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Williams, Arizona

Gateway to the Grand Canyon

Williams, Arizona Snapshot

Williams, Arizona, is a charming town in the heart of the old west. It is in Northern Arizona, nestled between the Kaibab National Forest and just south of the world-famous Grand Canyon.

Williams, Arizona is known for being home to the best preserved stretch of Route 66. The town has worked hard to maintain the integrity of the road, and it is now a major tourist attraction.

Williams is rich in history, dating back to its settlement in the 1870s. The town was originally a mining town, but it has since grown into a tourist destination with its bright neon lights and Route 66 nostalgia.

The historic downtown district covers six square blocks, offering plenty of museums and historical sites to explore, as well as a wide variety of shops, lodging, and dining options. Stroll down Historic Route 66 and browse through one-of-a-kind shops selling everything from vintage cowboy boots to turquoise jewelry. Then cap off your day with a delicious meal at Williams’ many family-friendly restaurants. You can also enjoy some great hiking and camping in the surrounding area.

Let’s take a closer look at all that this charming town offers.

Things to Do in Williams, Arizona

No matter what time of year you visit Williams or whether you’re looking for nostalgia or adventure, there’s sure to be something fun to do.

Popular Attractions

Grand Canyon Railway

Williams is a gateway to the Grand Canyon via the Historic Grand Canyon Railway. No trip to Williams would be complete without it. Departing daily from the station in downtown Williams, this 2.25-hour round trip takes passengers on a journey through one of America's most spectacular sights en route to the Grand Canyon South Rim. Once there, visitors can participate in activities like hiking, camping, river rafting, and exploring the canyon and its breathtaking views.

Experience the luxury of a bygone era at the newly refurbished Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. The 298-room hotel is right next door to the train depot and just a block away from downtown Williams and historic Route 66.

Route 66 Sign Arizona Flag - Williams Arizona

Historic Route 66

Route 66 at Williams, Arizona, is a historical relic of America’s past. It is full of charming roadside businesses and murals depicting the Mother Road’s spirit. Several local art galleries and museums also pay homage to Route 66 and its history.

If you are visiting Williams, a stroll down the town’s main street, which has been lovingly restored and kept in its original condition, is a must. Here visitors can also find old-fashioned cafes, souvenir shops, and plenty of restaurants serving up classic dishes from the era of Route 66. After dinner, visitors can take a break and enjoy some live entertainment at one of the local venues.

Canyon Coaster Adventure Park

Canyon Coaster Adventure Park

If you are looking for an exciting adventure, Canyon Coaster Adventure Park is the perfect place to go. The park offers a canyon coaster, summer mountain tubing, and winter snow tubing.

The Canyon Coaster is a thrilling ride that takes you on a wild ride through the canyon. The first and only of its kind in Arizona. Summer mountain tubing is a great way to cool off on a hot day, and winter snow tubing is a fun and family-friendly way to enjoy the snow.

There is also a restaurant on site so you can grab a bite while you are out on this adventure.

Bearizona Wildlife Park - Grizzly Bears

Bearizona Wildlife Park

Bearizona Wildlife Park is the perfect place to visit if you’re looking for an exciting and unique Arizona attraction. The park is home to black bears, wolves, bison, elk, and a wildlife conservation education center. There are also plenty of activities for kids, including a petting zoo, nature trails, and exhibits.

Wild West Junction

Relive the golden days of America’s Wild West at Williams, Arizona’s one-of-a-kind attraction! At Wild West Junction, you can enjoy a journey back in time and take pleasure in modern comforts. Sleepy cowboys will feel right at home with themed lodging at Drover’s Inn.

For an even more authentic experience, be sure to check out Wild West Junction’s on-site Saloon for a drink, and the Branding Iron steakhouse for some good eats.

Don’t miss out on this remarkable trip into yesteryear; head over there and experience history come alive today – you won’t regret it!

Explore the Outdoors in Williams

Surrounded by Kaibab National Forest, visitors and locals enjoy hiking, mountain biking, camping, fishing, skiing, and just overall site seeing. With a four seasons playground to enjoy, plan your outdoor adventures in Williams anytime of the year and take advantage of a variety of activities.

Popular Outdoor Activities

Hike Bill Williams Mountain

The large mountain to the south of Williams, named Bill Williams Mountain, is a popular destination for hikers, climbers, and skiers. It is named after Old Bill Williams, a famous trapper and mountain man among the first Europeans to settle in the area.

The mountain's summit rises to an elevation of 9,259 feet and is accessible by an 11-mile hike from downtown Williams. Along the way, hikers will be treated to stunning views of forests, meadows, and wildflowers. At the summit, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

The Bill Williams Mountain area provides plenty of camping options.

Bill Williams Monument Park

Bill Williams Monument Park is a beautiful park dedicated to Bill Williams. The park features a statue of Bill Williams and a plaque that tells his story. The park is a popular spot for visitors and locals alike and is a great place to spend an afternoon.

Kaibab National Forest

A short distance away from Williams is the Kaibab National Forest. It is one of Arizona's most beautiful and diverse forests and a popular destination for hikers, campers, and nature lovers. The forest provides many opportunities for outdoor recreation, like fishing, camping, wildlife watching, hiking, golfing, rock climbing, and horseback riding.

In the winter months, visitors can explore all its cross-country ski trails.

If you're looking for a place to get away from it all, the Kaibab National Forest is the perfect spot. With more than 1.6 million acres of land to explore, you'll never run out of things to see and do.

Sycamore Falls

Just a few miles from Williams, the Sycamore Falls are a beautiful sight. The rushing waterfalls and the surrounding greenery make for a perfect picture-perfect scene. The hike to get there is also very rewarding, as you see some of the most stunning views in the area.

Lodging in Williams, Arizona

When it comes time to call it a day, Williams has no shortage of places to stay. From cozy cabins to luxury hotels, there is something for everyone. Williams also offers several RV parks and RV resorts located near all the major attractions.

Places to Stay

Grand Canyon Railway Hotel

Take a step back in time and treat yourself to an unforgettable stay at Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Recently refurbished, this 298-room facility is located right next door to the train depot and just steps away from historic Route 66. You'll enjoy modern amenities such as complimentary wi-fi, an indoor pool and hot tub, delicious dining options onsite at Fred Harvey Restaurant & Spenser's Pub — all while being at the Gateway to the Grand Canyon®.

Whether you’re looking for a comfortable place to stay or a glimpse into the past, the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is sure to exceed your expectations.

Best Western Plus Inn Williams - Exterior
Best Western Plus Inn Williams


For those who prefer staying in hotels that provide comfortable accommodations with amenities such as pools, hot tubs, and gyms, the Best Western Plus Inn and the Comfort Inn Near Grand Canyon are perfect for getting a good night’s sleep before another busy day exploring all that this town has to offer.

And if you’re looking for something truly unique, consider spending a night at the world-famous Grand Canyon Hotel & RV Park—a historic hotel once frequented by celebrities like John Wayne and Lucille Ball. Or you can also stay at The Drover’s Inn at Wild West Junction, which features seven different Wild West-themed rooms for a truly Wild West experience.

Sheridan House Inn - Bed & Breakfasts Williams
Sheridan House Inn

Bed and Breakfasts

Bed and Breakfasts provide cozy lodging options, often with home-cooked meals included. The town has several great options, including the Canyon Country Inn, Buffalo Pointe Inn, Sheridan House Inn, Red Garter Inn, and Trappers Rendezvous. Each offers guests a unique experience with cozy accommodations and friendly service. So if you’re looking to escape for a few days and enjoy a quiet, relaxing getaway, be sure to check out one of Williams’ bed and breakfasts.

No matter where you stay in Williams, you will surely have an enjoyable experience.

Grand Canyon Railway RV Park Williams Arizona - Photo Credit Xanterra Travel Collection
Grand Canyon Railway RV Park - Photo Credit Xanterra Travel Collection

RV Parks and Camping

If camping is more your style, head to the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park or several other RV parks just outside town. RV Parks & Camping offers a peaceful setting for travelers exploring the area’s natural beauty.

Visitor Center in Williams, Arizona

The visitor center at Williams, Arizona, is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the area. The center has exhibits that tell the region’s story and provides information about the tours available to nearby attractions.

Start your visit to Williams here

Williams Visitor Center

Not just an information center, this historic railway depot property has Forest Service maps, regional maps, and a great selection of books and educational items.

With its rich history dating back to the 1870s, charming small-town atmosphere, and convenient location near some of Arizona's most iconic attractions—not to mention its scenic beauty—it's no wonder Williams is such a popular destination for travelers from all over the world. Whether you're looking for adventure or want to relax and soak up some history, you'll find everything you need for an unforgettable weekend getaway in this little corner of Northern Arizona.

The friendly staff at the Williams Visitor Center will assist you in making your visit to Northern Arizona one of your most memorable experiences. So what are you waiting for? Call us at (928) 635-4061 and start planning your trip to Williams, Arizona, today!