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If you enjoy unique roadside attractions, kitschy Americana, vintage memorabilia, and stories from “the good-ole-days,” an Arizona Route 66 road trip should be high on your bucket list!
This classic route covering more than 385 miles from Lupton to Oatman, Arizona, will have you singing its praises once you cruise by the vintage gas stations, snap photos of the classic cars, try the delicious diner food, or see the free-roaming donkeys of Oatman.
Route 66 was one of the first roads a part of the National Highway System implemented in the early 1920s. It gained popularity early on for its advertisement as the easiest way to get from Chicago to Los Angeles through St. Louis, although “easy” is relative. It took months for families to drive the route, resulting in many thriving small towns and businesses along the road until the updated Interstate System replaced Route 66 in the early 1980s.
Today, some sections of the original 2,400-mile route, known as The Mother Road (thanks to the 1936 novel, The Grapes of Wrath) are closed to vehicles, but almost 85% of the original route can be driven with much of that in Arizona. I-40 makes getting to the main attractions, including Flagstaff, Williams, Kingman, and Seligman, easy but you will have to drive sections of the original Route 66 to get to the more off-the-beaten-path attractions.
Thanks to a few locals that fought to keep their small towns on the map after the devastating toll the new interstate took on their local business, Arizona is known to have the best preserved Route 66 attractions, including, restaurants, motels, trading posts, vintage signs, and memorabilia. As a bonus, Route 66 in Arizona passes by a few of the Nation’s National Parks, including the Grand Canyon.
I have driven Route 66 through Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and California multiple times and always seem to find something new to explore. Plan 2-3 nights to enjoy this drive, and double that if you visit the Grand Canyon. Get ready for unexpected adventures, new friends, and the quirkiest personalities you could only find along a route equally unique.
This post takes you through all of the Route 66 Arizona attractions, with descriptions and thoughts on each site to help you plan a road trip you won’t forget.
If you want to stick to the highlights for a shorter drive, here are my top 10 favorite Route 66 Arizona attractions.
- Petrified Forest National Park
- Wigman Hotels in Holbrook, AZ
- Standing on the Corner Statue and Route 66 Road Shield in Winslow, AZ
- Posada Hotel in Winslow, AZ
- The town of Seligman
- Hackberry General Store
- Mr. D’z Diner in Kingman
- Grand Canyon Caverns
- Sitgreaves Pass Road
- The town of Oatman
Read on to learn about all the great roadside attractions you can stop at, including my favorite top 10 Route 66 Arizona attractions.
As you travel through the Grand Canyon State on Route 66, make your first stop in Lupton. One of the first things you’ll notice when you enter the town is the iconic “Welcome to Arizona” sign, a perfect spot for a fun family photo or a selfie to document your first stop through the state. Exit I-40 at 359 and pull to the rest area to get up close to the sign. You can also sleep overnight at this rest area, so it is an excellent stop for anyone car camping.
Check out the nearby trading posts, including Chief Yellowhorse, a family-owned and operated gift shop with authentic Native American arts and crafts, souvenirs, and exciting finds. This distinctive shop, also called the “Hole in the Wall” is next to a giant cave.
Just down the road is another roadside attraction, the Lupton Teepee Trading Post. This fun gift shop is shaped like a giant teepee and offers a variety of Native American goods, including jewelry, pottery, and other souvenirs to remember your visit to Arizona.
Petrified Forest National Park
A truly underrated National Park, The Petrified Forest National Park is located off of I-40 in the vast painted desert, featuring stunning geological formations in red, lavender, and pink hues.
Stop at the Rainbow Forest Museum, which serves as a visitor center, to learn about the process that turned ancient trees into stone over millions of years, creating the petrified wood that gave this park its name. You can also hike through the park’s many trails, where you can get up close and personal with the petrified wood. Don’t forget to check out the 700-year-old Agate House, a pueblo house made entirely of petrified wood. After a long day of exploring, unwind at the convenient RV park located near the park’s entrance.
While in the park, stop by the Painted Desert Inn, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, you can take in the panoramic views of the desert, browse through the museum exhibits, and grab a bite to eat. While this Route 66 Arizona attraction no longer functions as an inn, it is an excellent spot to learn more about the fascinating history and geology of the park.
Wigwam Motels (Holbrook, AZ)
The Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ (along with another in San Bernardino) offer an unforgettable lodging experience for travelers and classic car enthusiasts. Nestled in the heart of historic Route 66, guests can enjoy the nostalgic charm of this iconic motor court. Each concrete “wigwam” has a basic interior with original furnishings surrounded by an impressive display of classic cars, making this one of the most iconic Route 66 Arizona attractions.
After a night at the Wigwam Motel, take some time to explore Holbrook’s surrounding vintage landmarks. Just down the road from the Wigwam Motel, you’ll find the permanently closed Joe & Aggie’s Cafe, a charming vintage building and once a popular eatery among travelers. Take a stroll down memory lane as you admire an array of vintage signs and decked-out Route 66 cafes and shops, such as the Pow Wow Trading Post, a souvenir shop, and Mr. Maestas, a Mexican eatery.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the Rainbow Rocks Shop, home to a quirky collection of large dinosaur statues that will delight visitors of all ages. These concrete statues are brightly colored, so snap a few pictures! The onsite shop also sells geodes, fossils, and petrified wood.
Heading from Holbrook to Winslow, Arizona
As you journey along the historic Route 66 towards Winslow, Arizona, you’ll encounter several noteworthy stops, like the Geronimo Trading Post, a popular destination for tourists and locals. Here, you can browse an extensive collection of Native American arts and crafts, including beautiful jewelry, pottery, and rugs.
Feeling hungry? Esther’s Diner is a fantastic eatery in Joseph City, Arizona, serving delicious comfort food like barbecue ribs, pulled pork, and ice cream. After filling up on some homemade grub, make a pit stop at the Jack Rabbit Trading Post for BBQ rubs, seasoning, Indian crafts, and classic Route 66 memorabilia.
The Jack Rabbit Trading Post became known for the iconic black and yellow rabbit signs that marked the way to the gift shop. As you approach, the signs would gradually change in size, with the largest one standing proudly at the shop entrance. The large “Here It Is” sign is the only one left in the series, but it makes a fun photo moment along with the giant Jack Rabbit perched in the shop’s front yard.
There is not too much in this tiny town, but it is home to one of the most iconic Route 66 Arizona attractions, the “Standing on a Corner” Glenn Frey statue. Named after the late Eagles singer and celebrating the song “Take It Easy,” this bronze statue perfectly captures the spirit of the town and the famous lyrics, “Well, I’m standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.” Visitors can take a trip down memory lane and snap a picture next to the life-sized musician, soaking in the nostalgia of the bygone era.
Another must-visit location in Winslow is the historic La Posada Hotel, also known as the last great Harvey House – a former chain of hotels for travelers to the West. Once considered one of the most elegant hotels in the Southwest, and housing several famous visitors, the La Posada has been expertly restored and is open for overnight stays. Take a step back in time as you wander around the beautiful grounds, marvel at the intricate architecture, and admire the stunning artwork that adorns the walls. You may also enjoy a meal at the award-winning Turquoise Room, serving contemporary Southwest cuisine.
If you’re in the mood for some outdoor adventure, go to the Little Painted Desert County Park. This hidden gem is located just north of Winslow and offers breathtaking views of the nearby rock formations and vibrant colors. This state park is perfect for nature lovers and those wanting to enjoy an incredible sunset over the stunning horizon.
On the way from Winslow to Flagstaff
On the way to Flagstaff, the Meteor Crater Natural Landmark is one of the fascinating stops along Route 66. This massive meteorite impact site, which is about 50,000 years old, offers an awe-inspiring experience for anyone who loves to learn about the mysteries of the universe. Pack your camera, as the views are truly out of this world!
Another intriguing destination to visit en route to Flagstaff is the ghost town of Two Guns. Once a popular stop on Route 66, this abandoned town offers a unique look into Arizona’s past. There is not much to see but some remains of old buildings, such as the former gas station and zoo. The eerie atmosphere and haunting history of the town’s past is not for everyone.
After delving into the ghost town, take a short drive to the nearby Walnut Canyon National Monument, where you can marvel at the ancient Sinagua cliff dwellings and take a scenic hike through the beautiful landscape.
Another tiny town along Route 66 you don’t want to forget is Winona- You may have heard the name of this town in the song “Get your Kicks on Route 66,” but it’s not worth the stop unless you need to fill up. The iconic Winona Trading Post, once outfitted with classic Texaco gas pumps, drive-up carport and a vintage garage, is all gone. A modern shell station now stands in its place. You can still get some good views of the San Francisco peaks, but the classic Americana vibes are not so strong anymore.
When you get to Flagstaff, AZ, the largest city on the classic Route 66 in Arizona, head to the welcome center to snap a picture with the iconic road shield painting on the ground. This historic symbol is a perfect spot to take a memorable photo in the largest city on this famous highway. While exploring this old railroad town, check out the beautiful mural near Lumberyard Brewing, which showcases a Route 66 theme with classic cars.
As you explore Flagstaff, drive by the Western Hills Motel neon sign, a classic example of mid-century Americana. This is one of my favorite vintage signs along Route 66 and the Agave restaurant now advertised on the sign is pretty good!
Before you leave, spend some time at The Museum Club, a historic roadhouse that has entertained travelers and locals since 1931. Not only is this legendary venue a great place to enjoy live music, dance, and have a few drinks, but it also houses a fascinating collection of taxidermy and historical artifacts.
One of the must-visit spots in Williams, AZ, the Gateway to the Grand Canyon, is Twisters Soda Fountain. Although it was built in 1926 and was once the oldest diner in Williams, this historic location has now been transformed into a Thai restaurant, Dara Thai Twisters. The establishment retains its vintage charm, so it’s worth a visit for a unique dining experience and photo op along Route 66.
As you stroll down the historic downtown area, you’ll be greeted by vibrant neon signs and charming eateries, including Goldies Route 66 Diner and Cruiser’s Route 66 Cafe. These iconic diners will throw you back to the 1950s – you can grab a bite to eat while soaking in the nostalgic atmosphere of Route 66!
As you stroll through Williams, stop by Pete’s Route 66 Gas Station, an old gas station that is now a gift shop, private museum, and photo op location. With vintage cars on display and a plethora of souvenirs, this spot is a must-visit for history buffs and vintage vibes.
In addition to enjoying the unique dining and shopping experiences, you can also take advantage of the close proximity to the Grand Canyon National Park and all the awe-inspiring natural beauty it offers. It is less than an hour from Williams to this iconic national park.
As you pass through the tiny town of Ash Fork, AZ, stop by the fascinating Route 66 Museum. This small museum offers a glimpse into the past and brings the history of the iconic highway to life. From vintage cars and trucks to old gas station memorabilia, the museum is a treasure trove of Americana that will transport you back in time to the golden era of road travel.
While in Ash Fork, take the time to explore the town’s charming streets and local establishments. Grab a bite to eat at one of the nearby diners, like Ranch House Cafe. For those looking to extend their stay, Ash Fork offers a variety of lodging options, including several RV parks, providing the perfect home base to explore while driving the Mother Road.
Seligman (my favorite Route 66 stop)
Seligman packs a lot of personality despite its small size. With a history deeply rooted in historic Route 66, this small town is a must see stop on any Route 66 road trip. The town’s Main Street is lined with classic eateries, vintage motels, museums, gift shops, neon signs and eccentric displays commemorating what Route 66 meant in its heyday.
Established in 1886, the small town of Seligman became a thriving community with a rapidly growing economy in the early 1900s thanks to the thousands of travelers making the journey out west along historic Route 66.
On September 22, 1978, Interstate 40 bypassed the town, disrupting the local economy and once-successful businesses. Resident, Angel Delgadillo, fought to keep Seligman on the highway signs when I-40 replaced Route 66 and, as a result, came up with the idea to bring back Route 66 as a historic highway. His efforts helped the forgotten town get some of its mojo back. As a result, Delagadillo is now known as the “guardian angel” of Route 66.
Pay homage to this guardian angel at his store – Angel and Vilma Delgadillo’s Original Route 66 Gift Shop. This treasure trove of souvenirs, located in a former pool hall, offers a wide variety of Route 66 memorabilia and locally crafted items. Whether you’re looking for a unique gift or a special memento of your journey, this charming shop has something for everyone – including a barbershop.
As you enter Seligman, you won’t be able to miss the Historic Route 66 Sign, located at the intersection of I-40 and old Route 66. There’s room to pull over and capture a memorable photo at this iconic landmark. Once you’re in the heart of Seligman’s historic district, visit the Roadkill Cafe & O.K. Saloon, a quirky eatery serving hearty American food and showcasing plenty of taxidermy.
Another must-visit spot is Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In, a former gas station turned classic diner serving burgers, shakes, and malts since 1953. Known for its neon signs, unique decor, and friendly atmosphere, this main attraction is an essential stop on any Route 66 road trip.
From Seligman to Kingman
As you journey along historic Route 66 towards Kingman, you’ll hit a stretch of empty road in Yavapai County, where the historic Burma-Shave signs will pop out of nowhere. The series of red and white signs with humorous poems is all that is left of a marketing idea that saw the famous shaving cream advertisements lining the highways in over 40 states.
Another must-see attraction is the Grand Canyon Caverns, an underground wonder filled with breathtaking limestone formations and fascinating history. Located 21 stories underground, these are the largest dry caverns in the United States. Enjoy a guided cave tour, then afterward, grab a bite at the onsite Caverns Grill, with a simple menu serving burgers and salads. You can even stay overnight in the Cavern Suite, 200 feet underground!
While in the area, you may want to drive through Peach Springs, a small town that got its name from the peach trees growing by the river. Although there isn’t a lot of Route 66 landmarks left, you may recognize it as the inspiration for Radiator Springs from the Pixar movie Cars.
For a more interactive experience, stop by Keepers of the Wild Nature Park in Valentine, Arizona, a sanctuary for rescued exotic animals where you can get up close and personal with lions, tigers and bears oh-my!
Onwards towards Kingmam, you’ll arrive at one of the best Route 66 Arizona attractions, the wacky yet charming Hackberry General Store, a 1930s-era gem dubbed “the mother of all museums.” You’ll find an eclectic mix of memorabilia, vintage cars, and even an old-fashioned gas pump here. With only 15 residents in the town and 75 in the surrounding area, this charming pitstop is a testament to the resilience of the Route 66 spirit.
If you’re looking for a place to rest and recharge, Valley Vista RV Resort is a lovely RV park along Route 66. Its convenient location and friendly atmosphere make it the perfect spot to settle in for the night before continuing your journey.
One of the must-visit spots in Kingman, Arizona, is the Powerhouse Visitor Center, a historic building from the early 1900s that used to be an electric power plant. This center is a great starting point for your Kingman adventure, where you can pick up maps, brochures, and local tips on what to see and do in the area. Don’t forget to snap a few photos with the historic Route 66 signs and drive through the Welcome to Kingman sign in the parking lot.
While you’re there, take advantage of the Arizona Route 66 Museum inside the visitor center, showcasing the history of the famous highway. This visitor center is also home to the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum, so you can take a break from learning about vintage cars and neon signs to learn more about electric cars instead!
After visiting the Powerhouse Visitor Center, cross the street to Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner. This classic American diner, located just a short walk from the visitor center, offers a variety of mouthwatering dishes and is known for its friendly atmosphere and darling waitresses. Enjoy a root beer float or fresh Indy grilled burger surrounded by nostalgic decor that transports you back to the golden days of Route 66.
Mr. D’z is my favorite diner not only along Route 66 in Arizona but along Route 66 in Texas too. Their homemade milkshakes and simple classic burgers were so good! (Pops 66 in Oklahoma is a close tie).
The last major attraction on this Arizona Route 66 road trip is one of the best, and getting there is even better. The road to Oatman along Sitgreaves Pass is a must-do. This winding road in the Black Mountains offers incredible panoramic views of the desert landscape. A perfect spot for photographers and nature lovers, Sitgreaves Pass, is an ideal place to take a scenic drive to the summit or even have a picnic while admiring the picturesque beauty.
Take your time along the winding road, and bring plenty of water. There is nowhere to buy supplies along the road to Oatman after the historic Cool Spring Service Station, another unique Route 66 Arizona attraction.
This original Cool Springs gas station has been beautifully restored to its former glory and is now a souvenir shop with plenty of memorabilia. This historic site serves as a reminder of the town’s past and the golden days of Route 66. Here, you can take a step back in time as you explore the store and vintage gas pumps or relax with a cold drink and a snack while chatting with the friendly staff. Cool Springs also has a gift shop where you can pick up fun souvenirs to take home, making it a perfect pit stop on your Oatman adventure.
While the surrounding scenery is lovely, you’ll be in for a treat once you reach the town of Oatman. The most notable part of Oatman are the wild donkeys that visit the town every day. These wild burros wander down the roads and sometimes stick their heads in the shops, annoying the locals but still delighting animal lovers.
Oatman is a small touristy town with a bit of a Western feel. Enjoy the painted murals, vintage buildings, western-themed games, tourist shops or a meal at the Old Hotel. If you are looking for adventure, rent a dune buggy for a thrilling off-roading experience.
After all this driving, you may want a relaxing escape. Joshua Tree National Park and the resort town of Palm Springs and the official “end of the road” Route 66 sign on Santa Monica Pier, is about a 3-hour drive from Oatman, while the sunny beachside town of San Diego is a little further, 5 hours away. But once you make the drive, you’ll be greeted with options for things to do, places to see, and day trips to take, fitting for whatever kind of mood you are in.
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