn’s PistachioLand.

Depending on what you choose to do, you may want to spend anywhere from five minutes to 45 minutes.

The world’s largest pistachio

One of the most popular attractions here is the world’s largest pistachio, which stands 30-feet tall.

Just in case you were wondering, this towering nut is NOT a real pistachio.

Instead, it’s a large monument dedicated to the memory of Thomas Michael McGinn who passed away in 2007.

He was the founder of the Pistachio Tree Ranch which is where he created his legacy in New Mexico.

The idea of the pistachio monument was thought of by his son in 2008 and built by Bar-M Construction. It was dedicated in May 2009.

the Worlds largest pistachio

The world’s largest pistachio has been featured in TV shows and movies like This Must Be The Place so this is a legit famous attraction.

It’s close proximity to the road and easy and free access, make it a worthwhile site to check out in my opinion.

Plus, it’s an irresistible photo op.

the Worlds largest pistachio at McGinn's PistachioLand

Right next to the giant pistachio there are a few picnic tables that are perfect for taking a break on. Go ahead and stretch your legs after hours on the open road.

You could bring your own picnic here to relax in a little bit of shade or you could partake in some ice cream or other snack from the ice cream parlor to cool down.

The parking can be somewhat limited during busy times such as on weekends so sometimes you might have to wait for a spot to open. But people tend to be in and out at this place so it should not be difficult for you to find a spot eventually.

The ice cream

One of the most popular things to do when visiting is to try out some pistachio ice cream. All of the ice cream served here is Blue Bell so you know it’s gonna hit the spot.

If you’re kind of suspect about how pistachio ice cream will taste I encourage you to take a leap of faith and try it out because you will likely be pleasantly surprised. It has a strong almond taste which rounds out the faint pistachio flavor very well.

If you’re not in the mood to experiment with a new flavor they have lots of other popular flavors you might feel more comfortable with.

Once you settle on a flavor, can choose to have your ice cream served in a cup or in a waffle cone or waffle bowl.

We decided to go with a cup of pistachio ice cream. However, I kind of regret not trying the cones because I think they are also pistachio flavored?

McGinn's PistachioLand blue bell pistachio ice cream

We also decided to try out one of the XL pistachio cookies. They were not warm and soft cookies to my disappointment but still pretty tasty and definitely on the huge side.

McGinn’s Country Store

McGinn’s PistachioLand is like a cross between a Buc-ees and the Dole Plantation in Hawaii with the McGinn’s Country Store resembling the former.

McGinn's Country Store entrance

Inside, you’ll find a lot of souvenirs including all of the usual suspects like magnets, mugs, keychains, shot glasses, etc. And given the proximity to Roswell, it’s no surprise that you find in abundance of alien-themed objects.

McGinn's Country Store souvenirs

You’ll also find a lot of different types of t-shirts and apparel. To my surprise, some of the shirts actually looked like something you would care to wear out in public. Beyond shirts you’ll also find hats, bags, and more.

McGinn's Country Store souvenirs

There’s also a lot of treats that will tempt you including some interesting Candy Club treats. Peanut butter malt balls tempted us and it looked like they had a seasonal collection of candies like happy Easter eggs and mint bunny bark.

One of the most popular sweet items is the pistachio brittle which we did not get the chance to try but a lot of people apparently rave about it.

McGinn's Country Store candy

If you’re more into savory foods they also have beef jerky and a large variety of things like salsa, pickled foods, and coffee.

Of course, one of the main items you may be looking to purchase is a bag of pistachios.

Here you can find pistachios of a lot of different flavors including habanero, ranch, garlic, and even lemon and lime.

Pistachios are a tremendous snack because not only are they tasty but they are also extremely healthy. They are loaded with healthy fats, fiber, and can help you stay full for longer. Basically, pistachios are the perfect road trip snack.

If you don’t want to mess around with peeling off the shell, you can find shelled pistachios. But keep in mind that the shells help slow you down so that you don’t burn through your stash too quickly!

McGinn's Country Store pistachios

I decided to go ahead and try out the lemon lime pistachios which have a nice tang to them. The mixture of the saltiness and lemon flavor sort of remind me of lemon pepper chicken.

I’m currently working through a serving of these per day and it’s not proving easy to stop!

By the way, if you want your pistachios to remain fresh you can freeze them until you are ready to eat them.

McGinn's Country Store pistachios

I think one of the coolest things that they have is a station where you can get free samples of the different pistachio flavors.

This way, you can find your perfect flavor and then purchase it in bulk without worrying about it not delivering with the taste. It’s actually an extremely valuable feature of the store and something you don’t see every day.

Before you exit the gift shop make sure you check out the classic 1940 Ford Tudor.

If you are a wine drinker or you’re just feeling fancy you can test out four wine samples for free in the wine tasting room.

Their 6,500 grapevines include grape varieties like Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewurztraminer, Zinfandel and Merlot.

They even have their own signature wine: the Pistachio Delight.

Koi Fish Pond

Outside, there is a Koi Fish Pond although I’m not sure there’s anything particularly special about this attraction….

Farm tour

If you want to get a look at the pistachio farm and the vineyards then look into doing a farm tour. You’ll be taken along on a small tram like vehicle and get a close look at the 90 acres of pistachio orchards and 14 acres of vineyard.

The tours run about 20 to 30 minutes and begin around the top of the hour. Tickets are only $3 for the tour.

Final word

McGinn’s PistachioLand is definitely an odd attraction but honestly it is worth your time if you’re looking for something unique and to perhaps enjoy some type of treat you may have never come across before.

Yes, it has the hallmark of a tourist trap but don’t let that stop you from checking it out because you might be missing out on some high-quality pistachio treats.

Also, I noticed that the workers were very friendly and personable, which is always a great sign that a business is being run the right way.

Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum Review [2022]

When Pearl Harbor was attacked almost all of the damage came from the air and perhaps the best place to get a sense of what those enemy attackers looked like is the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.

It’s one of the attractions located on historic Ford Island and it’s definitely worth adding to your itinerary if you can find the time.

Below, I’ll explain more about the museum and give you an idea of what you can expect when you visit including highlighting some of the most interesting things to check out.

What is the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum?

The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is home to several aircraft and original artifacts involved in the Pearl Harbor attacks.

You’ll explore two airport hangars, an outdoor aircraft lot, and a control tower, which all allow you to experience the unique history of this place in a different way.

This museum is special in that it is located at ground zero for the Pearl Harbor attacks.

I’ve been to some aviation museums before and always enjoyed my time but this one just feels different. The history is palpable.

Tip: If you want to buy tickets to multiple Pearl Harbor attractions (USS Bowfin, Pacific Aviation Museum, and Battleship Missouri) check out this option online.

How to visit the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is located on historic Ford Island, Hawaii, which is an active military base that can only be accessed by a shuttle bus (unless you have some other type of special permission).

The shuttle bus station is located on the north side of the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites Visitor Center. It’s basically on the opposite side of the station for the shuttle boat to the USS Arizona Memorial.

If you plan on visiting the USS Missouri and USS Oklahoma Memorial, you should first get dropped off by the bus at that stop and then when you finish up there you can hop back on the shuttle bus and make your way to the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.

That will make things a lot easier because the shuttle bus only runs one way.

Shuttles depart every 15 minutes from 8am to 5pm daily but the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is only open from 9am to 5pm.

For security purposes, no bags are allowed on the shuttle bus to Ford Island.

A bag storage facility at the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park shuttle bus stop can store your belongings for a fee of $5.00 per bag. Credit cards are accepted.

You can buy tickets for the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum online or in-person at the following rates:

  • Adults: $25.99
  • Children: $14.99 (ages 4-12)

Experiencing the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

Hangar 37

Your first stop will be Hangar 37, where the shuttle bus will drop you off.

When the attack happened, this hangar housed nine Grumman J2F “Ducks” and nine Sikorsky JRS-1s.

Soldiers on the ground used the mounted machine guns on the grounded J2Fs to defend the island. Meanwhile, five JRS-1s departed Hangar 37 to find the Japanese fleet (but were unsuccessful).

The hangar also provided shelter to the survivors of the battleship USS California.

So thousands of lives were permanently altered on the grounds you’re stepping on and countless acts of bravery took place on these premises.

Getting started

After showing your tickets to the front desk you will begin your journey to the museum.

You should see the gift shop and the Laniākea Cafe restaurant located right by the entrance and also nearby is a 200-person theater that you can pop into to catch a short film about Pearl Harbor.

That will give you some history and then you’ll be ready to head into the main part of the museum.

Mitsubishi A6M Zero

One of the main attractions at the museum is the Mitsubishi A6M Zero or simply “Zero,” which is the name used for these Japanese planes made by Mitsubishi.

They get their name from the last digit of the year that they were launched which was the year 2600 according to the Japanese Imperial calendar.

These were state of the art planes and the most equipped carrier planes when they were launched in 1940. Japan also produced more of these (10,000+) than any other model of combat aircraft.

Their lightweight design made them extremely fast and maneuverable and gave them a lot of range but also made them vulnerable to gunfire. Nine Zeros were shot down during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Eventually, weaknesses in the Zero were discovered and the US would capitalize on them by altering their strategies of engagement.

As the Allies became more advanced with their aircraft tactics, the Zero became increasingly outdated and eventually was adapted for kamikaze attacks.

Mitsubishi A6M Zero
This specific aircraft was used in combat in the Solomon Islands in 1943.

Zero Nishikaichi (the Niihau incident)

At first glance, the remains of the The Zero Nishikaichi look like in an uninteresting pile of scrap. But these rusted remnants are actually part of a fascinating story related to the Pearl Harbor attacks.

Pilot Shigenori Nishikaichi flew this Zero during the second wave of attacks and was forced to make a crash landing on the island of Niihau, which is just off the coast of Kauai, Hawaii.

A local Hawaiian, Kaleohano, then discovered him and took his papers and pistol.

Kaleohano did not know about the attack on Pearl Harbor yet but he realized this was a Japanese pilot and knew that relationships were strained between the US and Japan.

The locals provided a hospitable welcome for the pilot but struggled to communicate with him so they brought in two Hawaiians of Japanese descent, the Haradas.

Nishikaichi shared the news of the Pearl Harbor attack in Japanese with the couple but they kept that news a secret.

This married couple had sympathy for the pilot and would end up trying to help Nishikaichi escape the island while also attempting to retrieve his confidential papers and pistol.

But as locals on the island discovered what happened at Pearl Harbor via radio broadcast, they quickly turned on Nishikaichi.

Ultimately, a situation played out overnight where Nishikaichi and Harada, armed with a shotgun and pistol, stormed Kaleohano’s house only for him to get away.

Nishikaichi and Harada then initiated a manhunt for Kaleohano, while putting the island intro a frenzy.

Ben Kanahele, who had been captured along with his wife by the duo, ended up getting into a fight with them. During the scuffle, Kanahele killed Nishikaichi with a hunting knife despite being shot three times by the pilot.

Meanwhile, Harada took his own life with a shotgun.

It was a very crazy situation and unfortunately it was likely a contributing factor to the government setting up Japanese internment camps based on an official Navy report dated January 26, 1942.

Nishikaichi burned his Zero which is partly why the exhibit looks the way it does. Image via creative commons.

Nakajima B5N “Kate”

There’s also a Nakajima B5N or just “Kate,” which was the first all metal monoplane aircraft in the Imperial Japanese arsenal.

Japan’s premier carrier-based torpedo bomber, these were integral to the Pearl Harbor attack and 144 of these planes took part in the attack, arriving in both waves.

They also played a role in battles at the Coral Sea, Midway, and Santa Cruz Islands.

The Kate you’ll see at the museum is an extremely rare find.

In fact, it’s one of only two Kates in existence, even though over 1,000 were produced.

Nakajima B5N “Kate”

Boeing N2S-3 Stearman (Trainer)

The “big yellow plane” hanging in the museum is the Boeing N2S-3 Stearman.

This one is especially noteworthy because it was used by former President George H. W. Bush on December 15, 1942, while participating in flight training at Naval Air Station, Minneapolis, MN.

Another interesting aircraft to check out is the Grumman F4F-3 Wildcat, which was used by the US to combat the Zeros and quite a successful US Naval fighter. It was famously used a lot when pilots engaged in the “Thach Weave” (video)

There are some other interesting exhibits to check out in the hangar.

One of the more helpful exhibits was a large diagram that illustrates the first and second waves of the Pearl Harbor attacks.

It does a really good job of giving you an idea of the direction that the attacks came from and also showing you some of the other targets that were hit on Oahu.

Fighter Ace 360 Flight Simulators

If you’re looking for a bit of a thrill ride then consider giving the Fighter Ace 360 Flight Simulators a try.

My biggest regret on visiting the museum is that we did not try this out because in retrospect it looks freaking awesome.

It’s only about $22 for two people and this thing can take you fully inverted for the ultimate flight experience.

You can experience a dog fight with Thunder in the Pacific or get futuristic and partake in some space travel with Quantum Star Fighter.

Outdoor collection

Once you get finished with Hangar 37 you will head outside and make your way to Hangar 79 but on the way you’ll probably want to make a pitstop at the outdoor collection.

Between the two hangers there is an outdoor area where different helicopters and planes are on display.

You’ve probably heard of the Blackhawk but have you heard of the Seahawk?

One helicopter that stuck out to me was the Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk which was sort of the Navy’s version of the Blackhawk.

Equipped with one torpedo on each side, a 30mm gun, and Hellfire missiles, it specialized in anti-submarine warfare, mine clearing, anti-ship warfare, and insertion of Navy SEALS.

If you look on the left side of the helicopter you’ll see 25 tube openings which look a bit peculiar. These are made to send out sonobuoys that allow a crew to detect submarines.

Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk

There’s quite a few aircraft outside so you’ll want to allocate some time to wander around and check these out.

Raytheon Pavilion

The Raytheon pavilion is located between the two hangers and it houses an “ever-changing roster of experiences with traveling exhibits.”

When we visited, there was an exhibition on Bob Hope who was a comedian, actor and entertainer who helped keep the spirits high for service men and women on the front lines of World War II.

Hangar 79

The other major structure that makes up the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is Hangar 79.

Hangar 79 was undergoing a lot of construction when we were there and the vast majority of the hangar was blocked off.

Hangar 79 Pearl harbor

Once inside, we got a glimpse of one of the Blue Angels and the B-17 “Swamp Ghost.”

This B-17 aircraft, which originally arrived in Honolulu 10 days after the Pearl Harbor attack, has a pretty fascinating story as the pilot had to perform an emergency landing in Agaiambo Swamp in Australia.

The aircraft remained there for decades and only recently was restored and brought back to the US in 2014.

We also saw the Shealy Restoration Shop in action, which is a “genuine aircraft restoration shop that maintains and restores authentic aircraft from World War II and beyond.”

If you want to go behind the scenes of the restoration shop, book the guided Legends of Pearl Harbor Tour.

While I enjoyed exploring the hangar, I don’t believe we were able to get the full experience that Hangar 79 typically has to offer since so many things were blocked off.

Still, one thing that we did see were all of the bullet holes in the windows which are from the Pearl Harbor attack.

To me, that is the most moving aspect of the entire museum.

Hangar 79 Pearl harbor windows
Hangar 79 Pearl harbor windows bullet holes

Control Tower

It was at this control tower where the first radio broadcast of the attack on Pearl Harbor was made at 8:05 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941.


At the time of the radio announcement, the structure was being bombed and windows on the lower levels were shattering.

The Control Tower at Pearl Harbor has undergone a lot of recent renovations but unfortunately those were not fully complete when we visited.

But soon the tower will be complete and you’ll be able to take an elevator all the way to the top where you will have 360° views of Ford Island and the surrounding harbor.

Update: the tower is now open and you can visit it by scheduling a tour for around $20.

Final word

It felt like our experience here was a little bit limited because of some of the ongoing renovations but it was still worth checking out.

You’ll no doubt feel the history as you wander the premises and check out everything from the bullet holes left in the windows to some of the rare aircraft on display.

During my time on the shuttle bus, I overheard people talking about skipping the aviation museum but I would highly recommend you to give it a shot because there’s a lot to take in here.

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