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Yep, it’s an old town on Route 66, but what else is there to do here? Turns out . . . plenty!

There are lots of cool things to do in Kingman Arizona, and driving through during a Route 66 Road Trip is just the beginning. The town has a rich history, and is located not far from the western end of the Grand Canyon. Whether you’re a family with a minivan full of kids who need some distraction, some outdoorsy types looking for some desert exploring, or are just plain curious, Kingman offers plenty to see and do.

Kingman: Intriguing Layers of History

Although the town now known as “Kingman” was first established in the 1880s as a stop on the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, the region has deeper roots. Native American peoples, including the Hualapai, Havasupai and Mojave have occupied these lands for centuries. Later, Spaniards in search of gold passed through these parts.

Fun Fact: Kingman was originally a settlement on “Beale’s Wagon Road,” an 1857 precursor to Route 66!

Beale’s Wagon Road & the Camel Corps

In 1857, surveyor Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale passed through this area with a unique crew: camels! His objective: to develop a wagon route west on or near the 35th parallel. Because of the desert terrain, Beale had the creative idea to use camels instead of horses–and it worked!

A 19th century military reenactor with camels-things to do in winslow arizona
Celebrating the Camel Corps with reenactors, photo courtesy NPS

Ultimately the road ran from Arkansas to California and became the first federally funded highway in the Southwest. It was a big hit with cattle drovers, sheepherders and anyone looking to bring goods westward.

The Railroad Years: Kingman is Born

Another surveyor, Louis Kingman, used Beale’s Wagon Road as a guide when assessing the area in 1880. This time the job was for Atlantic and Pacific Railroad (which would later become the Santa Fe Railroad). The town is named for Kingman. (Beale needed a better PR firm!). The first train pulled up to “Kingman” in 1883, with about 100 passengers on board. Kingman quickly became an important hub for ranchers and miners in the area.

On the road again . . . Route 66 and beyond

Once again using prior routes as a guide, the federal government established US Highway 66 in 1926. For the decades that followed, Kingman became an important stopping point for the more than 200,000 people who traveled Route 66 in search of a new beginning in the wake of the Great Depression. By mid-century, this town, with its roots in Native American peoples and, of all things, camels, had found its place in Road Trip history.

Things to do in Kingman Arizona

Knowing the town’s history helps put things into perspective, and also explains some of the unique things to do in Kingman Arizona. Activities and attractions range from sights related to the town’s history to ziplining over the Grand Canyon.

Historic Powerhouse/Visitors Center: Start Here!

This historic Powerhouse building should be FIRST on your list of things to do in Kingman Arizona. As the name implies, it was at one time the source of electrical power for the town, as well as the construction of Hoover Dam. After being mothballed for decades it was renovated in 1997 and repurposed as a multi-purpose facility that caters to visitors (like you and me!)

In addition to housing the Kingman Visitor Center (where you can get advice and brochures on all the local attractions), the Powerhouse is also home to Arizona Route 66 Museum & Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum. On top of that, there’s an awesome gift shop (a terrific collection of Route 66 memorabilia), and there are two model trains on tracks that circle the inside of the building.

Arizona Route 66 Museum

Located in the Historic Powerhouse visitors complex, this museum tells the story of depicts travel along the 35th parallel–the route that began with Native American trade routes and ultimately became Route 66. If, like most of us, you are traveling along Route 66, this museum is a must among things to do in Kingman Arizona.

Through a series of murals, photos and life-size dioramas, visitors journey through history with Native Americans and US Army-led survey expeditions (remember the “Camel Corps”?). A particularly poignant exhibit depicts the anguish of dust bowl refugees as they traversed the “Mother Road” west in search of a better life. But things end on an upbeat note as you stroll through a Main Street America display, complete with a Studebaker–(a version similar to the quirky model that was used in The Muppet Movie), heralding the joy of road tripping on Route 66.

YouTube video
Although not the same exact car, this scene from The Muppet Movie shows a very similar Studebaker on the road. (Check at approximately 1 minute in . . . for the classic “fork in the road” bit.

Historic Downtown Kingman Walking Trail

If a drive along Route 66 has you itching to stretch your legs a bit, take a walk through Historic Downtown Kingman. The town has more than 40 sights and buildings on the National Registry of Historic Places. In addition to locations open to the public (which are listed in this post), there are several other points of interest to see, including the Mojave County Courthouse, the former Masonic Temple, and a little red schoolhouse.

Walking tour guides are available at the Powerhouse Visitors Center.

Mohave Museum of History & Arts

For a break from all the Route 66 and railroad history, stop in to the Mohave Museum. This museum is dedicated to preserving all aspects of the heritage of Northwestern Arizona in a format accessible to the public. There are exhibits illustrating prehistoric times, mining and ranching, with a LOT of memorabilia hanging on walls and stacked on shelves.

The museum also celebrates Andy Devine, a local boy turned 1930s movie star. This museum may not be everyone’s idea of things to do in Kingman Arizona, but if the “good old days” is your cup of tea, you’ll find it entertaining.

Visit (& Hike) Camp Beale Spring

Although named after Lt. Edward Beale, the springs here had been used by Native Americans for centuries. Camp Beale Springs was established in 1871 by U.S. Infantry to provide protection along the nearby toll road, as well as supply station for the local Hualapai Indians.

The site is located just west of town. A parking permit is required, but is free and available at the Powerhouse Visitors Center.

Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum

If you thought Kingman had its head fully in the past, think again. Despite gasoline-focused Route 66 and coal-fired locomotives this museum, the brainchild of the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation, is on a mission to show us how we can look back while still thinking of the future.

Tucked into the ground floor of the Powerhouse Visitor complex, the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum showcases the history of electric vehicles (which goes back a lot further than you might think). Move over, Tesla, the first example here dates from 1909! Pride of place goes to the Buckeye Bullet, a battery-powered rocketship-esque beauty that reached 320 mph 😱 on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2011. If you’re looking to get a charge (see what I did there?) out of things to do in Kingman Arizona, then head over to this unique museum.

Bonelli House Museum

The Bonelli House, which was built in 1915, provides an excellent example of Anglo-territorial architecture at the turn of the 20th century. The house was unique at the time because it was built to be both fire-proof and safe for the family (their original home had burned down.

The house is constructed of fire-resistant plaster and Tufa stone that was quarried locally. To ensure both ventilation (and potentially a quick exit, every room had an exit door (both upstairs and downstairs) to the veranda. The house also had a (very) early version of “air-conditioning”: The cupola on the roof drafted the hot air upward and out the roof. (We once rented a house in the Caribbean with the same type of structure–it really works to cool things off!)

Kingman Locomotive Park

Climb up into the cab of an old steam engine! Locomotive Park is home to famed Steam Engine #3759. This coal-burning locomotive was built in 1928 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works (in our hometown of Philadelphia 😊) and served on a passenger run for the Santa Fe Railway between Kansas City and Los Angeles.

PRO TIP: A visit to the Locomotive Park is one of the free things to do in Kingman, Arizona

In 1957, the Railway presented number 3759 to City of Kingman as a historical monument. (Just a few years earlier the coal burning trains were replaced by diesel power. In 1987 Kingman added a colorful caboose to the park, which is located just across the road from the Powerhouse Visitors Center. If your idea (or your kids’ idea) of fun things to do in Kingman Arizona involves choo choos, this is definitely for you. 😊🚂

Kingman Railroad Station & Museum

All Aboard, Trainspotters! More railroad-y things to do in Kingman Arizona . . . This historic train station was built in 1907 and renovated in 2011. The white stucco structure trimmed in bright orange paint is a landmark that occupies pride of place, wedged between Route 66 and the tracks. Inside is a museum of model trains, which is ever-evolving.

PRO TIP: Check out the Kingman Station live trainspotting cam for a preview of what you’ll see when you visit!

YouTube video
Video from Kingman Train Depot, via RailFan Arizona

Outside, you can stand on the platform and do some real-life trainspotting, where freight trains from BNSF pass by regularly. If you time your visit just right, you might get to see Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, which runs twice a day from Chicago to LA (does that line sound familiar???😉) and back. It’s the same train that passes by La Posada in Winslow.

Hike the White Cliffs Wagon Trail–Ruts n’ all!

Just north of town is an old wagon route that was once used to bring ore from one of the nearby mines down to the railroad for transport. At the base of the White Cliffs the wagon route of the same name dates to the late 1800s. Over time the heavily-laden wagons cut trails into the stone road–so much so that the ruts are still very much in evidence 125 years later!

There are currently two trails (both loops) for hiking: a roughly 1-mile beginner trail and a 2.4-mile intermediate trail. Both begin and end along the rutted wagon road. A small parking lot with water fountain is located at the trailhead. If you are looking for outdoor activities in Kingman, Az, this is a good option.

Some days, we all need to “Take it Easy.”

There are lots of great things to do in Winslow Arizona, even after you visit the corner made famous by the Jackson Browne/Glenn Frey song “Take it Easy.” Take a look at our list–it’ll make you want to linger a bit in this great Arizona small town on Route 66, which is rich is Arizona history and culture.

The historic downtown area isn’t large (about 1.5 miles wide by 3/4 mile deep), so it’s very walkable. Additionally there are several interesting things to do in Winslow Arizona that are just a short drive outside of the main part of town. Plenty of nearby parks and natural wonders make Winslow an excellent base for exploring this part of Arizona.

History of Winslow Arizona

Despite Winslow’s current popularity being associated with the automobile (the “flatbed ford” and Route 66), the town actually has its roots in the railroad. According to the Winslow Historical Society, “in 1880, the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad laid out the Winslow townsite along its new transcontinental line through northeastern Arizona Territory because the nearby Little Colorado River supplied a vital water source.”

large retro style billboard with "visit winslow" text
You’ve GOT to visit a place that welcomes you with a sign like this!

The Railroad puts Winslow on the Map

Winslow really started to grown after 1897, when the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad was acquired by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway (known then as the ATSF). At this time, the division headquarters was moved from Gallup, NM to Winslow, AZ. New employees meant new infrastructure for the town, which is evidenced by many of the Victorian-era buildings and homes, many of which are still standing today.

FUN FACT: From 1900 through the 1950s, Winslow had the largest population in northern Arizona!

Even before the ATSF made Winslow a division headquarters, the town had started to become known as a travel destination. It was one of the closest train stops to the many natural and cultural sites in northern Arizona, making it a popular stop for intrepid travelers looking to explore sites such as the Petrified Forest and Canyon de Chelly.

The popularity of Winslow as a train stop for for travelers headed to northern Arizona’s wonders drew the attention of legendary hospitality industry pioneer Fred Harvey. Harvey first built a Harvey House restaurant at Winslow in 1887, and eventually opened the renowned luxury hotel La Posada Winslow in 1930, right along the train tracks.

Planes, trains and automobiles

Winslow had a lock on the railroad presence with the ATSF divisional headquarters. Then, in 1926, Route 66 was established and ran right through downtown Winslow (it still does today!), which brought plenty of automobiles. But what many people don’t know is that Winslow was also an important early destination for air travel.

In 1929, Winslow’s new airport was designated as a key stop along Transcontinental Air Transport’s first coast-to-coast passenger route. For all these reasons, Winslow enjoyed the largest population in northern Arizona from 1900 through the 1950s. This rich history means it’s not so far fetched that Jackson Browne might’ve been “standing on the corner.” And it means there are quite a few worthwhile things to do in Winslow Arizona.

Standin’ on the Corner Park

woman next to bronze sculpture of a songwriter in front of Winslow Arizona sign-things to do in winslow arizona
Bonus points for spotting the homage to the band that recorded the song!

Okay, okay, let’s take care of this one first. This pocket park pays homage to the famous lyrics in the song “Take it Easy,” penned by Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey. It is arguably one of the most popular things to do in Winslow Arizona. It’s located right downtown, a the corner of Kinsley & 2nd Streets and open 24/7. There are bronze statues of the songwriters, a mural, and (natch!) a flatbed Ford. Learn more in our post about standing on the corner Winslow Arizona.

Old Trails Museum

historic railroad memorabilia, including uniforms, photos and lanterns-things to do in winslow arizona
Memorabilia from the Santa Fe Railroad at the Old Trails Museum

One of the best things to do in Winslow Arizona to get a sense of the rich history of the town is to visit the Old Trails Museum. This small (and free!) museum is chock-full of memorabilia that brings many of the towns highlights to life, including the Santa Fe Railway, Route 66, and the heritage of the Harvey House hotels and restaurants. The museum is located right across the street from Standin’ on the Corner Park and their gift shop sells some interesting Navajo and Hopi arts along with books on local history.

Hubbell Trading Post & Warehouse

You may be familiar with the Hubbell Trading Post that is a National Historic Site in northeast Arizona, which was the first in what would become an trading post empire for the Hubbell family. But it was in Winslow where Hubbell eventually established the regional warehouse for his goods, because of the town’s location along the Santa Fe railroad line.

Constructed in 1917 as a trading post by the Richardson brothers, the building was acquired by Lorenzo Hubbell in 1921. Until its closure in the 1960s, the building was renowned as a source for the finest specimens of old-time Navajo rug and silver and turquoise jewelry. Today it is the location of the Winslow Visitor Center and has some great exhibits showcasing Winslow’s past, along with plenty of brochures about the many things to do in Winslow Arizona.

La Posada Hotel and Gardens

Front entrance of La Posada Winslow-adobe architecture with tile roofs

Described by many as the town’s “crown jewel,” visiting the La Posada is definitely one of THE things to do in Winslow Arizona. The hotel originally opened in 1930 to cater to wealthy travelers exploring the newly popular sights in the southwest. Designed by famous architect Mary Colter, this is one of the last remaining Harvey House hotels. After a (admittedly non-luxurious) stint as the regional headquarters of the railroad, La Posada was lovingly restored to its former glory and is once again a magnificent hotel.

Take some time to explore the beautiful building and grounds–the hotel is surrounded by different gardens on each side. Typical of grand old hotels, there are plenty of nooks and crannies to rest weary feet and soak up the atmosphere. For a treat, enjoy a meal in the Turquoise Room restaurant, or go full-on and indulge yourselves by spending the night (or two!). It’s one of Arizona’s true historic hotel treasures. (For more information, read the review of our stay at La Posada Winslow. Spoiler alert: we loved it! 😊)


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La Posada Art Museum

A combination of Native American and Contemporary artworks are on display at La Posada

La Posada is more than a hotel and restaurant–there’s also an art museum in the building that’s free to the public. Tina Mion, one of the owners of the hotel, is also an American contemporary artist who has exhibited at the Smithsonian and other prominent museums. Many of her paintings and pastels are on permanent display throughout the hotel, and in a dedicated museum space on the second floor.

An advocate of promoting the arts in the region, Mion also curates the work of local artists, including many Native American artisans. The guest room hallways alone are bedecked with beautiful hand woven rugs and blankets. Situated in these traditional pueblo architecture surroundings, these works really stand out. It’s one of the more “cultured” things to do in Winslow 😉.

Winslow Amtrak Depot and Freight Siding

Freight trains pass by regularly at La Posada’s back gate, which is also an Amtrak stop. One of the best things to do in Winslow Arizona for train geeks!

Hold on, we’re not finished with visiting La Posada just yet. If architecture, gardens and artwork aren’t your thing, what about trains??? La Posada may be the only hotel in America that has its own Amtrak depot! Although there are only two passenger trains per day that stop at the hotel, there is a never-ending parade of freight trains passing through (this is still an important siding for the BNSF Railway).

Woman standing at ornate iron gates that lead from train tracks to La posada hotel in background
Viewing the back entrance of La Posada hotel from the train platform (notice the train wheel motif in the ornate iron gate!)

Stroll out through the back gardens, where an ornate iron gate will show where the hotel property stops and the railroad begins. Two shady ramadas are equipped with comfy chairs for hotel guests awaiting their transport (or even just looking to do a little train spotting). Although Winslow is a train horn quiet zone, you might just get the engineer to blow his whistle if you give him the sign by pulling your arm down. (Just sayin’)

PRO TIP: Winslow is a train whistle “quiet zone,” but if you give the engineer the universal “horn” sign with your arm, you might just get a little “toot toot”!

First Street Pathway Park

If one of your ideal things to do in Winslow Arizona includes stretching your legs, spend some time in this lovely city park, which links many of the town’s historic sights together via a landscaped pathway over six city blocks. Along the way you’ll see interpretive exhibits about the town’s history and culture.

Get the little ones to work off some pent-up energy at the park’s playground, and then let them watch the “choo choos” on the raised (and fenced-off) railroad viewing platform.

Snowdrift Art Space

Art abounds in Winslow (in fact, we could probably write a post just about “arty things to do in Winslow Arizona” 😉) Take in some contemporary sculpture at this incredible space that was once the Babbitt Brothers Mercantile building. Today it is a combination gallery, studio and home for sculptor Dan Lutzick, who was a partner in La Posada rehabilitation project.

Guided tours of the 7,000-square-foot gallery are provided by appointment only, so be sure to submit a request on the Snowdrift Art Space website at least 24 hours in advance. (Additionally, check their Facebook page for updated events and tour availability.)

Explore Winslow’s Victorian Roots

Since the town was established with the coming of the railroad in 1880, you can imagine the sudden need for housing and other services. The prevailing architecture at the time was Victorian, and fortunately there are still plenty of examples of that along the streets downtown. For architecturally minded (or maybe just Pinterest-worthy) things to do in Winslow Arizona, stroll the residential areas along 3rd and 4th streets to see the charming Victorian cottages.

Pinterest-worthy Victorian cottages line the residential streets of Winslow

Historic Route 66 Relics and Memorabilia (& a great Motel!)

Route 66 is an integral part of Winslow, and you have TWO streets you can explore! Second St. (nearest the train tracks) is one-way eastbound, while the westbound portion of Route 66 is one-way on Third St. Route 66 runs the length of Winslow, approximately 51/2 miles. A drive (or walk) along either street (or both, for the truly intrepid Route 66 fans!) provides a glimpse into mid-century America. Take your time, and really look, you’ll find this is one of the really fun things to do in Winslow Arizona.

PRO TIP: For an awesome “retro Route 66 motel” stay, check out Earl’s Motor Court on 66 westbound (i.e. 3rd St.)

One of the “retro” things to do in Winslow Arizona is staying at Earl’s Motor Court on Route 66

Homolovi State Park

Remains of ancient Hopi dwellings at Homolovi State Park (photo by Trevor Huxham via Flickr)

Explore ruins of the Hopi, who inhabited this area from the 1200s to late 1300s, while taking in the beauty of more than 4,000 acres of high desert (4,900 feet elevation) scenery, just 3 miles from town. In addition to ruins and archaeological research, Homolovi State Park  houses a visitor center and museum along with trails, a campground and picnic sites.

Viewing ancient pottery and petroglyphs helps put the ancient quality of these lands into perspective. And as an added bonus, they have star viewing parties once a month! Visiting Homolovi is a must-do among things to do in Winslow Arizona.

Brigham City Fort

For one of the more unique things to do in Winslow Arizona, get glimpse of the ghost town of early travelers who passed through town in the city’s early days. The fort at Brigham City, about 2 miles northeast of town, was originally built by Mormon pioneers in 1876. The settlement only lasted a few years; ironically in the desert, flash floods washed away the fort’s irrigation systems. The buildings on the site are reproductions; portions of the original walls were moved to La Posada’s grounds to preserve them.

McHood Park and Clear Creek

For those of you who didn’t think a list of things to do in Winslow Arizona would include camping and water sports we are happy to share that we’ve got you covered! About 5 miles southwest of town, McHood Park at the Clear Creek reservoir offers a refreshing spot for camping, swimming, boating and more.

Bring your own kayak or rent a canoe at the park to paddle to Clear Creek Canyon, a secluded spot that’s popular with locals. Campers can purchase a (dry) camping pass at a kiosk on site.

Little Painted Desert County Park

Stunning photo ops at Little Painted Desert County Park (photo by Martin Ely via Flickr)

Head up to this little-known spot for some spectacular photo ops without the crowds. Facilities at this 660-acre county park, which is about 13 miles north of town, are no longer maintained, so don’t expect services. (You’ll see a few old picnic shelters that now have some spectacular graffiti!)

But the exotic combination of colors and natural rock formations are worth the trip–especially at either sunrise or sunset. NOTE: be sure to stick to the roads and major pathways–the rocks are crumbly. Now you can add “stunning desert photography” to your list of things to do in Winslow Arizona!

Rock Art Ranch

If your list of things to do in Winslow Arizona includes ancient petroglyphs, Rock Art Ranch is the place for you. The ranch, situated about 23 miles east of Winslow in a remote area off Interstate 40, is home to some of the finest Anasazi petroglyphs in the Southwest along with a collection of pottery and other historic artifacts found on the property.

Rock Art Ranch is a working cattle ranch, so visitors must make a reservation to visit. Rock Art Ranch is approximately 23 miles from Winslow. The ranch is open for tours from May 1st to Nov. 1st. Closed Sundays. Call (928) 288-3260 for reservations and pricing information.

Grand Falls (aka “Chocolate Falls”)

Depending on the time of year when you visit, taking a side trip to see Grand Falls (also known as the ‘Chocolate Falls’ because of the often muddy water) is definitely one of the things to do in Winslow Arizona. These incredible falls, which are over 180 feet tall (taller than Niagara Falls!) can range from a deluge to a trickle, depending on the amount of rain and snow melt. Remember, we’re in the desert here, so water is kind of “full on” or “almost off.”

YouTube video
Visiting Grand Falls on the Navajo Reservation is one of the awe-inspiring things to do in Winslow Arizona

Visit during the late summer monsoons or in the early spring during snowmelt for the best views. and occurs when the monsoon season hits northern Arizona and during snowmelt from the winter snowstorms. The falls are located on Navajo land, about 48 miles north of Winslow. Admission is free, but be sure to respect private property and stick to the roads.

Meteor Crater

Woman facing the edge of gigantic Meteor Crater near Winslow Arizona
Gi-normous (!) Meteor Crater, photo by Kevin Walsh, courtesy Flickr

Here we’re moving into the category of “otherworldly” things to do in Winslow Arizona. Meteor Crater is a massive crater (550 feet deep by 3/4 mile wide 😱) caused by the impact of a giant meteor 50,000 years ago. This is one whompin’ big hole in the ground! The terrain is so unique that in the 1960s it was one of the locations where NASA astronauts trained for the first moon landing.

In addition to both outdoor and indoor (air conditioned!) viewing points of the crater, there is also a Discovery Center and Space Museum on site where visitors can examine an Apollo 11 test capsule and learn more about the history and geology of meteors. Meteor Crater is about 20 miles west of Winslow.

Petrified Forest National Park

view of painted desert-reddish hills covered in bits of greenery

Located just 55 miles east of Winslow, Petrified Forest National Park offers far more than the world renowned petrified logs. A drive takes you through the Painted Desert, with several viewpoints along the way before meandering into an alien landscape filled with points of interest at almost every turn.

man in cowboy hat looking at petrified log in petrified forest national park

Plan to stop often to see ruins of former Native American settlements, ancient petroglyphs, badlands, and, of course, petrified logs. Two Visitors Centers provide interpretive exhibits, and the rangers are great about informing you of some terrific hikes to see some of these wonders up close. This is one of the many stunning Arizona national parks and monuments, and well worth a visit.

There you have it: 18 fabulous things to do in Winslow Arizona. There are certainly plenty of reasons to stay a night (or 2, or 3), and make it your base for exploring this part of northern Arizona! Which will you do first?

Things to do in Winslow Arizona

  1. Standing on the Corner Park
  2. Old Trails Museum
  3. Hubbell Trading Post & Warehouse
  4. La Posada Hotel & Grounds
  5. La Posada Art Museum
  6. The Winslow Amtrak Depot
  7. First Street Pathway Park
  8. Snowdrift Art Space
  9. Explore Winslow’s Victorian Roots
  10. Route 66 Memorabilia
  11. Homolovi Ruins State Park
  12. Bingham City Fort
  13. Rock Art Ranch
  14. McHood Park & Clear Creek
  15. Little Painted Desert County Park
  16. Grand Falls (aka “Chocolate Falls”)
  17. Meteor Crater
  18. Petrified Forest National Park
sign for Amtrak stop in hotel garden
Billboard that looks like a giant postcard about things to do in winslow arizona
Apparently even this guy knows the answer to “what is winslow, arizona famous for?” ! 😉

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Roadside motels are often a little “rustic” for my taste. But along Route 66 you can find some very respectable throwbacks.

There are plenty of motels and hotels on Route 66 in Arizona. But a select few really kick it up a notch in the “atmosphere” department. If you’re taking a road trip in Arizona and you want the full “get your kicks” experience, check out one of these motels and hotels on Route 66 in Arizona.

Some motels have a vintage homey charm, where you half-expect someone’s grandma to pour you a cup o’ joe. Others are more traditional motels that have really taken the Route 66 theme seriously, with giant murals and lots of neon. A few are vintage buildings that have been converted to charming inns. One hotel on Route 66 is a luxury property that dates back to the mother road’s earliest days . . . when taking the train was as popular as a road trip! And then there are the tepees . . .

All of these motels and hotels on Route 66 in Arizona are on (or very near) Old Route 66. So when staying here, you can immerse yourself in that old midcentury experience of taking a classic American Road Trip!

Two 1950s classic cars parked in front of the Wigwam motel

The motels are listed from east to west below:

Motels on Route 66 in Holbrook, Arizona

Holbrook is the easternmost town on Route 66 in Arizona where there are cool retro places to stay. This town is about 20 miles west of Petrified Forest National Park and The Painted Desert. That makes Holbrook a great place to stay if you want to spend time exploring those two magnificent parks.

Brad’s Desert Inn

Front of Brads Desert Inn motel, painted mustard yellow with neon signs and cowboy motif out front

Rated 8.4/10 on Booking.com

Brad’s Desert Inn is retro-chic with modern touches. This classic Route 66 motel was purchased by Peter Schmidt, an Austrian with hotel management experience who loves the American west 🤠. The outside is painted desert gold, and bedecked with all sorts of western paraphernalia. The rooms have thematic touches, such as full wall murals of trains or desert scenes, and cozy western blankets.

Reserve on Booking.com

The Wigwam Motel

antique cars in front of kitschy teepee motel rooms route 66 holbrook arizona

Rated 4.5/5 on Google

The uber-retro Wigwam has been family-owned and operated by the Lewis family since it was built in 1950. The rooms are in concrete tepees (not wigwams, go figure), and furnished with updated updated western-style hickory furniture. Classic cars parked outside of each unit give you that “midcentury feel,” even if you’re driving a boring old rental car. Reserve direct with the hotel: 928-524-3028.

Looking for other places to stay in Holbrook? Check all hotels and compare prices across booking sites with Hotels Combined.

Hotels on Route 66 in Arizona: Winslow

Long before Glenn Frey of the Eagles sang about “a girl, my lord, in a flatbed Ford” in the song Take it Easy, Winslow, Arizona was a natural stopping point on old Route 66. In addition to roadside motels, Winslow also boasts one of the best hotels on Route 66 in Arizona: La Posada. During your stay here, Be sure to allow time to visit “Standin’ on a Corner” park, which commemorates the famous song.

La Posada Hotel & Gardens

Rated 9.1/10 on Booking.com

Arguably the grandest hotel on Route 66 in Arizona, La Posada opened in 1930 for guests traveling west on the railroad. It’s been renovated recently and is decorated in a traditional old southwest style, with lots of adobe and Mexican tile. The hotel is surrounded by beautiful gardens and has galleries featuring southwestern art. If you want to treat yourself during your route 66 road trip, this is the place! Read more about our stay at La Posada.

Reserve on Booking.com

Earl’s Route 66 Motor Court

hotels on route 66 in Arizona at night with neon lights

Rated 4.9/5 on Google

Earl’s has been locally owned since it opened in 1953. Current owners Blas Sanchez and Angela Archibeque both grew up in Winslow. (Angela worked at La Posada as a teen!) The atmosphere is a cross between retro-motel and grandma’s spare bedroom, which is just how the owners like it. Wonderful old two-tone tile bathrooms and handmade quilts offer a cosy stop in a true relic from bygone days.

Contact the hotel directly for reservations: (928) 224-0161

Looking for other places to stay in Winslow? Check all hotels and compare prices across booking sites with Hotels Combined.


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Flagstaff, Arizona Route 66 motels

Flagstaff is the largest of the towns with hotels on Route 66 in Arizona, an as such there are a lot of places to stay here. Over the years many of the wonderful old roadside motels that used to line Route 66 on either end of town have been replaced by modern hotels. They’re all nice places to stay, but they don’t have that retro vibe you might be craving. Fortunately, there are still a few spots that offer that “get your kicks” ambience.

Flagstaff makes a great base if your planning to explore some of the many fabulous Arizona National Monuments nearby, such as Sunset Crater Vocano, Waupatki and Walnut Canyon.

Super 8 by Wyndham Flagstaff

Rated 8.0/10 on Booking.com

Although it’s a chain property, this motel on Route 66 has really gone the extra mile to provide some atmosphere. The well-maintained exterior of the building is clad with wonderful Tudor-style beams and the interior is freshly decorated in earth tones that will have you thinking the Brady Bunch are staying in the room next door. Massive Arizona-themed photos above the bed complete the, er, picture.

Reserve on Booking.com

Little America Hotel

Rated 9.3/10 on Booking.com

A soaring peaked roof with beamed ceiling tucked among the pines give the Little America Hotel a feeling of a western wilderness lodge. The lobby has a chic midcentury design and the rooms have beautiful natural wood slab headboards. This full-service hotel is located just a few hundred yards off Route 66, and its got great atmosphere, so we felt it should be on the list. 😊

Reserve on Booking.com

Looking for other places to stay in Flagstaff? Check all hotels and compare prices across booking sites with Hotels Combined.

Hotels in Williams, Arizona on Route 66

Williams is a wonderful old town on Route 66 that has a combination midcentury/old west feel. Williams is also the closest town to the main entrance of Grand Canyon National Park (which is a scant 50 miles away!). Of all the towns with hotels on route 66 in Arizona, Williams may have the most per capita. The proximity to the park, as well as the many tour operators nearby, makhttps://www.booking.com/hotel/us/rodeway-inn-suites-downtowner-rte-66.en.html?aid=2147336&no_rooms=1&group_adults=2es Williams a good stopover point on your Arizona Route 66 road trip.

The Lodge on Route 66

Motel on route 66 in Arizona with Front porch with bent willow furniture

Rated 8.6/10 on Booking.com

This is a midcentury motor court that’s been updated with 2020s country charm. Rooms are decorated with wood and wrought iron details that would be right at home on a local ranch. The owners have created cosy “living room” in the center of the courtyard, complete with outdoor fireplace. Settle yourself in the bent willow chairs on the front porch alongside a few painted tin roosters and watch Route 66 roll on by.

Reserve on Booking.com


Grand Canyon Hotel

Brick and stucco front of Grand Canyon Hotel on route 66

Rated 8.5/10 on Booking.com

Get a double dose of history when staying at the Grand Canyon Hotel. Opened in 1891, it’s the oldest hotel in Arizona, dating back to the days when Williams was a logging and mining town. It was revitalized when Route 66 became a popular route west. Rooms are furnished with period (mostly Victorian) antiques. Several rooms have lofts and/or bunks, which are great for families.

Reserve on Booking.com

Rodeway Inn & Suites Downtowner

Front of hotel on route 66 in Arizona

Rated 8.2/10 on Booking.com

Come on, with a name like the “Downtowner” don’t you just have to check it out? (Or maybe more accurately, check in?) This classic old motor court on Route 66 is now part of the Rodeway chain, but still retains a lot of unique charm. Rooms have an updated 50’s vibe–think Marilyn & Elvis–and the exterior architecture is right out of “Leave it to Beaver” . . . in a good way.

Reserve on Booking.com


Red Garter Inn

Hotel room with 2 double beds, high ceilings and victorian furniture

Rated 9.1/10 on Booking.com

It’s not every day you get to stay in a former bordello! The Red Garter was built for that purpose in 1895. The building on Route 66 went through several changes before it was reopened–this time as a respectable place of lodging!–in 1994. Victorian-style rooms are named for former “hostesses” and feature period touches, like clawfoot tubs. There is a bakery and cafe downstairs for breakfast and light meals.

Reserve on Booking.com

Looking for other places to stay in Williams? Check all hotels and compare prices across booking sites with Hotels Combined.

Seligman motels on Route 66

No road trip on Route 66 in Arizona would be complete without passing through Seligman, Arizona. Said to be the inspiration for the fictitious town of Radiator Springs from the movie Cars, Seligman is a little slice of road trip nostaligia. Spend the night at one of these cool retro motels, and you might just meet Tow-mater (or a bruuther, or a cuhzin . . . )

Historic Route 66 Motel

Lit up neon sign of Historic Route 66 motel, Seligman Arizona

Rated 8.4/10 on Booking.com

This traditional motel, right on route 66 in Seligman, Arizona channels “Radiator Springs.” The decor of the rooms is pretty classic “motel style,” with some Route 66, automotive, and Harley paraphernalia to spruce it up. Be sure to have a meal in the adjacent Road Kill Cafe (no judgement!)

Reserve on Booking.com

Deluxe Inn

Room at Deluxe Inn Seligman Arizona, showing bed with Route 66 bedspread and Marilyn Monroe photo

Rated 8.5/10 on Booking.com

Who can resist a place with such a swanky name? (Don’t you just wanna say “Dee-luxe”? 😉 ) With it’s geometric sign out front and 50s memorabilia in the rooms–not to mention a Route 66 bedspread–you’ll feel as though you’ve been transported back to 1956 . . . except now there’s A/C and wifi!

Reserve on Booking.com

Looking for other places to stay in Seligman? Check all hotels and compare prices across booking sites with Hotels Combined.

Kingman, Arizona Route 66 hotels

Kingman is the westernmost town with motels and hotels on Route 66 in Arizona where there are places to stay. There are some cool Route 66 Attractions here, including the Arizona Route 66 Museum and the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum. Kingman is also only about 75 miles from Hoover Dam, making it a great place to stop for a night or two.

El Trovatore Motel

Midcentury El Trovatore Motel sign, red and white, Kingman, Arizona route 66

Rated 8.1/10 on Booking.com

The El Trovatore is worth a visit just for its signage. Between the giant geometric marker out front and the neon-lit radio-style tower on the bluff behind the original 1937 building, you’ll have no trouble finding it. Themed rooms are decorated in a 50s-glam-hollywood style complete with gold brocade bedspreads. Wowza!

Reserve on Booking.com

Super 8 by Wyndham Kingman

Hotel with 2 double beds, bright yellow walls, large black & white desert murals above beds, route 66 Arizona

Rated 7.1/10 on Booking.com

A little more understated than some of the other hotels on this list, the Super 8 by Wyndham still manages evoke some Route 66 road trip atmosphere. Giant black-and-white desert murals over the bed serve as a reminder of the local terrain, while the neon-yellow color scheme transports you right into midcentury America.

Reserve on Booking.com

Looking for other places to stay in Kingman? Check all hotels and compare prices across booking sites with Hotels Combined.

Which of these fabulous motels and hotels on Route 66 in Arizona would YOU like to stay in on your next trip? It’ll really help get you in the mood!


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We traveled the state of Arizona searching for small towns where we could while away an afternoon, a weekend, or even use as a base for touring a region. Some are quirky, some a little “hokey,” but all have their own brand of charm.

Arizona is full of cool small towns. Most were built sometime in the 1800’s as either mining or cattle towns. Because Arizona was so large and sparsely populated, these Arizona small towns needed to be fairly self-sufficient. As a result, they each have a downtown core with terrific old architecture and unique history. Although some of these towns are still bustling with the business that got them started, many have reinvented themselves as tourist destinations that celebrate their heritage.

Each of these Arizona small towns are worth a visit. Some are perfect as a day trip, others make an excellent weekend destination. A few are even worth a longer stay, for use as a base when exploring some of the many natural wonders in the vicinity. Following are a list of 15 of our favorites in different parts of the state:

Prescott Courthouse in background, compass rose on pavement in front, arizona small towns

Northern Arizona Small Towns

Flagstaff

Flagstaff is the largest town in northern Arizona. Old route 66 passes through the southern edge of town, so you definitely get that “classic road trip” vibe. (And there’s a cool Route 66-themed gift shop in the old train station–souvenir alert!). The main part of town has a “nice old fashioned downtown” feel, with historic late Victorian brick buildings housing bars, restaurants and shops. Northern Arizona University is also based in Flagstaff, which means the town is not just a tourist haven.

Tudor-style train station building along railroad tracks

Of all the Arizona small towns, Flagstaff has the highest elevation in the state, at nearly 7,000 feet. Because of this high elevation, Flagstaff is one place in Arizona where you get snow in the winter! (There are ski slopes nearby.) High elevation also means Flagstaff never gets too hot in the summer, which can be refreshing if you’re looking to beat the desert heat. Flagstaff’s location, midway between Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest National Parks, makes it good base for exploring the natural wonders in the northern part of the state.


Kingman

Kingman was established as a railroad town in the 1880s, and soon grew thanks to mining in the surrounding area. Historic Route 66 passes right through town, Kingman is the westernmost Arizona town on the so-called “mother road.” Andy Devine, one of the early stars of western movies, is from Kingman. To celebrate this celluloid hero, the portion of Route 66 that goes trough the center of town is known as “Andy Devine Avenue.”

Today Kingman has a real “road trip” feel, and celebrates its motoring and railroad heritage. The cool multi-purpose Visitor Center is in an old converted power station. You’ll also find the Arizona Route 66 Museum and the Arizona Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum there. Across the street in Locomotive Park train geeks will love the ogling historic old steam engine #3579. And there is no shortage of Route 66 photo-ops: the logo is displayed all over town on signs and painted on the street.

Actually, there are a lot of interesting things to do in Kingman Arizona for everyone in your road trip crew. It makes a great base for exploring northwestern Arizona, and the western ends of the Grand Canyon.


Page

Page serves as the gateway to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which includes such attractions as Lake Powell and the famous Horseshoe Bend. Page is a relatively new community; it was established in the late 1950s to support workers building the dam. Today its a friendly town with plenty of hotels and tour operators that make it a great base for touring this area of northern Arizona near the Utah borders.

Plan to spend a few days in Page, enjoying the views such as Glen Canyon Dam Overlook and hiking to secret spots like the Hanging Garden Trail. Be sure to allow some time for water sports, whether it’s rafting down the Colorado River or boating on Lake Powell. No matter what you choose, there are plenty of things to do in Page AZ.

Seligman

Battered old red tow truck parked in front of building with American Flag painted on side
Is this Seligman . . . or Radiator Springs???

It is because of this little hamlet, bypassed by Interstate 40, that the Route 66 legend lives on. In 1987 locals petitioned the State of Arizona and had it designated a historic highway. This story is said to have inspired the location of Radiator Springs for the movie Cars. Today this no-stoplight town is a pilgrimage for Route 66 fans, who find retro motels, memorabilia shops . . . and lots of vintage cars parked around town (you might even get to meet Tow Mater!)


Williams

Two things distinguish Williams: Route 66 and the Grand Canyon. Williams describes itself as “the best preserved stretch of Route 66.” It was the last town on the “mother road” to be bypassed by Interstate 40 (in 1984), so it really hung on to its Route 66 identity. The center of town, with its diners, motels and shops is a designated National Historic District.

building with statue of cow in front

Williams is also the town nearest to the main entrance of Grand Canyon National Park (about 50 miles due north), which makes it a great base for exploring the area. The town is the headquarters of the Grand Canyon Historic Railway and Hotel. Because of its close proximity to the park, many Grand Canyon tour operators are based in Williams. Kaibab National Forest surrounds the town, with plenty hiking, biking and fishing opportunities for outdoor lovers.


Winslow

For anyone who has ever listened to a Classic Rock radio station and heard the lyrics, “well I’m standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona . . . ” Yep, this is the place! This is one of the small Arizona towns along old Route 66 which has capitalized on the Jackson Browne/Glenn Frey song made famous by the rock group Eagles. Get your 70s rock fix at the park that commemorates “Standing on a corner Winslow Arizona” where there’s even (you knew this was coming!) a flatbed Ford.

Route 66 sign on roadbed, Winslow Arizona

Winslow’s other claim to fame is the La Posada Winslow Hotel, one of the original Fred Harvey railroad hotels designed by Mary Colter along the Santa Fe railroad line. Current owners renovated and reopened the southwestern style luxury property in 1997. Today it contains a top-notch restaurant and art gallery in addition to comfy guest rooms. It makes an elegant old-world stopover while cruisin’ Route 66. And there are plenty of other things to do in Winslow Arizona.

PRO TIP: Go retro in Northern Arizona! Stay at one of these cool hotels on Route 66 in Arizona!



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Central Arizona Small Towns

Cottonwood

Cottonwood sits alongside the Verde River in the valley just north of Jerome. Due to its location along a river, Cottonwood is unique among small Arizona towns in that it began its life as a farming community in the late 1800s. The cute main street has a midcentury feel. Our first visit to Cottonwood in 2013 showed a town with “good bones” but not a lot going on. However, recent visits show that the town has really come into its own. Shops, cafes and restaurants now fill the once empty storefronts.

Red 1950s car parked in front of vintage gas station Cottonwood Arizona

Cottonwood has stayed true to its agricultural roots. The town’s other draw is the Verde Valley Wine Trail. Rows of grape vines grace the gently sloping hills surrounding Cottonwood. Over 20 wineries and tasting rooms are open for sampling in and around the town.


Globe

Globe was founded in the 1870s on copper mining and cattle, and both are still important industries today. This central Arizona small town is equidistant from Phoenix and Tucson and makes a nice day trip or weekend destination. Take a walking tour of the historic downtown. Visit the Gila County Historical Museum and explore the work of local artists at the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts (housed in the former courthouse).

Sitting in the middle of the Tonto National Forest, Globe is near several native American historic sites, such as the Tonto National Monument (cliff dwellings), as well as Besh Ba Gowah Archaelogical Park. The 3,500-foot elevation transitions between saguaro-filled desert and ponderosa pine forest. Wildflower lovers come to Globe for some spectacular natural displays.


Jerome

Jerome is a unique former copper mining town that’s now a great destination for visitors. Climb up Cleopatra Hill on a single twisty road to get there. As a result, the view of the surrounding valley is spectacular. You can even see many of Sedona’s red rock formations in the distance.

Jerome is an Arizona Victorian small town perched on a mountain, here is the 1898 Hotel Connor with the red rocks of Sedona in the background

Jerome once had so many saloons it was called “The Wickedest Town in America.” Now you can brows in funky shops and wet your whistle at atmospheric bars and restaurants. Planning on whoopin’ it up old-tyme miner style during a night on the town? We recommend staying in one of the cute Bed & Breakfasts. You certainly won’t want to tackle the drive down that mountain late at night.


Prescott

Prescott is charming, an example of Arizona small towns at their best. A classic old courthouse anchors the central square. (Remember the old Back to the Future movies?) Pretty Victorian homes and cottages line the downtown streets. Surrounding the square are restaurants, boutiques, antique shops, cafes and western wear outfitters. Visit historic “Whiskey Row,” so called because that’s where all the “hootin’ & hollerin'” happened. Today you can still do a bit of hootin’ & hollerin’ on Whiskey Row, and get your Western on . . . many of the bars feature live music.

Prescott Courthouse in background, compass rose on pavement in front, arizona small towns
The courthouse in the center of Prescott’s beautiful town square

That western atmosphere is legit: Prescott is also home to the world’s oldest rodeo, with the grounds about a half mile northwest of downtown. Nearby Prescott National Forest and Watson Lake State Park provide plenty of opportunity for outdoor pursuits.


Southern Arizona Small Towns

Bisbee

Street in Bisbee, Arizona with mountain in background
The winding streets of Bisbee, a small town nestled in the Mule Mountains of southeastern Arizona.

Bisbee, Arizona was established in 1876 as copper mining town tucked away in the Mule Mountains southeastern part of Arizona. The mine is no longer operational, but Bisbee has now transformed itself into a cool and funky destination with a sort of “Victorian-meets-Midcentury” kind of vibe.

Learn how copper helped shape both the town⏤and the nation⏤at the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, and then see the real deal underground on a Queen Mine Tour. Browse in Bisbee’s many art galleries, and spend the night (or 3) at one of the town’s picturesque bed and breakfasts.


Patagonia

Patagonia is a small town nestled high in the Santa Rita Mountains, about an hour southeast of Tucson. Once a mining town, Patagonia today is focused on cattle ranching and recreation. The wine growing region of Sonoita is just a few miles north.

The Sonoita Creek flows through Patagonia year round (a rarity in Arizona’s dry climate). As a result, the region is a popular flyway for many unique types of birds⏤and is a great spot for birdwatchers. Downtown Patagonia has a few funky art galleries, shops and cafes. The town’s high altitude (4,500 feet) keeps it cool in the summer, and many visitors like to stay for a week, enjoying nearby State Park at Patagonia Lake AZ, or ropin’ and ridin’ at the historic Circle Z Ranch.

Tombstone

Stagecoach and horses on the dirt streets of Tombstone, Arizona
It’s hard to get more “Old West” than the small Arizona town of Tombstone, home of the O.K. Corral. (Photo courtesy of AOT)

It would be hard to get more “Old West” in Arizona small towns than Tombstone. This is where the famous “Shootout at the OK Corral” took place with the Earp brothers & Doc Holliday pitted agains the Clanton-McLaury gang. But there’s a lot more to Tombstone, including its rich silver mining history, and clashes with the Apaches.

Tombstone has done much to preserve its Old West atmosphere. The main street is still dirt, and cars have to share the road with horses! There are plenty of western wear shops, restaurants and saloons. Historic sights include the Birdcage Theater and Tombstone Courthouse. But be sure to allow some time to see the “shootout:” it’s re-enacted daily.

Tubac

Tubac is a small Arizona town about 50 miles south of Tucson that today is a thriving artist colony. Unlike most Arizona small towns, the history of Tubac predates mining and cattle. Because of its location along the Santa Cruz River, it was a settlement for native tribes. Many of these native tribes greeted the Spanish Missionaries when they arrived in the late 1600s.

Colorful pottery outside a shop in Tubac, Arizona
Colorful pottery is one of the many types of creative expression available in the artsy small town of Tubac, Arizona. (photo courtesy AOT)

History buffs should visit Tumacacori National Historic Park just outside of town. Here, hundreds of years and layers of history mingle together, incorporating Native Peoples, Spanish Missionaries and Mexican and American soldiers. Tubac’s multiple art galleries line the sleepy streets of Tubac. The Tubac Center of the Arts hosts rotating exhibits, art workshops and performances.

Yuma

Yuma is a small Arizona town in the extreme southwest corner of the state. Sitting along the banks of the Colorado River made Yuma a strategic location in the 18th and 19th centuries. Initially it was missionaries who traveled this route. Passing through Yuma became one of the fastest ways to get out west during the California Gold Rush.

Today visitors to Yuma can get the feel of a real “old west” town by visiting the historic downtown. The center of town really took off during the gold rush years. Yuma was also home to the Yuma Territorial Prison, which is now a state park. (The prison figured largely in the classic Western movie 3:10 to Yuma). Visit the Colorado River State Historic Park to learn about the importance of the crossing throughout the past few centuries.


These Arizona small towns help to tell the fascinating history of the state. They all sit amid Arizona’s fabulous scenery, under those magnificent blue skies. The combination makes them each of them a great destination for a few days’ excursion.

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List of Small Arizona Towns to Visit

  1. Bisbee (southern Arizona)
  2. Cottonwood (central Arizona)
  3. Flagstaff (northern Arizona)
  4. Globe (central Arizona)
  5. Jerome (central Arizona)
  6. Kingman (northern Arizona)
  7. Patagonia (southern Arizona)
  8. Prescott (central Arizona)
  9. Seligman (northern Arizona)
  10. Tombstone (southern Arizona)
  11. Tubac (southern Arizona)
  12. Williams (northern Arizona)
  13. Winslow (northern Arizona)
  14. Yuma (southern Arizona)