5 Family-Friendly Places To Experience the Old West

5 Family-Friendly Places To Experience the Old West in AZ

Arizona is well known for its western heritage but it can be easy to get lost in suburbia and urban life as we go about our day-to-day routines. Sometimes it can be rewarding to put on your boots, let your hair down, and kick back. But don’t take my word for it. Check out these five family-friendly places where you and your kin can experience the Old West and get in touch with Arizona’s wild west side.

Goldfield Ghost Town – Located just a few miles past Apache Junction on SR-88, Goldfield Ghost Town was built on the site of the old Goldfield Mill and the area is teeming with history. You can hear about and see some of this history on the train ride. You can also take a mine tour, see a gunfight, visit a reptile exhibit, pan for gold, and even ride a horse. You can also treat yourself to everything from an ice cream cone to a juicy steak. This is truly a wonderful family destination. The town is open daily from 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Admission is free but there are charges for some of the attractions.

Rawhide – Rawhide has been around for a long time and it has a great reputation. This western town includes live action stunt shows, a petting zoo, a stagecoach, gold panning, and a mechanical bull. There are also restaurants and special events. Rawhide’s schedule and hours vary so visit the Web site for details. Rawhide is located off I-10 in Chandler near Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino.

Rustler’s Rooste – This is a restaurant but I included it in this list because of its fun and family-friendly Old West atmosphere. Rustler’s Rooste is a steakhouse with a cowboy flair. You can eat rattlesnake, dance in the sawdust to a live band, visit with a real live longhorn, and take a few trips down their famous tin slide.  There is even steak on the kid’s menu and cotton candy at the end of your meal. Rustler’s Rooste is located off of I-10 and Baseline at 8383 S. 48th Street and is open from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm daily.

Tombstone – Located three hours south of the Valley, Tombstone is the historic Old West town where the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place. Tombstone is worth the drive. Your family will love seeing the town where Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday once roamed. Visit the Boot Hill Cemetery, the Tombstone Courthouse, watch a gunfight, and visit the museums and galleries. Bring your most comfortable boots because there is a lot to see!

Pioneer Living History Museum – When I was a kid, this place was called Pioneer Arizona and it was my favorite field trip destination. Pioneer Living History Museum consists of old buildings that form a little reconstructed western town like what might have been found during Arizona’s territorial period. There is a church, a blacksmith, a school, an opera house, and so much more.

About Janice

Janice is an Arizona native, a soldier's girl, daughter of the King, and mother to two. She shares family activity ideas, recipes, crafts, and product reviews at Celebrating Family. Read more about Janice here!


  1. I’ve only visited two of these places, I will have to make a point to see the rest.

  2. Going to cool places like the old towns in Arizona is one of the best vacation tour you’ll experience.

  3. Hopefully one day I’ll visit this place.

  4. Oh, maybe this will be a suitable place for my family’s upcoming trip. Thank you very much