Selected as one of the country’s best places to retire to by “Where to Retire” and “New Choices for Retirement” magazines several times, Green Valley, Arizona, located in the historic Santa Cruz Valley, combines the best of two worlds and four cultures.
The community is part of the original San Ignacio de la Canoa Land Grant from the king of Spain, an area filled with rich history ranging from the Indians who settled the area about 1 A.D. to the conquistadors, missionaries, cowboys, miners and ranchers, and modern day health seekers.
Green Valley Arizona appeals to those who enjoy small-town living, where you know your neighbors, and traffic jams are a rare occurrence.
Yet the retirement community located 23 miles south of Tucson, 11 miles from Ruby Star Airpark, and 145 miles south of Phoenix, also offers the desirable amenities of city life, including cultural activities, shopping, extensive medical facilities, and a wide range of recreational activities.
Linked to communities both north and south by Interstate 19, Green Valley Arizona is bounded by Duval Road on the north, Elephant Head Road on the south, the Santa Cruz River and Madera Reserve on the east, and the Sierrita Mountains to the west.
The area is known for its unique blend of Native American, Spanish colonial, Mexican and Anglo cultures. Four flags have flown above the region: Spanish, Mexican, Confederate and American. Whereas Ruby Star Airpark’s elevation is 4,000 feet, Green Valley is located at an elevation of 2,900 feet. At the foot of the ruggedly spectacular Santa Rita Mountain Range, Green Valley and the surrounding areas are blessed with sunshine more than 300 days a year.
Why do people flock to Green Valley?
Annual temperatures average 80 degrees during the daytime and 50 degrees at night, making the area a prime attraction for visitors who come here to enjoy outdoor activities, especially golf, all year long.
The sunny and mild winters, healthful, clean dry air and combination of rolling grasslands, high desert and majestic mountains and canyons also lure hikers, tennis players, bird watchers, pilots, bicyclists, horseback riders, pilots, and swimmers to visit or, better yet, move to Green Valley each year.
Many are drawn to Green Valley and to nearby Tucson, Tubac, and Tumacacori by the historic attractions, which range from early Spanish missions, old mines, ghost towns, sprawling cattle ranches and wildlife preserves to Old West theme parks and artists’ colonies.
Nearby Sahuarita is home to the Titan II Missile Museum, which draws visitors from all over the world to explore what was previously an intercontinental ballistic missile site. Open daily, the museum offers a guided tour of an underground silo that once housed the largest ICBM ever developed by the United States.
Sahuarita Arizona also has a grade school, intermediary school and high school for area children. In fact, the school bus picks up children at Ruby Star’s front gate.
Scenic drives and recreational opportunities abound in the area surrounding Green Valley, including four lakes and Madera Canyon, the “sky island” that ranks as one of the best bird-watching areas in the world.
Also nearby is the Fred Lawrence Whipple/Mount Hopkins Observatory, a world-renowned facility that rests atop the second highest peak in the Santa Rita Mountains. Close by and contributing to Southern Arizona’s reputation as the “astronomy capital of the world” is Kitt Peak Observatory, which houses the world’s largest collection of telescopes.
Lovers of art and history are drawn to historic Tubac, the oldest European settlement in the area and a shopper’s paradise with approximately 90 galleries and shops in addition to its historic park and museum. Click on Tubac for more information about that artist colony just south of Green Valley.
About 45 miles south of Green Valley are the twin cities of Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico, a favorite of bargain-hunters, that draws visitors from miles around to its hundreds of shops offering goods ranging from leather, pottery, rugs, jewelry, furniture, decorative accessories to arts and crafts.
Nogales, Arizona, with its many lovely homes and historic old courthouse, is the seat of government for Santa Cruz County.
Nearby Patagonia, Sonoita and Elgin offer scenic views of rolling mountain countryside populated by cattle and horse ranches and wine vineyards.
Employment opportunities abound
Major public employers in the Green Valley/Sahuarita area are Pima County with installations at the Pima County Government Center and Pima County Library, the U.S. Postal Service, Continental School District, and Sahuarita Unified School District.
Major private employers in the area are the two copper mines, the home building and real estate industry, the Smithsonian Institution’s Whipple Observatory, Farmers Investment Co., which grows and sells pecans, Caterpillar, Inc. Training Center, Safeway, Carondelet Medical, Best Western Hotel and the Tohono O’odham Nation, which recently opened a $52 million casino and entertainment complex just up the road at Interstate 19 and Pima Mine Road.
There are four main shopping centers in the Green Valley-Sahuarita area, with approximately 370 shops and Home Depot is a few miles north on I-19.
The Green Valley Chamber of Commerce has a membership roster of more than 450 businesses, including banks, real estate professionals, accounting, legal and title services, doctors, dentists, health care providers, service providers, retail outlets and many more.
Green Valley is primarily a retirement community so much of the community’s income is derived from social security payments, private retirement benefits, investment income and saving.
The median income in Green Valley is $43,000 a year, with 32 percent of residents reporting $50,000 plus annual incomes.
Green Valley Arizona offers an abundance of recreational facilities, including nine golf courses, 12 recreation centers, 23 heated swimming pools, shuffleboard, tennis, bocce ball and racquetball courts. Green Valley Recreation offers numerous activities at its centers including cultural events, arts and crafts rooms, sewing room, fitness centers, lapidary, ceramics and woodworking, photography, shuffleboard and billiards and computer instruction.
Health care facilities include nearly two dozen adult care homes, two nursing homes, four assisted living centers, a facility for those with memory disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, an oncology center, several medical clinics, dental clinics and ambulances with trained Emergency Medical Technicians and paramedics. In addition, Green Valley hospital is just south of town and Pima Heart opened an office in Green Valley for cardiovascular care.
Nearby Tucson Arizona offers nearly a dozen hospitals and numerous clinics with their own specialties.
Green Valley has its own twice-weekly newspaper, the Green Valley News and Sun, and its own radio station, KGVY, A.M., both of which focus on community events. The area is served by seven television channels from Tucson, and cable and satellite TV.
Green Valley is governed by the Pima County Board of Supervisors and served by a Sheriff’s substation. The Green Valley Fire District and Rural/Metro are the two fire departments that serve the area.
There are three motels in Green Valley and nearby you can find resort hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, RV parks and guest ranches.
Tucson International Airport is located off Interstate 19, about 23 miles north of Green Valley.