grand canyon railway credit Xanterra Travel Collection

A Weekend in…Williams

We all know the song “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.” Williams, which is 40 minutes west of Flagstaff and among the most well-preserved stretches of the iconic national highway – also known as the Mother Road (and yes, Mother Road Brewing was inspired to name its brand for it) – has kicks aplenty to fill a long weekend, especially if a lover of nature and wildlife.  

Though many folks spend the night in Flagstaff and make the drive to Williams for the day, the local Sheridan House Inn has such well-appointed accommodations; an overnight stay at the secluded luxury bed and breakfast is a must while in town. The Inn, which is known for its fox, javelina and deer sightings, features eight rooms, each unique in its own way and named for a tree native to the region. Of particular note is the Rosewood Room, which has forest views out of every window, an LED fireplace, lighted rain shower and both a private hot tub and furnished pergola. All guests at the Inn are treated to daily breakfast with French press coffee, hand-squeezed fruit juices and a menu curated to your particular dietary preferences and restrictions. When warm outside, breakfast is served on the deck surrounded by greenery, which makes you feel as if you are dining in your own, personal treehouse. After breakfast, adventures abound, including private helicopter tours that fly over the Grand Canyon, which can be arranged by the innkeepers with advance notice.

Sheridan House Inn

If your preference is to stay closer to the ground while still enjoying the region’s more natural wonders, Williams is also home to the Grand Canyon Railway. Just five minutes from the Sheridan Inn, the Grand Canyon Railway, whose Williams’ depot has one of the sneaky best restaurants in town in its Fred Harvey Restaurant, whisks guests to the south rim of the Grand Canyon and back daily via train. There are several types of cars on the train from which to choose, but for a more elevated journey, opt for the luxury dome or luxury parlor, each of which has plush seating, a private bar and snacks. Along the route, keep your eyes peeled from animals ranging from elk and mountain lion to bald eagles and condors.


Itching for an even grander animal encounter? Then don’t miss Bearizona in Williams. The 160-acre park allows visitors to drive their own cars through more than three miles of Ponderosa Pine Forest. During the drive, guests can view North American animals in natural habitats up close and personal, including reindeer, black bears, American bison and wolves. Additional animals can be observed in habitats at Fort Bearizona, a beautiful 20-acre walking area that is home to habits for bear cubs, bobcats, grizzly bears, otters, jaguar, elk, beavers, badgers and more.

Finally, any trip to Williams should include an actual visit to Route 66, which has commemorative signage perfect for selfies as well as a host of shops and restaurants along the way, notably Miss Kitty’s Steak House, South Rims Wine & Beer Garage, Mountain Man Mercantile and Cruise’n on Route 66.

Featured photo credit: Xanterra Travel Collection

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