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Traveling With Your Dog: Our Route 66/Grand Canyon Hotel Experience

Ronna loves traveling near and far with her family, which includes a 9-year-old Min-Pin.

Picking a Hotel

Obviously, the biggest challenge of traveling with a dog is finding pet-friendly hotels. As we began planning our trip to Las Vegas to see relatives, we knew we wanted to make a Grand Canyon stop as well. Where would we stay along the way?

First, I had to know our route. Our starting point was Arkansas. I started with a MapQuest query about the distance and routes available from Arkansas to Las Vegas. When I saw the Route 66 option, I knew which way we'd be going. Luckily for us, that also happens to run along Interstate 430.

Normally when I'm looking for pet-friendly hotels, I start with But this time, I just asked Google. With my route selected, I calculated the halfway point and looked for a hotel there. That would land our stop somewhere between Moriarty, New Mexico, and Chambers, Arizona.

I found that most of the Best Western hotels along this route were pet-friendly (though I always call ahead to make sure).

Best Western Heritage Inn in Moriarty

Our first hotel stay on the route was the Best Western Heritage Inn in Moriarty. It was perfect in every way! The double queen room was big enough for us to bring in our dog's kennel. It had a refrigerator and a microwave. The laminate floors were super clean, as was the entire room and bathroom.

I'll be honest. It was a website photo of the toiletries that made me pick Moriarty over Chambers. I was a big fan of Bath and Body Works' Coconut Lime Verbena soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. It has stopped selling them, but a website photo from November 2017 showed these items in the Moriarty hotel. Those are not the toiletries that they actually offered during our stay in August 2018. I was a little disappointed, but our overall stay more than made up for that!

We all got a great night's sleep at the Best Western Moriarty Heritage Inn in Moriarty, New Mexico.

We all got a great night's sleep at the Best Western Moriarty Heritage Inn in Moriarty, New Mexico.

The best part about the Heritage Inn was the staff. Everyone was friendly, starting with the first person I ever phoned to confirm their pet policy. I booked online, then called to confirm that we'd be bringing our dog with us.

When we arrived, the staff placed us near an exit with convenient grass space for us to walk the dog.

The next morning, my husband and daughter went into the dining area for breakfast while I sat in the lounge with our dog. A sweet woman (who I later found out was the manager, Kim) asked if I'd like to have breakfast with my family. I explained that we were switching out in shifts to stay with the dog. She offered to show us to an outdoor area where the dog was allowed so we could all have breakfast together. We had the outdoor grill area near the pool to ourselves and loved being able to let the dog run around in the fenced area while we had breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, there was a wide assortment, including meats, cereals and fruits that my gluten-free daughter could have. We really hated to leave!

The Heritage Inn (Moriarty New Mexico) had clean rooms that were spacious enough for us to bring in our dog kennel.

The Heritage Inn (Moriarty New Mexico) had clean rooms that were spacious enough for us to bring in our dog kennel.

Comfy beds, too!

Comfy beds, too!

Grand Canyon Bound: Williams, Arizona

Our next stop on Route 66 was Williams, Arizona, "Gateway to the Grand Canyon." The stop is only 4 hours from our Las Vegas destination, but none of us wanted to arrive for our family visit tired and irritable. We decided to spend the night in Williams and take a little look around town and see the Grand Canyon. We did not have time for sightseeing in Moriarty.

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Best Western Plus Inn in Williams

Williams was a jewel in many ways. First of all, there was our stay at the Best Western Plus Inn of Williams. Moriarty's front desk personnel spoiled us. The Williams staff were nice enough, just not quite as welcoming as those in Moriarty. The room was clean and spacious, and once again we were housed in a room near an exit with plenty of walking space for the pooch.

The Best Western Plus Inn of Williams had a nice outdoor seating area that was great for dog walking. The only downside was the mosquitos. Our trip was in August. We were actually very concerned about our dog's paws walking on pavement or rocks in such extreme heat. What we didn't realize is that many stops along the way to Vegas were actually cool in August. Moriarty and Williams were both in the 60s, much cooler than the 112 degrees waiting for us in Vegas.

The beds in the Williams hotel were very comfortable and the rooms were clean. They also had a refrigerator and a microwave. Breakfast was nice, with fewer options than Moriarty's Best Western.

Things You Can Do With Your Dog in WIlliams, Arizona

The family loved Williams so much that I've adopted it as my future hometown. We found several fun things to do there and need to go back to do the rest!

If you have kids, you've got to take them to Bearizona! It's a drive-through zoo that has all sorts of animals. We saw mountain goats, bears, bison, various types of deer, bighorn sheep, tundra wolves, and more. You can take your dog with you on the drive-through but we did not. I'm glad, because touring the gift shop together as a family was fabulous!

If you're a fan of the movie Cars, you'll recognize some of the scenery around Williams, including Pete's 66 Gas Station Museum. All of downtown Williams was fascinating to us. It's such a small town with a quaint atmosphere, but downtown was booming with gift shops and restaurants. It would be a great walking adventure for you and your dog. We didn't plan enough time for ourselves in Williams, but will for sure on the next trip.

In addition to a great downtown walk, traveling by car in Williams was not bad at all. The streets are straightforward; no roundabouts or anything to watch out for.

Dog-Friendly Grand Canyon

Dogs on leashes are welcomed at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Again, we worried about our dog's paws for nothing. The pavement was not hot despite the fact it was early August. Keep pavement temperatures in mind, though, whenever you travel with your dog.

We parked behind the South Rim Visitor's Center and took the short walk to the viewing area. We did not hike the canyon, but the walk uphill from the Visitor's Center felt like a hike to me! Our dog seemed to be out of breath, so we carried her a good chunk of the way. We believe it was an altitude issue for her. Be sure to take along a collapsible bowl and an extra bottle of water so your pet can have a much-needed drink.

As the sun began beating down on us around noon, we began to feel the heat a little. We walked back to our car in the shady areas and gave our dog another fresh drink of water before heading on to Vegas.

Notes About the Trip Home

After a great visit with family in Las Vegas, we headed back to Route 66 homeward bound. We wished we had planned an extra night's stay in Williams, Arizona. We decided to just have one overnight stay on the way back. This one in Holbrook, Arizona. Of course, it was another pet-friendly Best Western.

Best Western Arizonian Inn in Holbrook

The Best Western Arizonian Inn in Holbrook was a much older hotel than the other two Best Westerns we stayed in on our way out to Las Vegas. The pictures online of a nice lobby with a fireplace was not the lobby in which we checked in. I'm not sure where that room is, unless it's somewhere near the breakfast room.

Our room was dark and had old carpet. The bed pillows were small. It looked clean, but not as clean as the other two Best Westerns we'd stayed in just days before. We did not unpack. We took our dog with us to the Painted Desert Indian Center (overrated and overpriced; you'll have a better time at the Flying C Ranch souvenir/convenience store).

While shopping, we decided to call the Moriarty Best Western to see if we could get a room for the night. Friendly as always, they worked us in! We went back to the Holbrook hotel and checked out right away and headed for the cleaner, brighter rooms offered in the Moriarty Best Western.

© 2018 Ronna Pennington

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