Williams, Arizona is an original Route 66 town that feels like it hasn’t changed much since 1926, when the east-to-west highway was established. Life moves at a slower pace in Williams, and comes alive at night with neon signs, live music, and the smell of American cuisine all permeating through the more than six blocks of historic buildings and shops on Route 66.
This story was created in partnership with Experience Williams.
All About Route 66
Grand Canyon Railway
Whether you’re a train enthusiast or not, riding the historic Grand Canyon Railway to Grand Canyon National Park is the best way to experience the scenic pine forests from Williams to the South Rim. Plus, how incredible is it that the train has been taking visitors to the park for over a hundred years!?
Route 66 is a common road trip “bucket list” item for many people, making the towns along the way often filled with folks on vacation and looking for a fun time! Williams fills that desire in many ways, from well-known events to the downtown ambiance of neon lights. An outdoor amphitheater between the Williams Visitor Center and the Grand Canyon Railway is often filling the town with tunes from live artists, while the outdoor patios of breweries and tasting rooms draw visitors in after a day of hiking.
Classic American Dining
What’s more American than a burger and fries in a Route 66 town? Maybe eating that combo with a cold brew in your other hand? Yes, that’s it! Williams has a myriad of downright delicious restaurants from quick service to sit-down fine dining. There are made-from-scratch menus, microbreweries, a wild west saloon, steakhouses, wood-fired pizzas, and even a wine tasting room. Don’t be worried about your caffeine fix either, there are at least two local coffee shops.
Lake Life Adventures
For folks looking for a little lake therapy and great camping—whether in a tent or an RV, Kaibab Lake sits just 10 minutes outside of downtown Williams and hosts more than 75 campsites. Fishing from kayaks or single-motor boats is popular on the lake, as is stand-up paddleboarding, though swimming is not allowed in Kaibab Lake. The campground offers individual, double, and group sites with picnic tables and fire rings. There are also restrooms, group picnic areas, trash bins, water faucets, and a boat ramp for the lake.
Even closer to town, Cataract Lake is just a mile northwest of Williams and offers facilities like picnic tables, a restroom, and garbage bins. In addition to fishing, Cataract Lake is the perfect spot for a midday picnic or a sunrise stroll with coffee.
The closest airport to Williams and Grand Canyon National Park is the regional airport in Flagstaff. If you’re on the Route 66 road trip, enjoy the ride! We recommend taking a loop from Flagstaff, to Williams, and then down to Prescott to experience northern Arizona in all of its glory. Find our itinerary for that trip here!