Williams Arizona

Williams Arizona is located just 30 miles west of Flagstaff, and for those who are planning on visiting the Grand Canyon National Park, no town is closer to the park's boundaries. This makes the local hotels and motels popular with Arizona travelers, while outdoor enthusiasts often take to camping in Williams. Founded in 1880, Williams Arizona has a healthy historical appeal and can make an excellent north Arizona travel base. The town is especially renowned for being home to the Grand Canyon Railway depot, and taking this historic train to Grand Canyon National Park is definitely worth considering when looking for things to do in Williams Arizona.

Williams Route 66
Williams Route 66

In addition to being known as an Arizona tourist hub, Williams Arizona gets a lot of attention for being the last Route 66 town to be bypassed by Interstate 40. As is true of the nearby Grand Canyon, Williams tourism largely revolves around the town's Route 66 history. After settling in at Williams hotels, visitors who are interested in Route 66 history, not to mention the history of the town in general, might stop by the town's Visitor Center on Railroad Avenue. This center is a museum of sorts, offering interpretive exhibits that touch on Route 66, the Forest Service, and the mountain man for whom the town is named. In addition to checking out the interactive exhibits, anyone at the Williams Visitor Center can also get tips on regional tours and attractions.

Grand Canyon Railway
Grand Canyon Railway

There are lots of fun things to do in Williams Arizona, and when visitors aren't boarding the Grand Canyon Railway for a Grand Canyon excursion, they might take to driving down Route 66. This is the main street in town, and it passes along vintage buildings that echo another time. Many of the vintage buildings along historic Route 66 sell souvenirs, with the more interesting keepsakes coming in the form of antique collectibles. On both sides of Williams, portions of the historic Route 66 can also be driven, and while they lack roadside attractions on the whole, they can still be a joy to cruise for Route 66 enthusiasts. The Grand Canyon Railway's classic steam and diesel locomotives link up with coaches that hail from the 1920s and 1950s to carry passengers to Grand Canyon Village. Plans are in the works to build a museum in Williams that embraces the Grand Canyon Railway's history and the history of trains in Arizona on the whole.


Williams Arizona enjoys a wonderful location, and this helps to make it a popular travel base. For those who want to do more than head to the Grand Canyon and drive on Route 66 during their Williams visit, surrounding the city is the Kaibab National Forest. All kinds of recreational activities can be enjoyed in the Kaibab National Forest, including fishing, mountain biking and hiking. There's even a small ski area within the park, and while it doesn't rival the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Area to the north of Flagstaff, it can be a fun place to enjoy some outdoor fun during the winter months. Horseback riding and hunting can also be enjoyed in the Kaibab National Forest, with certain seasons being designated hunting times. If you plan to go camping in Williams, the Kaibab National Forest has nine different campgrounds. Some are closer to town than others, and if you prefer a cabin to a campsite, there are at least two very enticing cabins that are available for rent within the Kaibab National Forest boundaries.

When looking to go camping in Williams, it is possible to stay at one of the lakeside campgrounds in the Kaibab National Forest or at one of the RV resorts that can be found in and around town. The Canyon Motel & RV Park is part motel and part RV resort, with the RV section being relatively deluxe. As for the guest units, there are 23 to choose from, the best of which are housed in old train cars. There a couple of KOA campgrounds in the area that are also worth keeping in mind if you want to go camping in Williams, and for those who are arriving in an RV, the Railside RV Ranch deserves a look in conjunction with the Canyon Motel & RV Park.

Found near town at 877 Rodeo Road, the Railside RV Ranch has clean facilities that include a playground and an amphitheater. Cable TV and telephone hookups are available to guests, as are public restrooms and showers, a dump station, and laundry facilities. There's even a pet washing area at this RV resort.

Image: Williamsaz.gov
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