We’ve Planned Your Next Northern Arizona Weekend Getaway
If you don’t want to spend all day in the car for a family trip, it only takes a few hours to arrive at a great northern Arizona weekend getaway. You can sample some of the best food and wine in the country in Cottonwood, or see where Earth and space collided in Winslow. You can go on a safari in Camp Verde, or take a train trip to see one of the wonders of the world in Williams.
We put together some ideas to help you plan your next vacation without going the distance. And don’t forget to check out the websites of these destinations as hours and availability change throughout the year. Now go have an adventure!
Located less than 40 miles west of Flagstaff, this small town nestled among the pines is the perfect spot for a northern Arizona weekend getaway.
The first place to stop on your itinerary should be Bearizona Wildlife Park. The earlier you arrive, the better your chance to catch all the wolves, bison, jaguars, and, of course, bears moving about the scenic 160-acre grounds. There are also shows, bus tours, a petting zoo, and a spacious gift shop boasting the state’s largest model train display.
After checking out the local wildlife, be sure to get your kicks at Route 66, which boasts the best-preserved stretch of the historic superhighway and an eclectic art walk every second Saturday of the month from May through October. Or hop aboard the historic Grand Canyon Railway, which departs from downtown Williams daily to take your family to the landmark’s South Rim. There are a number of lodging options located in downtown Williams to fit every budget.
Don’t forget to bring your golf clubs. You’ll want to book a tee time and play the 18-hole championship course at Elephant Rocks. Then grab dinner and a drink at the Red Raven Restaurant, which features an impressive wine list and one of the best dinner menus in the region.
Make your northern Arizona weekend getaway roar with excitement with a stop at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park. Located off of I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff, the beautiful Mingus Mountains offer a stunning backdrop to see the many exotic mammals, birds, and reptiles living inside the park’s over 100-acres. Watch a Bengal or Siberian tiger take a dip inside the park’s giant pool. If you rather see your predators eat instead of splashing around, then grab a seat for the Predator Hunt to check out your favorite exotic friends devouring their next meal. Visitors can even take a zip line across the grounds to get a bird’s eye view of the park.
After you’ve taken in the wildlife, take a hike along the many trails nearby, or view one of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in North America at Montezuma’s Castle. You can also sip some of the finest wine Arizona has to offer at one of the nearby vineyards. And if you want to explore the great indoors, there’s plenty of excitement at the Cliff Castle Casino. You can eat, play, catch a show, and relax inside one of the best casinos in the state.
You can do more than stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, but you definitely want to check out the tribute to the Eagles’ song “Take It Easy” on the crossroads of Route 66 and North Kinsley Avenue. Take a selfie next to the statue of a 70s guitarist at the Standin’ On The Corner Park, and be sure to grab a souvenir from the Route 66 Trading Post or check out Native American artifacts at the Old Trails Museum. And don’t forget to grab a cold local beer at the nearby Relic Road Brewing Company.
After you checked out the sites in downtown Winslow, drive 30 minutes east down Interstate 40 to take a look inside the 550-foot deep Meteor Crater. It’s the world’s best-preserved meteorite impact site. The nearly one mile across and 2.4 miles in circumference hole in the ground is the result of a collision between a piece of an asteroid traveling at 26,000 miles per hour. There are also outdoor observation trails, air-conditioned indoor viewing, a widescreen movie theater, an interactive discovery center, a gift and rock shop, and Astronaut Memorial Park. Or take a guided tour around the outer rim of this natural spectacle.
There are some great weekend getaways in northern Arizona, but when you step into Cottonwood, you’re actually going back in time.
You can experience life in a frontier town at the Blazin’ M Ranch, located just north of the city. Your family can rope cattle with a real cowboy, get pulled around the grounds by a vintage Jonn Deere tractor, or get in a few rounds of target practice with an authentic Colt .45 six-shooter. After you break yourself out of the Old West jail, you can head to the barn for a chuckwagon dinner of mouthwatering BBQ chicken and baby-back ribs. Be sure to stick around for a musical performance by The Blazin’ M Cowboys.
For some more history, stop by and shop in historic Old Town Cottonwood. There are restaurants, antique shops, and award-winning wineries located along Main Street. Then head out to the Verde River nearby for some fishing, kayaking, or rafting. Cottonwood has all the fun of country life without any of the hassles.