T he beginning of August can make those of us who didn’t get a vacation this summer feel left out. Perhaps money was tight this year or you couldn’t get away because of a heavy workload. Whatever the reason you may have missed out, don’t despair. Remember what is in your own backyard.
Pretend you are a tourist in your own hometown. Weekend vacations — even two or three days — are right here in northern Arizona. When was the last time you drove along the Perkinsville Highway at dusk? Wildlife — deer, elk and even an occasional coyote — can be seen nearly every evening along the Perkinsville Highway.
When was the last time you strolled in downtown Williams? Evenings in our historic downtown area can be serene and visiting the local shops through the eyes of a visitor can be refreshing. Find the Cataract Creek Gang downtown at 7 p.m. and watch the nightly gunfight. The sound of the award-winning Williams Fifth Regimental Cavalry Band can be heard nightly from 5:30-7:30 p.m. throughout downtown Williams.
A day’s drive west on old Highway 66 can take you back to the 1950’s. Tune in to your favorite oldies station and exit Interstate 40 just west of Ash Fork. While traveling west on Route 66, you will see wide-open spaces and remnants of days gone by. Once you reach Seligman, cool off at Delgadillo’s Snow Cap. Treat yourself to an old-fashioned hamburger and fries or your favorite ice cream treat while being entertained free with the crazy antics of Juan Delgadillo.
Continue west on Route 66 approximately 30 miles and you will reach Grand Canyon Caverns. Unique guided tours are offered throughout the day in the underground caverns. Flashlight tours and explorers tours are available along with miles of nature trails and kids’ play land.
Closer to home is the animal wonderland at Grand Canyon Deer Farm. At the Deer Farm, you walk with the deer, pet them and feed them right from your hand. Pygmy goats, llamas, wallabies, miniature donkeys, pronghorn antelope and baby farm animals also reside there.
A visit to the Grand Canyon offers many recreational opportunities, whether you travel on the Grand Canyon Railway or drive to the park. While there, visit the historic gift shops, take a guided bus tour of the area, visit the Imax Theater or take a scenic helicopter ride.
On the way to or from the Grand Canyon, be sure to visit Valle. Along with trading posts, a rock/mineral store and service stations, you will find Flintstones Bedrock City Campground and Amusement Park. See where Fred and Barney live, slide down the giant slide and ride the miniature train. At Planes of Fame Air Museum, increase your knowledge of the history of aviation. View a wide variety of planes up close and take in the displays located inside the museum.
Picnics and cloud watching in the Kaibab National Forest or an overnight camp out at one of our area lakes are opportunities we oftentimes overlook. A quiet day of fishing can be therapeutic for the soul, even if you don’t catch a thing.
All of these opportunities and more, are all in northern Arizona. Many activities are free or cost very little money. Kick back for a few days and become “one of them” — a tourist.