Giant saguaro cacti flood the Oro Valley like a gathering of worshippers their green arms stretched out to receive the sun. And yes it is sun you will find here among the Santa Catalina Mountains. Over 350 days a year it bakes the region into warm desert tones. Snowbirds flock to the area for this reason. But theres so much more to nearby Tucson and the Sonoran Desert. No trip would be complete without visits to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum the Mission San Xavier del Bac and Pima Air and Space Museum. And with a hike into Catalina State Park your conception of the word desert will be altered. The area is surprisingly lush and green. Rancho Vistoso also puts you within easy reach of Nogales Mexico for festive day trips devoted to shopping and exploring.