Yuma is located at the extreme southwest corner of Arizona where the state borders California just north of the Mexican border. A true oasis in the desert, Yuma was originally settled as a crossing point at the Colorado River for California settlers. Today, the dry desert climate is the main attraction. Yuma, one of the driest and sunniest places in the country, averages almost 300 days of sunshine each year.
Retirees are attracted to the climate, access to California, and low cost of living and crime rate by regional standards. On the downside, educational attainment is very low, health care resources are weak, summers can be oppressive, and the area features one of the most challenging employment pictures in the country. Nearby desert and the Colorado River provides recreation options.
Yuma is located in the Colorado River Valley, which narrows at this point with rugged, hilly, desert terrain on all sides. Green vegetation only grows at the river. The rest of the terrain has scant vegetation, mostly sagebrush, scrub, and short grasses.
The climate is true desert. Summers bring dry and sometimes oppressive desert heat during the day followed by relatively cool evenings. Average high temperatures from June to September are over 100 degrees F. During the short winter, daytime temperatures are mild, usually in the 70s, but nights can drop below freezing. Precipitation is minimal, with just over 3 inches usually occurring on 10 or fewer days each year. First freeze is mid-December, last is early February.