12 Best Small towns in Arizona for a vacation away from the crowds!

Do you love discovering hidden gems during your travels? Perfect! In this article, you will discover the best small towns in Arizona!

Arizona is home to some of the most beautiful natural landmarks in the United-States but there also are beautiful villages and authentic towns to discover along the way. Whether you are a local or on a road trip on Route 66, there are many charming small towns that you can visit.

We’ve selected the cutest places just for you! Ghost towns, Wild West vibe… there is a bit of everything!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost for you! As an Airbnb Associate, I may earn when you book through these links.

Most charming small towns in Arizona, USA

Oatman

Small town of Oatman in Arizona
Photo credit: Steven Kriemadis via Canva Pro

When it comes to small villages in Arizona, Oatman sets the standard! It’s like no other place!

Firstly, it’s important to note that it is a very small and authentic village. The population is under 50!

It began as a mining time but has grown to become one of the most unique destinations in the USA. As you walk around the village, you will feel like being back in time. There are burros (donkeys) everywhere!

It’s located in the Black Mountains and is the perfect stop on a road trip on Route 66. Alternatively, if you are staying in Las Vegas, you can opt for a day tour to Oatman. See prices here.

Here are some ideas of things to do in Oatman: 

  • Say hi to the wild burros: you will find donkeys everywhere in Oatman. That’s one of the most unique things about this village. As you roam around time, take time to look at them and enjoy how unique this experience is.
  • Going for a meal at the Oatman Hotel: it’s a very unique and cool place. The walls are covered with banknotes! The facade is also very cute and exactly what you expect a hotel in the Wild West to look like!
  • Going on a ghost tour: Oatman is known as a ghost town and if you want to learn more about this part of history, exploring the town with a guide.

WHERE TO STAY IN OATMAN: Accommodation is limited in Oatman but you can still find some amazing Airbnbs! For a unique stay, opt for the Oatman Rock House. See prices and photos here.

Bisbee

Small town of Bisbee in Arizona
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The town is in Cochise County, Southeast Arizona, about 92 miles from Tucson.

Bisbee cropped up as a mining town in the 1880s. People flocked here with prospects of getting rich from mining gold, silver, and copper. 

It was named after Judge DeWitt Bisbee, a mining prospector.

Today, the town is a tourist hotspot for people seeking to experience a real American Wild West town. You can visit the abandoned mines and enjoy the Victorian-styled townhouses that housed the miners which will feel as if you are smack in the middle of an old American Wild West film.

It’s about 1.5 hours from Tuscon. You can easily get there by car. Alternatively, you can opt for a day trip to Bisbee and Tombstone (another cute small town in Arizona) from Phoenix. See prices here.

Here are some examples of things to do in Bisbee: 

  • Taking a ghost tour. Who says mining town says underground and ghost tours! If you like spooky stories, make sure to go on a ghost tour!
  • Visiting the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum. If you want to learn more about the history of the town and the mining industry in the area, the museum will be the perfect place to start.
  • Visiting the Copper Queen Mine. This is the most popular attraction in Bisbee. It used to be the main mine in the town but was closed 30 years ago. Nowadays, tourists can visit it and discover what it was like to work in a mine.

WHERE TO STAY IN BISBEE: The best place to stay in Bisbee is in a bed and breakfast or a local vacation rental. For a unique and authentic stay, the High Road House Bisbee Airbnb will be a great option. See prices and photos here.

Jerome

View of the small town of Jerome in Arizona
Photo credit: Canva Pro

Jerome town is nestled in Yavapai County, in the Black Hills. The town came to rise as a historic copper mining town in the 1800s and later grew to become an important town during WWII. After the copper deposits were depleted and the mines closed, people deserted this town.

Today, the town is promoted as the ‘wickedest town in the west’ in a bid to attract tourists. Some of the original buildings exist today while others were fully restored for tourism purposes. The town has stunning scenery, having been built into Cleopatra Hill. From this location, you can see the crimson rocks of Sedona and take breathtaking photos.

To get here from Flagstaff, take the State Route 89A into Sedona, and then head southwest for about 28 miles. You can also opt for a day tour form Phoenix or Sedona:

Here are a few cool things to do in Jerome, AZ:

  • Taking a ghost tour. There are many stories to discover in Jerome and going on a guided tour is a great thing to do. When you get to Jerome, make sure to stop at the visitor center, they will be more than happy to give you more information. 
  • Wine tasting at Jerome Winery. The town is home to a fantastic winery. If you are a foodie and want to taste some delicious wine, make sure to book a tasting. It’s also very pretty.
  • Visiting the Mine Museum. If you are a history buff, you should check out the Mine Museum. You’ll learn plenty about the history of the town.

WHERE TO STAY IN JEROME, AZ: The Clinkscale is a very unique hotel, restaurant and bar. It’s a great place to stay in Jerome. Alternatively, you can opt for a unique Airbnb such as the House on the Edge of Time. Prices and photos here.

Sedona

View of Sedona in Arizona and red rock
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Sedona is also known as the Red Rock country because of the magnificent crimson rock formations that glow in red when the sun shines upon them. It truly is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Arizona. You will love both the town and its surroundings.

Sedona began as a ranching and farming settlement after two Spanish mining prospectors discovered it in 1583. In 1902, Theodore Schnebly established a post office inside the town and named it Sedona, after his wife.

Today, Sedona town is renowned for its strategic location against a background of stunning rock formations and vibrant art and cultural center.

It is located about 90 minutes’ drive from Phoenix, following the I-17 to exit 298, then 14 miles west, past the Village of Oak Creek. If you don’t want to drive, you can also opt for a day tour from Phoenix. See prices here.

Sedona is a wonderful destination for hikers, bikers, rock climbers, and outdoor enthusiasts. When it comes to activities, you will be spoilt for choice! Here are a few ideas of things to do:

  • Soaking up the jaw-dropping views of Airport Mesa. This is one of Sedona’s most famous red rock landmarks. It’s absolutely stunning and only a short drive away from Sedona. If you can, head there for sunrise. It’s even more beautiful!
  • Going on a jeep tour. This is the best way to discover the vortexes and the famous energy spots in Sedona. You will be with a local guide who will explain everything you need to know about the region’s healing power. Also, it’s super fun! See prices here.
  • Stargazing. Sedona is one of the best places in the US for stargazing. If you can, make sure to spend at least a night here as you will be mind blown by the beauty of the stars. There are also a lot of UFO stories here and if that’s something you are interested in, you can opt for a UFO and stargazing tour. See prices here.

WHERE TO STAY IN SEDONA, AZ: Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa is one of the best places to stay. It has a swimming pool, a bar and a restaurant! See prices and reviews here.

You can also opt for a unique Airbnb in Sedona. See prices and photos here.

Wickenburg

Like most mining towns in Arizona, Wickenburg, in Maricopa County was established in 1863 as a mining town, following the discovery of gold nearby. It was named after Henry Wickenburg, one of the original settlers of this town. A visit to this town will be like taking a walk down memory lane!

Despite this rich history, Wickenburg still stands as a small tourist town, with historical buildings standing tall. It is a great destination for travelers who want to immerse themselves in the Wild West culture and heritage and learn about the struggles this town underwent during the Indian wars.

To get here, take the I-10 W to Loop 303 North, then at the US 60-93 roundabout, take the second exit west and follow the road to Wickenburg.

Tombstone

Entrance of the small town of Tombstone in Arizona
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If you want some Wild West vibes, visiting Tombstone will be the perfect thing to do! This small Arizona town is located in the southern part of the state and has a fascinating history.

When Ed Schieffelin, a mining prospector set off to seek silver, his fellow soldiers told him that he would only find his tombstone. That was in 1877, in Cochise County, Arizona. Ironically, when Ed found Silver, he named the town Tombstone. People would later throng this little town, turning it into one of the Wild West towns.

The town was the source of inspiration in the production of blockbuster movies such as Wyatt Earp and Tombstone in 1994 and 1993 respectively.

Today, a few of the original buildings remain. Some are in their original state while others have been restored as tourist attractions. If you love the Wild West, this would be a great town to visit. You can buy a souvenir from one of the gift shops in town.

If you are coming from Tucson, take the I-1O, then exit 303 to reach the Arizona State Highway and follow the highway for another 40 minutes to the South. If you are staying in Phoenix, you can opt for an organised day tour. See prices here.

Here are a few examples of things to do in Tombstone, AZ: 

  • Walking up Allen Street (the main street). Wandering around the town is one of the best things to do. Tombstone looks like a movie set. The dusty main street, the saloons… the atmosphere is very unique and walking around is the best way to experience it.
  • Visiting the Bird Cage Theatre. Although it stopped operating over 100 years ago, you can still walk in and look around. 
  • Visiting OK Corral. This is where the most famous gunfight in American history took place and Tombstone’s most famous attraction!

WHERE TO STAY IN TOMBSTONE, AZ: Tombstone Monument Guest Ranch is a very unique resort. The amenities are incredible but it still has this very rustic Wild West vibe. Such a great place to stay! See prices and reviews here.

Winslow

Winslow Small town in Arizona
Photo credit: Doug Berry via Canva Pro.

Winslow is located in Navajo County, 57 miles south of Flagstaff Arizona.

The town was named after Edward Winslow, the president of the Pacific railroad company. It cropped up as a railroad town and played a critical role during WWII. When the war ended, the town lost its luster because train travel was minimal.

However, until 1979 when I-40 opened, the town was an important stop for travelers along Route 66. You can visit Winslow to take pictures of the ‘easy’ statue standing in the corner park. This Corner was popularized in a song that became a best seller in the US and continues to pull visitors to the small town every year.

To get to Winslow from Phoenix, drive along the I-40, following route 66.

Page

Horsehoe bend in Arizona USA
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Page is a small town located in the northern part of Arizona, right at the border with Utah. It’s known for being the gateway to some of the most stunning natural landmarks in the US including Lake Powell and Horseshoe Bend.

Page was founded in 1957. It used to be a housing community for local workers. Since then, it became a popular destination for outdoor lovers!

If you are also looking for a spring break destination, this could be a great option. The weather is very nice in spring and it’s less busy!

Here are some cool things to do in Page, AZ:

  • Visiting Horseshoe Bend. This is one of the most beautiful landmarks in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This natural bend is created by the Colorado River and is absolutely stunning. If you like hiking and discovering jaw-dropping landscapes, you will be in for a treat!
  • Visiting Antelope Canyon. This slot canyon is definitely the most famous one in the USA and it’s only 8 miles from Page.
  • Kayaking on Lake Powell. Page is located on the edge of the beautiful Lake Powell. If you love water activities, you will be in for a treat here! 

WHERE TO STAY IN PAGE: Hotel Country Inn & Suites by Radisson is a fabulous hotel in Page, AZ. See prices and reviews here.

You will also find many Airbnbs in Page and near Lake Powell. If you are a large group of families, check out this amazing Airbnb.

Cave Creek

Cave Creek in Arizona USA
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Cave Creek town is located in Maricopa County, in the Sonoran Desert. This was an old mining town. It was named after a cave next to the creek upon which the town was built. The grounds surrounding the town are great for hiking, horse riding, and cycling.

You can visit the town to enjoy a bull-riding contest, eat the famous Cave Creek’s barbeque and listen to acoustic music.

If you are coming from Phoenix, drive on I-17N to Carefree highway, then onto Cave creek road on your right.

Here are a few examples of things to do in Cave Creek (AZ): 

  • Hiking in Cave Creek Regional Park. If you love the outdoors, Cave Creek will be your paradise. It’s a great place to go hiking and horseback riding. The best trails are Go John Trail and Slater Trail.
  • Visiting Cave Creek Museum. To learn more about the history of the region, head to the local museum!
  • Visiting Frontier Town. It’s a recreation of a typical Wild West town. Super fun!

WHERE TO STAY IN CAVE CREEK: You can easily visit Cave Creek from Phoenix or Scottsdale however, if you want to stay in Cave Creek, opt for a unique Airbnb like this one.

Willcox

Beautiful town of Willcox in Arizona
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Willcox is also located in Cochise County, in the Sulphur Springs Valley, and halfway between Phoenix and El Paso on the I-10. It is a largely agricultural town, having started as a cattle town. It was named after Orlando Willcox, a general who championed cattle production in the town and beyond.

The land in Willcox is sparsely populated with Arizona’s tallest mountains located here.

Today, the main products from this town wine production, agriculture, and tourism. You can visit this town to sample the wine, have fun picking vegetables and crops in the U-pick farms scattered across the region, or simply marvel at the beauty of vast landscapes.

Here are some ideas of cool things to do in Willcox: 

  • Watching a movie at the Willcox Historic Theater. This is one of the best movie theater you can find in Arizona. It was built in the 30s and incorporates some Art deco elements. It’s a nice place to check out as it has this historic feel while still showing the latest movies!
  • Visiting the farms. With so many farms around, going for a visit is a must-do! Pecans, fruit, veggies… you will find it all!
  • Wine tasting. Willcox is home to many vineyards producing delicious wines. If you love good wine, make sure to go on a tasting.

WHERE TO STAY IN WILLCOX: Opt for a room at the Arizona Sunset Inn. The location is very central and it has a very nice rustic and authentic vibe. See prices and reviews here.

Williams

Small town of Williams in Arizona USA
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The town of Williams is strategically located along Route 66, offering welcome rest to weary travelers going to the Grand Canyon. Williams town is located in Coconino County.

It was founded in 1881 and named after William Sherley Williams, a famous trader, and trapper. The town was established as a cattle town.

The advent of the railway propelled Williams into a hub of industry, business, and ranches. Today, you can visit the town to enjoy the numerous hiking trails, fishing, old Wild West buildings, and rest before visiting the Grand Canyon.

To get here follow Route 66. This is the last town along this route to get bypassed by the I-40 before you enter the Grand Canyon from the Southern terminus.

Eagar

Eagar is located in Apache County at the base of the White Mountains. This location makes it an ideal tourist attraction for winter skiing sports, warm spring weather, lovely fall blooms, and cool summer nights.

The town was named after John Thomas Eagar who settled there in the 1800s. It came to life as an agricultural town. Cattle rearing and farming are the main activities in the area. The town is located approximately 226 miles from Phoenix.

Map of the prettiest small towns in Arizona

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