Located just a few hours drive from Phoenix or Las Vegas, along the famous Route 66, you’ll find the historic town of Oatman (named after Olive Oatman – the “girl with the blue tattoo”). Its here that you’ll travel back in time, to what once was a bustling mining community. Today, you would find yourself enjoying good food, strolling through local shops, buying locally made items, watching a gunfight and talking to the locals who proudly share the history of town’s namesake and the meaning behind the blue tattoo.
And while Olive Oatman is a strong draw to the town, it’s either the burros that will capture your attention or the history of Route 66. It’s not often that you find yourself eye to eye with a wild burro – and yes, they are wild, but more of a “friendly wild”. The town folk are very protective of them and expect tourists to follow the rules.
Most stores sell bags of burro feed for a nominal amount. Hand feeding the burros is a fun treat. Just be sure to check the burro’s forehead first for any signs saying “do not feed”.
Be sure to stop by The Oatman Hotel (formerly the Durlin Hotel). Although no longer accepting room reservations, The Oatman Hotel is a nice place to enjoy a delicious meal or mosey up to the bar for a drink. Afterwards, strolls through the hotel’s museum on the upper level where you’ll find not only mementos from Oatman’s past, but also see where their most famous guests, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, spent their honeymoon back in 1939.
Is Oatman a tourist town? Yes, but definitely worth an afternoon of adventure.
Things to know before you go:
- Parking is limited, get there early to get a parking space.
- Read the signs – No dogs allowed.
- Oatman hosts Bike Week and proudly caters to the motorcycle community.
- Bathrooms are limited.
- Enjoy some ice cream from The Oatman Hotel (a definite must!)
- Drive slow coming into and leaving town – it’s a “curvy” drive and you may come across some burros.
- Need a place to spend the night? Check out nearby cities – like Kingman AZ, Lake Havasu City AZ or Needles CA.