From here, it’s about 14 miles to the alpine university town of Flagstaff. At Lowell Observatory, where Pluto was discovered in 1930, science fans can geek out over astronomical exhibits and legendary telescopes. Or, if you’d like an educational primer on the Grand Canyon’s landscape and culture, explore the Arboretum at Flagstaff and/or the Museum of Northern Arizona to learn about the Colorado Plateau’s plants and native communities. If you haven’t had lunch, park downtown and pick up a grass-fed patty at Diablo Burger or a burrito at MartAnne’s, then people-watch on a picnic bench in Heritage Square.
As you head west from Flag, you’ll cruise Highway 40, which is also the Historic Route 66. In 30 miles, you’ll arrive in Williams, where families can ride a kitschy Route 66 Zipline or experience animal encounters. At Grand Canyon Deer Farm, kids of all ages love to feed the deer, pet the llamas, and kiss the camel. But kissing the critters is verboten at Bearizona, because the creatures include bears, wolves, bison, and porcupines.
From Williams, it’s an hour and 15 minute drive to the Grand Canyon. Along the South Rim, you can stroll or cycle to stunning viewpoints, take ranger-led tours, and kick back in the dining room at El Tovar to celebrate the end of an epic road trip.