Located in Southern Arizona, Vail is a small, residential census-designated place. It is popular for its abundant outdoor recreation, including access to national forests, conversation areas, caves, and canyons. In addition, its proximity to the arts and cultural amenities of nearby Tucson make it a popular retirement destination.
Climate & Geography
Vail experiences a mid-altitude arid climate with long, hot summers. Residents can expect high temperatures with low humidity, and mild to cool winters that rarely reach freezing temperatures. Though snow is possible, it is rare in the city and more common on the nearby mountains. There are 284 days of sun per year, on average.
The town is situated between the Catalina foothills to the north and the Santa Rita foothills to the south. The terrain is mostly flat with some gently rolling hills.
Recreation, Culture, & Entertainment
Outdoor recreation is Vail’s biggest draw. The Saguaro National Forest is to the north, featuring the popular hiking trails of the Rincon Mountains. The Coronado National Forest is just southeast, with various camping, canyons, and wilderness trails. Las Cienegas National Conservation area to the south has over 45,000 acres of protected grasslands for camping and hiking. In addition, Cienega Creek Natural Preserve is located in the northwest region of the town, has birding, hiking, and wildlife viewing opportunities.
Just outside the city is the Colossal Cave Mountain Park, a large park with an extension cave system and the region’s biggest attraction. For bikers, Vail offers easy access to the Arizona Trail. Additionally, The Del Lago Golf Club is the town’s local 18-hole course.
Old Vail Village, one of the town’s neighborhoods, has many of the local and chain restaurants. Residents looking for more shopping, dining, and art galleries can drive a half-hour northwest to Tucson.
Cost of Living & Taxes
Vail’s cost of living is just above the national average. The biggest contributing factors are housing, followed by transportation and utilities. Groceries and health care costs are below the national average.
Arizona does not tax Social Security benefits, but all other forms of retirement income are fully taxed. The state’s property taxes are low, and there is a property valuation freeze to help provide relief on these taxes. Sales taxes are fairly high, but groceries and prescription medicine are exempt.
The Tucson metro area ranks in the top 70 communities on Gallup’s Well-Being Index.
There are no hospitals in Vail, but Tucson has several hospitals that U.S. News rates as high performing. These include Carondelet St. Joseph’s Hospital, TMC Healthcare, Banner University Medical Center, and Carondelet St. Mary’s Hospital.