Seligman, Arizona: Famous town along Route 66. Editorial credit: Jon Chica /

7 Coolest Towns in Arizona for a Summer Vacation in 2024

Surrounded by the neighboring states of California, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico, as well as the Northern Mexican Border, Arizona is easy to get to from popular destinations like Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The beautiful, hot, desert-filled state of Arizona is home to two huge pieces of history. It features the historic Route 66, as well as towns famous for being a part of the Old West.

Fly into popular cities like Phoenix or Tuscon, or arrive by car using one of the Interstates. Come for the saloons, western-themed live performances, wild donkeys, antique car shows, and stunning natural parks, including the Grand Canyon. Stay in hotels based around the 1880s, or park your RV at one of the many campgrounds and stargaze. There's something for everyone in Arizona. Just make sure to pack the sunscreen.


Street scene with classic car in front of souvenir shops in Williams, Arizona.
Street scene with classic car in front of souvenir shops in Williams, Arizona. Editorial credit: Jordi C /

The town of Williams is located on Interstate 40 and is known as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon. A must-see on many traveler's bucket lists, the Grand Canyon features dozens of activities, tours, and hikes. Visit the Grand Canyon Deer Park, where you can get up close to these majestic animals. You can also take part in a safari at Bearizona Wildlife Park, home to a bear rehabilitation center. Ride the Grand Canyon Railway, or opt for a UTV tour. Want to experience the canyons from above? Book a helicopter tour and get a bird's eye view.

Nearby is Canyon Coaster Adventure Park, which has a mountain coaster, a fun activity that has gained popularity over the years. There are also spots for go-karting, skydiving, and the Route 66 Zipline. The Wild West Junction Activity Town takes you back in time, and you can choose to stay the night at Drover's Inn for the full experience.

Hungry? Dine in at Canyonlands Restaurant and admire the canyon walls surrounding your table, as well as the ruins. In town, you can also choose from American comfort food, buffets, western BBQs, and steakhouses. For the over-21 crowd, enjoy a drink at GC Brewing or at Historic Brewing. Shop at the various western ware stores, trading companies, and gift shops.

When it comes to finding a place to stay for the night, why not consider Raptor Ranch? This Flintstones-themed campground is perfect for all ages and even has an on-site restaurant. Depending on the time of year you visit Williams, you can attend events such as rodeos in the summer and the Route 66 Classic Car Show in October.

Craving even more outdoor adventures? Hike the trails at Bill William's Mountain or fish at one of the five trout-stocked lakes. You can also join a rafting excursion on the Colorado River or take in the beauty of Sycamore Falls and the Sycamore Canyon.


Bisbee, Arizona, USA: Downtown Bisbee, located in the Mule Mountains with the large 'B' on a hill in the background. This former mining town is a popular tourist destination.
Bisbee, Arizona, USA: Downtown Bisbee. Editorial credit: Nick Fox /

Famous for its copper and gold mining back in the day, the town of Bisbee manages to combine Wild West fun with mining, retro diners, pirates, and even Alice in Wonderland. Shop local at the Saturday farmer's market and get to know the businesses that keep Bisbee flourishing. Take a historic walking tour at the Bisbee Mining and History Museum. Love the supernatural? Join a haunted ghost tour or a haunted pub tour.

Take part in a jeep tour of the surrounding area or even a mine tour to get a real feel of the town's history. Admire the art at 12 different galleries, including 55 Main, Art Home, and the Broadway Stairs, which feature an outdoor portion. Shop for antiques, treasures, books, and vintage clothing at various shops around town, and check out some local favorites like Mile High MunCheese, Old Bisbee Roasters, and Tumbleweed Mining Co, which sells goods made entirely from desert plants.

Spend the night in the Grand Hotel, where you can also spend some time at the Bisbee Grand Saloon. In the morning, stop at the Bisbee Breakfast Club or at the High Desert Market and Cafe. Grab lunch at Contessas Cantina, or at Dot's Diner, with adorable retro decor. Get yourself a sweet treat at Pussycat Gelato, and afterward, catch a show at Chuckleheads Comedy Club.

For those who love to have a drink among friends, experience the Copper Queen Saloon, or try something new at the brewing companies, including Old Bisbee Brewing Company, Ballpark Brewing, and Electric Brewing, Arizona's 1st microbrewery. Depending on when you visit, catch the fun annual events, like Alice in Bisbeeland in August, an Alice in Wonderland-themed weekend. Experience the life of a pirate in August during Pirate Weekend. And in October, try the local cuisine at a Taste of Bisbee.


Holbrook, Arizona, USA: Main road displaying vintage signs.
Holbrook, Arizona, USA: Main road displaying vintage signs. Editorial credit: DCA88 /

Just off Interstate 40 is the adorable town of Holbrook. Situated near the Little Colorado River, Holbrook is full of history, delicious eats, and beautiful parks. Spend the day at Petrified Forest National Park, where you can hike, backpack, and take in the petrified remains from centuries ago. Search for Triassic fossils or see the ones already discovered. You can also explore Puerco Pueblo, a perfectly maintained Native American village.

If you don't want to miss a thing, make sure to book a guided tour, either by foot or horseback. The Painted Desert is also nearby, with canyon walls made of stunning oranges, pinks, and purples. You can either drive or walk this magnificent phenomenon, and for the best viewing experience, take the Painted Desert Rim Trail.

For even more history, explore the Navajo Nation, which is home to Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell, and opportunities for slot canyon hiking. Back in town, try to spot all the dinosaur statues at Dino's of Holbrook, perfect for little ones. For dinner, choose from options like American diners and Mexican restaurants.

Colonel Mustard Hot Dogs is great for lunch, and Camaleon Cafe is the perfect pitstop for a caffeinated drink and a sweet treat. Want to experience some Wild West history? Stop in at Empty Pocket's Saloon.


Seligman, Arizona: Famous town on Route 66.
Seligman, Arizona: Famous town on Route 66. Editorial credit: Jon Chica /

The town of Seligman is widely known as the birthplace of Historic Route 66. Nestled near the town of William's as well as the Grand Canyon, Seligman is chock-full of fun activities for the whole family. Visit the Supai waterfalls, where you can swim in the crystal blue water. For the more experienced adventurer, make the trek to Havasu Falls, which is only accessible by walking or horseback.

At the Grand Canyon, check out the Grand Canyon Caverns, which allow you to explore 210 feet underground! For those who aren't afraid of heights, head to the Grand Canyon skywalk, a glass bridge extending over the canyon. You can also explore the nearby area by either jeep or horseback and wagon tours.

Get up close and personal with wildlife at the Keeps of the Wild Animal Sanctuary, home to dozens of exotic species, including lions, tigers, and monkeys. Are you a big fan of the movie Cars, or do you have kids who are? Peach Springs is a nearby destination and is the location where Radiator Springs was based.

Back in town, book a room at the Historic Route 66 Motel, and for dinner, grab some delicious eats at Delgadillos Snow Cap Drive-In. Afterward, stop for a drink at the O.K. Saloon, which is also home to the Roadkill Cafe. You can also check out Black Cat Bar, an authentic cowboy hangout spot. Before your departure, make sure to pick up a souvenir at one of the shops, such as the Route 66 General Store or Route 66 Road Relics Gift Shop.


Tombstone, Arizona, USA: Historic Allen Street with a horse-drawn stagecoach.
Tombstone, Arizona, USA: Historic Allen Street with a horse-drawn stagecoach. Editorial credit: Nick Fox /

The town of Tombstone might be the coolest stop in Arizona. Based entirely on an Old West town, Tombstone brings Western culture to life. Catch a live gunfight show at the Old Tombstone Western Theme Park, where you can also pan for gold, take part in the shooting gallery, or play a round of mini golf.

Wander the town and take in the cowboy history, from presentations at the O.K Corral and the Saloon Theater to browsing the Gunfighter Hall of Fame. For even more history, visit the Bird Cage Theater or the Rose Tree Inn Museum, home to the world's oldest rose tree. Take a stagecoach tour through town, or join an underground mine tour or trolley tour hosted by the Good Enough tour company.

Ride the Outlaw Zipline equipped with laser guns, or go for a trail ride on horseback. Visit the Boothill Graveyard, the resting place of dozens of historical figures, from cowboys to outlaws, lawmen, and storekeepers. Throughout the year, take part in events like bull riding, showdowns, and wine celebrations. In town, get your photos taken at Lady L's Creations or Can Can Old Time Photos. For dinner, grab something at the iconic Hotel Tombstone, the Longhorn, or Mom and Pop's Sandwiches. You can also stop in at Tombstone Brewing Co. and Pick up some dessert at Fallen Angel Sweet Sin parlor or U Scream 4 Icecream.

When the sun sets, check out a local saloon such as Big Nose Kates, Crazy Annies, Crystal Palace, Doc Holidays, Four Deuces, or Johnny Ringo's. Want to stay sober? Why not join in on a nightly ghost tour and see some of the town's most haunted places?

In the morning, grab a cup of Joe at the Hitching Post or another coffee shop like Jane's Coffee, O.K Cafe, and Undertakers Espresso. Spend the afternoon shopping at stores like Arlenes, offering Native American handcrafted goods, or Best of the West Antiques. You can also check out shops selling Western ware, gifts, authentic Mexican art and wares, cigars, rocks and gems, jerky, honey, and root beer. Cabal Wine Cellars is also the perfect place to grab a souvenir bottle of red, white, or rose.


Downtown Benson, Arizona.
Downtown Benson, Arizona. By Marine 69-71, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Close to the city of Tuscon and full of charm. The small town of Benson is an old railway stop, and the over 15 murals in town perfectly convey that history. Make sure to take the tour and snap a picture of them all. For those who love birdwatching and wildlife sightseeing, take in the beauty of the San Pedro River.

At Kartchner Caverns State Park, you can explore a limestone cave and grab some delicious treats at the on-site Bat Cave Cafe. At Colossal Cave Mountain Park, you can explore caves full of crystals or check out the Historic La Posta Quemada Ranch. Hike the trails at Coronado National Forest and backpack to Apache Peak to take in the views.

The Forever Home Donkey Rescue is nearby and lets you get up close to several donkeys, a fun activity you'll surely want to tell your friends about. Prefer to take things slow? Play a relaxing game of golf at the San Pedro Golf Course, and afterward, head back into town for something to eat. Try something new at Adolfo's Mexican Food, or chow down on some delicious cuts at Pablo's Steaks.

Not full quite yet? Grab a cone at Benson's Old Time Ice Cream or a treat from Horseshoe Cafe. When it's time to call it a night, consider booking a room at either Double R Guest Ranch or Triangle T Guest Ranch. The town also has accommodations, including the Quarter Horse Motel and Copper Stay Inn. Arrived with an RV or tent? Choose from 16 campgrounds, such as Valley Vista RV Resort or the Red Barn Campground.


Oatman, Arizona: Panoramic view of the historic ghost town in Arizona, USA. Picture taken during a motorcycle road trip through the western US states.
Oatman, Arizona: Panoramic view of the historic ghost town in Arizona, USA. Editorial credit: Michael Urmann /

Whether you love antique cars or Wild West culture, you'll find something to do in the town of Oatman. Located along Historic Route 66, Oatman is home to the Oatman Burros, wild donkeys that roam the streets and surrounding area. These docile animals will even come right up to you or peek into the window.

For an Old West feel, check out the daily Oatman Ghost Rider Gunfighters, who perform for your amusement using blanks and an orchestrated show. The Oatman Hotel offers a museum on the second floor and a restaurant and bar on the main floor. Here, you can take part in the dollar bill tradition, where dozens upon dozens of tourists have stuck a $1 bill to the walls and roof.

Take part in a tour bus hold-up, where you can experience what it would be like to be held up by outlaws. Tour the jail and museum, or try your luck at the Jailbreak Escape Room. Outside of Oatman, explore the ruins of old mine shaft entrances or hike the Black Mountains. There is also the Tri-State Shooting Park, where you can test your aim.

Back in town, take some photos at Making Memories Old Time Photos or browse the artwork at the Dust Witch Gallery. Shop at the general store, rock and gem shops, trading posts, leather shops, or boutiques offering Native American art. Satisfy your sweet tooth at the Gold Rush Candy Shoppe, or pick up something yummy at Southwest Cupboard, which offers honey, tea, and lemonade.

When the sun sets, grab a drink at Judy's Pub and walk the town at dusk. Oatman doesn't have much when it comes to places to stay the night, but it is incredibly close to several neighboring towns and cities, including Kingman and Laughlin, which offer campgrounds and hotels.

Experience Arizona's Diverse Small Town Charm

If you've ever wanted to experience the life of a cowboy or know what it was like to travel down the iconic Route 66, Arizona is the state for you. Whether you're looking for somewhere to bring the whole family that features kid-friendly activities or somewhere more adult-centric with saloons and retro bars, you'll find the perfect town to make the trip to. Experience wildlife, history, and some of nature's greatest achievements all in this easy-to-access state, with easy-to-fly to cities and well-maintained interstates.

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