Catalina State Park with kids is a beautiful place to explore! Arizona State Parks does an excellent job offering kid-friendly trails, a small discovery center, and family-oriented nature programs to showcase the gorgeous Catalina Mountains.
We explored for half a day at this Tucson area park recently, and could have easily stayed a whole day! The entrance ranger station also doubled as a discovery center and gift shop and it is worth a stop. We loved the raised map display of the park, super cool to study. Be sure to get a Jr. Ranger booklet to complete before you leave, to earn a badge!
We hiked a couple of trails, namely Romero Ruins (0.6 miles round trip), and Nature trail (1 mile RT). Both were good for our preschooler, and had some amazing scenery! We also briefly wandered on the Birding Trail (1.3 miles RT). Of note, a couple of these trails cross washes, which were very dry during our Nov visit, but could easily flood in the wet season. Use caution, and always check at the ranger station before hiking.
Catalina State Park With Kids
On our return list is definitely the Romero Pools, which has seasonal water! This trail is about 7 miles total but within 2.5 miles you will reach water, which is always a delight for kids.
Camping is also an option at Catalina State Park, and includes bathrooms and showers. Extra fees do apply.
This park is located at 11570 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85737, and has a $7/car entry fee. Open year round (closed Christmas), from The park is open year-round 5:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. . The discovery center/gift shop is open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily. Visit the official Arizona State Parks website for more information.
(And pssst, this state park is less than 10 min from the Hilton El Conquistador – which we recently stayed at and loved! Just another reason to visit Tucson for a weekend.)