Have you slept in a wigwam lately? If not, pull over in Holbrook and stay at iconic Route 66 mainstay, Wigwam Motel. In your teepee, you'll find cable TV and air-conditioning, surprising modern upgrades in a motel village built in 1950 and still managed by the Lewis family.
When Route 66 was the hot destination for the nation, there was a gas station on nearly every corner in Holbrook. Today, you'll find a new twist on some of the old buildings. Mr. Maesta's serves Southwestern food in a converted gas station that is filled with antiques. Romo's Restaurant is housed in a pink stucco building that offers friendly service and great Southwestern food. For dessert, drop by TrinaBop Cakery & Coffee, which opened in 2018 in a former drive-in restaurant where carhops delivered meals to customers' cars. And Roxy Theater may be one of the last Route 66 movie theaters still open.
What hasn't changed is Holbrook's central location to a number of national park sites, including the nearby Petrified Forest National Park.
"We are really centrally located," says Cindy Tafoya, director of the Holbrook Chamber of Commerce. "And our hotels are more affordable than other communities."
At Petrified Forest National Park, you'll discover two things you may not find at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon: solitude and a warm welcome for your pet.
You can bring your pet anywhere, except the park's buildings, making it one of the most animal-friendly locations in the park system. Rangers like to point out that even the park's name begins with the word "Pet."
It's also one of the least crowded national parks. And with the new addition of backcountry hiking areas like Martha's Butte (no one recalls who Martha actually was) and Red Basin, you can route-find on your own or go on a guided ranger hike. The 2-mile out-and-back Martha's Butte hike leads you to a stunning solar-marker petroglyph that gets covered exactly in half by shadow during the summer solstice. At Red Basin, you'll find petrified wood, petroglyphs and vibrant badlands formations.
And of course, there's the Painted Desert where you can hear the sound of silence as you gaze at a pink-hued landscape that changes colors with the sunset.
"It's a beautiful spot," says longtime local Francie Payne who serves as a city council woman. "I just love the Painted Desert. It used to be more about petrified wood. Now it's about dinosaurs and so much more."
A little more than an hour away is the Hubble Trading Post National Historic Site, the oldest operating trading post on the Navajo Nation in Ganado, Ariz. Just under two hours away is Canyon De Chelly National Monument in Chinle, Ariz.
For more information: