Small Towns in Arizona: Cities like Phoenix, Tucson, Sedona, and Flagstaff attract visitors with their world-renowned museums, immaculate golf courses, and impressive resorts and spas. But Arizona’s small towns with fewer than 5,000 residents hold some of the state’s best-kept secrets. From art galleries to wineries and historical sites, these small towns in Arizona will wow you with their offerings. The 10 Best Small Towns in Arizona.
The 10 Best Small Towns in Arizona
“America’s Most Vertical City” overlooks the Verde Valley from its perch on Cleopatra Hill, but it’s not the view that makes it one of the state’s most popular getaways. Visitors come to explore its art galleries and unique shops, such as the Nellie Bailey Kaleidoscope, and sample local wines at Jerome’s tasting rooms. More of a history buff? Don’t forget to check out Jerome State Historic Park, where you can learn about the community’s mining past. Jerome has several bed and breakfasts, independently operated hotels, and excellent restaurants to make the weekend of your stay.
Tourists come from all over the world to visit the infamous town where Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and Doc Holiday confront the infamous cowboy gang in OK. Coral. In many ways, it seems like nothing has changed since then. The historic district’s dirt streets are lined with wooden sidewalks, and you can walk past the Bird Cage Theatre, which is now a museum. You can also listen to live music while eating burgers at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon, ride in the stagecoach, and watch a reenactment of the legendary firefight. Afterward, head to Boot Hill to pay respect to those who have gone before.
Just 25 miles south of Tombstone, this mining community was once the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco. It is popular for its art galleries, vintage shops, and great bars and restaurants. Several museums trace Bisbee’s mining history, including the Smithsonian-affiliated Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum. Follow it up with a tour of Queen Mine or one of the adventures offered by Old Bisbee Ghost Tours. Drive a few miles south of Bisbee, to a view of Lavender Pit Mining for a more modern look at mining.
Since Bisbee and Tombstone are so close, you can quickly visit both small towns for a weekend getaway.
The last town on Route 66 to be bypassed by I-40, Seligman served as the inspiration for Radiator Springs in the animated film “Cars”. Stop by Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In to see cars in the parking lot depicted as characters from the film, or head to the Route 66 Gift Shop and Visitor Center for souvenirs. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet Angel Delgadillo, the man responsible for declaring Route 66 a historic highway at the gift shop.
To relive the glory days of Mother Road, continue driving west on Route 66 toward Kingman, with the occasional souvenir shop, roadside attractions like Keepers of the Wild Animal Sanctuary, and more on the way to Kingman. Skip the gas stations.
From Seligman, you can continue on Route 66 to Oatman, about 100 miles to the west. Like Seligman, one of the city’s main streets is lined with souvenir shops and restaurants. Although Oatman’s claim to fame is its wild burglars, the descendants of packing animals let loose when the mines closed during World War II. Many shops sell things you can feed them, and the feisty creatures put on a show, sometimes crying, fighting, or doing other mischiefs.
This small town just off I-40 celebrates Route 66 with themed dinners and souvenir shops, but the Grand Canyon Railway attracts visitors if not more so than Mother Road. Visitors board the historic train at the station in Williams and drive it to the Grand Canyon, where they can spend the night at the Rim Lodging or return a few hours later. In addition to the train, Williams is home to two attractions such as the Zoo: the Grand Canyon Deer Farm and the Arizona, where you’ll see bears, bison, and other animals from the Southwest.
Nestled among pine trees near the Mogollon Rim, this community has a surprising number of things to do. You can hike at nearby Tonto Natural Bridge State Park or follow the Waterfall Trail on Fossil Creek to a scenic swimming hole and waterfall. The city also has a historic, one-room schoolhouse open for tours, several fine restaurants and bars, and a boutique hotel, The Strawberry Inn. If that weren’t enough, you can walk a few miles south to the shops and attractions in Pine.
A short drive from Sedona, this rural community is worth visiting, especially if you love wine. Cornville has three prestigious wineries—Javelina Leap Vineyard and Winery, Oak Creek Vineyard and Winery, and Page Springs Cellars—all three of which offer tastings. Page Springs Cellars has a nice bistro onsite and outdoor seating, perfect for sipping a glass and listening to the creek gurgle past. For a more casual bite to eat, visit the 50’s-themed G’s Burgers.
This artsy community on I-10 south of Tucson has galleries and specialty shops, such as tumakukri with its gourmet foods. You can spend a day browsing both but make a point to visit the Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, the site of the first European settlement in Arizona. In addition to exhibits at the early settlement and fort, the park presents living history exhibits from October to March. Plan to make it a weekend by booking a room at one of the local bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels, or Tubac Golf Resort. Its golf course was featured in the 1996 Kevin Costner film “Tin Cup”.
Located in the southeastern corner of the state, Wilcox is home to seven wineries and Apple Annie’s Orchard, a U-Pick orchard that operates from July through October. However, come winter, more than 20,000 sandhill cranes flock to Wilcox Playa or anytime to visit the Rex Allen Museum, which is dedicated to the Western movie star from here. Hikers don’t have to go far to find the trails, but nearby Chiricahua National Monument has trails through the rugged terrain where Apache leader Geronimo hid with his men of American soldiers.