Sweeping vistas. Miles of open road. Kingman is a place to turn up the tunes, roll down the window, and drive. But it’s also an oasis within the desert. A quirky town that’s part of the longest unbroken stretch of Route 66, Kingman is a must for road trip enthusiasts and a look back at classic Americana.
The epitome of “if walls could talk” more than 40 downtown buildings and sights are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, guaranteeing there’s tons of history and secrets in those walls. Called Arizona’s best-kept secret – we think it’s high time the secret got out. Here are some of the not-to-miss attractions while you’re there:
Hit the Mother Road
Grab a Route 66 Passport and make it a scavenger hunt to hit all the stops. Keep your eyes peeled for classic roadside attractions, vintage signs, and storefronts, and snap a selfie with the old murals and asphalt insignia. You can stay at one of the original motels, Route 66 Motel (formerly the Pony Soldier), eat at one of the classic diners (Mr. D’z or Rutherford’s or Kingman Airport Cafe) or downtown restaurants (Rickety Crickets Floyd & Co, Siren’s), explore the Powerhouse Route 66 Museum and the new Electric Car Museum, hunt for treasures at the downtown antique shops, or pay a visit to Kozy Corner RV Park, a photography haven.
Home to the “Giant Headicus” sculpture, this larger-than-life, 14-foot tiki statue stoically watches over the ribbon of highway east of Kingman. When you’re ready to continue on, gems await in either direction. To the east is Hackberry General Store, a museum full of vintage photos and memorabilia, a gas station turned museum, Angel & Vilma’s Route 66 gift shop, and to the west is Oatman Road and Cool Springs.
Get a Good View
If you need to stretch your legs, dozens of trails and recreational areas welcome hikers and bikers to the Mojave Desert with views, hues and a variety of landscapes that allow for year-round outdoor recreation. Hualapai Mountain Park is popular for its towering granite structures, while the Monolith Garden Trail is comprised of ancient volcanic rock formations. Channel your inner pioneer on White Cliffs Wagon Trail, originally used by prospectors during a gold rush or get a bird’s eye view of the Grand Canyon and the sacred rock formation, Eagle Point, from the harrowing Skywalk. Wherever you go, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, wildflowers, and epic overlooks.
Meet the Locals
Beyond the leftover cowboys and gunslingers you imagine roaming the Southwest, there are plenty others that call the Kingman area home – many with four legs and furry paws. Keepers of the Wild is an endangered animal sanctuary that rescues bears, big cats, and primates you can see on a guided safari. If you’d prefer to get more hands-on, the neighboring city of Oatman is another quirky Western town where you can feed wild burros that roam the streets and catch a gunfight. But don’t worry, it’s just a reenactment. Alpacas of the Southwest is a working ranch and breeding facility which has plenty of feeding and photo opportunities along with great wool souvenirs.
This story was created in partnership with Go Kingman