Route 66, a short stay at Williams, AZ

by Maura Elko February. 18, 2017 1103 views

If you’re going to the Grand Canyon, South Rim, and coming up from the south, there’s no reason why not to stop and see the small town of Williams, Arizona, on Route 66!

Williams is only 1 hour away from the canyon, and also has some of the most affordable places to stay at if you are visiting the Grand Canyon. There are plenty of hotels, motels, and even a hostel located right in town on Route 66. We stayed at the Grand Canyon Hotel, which is a old historic building built in 1891. It’s said to be the oldest hotel in Arizona, and even though it was updated slightly back in 2004, it retains that old fashioned charm with the decor, old wooden floors, and room styles.

Grand Canyon Hotel check in desk

The check in desk at the Grand Canyon Hotel. It was surrounded by "dollar bills" from around the world!

People come all over the world and stay in it. We met a couple from Sweden, a man from Korea, and other visitors from different parts of the US. We sat and chatted with them for a while in the common room which was a lot of fun! Everyone there was super nice and friendly, the host even let us pick out which room we wanted out of those available(they’re all decorated a little differently with antiques and cool old time pictures)! So yeah, needless to say, I’d definitely stay there again!

Route 66 Street view

Street view of Route 66.

Route 66, Williams, Arizona

No on street parking from 2am-6am.

Out on Route 66

After checking in at the hotel, we went outside to go find a place to eat and check out some of the shops. Everything was in walking distance, but it was chilly and getting late so we didn’t go too far. In each direction there are several restaurants, and gift shops. Stuff is a lot cheaper here by the way than at the National Parks–so if you want souvenirs, it’s a good place to get them–there’s a lot of the same items if you’re worried!

Statue of Elvis on Route 66

Even Elvis made an appearance!

John Wayne poster and cowboys & indians on route 66

Lots of Cowboys & Indian stuff around

route 66 souvenir shop

Souvenir shops are all around too

Another thing to note too, there is no on street parking from 2am-6am, so if you’re staying at a place right on Route 66, you’ll have to move your car for the night. The Grand Canyon Hotel had parking in the back so it wasn’t a problem for us.

As we were walking around, we did see some of the stereotypical Route 66 things, like this old gas station which said it was a museum. Also an old car which was advertising another gift shop that it was parked right outside of. And it was definitely working with people coming over to take pictures of, and with it!

route 66 gas station museum williams, arizona

Old Gas Station Museum

old car on route 66

Old car that all of us tourists were taking pics of!

old car route 66

This car was advertising the business that it sat outside in front of

Lastly, you can’t forget to walk over and see the Grand Canyon Steam Train! The Railway operates daily going to and from the Grand Canyon with diesel engines, but every first Saturday of the month you can catch a ride on the steam locomotive! More info here at their website.

Grand Canyon Train

Grand Canyon Train

There was a small visitor’s center right there by the train, but by the time we got to it it was closed for the day(arrive early!). However there were some signs outside giving information about the surrounding area. Including a place to buy your Grand Canyon park pass! Which I do recommend getting ahead of time as there can be long lines of cars at the entrance.

williams arizona signage

Welcome to Williams Signage

Kaibab National Forest

If you’re into hiking and nature, the Kaibab National Forest which is split into 3 sections(Williams, Tusayan, North Kaibab), can be another thing to check out. We didn’t have the time, however I’d have loved to check out the forest and Bill William’s Mountain Trail.

Overall, we had a good time seeing a bit of Route 66, just wish it was longer!

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There are 2 comments , add yours!
Antonio Gil 3 years, 8 months ago

Great pictures of one of the most iconic routes of the world.

3 years, 8 months ago Edited
Maura Elko Replied to Antonio Gil 3 years, 8 months ago

Thank you! It's neat, I'd like to travel the extent of it sometime.

3 years, 8 months ago Edited