Updated: Mar 20, 2021
Do you plan to take Route 66 to the Grand Canyon? If you plan on passing through Williams on your Arizona road trip, then you should MUST stop there. Here is why you should take this detour.
COVID-19 Warning: There is currently no statewide mask order in Arizona. Williams is located in Coconino County, which does have a mask order for anyone inside a public space. Children ages 2 and younger are exempt from this order. Guests are required to wear masks while in interior public spaces and while on the train.
Do your kids love the Pixar-Disney movie Cars? The small town Radiator Springs was created based off this town in Williams off the historic Highway Route 66. Your kids will recognize many of the dusty faded buildings and places from the film. I suggest watching the movie before your trip.
Where to stay in Williams
Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel
233 N. Grand Canyon Blvd in Williams, Arizona
The Grand Canyon Hotel is designed to resemble an Old Western train depot. This is the perfect spot to stay the night before your big day at the Grand Canyon.
What to do in Williams, AZ
1500 E Rte 66, Williams, AZ 86046
Monday-Sunday 9am-4pm (Gate closes at 4pm)
This is the most unique and best “drive-through” zoo I’ve ever been to. This is no standard zoo. There are so many reasons why Bearizona is featured on all the major travel channels. Keep those windows up because you will drive past several Arctic Wolfes, Black Bears, and American Bison. You can drive this massive loop as many times as you want. You will come across a countless large selection of North American animals in their natural environment. Sorry no ATV’s, open-top jeeps, or open-top convertibles.
There is even a large walk-through zoo that was the perfect spot for my kids to burn off their energy.
You can take a lunch for a nice picnic or you can dine at the Bearizona Dining Room Restaurant. This restaurant is themed to mimic the Arizona Caverns.
Grand Canyon Railway
The Grand Canyon Railway is an entertaining, historic train ride to the Grand Canyon. This adventure includes western music, cowboy characters, and a cowboy showdown, along with an old fashioned train robbery. Most importantly, it is on an amazing vintage train. Make your grand trip the grandest by hopping aboard a train that will take you back in time. How does the cowboy saying go? “If you climb in the saddle, be ready for the ride.”
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Visit the City
History buffs can explore six blocks of historic buildings and shops. There is a Santa zip-line near the train tracks. You can fly through the air on a Santa sleigh! (Also, don’t forget to watch the Pixar-Disney movie Cars before your trip)
Flinstone Bedrock City- Now Closed
101 US-180, Williams, AZ 86046
This “used” to be a cool Flintston themed roadside attraction. It is now closed. We drove to the other side of Williams to verify. There are a few small buildings left, but 100% not worth the drive anymore. It was not an “yabba-dabba-doo” time.
Where to Eat
Grand Canyon Brewery
301 NORTH 7TH STREET, WILLIAMS, AZ
This restaurant is a jump, hop, and skip away from the Railway Hotel. The food is really good. Show up early or make reservations. We went on a Tuesday and had to wait 40 minutes for a table.
While you are heading for the Grand Canyon, this small, historic town is the perfect spot to spend a few days. This town has countless things to do to keep your kids entertained.
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