Arizona was the second state I visited, as a part of a circular drive with my sister starting and ending in LA. I absolutely loved Arizona and headed back to the south east of America as soon as I could to explore more. The colours command your attention: constant azure blue skies, vibrant red rock formations, the neon kitsch of Route 66 and more earthy use of bright colour as you get nearer to New Mexico.
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3 THINGS YOU REALLY CANNOT MISS:
GRAND CANYON | This famous landmark is 1.5 hours drive north of Flagstaff where we stayed, and I was surprised to see snow on the road (this was 28th March). Amazing day exploring the Grand Canyon rim, and definitely recommended if you can ever get yourself there.
SELIGMAN | Get your kicks on Route 66! If like me you love all things Americana and kitsch, then you will find Seligman amazing. Photo ops galore, the town is tiny but make sure it’s on your itinerary. Also check out: re-creations of the famous red and white Burma Shave signs along the highway.
OATMAN | so much history for one now-tiny 100 population former mining town. It takes the trumps on novelty factor with it’s wild burros and the reportedly haunted Oatman Hotel, who’s bar is now covered in $1 bills. Such a lovely and random place.
3 THINGS WORTH A SNOOP:
SPRING TRAINING | After Salvation Mountain, California, we drove full of hippie love vibes to Phoenix, Arizona and stayed at a Motel 6 in the suburb of Scottsdale (some pool time, ruined by drunk English lads). We saw the Chicago Cubs spring training at Hohokam Stadium, Mesa: all pretty uneventful baseball, but fun and tasty hot dogs!
WILLIAMS | there’s not really anything to do here as such, but it’s full of fabulous neon motels up and down the one main highway. We stayed at the Highlander motel, which was adorably kitsch, and ate at Rod’s Steakhouse.
JEROME | there’s some great driving on lots of windy roads, taking you to lovely hillside town Jerome sat 5,000ft above sea level – it’s an interesting place to see for a couple of hours, that I couldn’t quite capture on camera. The Jerome Grand Hotel, once a hospital for the town’s miners, is believed to be one of the most haunted places in Arizona. Also check out: the red formations (‘buttes’) of Sedona.
3 THINGS TO STEER CLEAR:
KINGMAN | is also on Route 66, and much bigger than Seligman. It’s full of fairly average antiques stores, that held nothing of interest for us. We pulled over for lunch at a good diner, but then kept going.
WICKENBURG | if you’re doing a road trip, naturally like us you’ll pass through a lot of towns and sometimes just need a break from driving! This town was recommended for downtown Frontier Street, and there are a lot of listed historic buildings, but we didn’t find anything to stop for.
PRESCOTT | is about 1 hour and 20 drive from Wickenburg. Again, I didn’t feel there was a whole lot going on but it does have a pretty central Courthouse square. I imagine you do need to take your time and dig a little deeper in to the mining boomtown history, true of this whole area. We enjoyed The Palace restaurant and saloon for lunch.
1 THING I WISH I’D DONE:
ROUTE 66 | yep, the entire thing! We loved this day of our trip so much I definitely plan to come back another time and pick up the drive from start to finish.
AND KNOW THIS: The legendary 1881 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in the Arizona Territory town of Tombstone is considered the most famous shootout in the American Old West, and lasted only 30 seconds.