Though considered by most Arizonans to be a suburb of Metro Phoenix, Casa Grande is really an interesting little town with a unique character, that’s decidedly different than its big city neighbor.
Though Casa Grande has grown and modernized much in recent years, it’s still retained much of its history and charm.
It’s still a great place to escape the hustle-and-bustle of the big city, take a load off, and feel like you’ve slipped back in time a century or two.
With lots of great things to see and do, you won’t be sorry you made the short trip.
Below are 15 things to do in Casa Grande.
1. Palm Island Family Aquatics Park
If you’ve spent any time in Arizona, you already know it’s a place with a lot of swimming pools – and for good reason.
Located on North Brown Avenue in Casa Grande, there’s no better way to escape the brutal Arizona rays than a plunge into the refreshing waters at the Palm Island Family Aquatics Park.
There are pools for all ages, and swimming lessons are available for those who need some help.
The park is chockfull of slides, fountains and water jets, and can even be rented for private parties.
2. Caywood Farms
Many visitors to Arizona are surprised when they find out that it’s a big cotton producer.
Caywood Farms in Casa Grande is a family-owned cotton and alfalfa farm that’s been working the tough Arizona land for four generations.
Tours are available and are always given by one of the many, knowledgeable and enthusiastic members of the family.
Tours are generally given from October to March, and the price won’t break the bank.
The tour will include an equipment demonstration, lots of hands-on activities, and maybe even some live banjo picking.
3. Casa Grande Valley Historical Society
Not just full of golf courses, sun and swimming pools, Casa Grande is a town with a rich and fascinating past that deserves to be explored.
Located on West Florence Boulevard, the Casa Grande Valley Historical Society is focused on the promotion and preservation of the region’s past, and educating the town’s residents and visitors alike.
Like a looking glass into the past, the museum will take you from gold mining and cattle ranching to the Native Americans who called the area home before the arrival of the settlers.
The museum has a little something to interest everybody.
4. Picacho Peak State Park
Located just off exit 219 on Interstate 10, Picacho Peak State Park is between Casa Grande and Tucson.
In Spanish, picacho means peak, and when you see the area’s geology, you’ll know why they named it, “Peak Peak.”
The peak’s summit reaches nearly 3,500 feet into the blue sky, making it visible from dozens of miles away.
It’s loaded with well-marked hiking trails and was even the location of a Civil War battle, back when Arizona was only a territory.
Whenever you go, don’t forget a hat, sunglasses and a few bottles of water per person.
5. Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch
Located in the nearby town of Picacho, in the shadow of majestic Picacho Peak, the Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch is another family-owned Arizona business that’s been in the valley for generations.
In addition to the huge African birds that are its stars, you’ll find lots of other furry critters here – some that you’ll be surprised to see in a quaint, Arizona town.
It’s been featured on numerous televisions shows and has been one of the area’s main attractions for nearly 20 years.
There are lots of interactive activities, and many of the animals can be fed and touched too.
6. San Tan Mountain Regional Park
Located on West Phillips Road in nearby Queen Creek, the San Tan Mountain Regional Park is open every day of the year, from morning until evening.
At 10,000 acres, it’s massive, and spread over the surrounding Sonoran Desert and mountains.
The trails will take you through an amazing array of desert plant life – from tiny pincushion cacti to the massive saguaros.
If you’re lucky enough to be there in spring, or after a hearty rain, the area may just be transformed into a wildflower masterpiece.
The area is also home to lots of animals, many of which only show themselves in the early morning, evening and night to avoid the heat of the day.
7. Play a Round of Golf or Two
Arizona is one of the nation’s meccas for golfers looking to hit the links, especially during the winter, when the average temperature hovers in the mid-80s.
With more options in Casa Grande and the surrounding areas than could possibly be listed, there are courses to fit everyone’s budget.
A few of the area’s notable courses are Johnson Ranch Golf Course and The Golf Club at Johnson Ranch, both of which are in Queen Creek.
Most courses sport restaurants, bars, putting greens and driving ranges, so you can fill your stomach and practice your swing before hitting the first tee.
Check online for hours of operation and greens fees, as they change from season to season.
8. MD Ranch
Take it from me, there are few things as cool as riding a horse through the desert and mountains.
Located on West Phillips road in Queen Creek, MD Ranch is a place where you can do just that.
If you’re not an experienced equestrian, fear not, most people aren’t. The staff at MD Ranch will gladly give you sufficient pointers to get you through the tour safely, and the horses are hand-picked for their mild-mannered, patient demeanors.
On the tour, you’ll learn about the area’s fascinating history and geology, and will see some sites that’ll truly take your breath away.
Check their website for prices and seasonal operation hours.
9. Horseshoe Park and Equestrian Center
Arizona has always been a big horse and cowboy state, and as such, has a lot of attractions that include horses.
Located on East Riggs Road in the town of Queen Creek, Horseshoe Park, and Equestrian Center is a place run by horse aficionados, for horse aficionados.
The center is run by the local government and hosts many shows throughout the year, some of which aren’t even related to horses.
So wipe the dust off those old cowboy boots you haven’t worn since the last time you watched Urban Cowboy, and check out their website to see what’s on the horizon.
10. Pinal County Historical Museum
With the aim of preserving the area’s history and artifacts and educating history buffs, the Pinal County Historical Museum in nearby Florence has been doing just that for nearly 60 years.
The museum exhibits preserved relics from bygone eras – including books, weapons, and even some macabre prison and execution implements used on prisoners and the condemned back in the pioneer days.
The museum also covers the history and lives of the Native Americans who lived here. It’s a great place to enjoy some air-conditioning and learn a thing or two while keeping out of the sun.
11. The Domes
Casa Grande novelties since the ‘70s, The Domes are structures that have fascinated and boggled the minds of visitors since they were built.
Most people who see them aren’t sure whether they’re Native American ruins, mutant mushrooms, or alien spacecraft.
Actually, they’re none of the above.
The Domes are the remnants of a computer factory that was never finished.
Local lore claims they’re haunted and are somehow responsible for mysterious deaths and disappearances in the area, but it’s all just speculation.
The Domes are on private property, and no trespassing signs are posted, though nobody really seems to pay them much mind.
12. Casa Grande Ruins
As early as the 17th century, Spanish missionaries were traveling through what are now the states of Arizona and New Mexico, attempting to convert the natives to Christianity.
Consisting of multiple floors, the pueblo ruins at Casa Grande were discovered by one such missionary, who marveled at their construction, as well as the canals cut into the tough earth nearby that were presumably used to irrigate crops.
Though not much is known about the ruins or those who made them, they are fascinating to see. Most archaeologists and historians think they were made by the Hohokam people in the 13th century.
The ruins are located in Coolidge, to the northeast of Casa Grande.
13. City of Casa Grande Mountain Park Public Shooting Range
Like it or not, guns have played a big part in Arizona’s past. After all, the wild west wasn’t tamed with kind words and rainbow sherbet.
Located on South Isom Road, the Mountain Park Public Shooting Range is a great place to safely release those frustrations that you’ve been bottling up.
The park is free, but you must bring your own guns, ammo, and targets.
The best times are in the morning and afternoon, when the sun’s rays aren’t so hot.
The park is a popular place with many of Arizona’s gun enthusiasts. Even if you’re not a shooter, you’ll get a kick out of watching others shoot a staggering array of guns – many of which are rare, collectible and military-grade.
Some of the friendlier ones may even let you take a shot or two with one of their weapons in you’re lucky.
14. The Museum of Casa Grande
Located on West Florence Boulevard in downtown Casa Grande, The Museum of Casa Grande is small but packs a lot of punch.
With exhibits, artifacts and hands-on activities that relate to the area’s plants and animals, native inhabitants, and history and industry, the museum should have something to interest even the staunchest history-hater.
Some of the museum’s exhibits are outside, though most are comfortably inside in the wonderful air-conditioning, making the museum an oasis from the battering sun outside.
Check out their website for hours of operation, pricing and special events.
15. Western Trading Post
With roots going back to the 1870’s, Western Trading Post on North Florence Street is another family-owned Arizona business that has stayed true to its heritage.
The post specializes in southwestern, cowboy and Native American art, clothing, memorabilia, and odds-and-ends, and they hold an auction each month too, which is a great time to visit.
If you’d rather not buy something and lug it back home on the airplane, you can buy directly from their website, which gives great pictures and descriptions of the items for sale.