Things To Do In Oatman, AZ

Oatman is a small census-designated town in Arizona with a population of just 102 people. It began as a mining town when a gold mine was found in the nearby mountains. This iconic village is situated near America’s favorite highway, Route 66, and it’s not to be missed on a road trip because of its rich history.

Things to do in Oatman, AZ

These days, wild but friendly burros are seen wandering across the streets looking for food. These donkeys are the direct descendants of the mining burros and are an integral part of the town. People often visit Oatman just for the donkeys because it’s an environment like none other in America, where people get along with the donkeys and offer them food.

Route 66 to Oatman

What Can You Do In Oatman?

Tourists adore Oatman, which is home to almost 500,000 annual visitors. The main street that goes through Oatman is not very big and only has a few restaurants and souvenir shops sustained by tourist dollars.

You can easily visit and explore almost all of Oatman within one afternoon, but just on the surface. To get a deeper glimpse into what life was like before, you could go on the back roads that will take you through some breathtaking landscapes and scenery. Following are some of the best things Oatman has to offer:

Spend Time With The Beautiful Oatman Burros

The adorable donkeys seen in Oatman are descendants of the burros used to transport mining items. When the mining stopped, the owners set them free. Today, these burros roam free and look for treats from travelers.

Tourist spending time with tourists

They reside in the mountains but pay town visits during the day, mainly looking for food. These burros are a major reason why people come to Oatman.

They are super friendly and never stop to attract tourists. They come close to cuddle and for food. When it comes to their food, they eat almost everything the tourists offer, but their favorite is the special “burro chow” that almost every shop in Oatman has. You can buy it and feed it to the mules.

Tourist feeding burros

However, recently, the Bureau of Land Management has requested that tourists stop feeding the donkeys because grazing in the hills is safer and healthier for the donkeys.

Have A Meal At The Historic Oatman Hotel

Named after the builder, John Durlin, who constructed it, the hotel was originally called the Durlin Hotel. It is now called the Oatman Hotel. It is the only two-story adobe building in Mohave County. It is a must-visit attraction for people coming to Oatman.

The Historic Oatman Hotel

Originally constructed in 1902, it had to be rebuilt in 1924, courtesy of a fire that damaged parts of the building. It has eight rooms and was booming in business during the mining seasons. The hotel is full of dollar bills stuck to the ceilings and walls, a trend that the local miners first started.

The Historic Oatman Hotel inside view

Clark Gable and his wife, Carole Lombard, came to the Durlin Hotel for their honeymoon in 1939. The hotel’s honeymoon suite is one of Oatman’s main attractions. The hotel’s name was rebranded in the late 1960s. Nowadays, Oatman Hotel doesn’t offer the facility for people to spend the night here.

Clark Gable and his wife Carole Lombard

Treat Yourself With Dessert At The Classy Olive Oatman Ice Cream Parlor

Olive Oatman Restaurant serves ice cream, sandwiches, and breakfast. Named after Olive Oatman, a girl who was captured by the Indians and later released, this restaurant is one of the main attractions Oatman has to offer because of its deeply rooted historic style.

Classy Olive Oatman Ice Cream Parlor

Ice cream is the most famous offering at Oatman’s because every day in Oatman is hot from the desert heat, which is a good day for ice cream. Oatman’s is surrounded by cute and famished burros who will steal anybody’s ice cream if they get the chance. 

Watch The Iconic Gunslingers’ Street Show 

Considered by some as the second-best attraction in Oatman after the mules, the Oatman Ghost Rider Gunfighters are the oldest gunfighter group in Arizona. 

Gunslingers’ Street Show

Every day at 1:30 pm and 3:30 pm, the traffic in Oatman stops for a wild, wild west shootout. This show blends history, theater, and comedy and lasts about 30 minutes.

Eat Candy At The Vintage Gold Rush Candy Shop

This is a vintage, Wild West-themed candy shop that serves chocolates and candies. It is recommended to eat chocolates right away; otherwise, they’ll melt in the hot Arizonian weather.

Vintage Gold Rush Candy Shop

Participate In The Sidewalk Egg Fry

Every year, on the 4th of July, an annual competition known as the Oatman Sidewalk Egg Fry is held. Participants have 15 minutes to fry eggs using only solar power. The winners are awarded prizes.

Sidewalk Egg Fry competition picture

Go To The Route 66 Cool Springs Station

This is a vintage gas station that was abandoned after the mining years but rebuilt in 2001. It works as a souvenir shop, home to vintage car and motorcycle events, as well as a great stop on a trip through Route 66. It's been rebuilt keeping history in mind; hence, the building still has that vintage look.

Route 66 Cool Springs Station

For motorists, this was a life-saving spot because they could not only grab a bite to eat after a long interval on the road, but they could also check for oil, gas, or other mechanical parts on their vehicle.

Ride Horses At The Oatman Stables

Oatman Stables is a private horse-riding service. People visiting Oatman can find Oatman Stables on the south end of Arizona. There are half-hour, 1-hour, and 2-hour horse riding packages to choose from. This is a great stop for a family or a group vacationing or road-triping through Oatman and Route 66.

Tourist Riding Horses At The Oatman Stables

Visit Judy's

Judy's is a pub where you can go for a few drinks and play pool with your friends. It is the only such spot in Oatman and is, hence, usually full of visitors. Donkeys can be seen outside, roaming very close to the pub, looking for food.

Judy's inside view

Making Memories: Old-Time Photos

Making Memories is a photo studio where customers get to role-play pictures of themselves. They are provided with outfits, and the assistants at the shop help them with their makeup. The background environments for the pictures are also very realistic and make the pictures look very original.

Making Memories - Old-Time Photos

What Else Can Be Done In The Nearby Oatman Areas?

When in Oatman, there’s a great chance to look at the heritage and the wild west culture of America. Oatman and Arizona have a rich history, which can be explored by visiting multiple attractions the place has to offer.

If you intend to do it without visiting, a great way to do that is by browsing the Internet. There are some Arizonian groups and people who depict Arizona’s history and culture through their work.

Miguel Camarena Art Gallery

If you need to get a breath of fresh Arizonian air, the Miguel Camarena Art Gallery is the best place to be. Miguel Camarena is an artist who lives in Cave Creek, Arizona, and has devoted his work to Arizona’s culture. He has a deep love for nature and consistently exhibits his work in an Arizonian style. Visiting his gallery will give you a summary of Arizona, depicted in vibrant hues.

Miguel Camarena Art Gallery outside view

The gallery is a traditional Adobe building where Camarena can often be seen painting his next art piece from the window or outside the art gallery. It’s a good place to stop by and spend some time while on a road trip. Some of his best pieces consist of longhorns, horses, donkeys, and desert landscapes.

Miguel Camarena Art Gallery inside view

There are also Pueblo art pieces that depict the adobe culture of Arizona. The gallery also has a cowboy art line that represents the Wild West.

Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden is a 140-acre botanical sanctuary in Papago Park, Phoenix, Arizona. Founded in 1937, this site currently has more than 50,000 plants, with some extremely rare and endangered species as well.

Desert Botanical Garden

Among the most famous are the agave and cactus collections, which depict the Arizonian flora. It is a great place to visit with your family and friends when in the area because it offers an atmosphere like none other in the country.

The Black Mountains

Last but not least are the wondrous mountains that surround Oatman. There are countless trails and paths that one could take to explore the mountains. They offer great scenic beauty and are a fantastic source of happiness for travellers.

The Black Mountains

These mountains and trails not only offer a chance to hike, but one can also rent a few dirt bikes and go off-roading with their family. This is a great adventure experience and the only landscape that can offer such a vibe.

Gold King Mine And Ghost Town

Located in Jerome, Arizona, this town, like Oatman, started when gold was accidentally found during a copper mining operation. Since then, the town has had hustle and bustle. Today, hundreds of vintage cars and motorcycles lie here in scrap, along with some mining equipment as well. When you’re in Arizona or near Oatman, this is a must-visit site because of its iconic, one-of-a-kind characteristics.

Gold King Mine And Ghost Town

Best Time To Visit Oatman

Oatman is generally a hot area. Temperatures can even go soaring above 40°C in the peak summer months, like June and July. Hence, the best time to visit Oatman is once the summers have settled down.

Starting from October to April would be the ideal time for someone to visit Oatman. This way, they could enjoy the place and all it has to offer without getting scorched by the heat.

Where To Stay In Oatman

While there isn't a place to stay the night inside Oatman Town, many nearby regions in Arizona and Nevada could be selected as your temporary home. Oatman is as far as just a 30-minute drive from these places, and hence, a day-long trip could be planned. Another great option is camping or RVing, where any good spot can be chosen as the resting place.

However, many people pass through Oatman when they're going somewhere else. And hence, without staying the night here, they can visit a lot that Oatman has to offer. If they haven't had enough of Oatman, they could stay at any nearby hotel and come back again for a visit the next day.

Last Thoughts

Overall, Oatman is one-of-a-kind. You must visit it on your road trip on Route 66 because it has a lot to offer about the Arizonian and the overall vintage American culture.

From the Historic Oatman Hotel to the Gunslinger's street show and Route 66 Cool Springs Station, Oatman's vintage beauty encourages tourists to keep this destination at the top of their list when visiting Arizona. Not only this, but it can also be a stop on your trip to the Grand Canyon.

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