A Route 66 highway journey is among the nice road trips in America. Often known as The Mom Highway and the Important Road of America, Route 66 was the primary thoroughfare via the US for many years. This historic route runs from downtown Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California, masking a complete distance of about 2,400 miles (3,900 km). The Mom Highway was one of many unique highways throughout the U.S. Freeway System and have become an iconic image of American tradition and cross-country highway journeys.
final route 66 Highway Journey Information
Inbuilt 1926, Route 66 was a highway of desires passing via eight states all the best way to the west coast. John Steinbeck gave Route 66 its identify “The Mom Highway” within the Grapes of Wrath following the Joad household as they traveled west alongside Route 66 after being pushed from their house. Alongside the best way, they found that The Mom Highway was crowded with different migrants. Learn extra about highway journeys at 25 Best Road Trips in the World
Mud Bowl, Melancholy, and Battle
Through the Nice Melancholy, Route 66 was stuffed with folks dreaming of a greater life within the West as they escaped the drought-stricken southern plains referred to as the Mud Bowl. Route 66 was a highway of misplaced desires but in addition hope as folks drove to Santa Monica taking the shortest distance between Chicago and Los Angeles on the lookout for a greater future.
Throughout World Battle II troopers and navy automobiles used this highway extensively because it was essentially the most direct route via the nation from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Route 66 Hey Day
Because the melancholy light away, households flocked to Route 66 to take their summer time holidays to see the Grand Canyon and different iconic websites in California and Arizona from the Fifties to the Nineteen Eighties.
Quickly the Mom Highway grew to become referred to as the Important Road of America stuffed with neon indicators, reward retailers, fuel stations and enjoyable memorabilia. Route 66 was a rip-roaring good time via the 50s to the 70s. In 1984 the final phase of the freeway was decommissioned and the previous route of Route 66 was not. Folks had been now in a rush driving the Interstates to their locations.
Companies alongside Route 66 closed and the historic buildings fell into damage.
The place does Route 66 Begin?
Beginning in Chicago, Route 66 passes via eight states. The states of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and ending California. There are many issues to see alongside the driving route as every part passes via a number of main cities and small-town America alongside the best way.
The unique place to begin was downtown Chicago at Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue in 1926. In 1933 it was modified to Jackson Boulevard and Lake Shore Drive alongside the shores of Lake Michigan.
The place Does Route 66 Finish?
The official ending level of Route 66 is at Lincoln and Olympic Boulevards in Santa Monica. Freeway 1 ends at these boulevards subsequently, that’s the place the route formally ends. Santa Monica Pier is only a mile away and the official Finish of Path signal was erected right here in 2009 to commemorate the religious ending of route 66. I imply who wouldn’t need to go all the best way to the Pacific Ocean proper when driving route 66 proper?
Since that signal was erected, Santa Monica erected official indicators at Olympic and Lincoln Boulevards making it one other enjoyable place to go earlier than heading to Santa Monica Pier for enjoyable and festivities.
Issues To See On Route 66
For those who aren’t planning on driving the complete previous route 66 to Santa Monica Pier on the Pacific Ocean, we’ve got damaged down the very best issues to see alongside the Mom Highway by part.
Car rentals may be booked a method should you don’t have your individual. So there is no such thing as a excuse to not drive this historic freeway if you end up in America. (Or at the very least a portion or two). Because it spans throughout America, there’s a very good likelihood you’ll be someplace near Route 66 throughout your United States travels.
1. Route 66 Illinois
Route 66 begins in downtown Chicago at Lake Michigan and there’s a signal indicating the unique historic route begins on the nook of West Adams Road and Michigan Ave the place 78-98 E Adams St, Chicago, IL 60603, United States.
If you’re driving the opposite manner, you’ll discover the Route 66, Historic Route Ends signal on the nook of Jackson Boulevard and Lake Shore Drive.
Whereas in Chicago there are many issues to see and do, and we propose spending at the very least 2 days within the metropolis earlier than beginning your drive alongside route 66. Be sure that to go to Navy Pier so that you could say your Route 66 journey went from Pier to Pier. Navy Pier to Santa Monica Pier affords the last word bragging rights. Who wouldn’t wan to drive from Lake Michigan and drove all the best way to the Pacific Ocean. Learn extra at: 21 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago
Issues to See on Route 66 in Illinois
You may’t miss visiting the capital of Illinoise Springfield and there are many historic websites to see on this metropolis. So make a a day of it.
Springfield Illinois can be the place you’ll discover the house of Abraham Lincoln that has been restored. It’s also free to enter and you’ll go to the Lincoln Tomb, Abraham Lincoln’s ultimate resting place. Don’t overlook to cease in to see the Capitol Constructing in Springfield.
The Cozy Canine Drive In can be positioned in Springfield Illinois a route 66 icon that has been in operation since 1949. It’s house to the unique sizzling canine on a stick.
Illinois can be house to three muffler males statues. In your route ensure to cease in Wilmington, Atlanta and sure, Springfield to see these giants. In its heyday, route 66 noticed big statues strewn alongside the route promoting companies akin to tcar restore retailers and eating places alongside the historic route.
Route 66 Corridor of Fame Museum in Pontiac is price a cease the place you’ll be able to peruse its 1000’s of Route 66 artifacts and memorabilia.
In Pontiac, Illinois, there’s the Illinois Route 66 Corridor of Fame and Museum showcasing the historical past of route 66.
Odell Station in Odell Illinois is among the historic locations to cease alongside the route. This service station has been restored and you’ll cease in to speak to the volunteers in regards to the drive forward.
2. Route 66 Missouri
The primary metropolis in Missouri is St. Louis and it’ll welcome you with its gateway arch. Missouri is the most important metropolis on Route 66 between Chicago and downtown Los Angeles.
In Missouri, you’ll be crossing the Chain Rocks Bridge as you cross the mighty Mississippi River. The historic bridge connects Illinois and Missouri on route 66.
The Meramec Caverns are limestone caves that you need to cease at. They don’t seem to be solely one of many fashionable roadside sights alongside historic route 66, however they’re additionally some of the fashionable sights in Missouri.
In Springfield Missouri, there’s a automobile museum the place you’ll be able to see classic automobiles that drove this route faithfully. There may be one other Route 66 Museum in Lebanon.
Do you know there’s a Cuba in the US? Cuba Missouri was named after the Caribbean Island and is positioned in Missouri. It’s formally designated Route 66 Mural Metropolis depicting scenes from the Route 66 heyday.
And at last, you’ll be passing via Joplin Missouri since route 66 goes straight via its downtown. Its historic buildings will take you again in time transporting you to the times of the Mom Highway. Cease at its murals for some nice picture alternatives
3. Route 66 – Kansas
Kansas is the shortest part of Route 66 with solely 13 miles of the Mom Highway chopping via the southern portion of the state.
If you’re a fan of the Pixar film, Automobiles, cease at Automobiles on the Route, and the previous fuel station and reward store that sells snacks, and film memorabilia. I didn’t see Automobiles, however apparently, a few of it came about on route 66.
When you’ve got youngsters, they’ll acknowledge the tow truck Tow Tater from the film. Moreover the tow truck, there’s an previous jalopy and a hearth truck, so ensure to cease there.
Baxter Springs has the Coopers Dry Items Retailer and diner relationship again to 1865 and the historic Bush Creek Bridge. There are the standard previous fuel station, nook shops, and museums alongside Route 66.
4. Route 66 – Oklahoma
The alternative of Kansas, Oklahoma has the longest part of Route 66 with 400 miles of the Mom Highway slicing via the state.
In Oklahoma, you’ll cross via the cities of Tulsa and Oklahoma Metropolis alongside the historic route. However there are a lot of roadside sights and historic websites to see as properly. Tulsa metropolis is certainly happy with its route 66 heritage and as you drive alongside the primary avenue of America, its East Gateway welcomes you to a locations that basically embraces its historical past.
The Blue Whale of Catoosa is among the most well-known sights on route 66. This big blue whale marks a well-liked swimming gap for folks driving route 66 within the Nineteen Seventies and within the 2000s in was restored to its former glory.
There are a few museums alongside this route – The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma and the Nationwide Route 66 Transport Museum in Elk Metropolis exhibiting artifacts celebrating the spirit and historical past of route 66.
Make sure to see the previous vaudeville theater, the Colman Theatre in Miami, Oklahoma. And ensure to Seize a traditional soda pop at POPS in Arcadia.
Different Route 66 Sights in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has carried out an ideal job restoring its historic websites and buildings and there are a number of stops which you could get pleasure from alongside this stretch. A few of the quirkier roadside sights embrace.
- The Spherical Barn in Arcadia relationship again to 1898
- Pops in Arcadia that stands out with its large landmark, a neon soda pop bottle standing tall out entrance.
- The World’s Largest concrete totem pole in Chelsea
- Afton Station is one other good cease that may be a restored service station that has a present store the place you should buy memorabilia and a few good maps and books about route 66.
5. Route 66 – Texas
When you enter the Lone Star State there are many issues to see on Route 66. The 200 mile stretch of the Mom Highway affords one thing for everybody. Learn subsequent: 29 Best Things to do in Austin, Texas
The Cadillac Ranch is among the most iconic stops on route 66. Situated in Amarillo the Cadillac Ranch is fashionable attributable to its 10 Cadillacs standing nostril down which might be coated in graffiti. If there’s one landmark to see in Texas, it’s the Cadillac Ranch.
Plus should you just like the artwork set up on the Cadillac Ranch, you need to go to the VW Slug Bug Ranch that performs homage to the well-known attraction. The VW Slug Bug Ranch options 5 VWs buried nostril deep into the bottom identical to the Cadillac ranch however .
Whereas visiting the Cadillac Ranch, cease into Amarillo for a day or two to benefit from the metropolis. That is the place you will discover a classic motel and get your kick on route 66 for the evening.
The Massive Texan Steak Ranch is one other iconic cease on Route 66. Feeding 500 thousand folks a yr (principally coming from a Rout 66 drive) the Massive Texan Steak Ranch is known for its 72 ounce steak dinner problem. Are you up for it?
Different Texas Route 66 Sights
Mid Pointe Cafe in Adrian. Do you know that when driving route 66 in Texas, you could have made it midway from Chicago to Los Angeles? Seize lunch on the Midpoint Cafe which is the oldest constantly operating cafe on the route. Snap a photograph as you’ve pushed 1139 miles already and you’ve got 1139 to go!
Satan’s Rope Museum in McLean will take you thru a photographic journey of the historical past of the Mud Bowl. This museum showcases classic memorabilia from the Mom Highway together with classic fuel pumps and a museum devoted to barbed wire. You heard me accurately, barbed wire was known as Satan’s Rope and also you’ll discover a full assortment of barbed wire (I by no means knew there was earlier than) and fencing instruments.
The Conoco Tower Station is a neon-lit, Artwork Deco Tower that dates again to the Thirties and hold a watch out for the leaning water tower in Groom
Try extra Texas Journey
6. Route 66 – New Mexico
The most important metropolis in New Mexico is Albuquerque. Albuquerque, New Mexico has loads of historic sights and it’s possible you’ll need to spend the evening right here as there’s a classic motel that’s nonetheless in operation. The El Camino Motel will certainly take you again in time. Learn extra: The Very Best Historic Sites in New Mexico
Issues to see in New Mexico – Route 66
Tucumcari has a very good portion of Route 66 sights in New Mexico with a dinosaur museum, roadside motels, and previous fuel stations. The Teepee Curios fuel station in Tucumcari has a big concrete teepee out entrance and as you cruise via New Mexico, you’ll be able to cease right here to browse its reward store.
It’s in Tucumcari that you simply’ll additionally discover the Route 66 Monument. The traditional Cadillac fin is a well-liked picture cease on route 66 in New Mexico.
Santa Rosa has the Route 66 Auto Museum of New Mexico. It’s free to enter with a donation and showcases classic automobiles, and scenes from the Mom Highway.
The Blue Gap in Santa Rosa is price stopping at when driving via New Mexico. The crystal clear waters of this blue pool make it a well-liked diving vacation spot.
Santa Fe, New Mexico was a well-liked cease on the sooner Route 66 alignments and has a couple of issues to see together with the La Fonda Resort, one of many oldest motels in the US. Learn extra: The Very Best Historic Sites in New Mexico
7. Route 66 – Arizona
Arizona has a variety of Route 66 Sights which might be properly preserved and is certainly price a cease as you drive the primary avenue of America. Learn our full Arizona Road Trip
Williams, Arizona, is taken into account the very best preserved stretch of Route 66 and right here it feels as if time has stood nonetheless. It has historic fuel stations, quirky cafes and historic buildings.
Jack Rabbit Buying and selling Publish is positioned in Joseph Metropolis and has been a Route 66 staple since 1949. Unique proprietor Jim Taylor put a statue of a black rabbit in a black convertible and the Jack Rabbit Buying and selling Publish was born.
Winslow Arizona – I can’t consider we didn’t make it to Winslow Arizona. I really like the Eagles and I’m at all times singing “Standin’ on the nook of Winslow Arizona…” from Take it Straightforward.
If you’re on the lookout for a novel place to remain in Arizona, make your method to the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook. Through the migration west alongside the Mom Highway, the Wigwam Motel chain was a distinguished chain. At this time, solely three survive and two are positioned alongside Route 66. One is in Holbrook and the opposite Wigwam Motel is in California.
The Grand Canyon is just not on the unique Route 66 however it’s positioned simply north of Important Road America and is definitely worth the detour to see this pure canyon clocking in 277 miles (455 km) lengthy, a mile (1.6 km) deep. It lives as much as the hype. In actual fact, it was throughout the Fifties that households made their manner alongside route 66 to see the Grand Canyon that was shaped by the Colorado River slicing via and eroding the canyon for 1000’s of years.. Once we visited the Grand Canyon, we stayed in Williams Arizona and took day journeys to the Grand Canyon.
To plan extra to your Grand Canyon journey learn our guides:
Detour to Las Vegas – Route 66
Las Vegas could not formally be on Route 66 however how will you not pop into the town if you find yourself so shut? Many individuals go to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, so after you could have spent a few days exploring this pure surprise, make your method to the mom of neon lights Las Vegas. It’s the proper praise to a drive alongside America’s most important avenue. Learn extra: Off the Strip – Things to do Outside Las Vegas
Route 66 – California
The ultimate cease on the good American highway journey. That is the place dreamers ended their journey alongside the Mom Highway in Santa Monica in quest of the American Dream. Let’s undergo a few of the websites to see that are particular to Route 66 in California. Learn extra: 16 Best Cities in California
The Wigwam motel chain was constructed within the Thirties and Nineteen Forties. At this time of the three surviving motels are positioned on historic U.S. Route 66. You’ll discover one Wigwam Resort in Holbrook, Arizona, and the opposite between Rialto and San Bernardino, If you’re on the lookout for a novel place to remain, the Wigwam Motel is a superb alternative.
What highway journey would miss stopping at McDonalds and whereas in San Bernardino you’ll be able to hit up one other fashionable route 66 attraction? The McDonald’s museum is positioned in San Bernardino and is a free museum which you could discover.
Bottle Tree Ranch is a unusual murals in Helendale that was a well-liked cease on route 66. Sadly, it’s now closed as its proprietor handed away, however hopefully it should reopen sooner or later.
Calico Ghost City within the Mojave Desert. This previous mining city within the Mojave Desert dates again to 1881. It was an enormous silver mine and immediately you’ll be able to take a mining tour watch previous west reveals and benefit from the views of the encircling desert.
The Mom Highway Museum in Barstow has shows in regards to the Mom Highway historical past.
Hollywood – It’s now time to spend a couple of days exploring Los Angeles Try – 25 Best Things to Do in Los Angeles – Hollywood, Hikes, And More
Santa Monica – Finish of the Path
Santa Monica Pier that is the religious finish of Route 66 as a result of you’ll be able to dip your toes within the Pacific Ocean. There’s a signal there that claims Route 66 Finish of Path and a mile in from Santa Monica pier at Freeway 1 close to Mels Diner.
So, now you could have pushed the whole route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica Learn Extra: The Ultimate California Road Trip Itinerary
About The Mom Highway
Route 66 was a busy and thrilling historic route via America that noticed folks touring commonly to the west coast from center America. However that every one modified in 1985 when the necessity for velocity was on the high of individuals’s lists. Because the interstates got here in, the previous roads connecting the east to west coast, went out.
These days are lengthy gone and immediately, the 3940 km (2448 miles) route is a shadow of its former self with solely pockets nonetheless clinging to a bygone period. Learn: The 17 Best Hikes in Arizona
What Occurred to Route 66?
Why did Route 66 crumble? Within the Nineteen Eighties, the freeway system was constructed bypassing a lot of the cities positioned alongside the route. With vacationers driving on to the vacationer sights of Arizona and California quick and effectively on Interstates as an alternative of the gradual backroads of Route 66, most cities alongside the historic Route 66 fell into disarray.
However over time, some started to rebuild and pockets of nostalgia have cropped up all through the route. The attract of the road trip nonetheless holds sturdy and it’s on the high of many individuals’s bucket lists to take this driving tour throughout America.
The Joliet Space Historic Museum and Route 66 Welcome Middle is devoted to preserving the spirit of Route 66, describing the attract of the Mom Highway and what makes Route 66 price preserving. Be sure that to see the statues of the Muffler Males that had been used to advertise automobile restore retailers alongside the historic route.
And should you spend the evening on this portion of Route 66, remember to catch a film on the Skyview Drive In Theatre in Litchfield. It’s one of many final remaining unique drive ins on Route 66.
Quirky Roadside Sights
Bloomington, Atlanta and Lincoln – Alongside this route you’ll discover the bizarre Paul Bunyon sizzling canine statue, the world’s largest coated wagon, and Abe Lincoln holding an ax. There are soda retailers and diners.
How lengthy Does it Take to Drive Route 66?
You may drive the complete route 66 and it’ll take about 2 weeks (three weeks should you actually need to take your time which we suggest). However you are able to do parts of Route 66 as properly. There are numerous parts which you could drive. As we mentioned, route 66 passes via 8 states with a lot to discover in every.
It’s not straightforward to navigate Route 66 with simply Google Maps however there are apps and information books that will help you out.
It’s good to have that further safety as a result of at instances, we felt fully remoted. There have been moments the place we barely noticed one other automobile on the route. We drove it on the finish of summer time throughout shoulder season so which may be the case. We regularly we questioned if we had taken a flawed flip, however fortunately, quirky indicators would at all times pop as much as tell us we had been getting into the proper straight.
If you’re “driving west” just like the Nat King Cole music, you’ll begin in Chicago, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and at last finish in Santa Monica, California.
Selecting Your Route 66 Transportation
Being Canadian, we simply leap in our automobile and head southwest to drive route 66. However should you don’t have the luxurious of driving to a place to begin, you’ll be able to take a look at automobile rental firms and even resolve on an RV rental to get pleasure from this historic driving route. Some folks have it on their bucket checklist to drive traditional automobiles throughout the unique route and there are traditional automobile leases that cater to this dream. You may as well ebook a method leases from Chicago to Santa Barbara. Evaluate costs at CarRentals.com
One other nice thought is to hire an RV to expertise the mom highway. Cruise America affords RV leases and may also help you propose the proper highway journey itinerary.
For those who don’t have your individual automobile and have to fly into the place to begin, there are many automobile rental firms all alongside the route the place you’ll be able to hire every thing from traditional automobiles to convertibles.
Stops on Route 66
We’ve created a map of the stops on route 66 that will help you resolve. My brother known as me an truly determined that he was going to drive to Chicago to start his highway journey and begin driving West to see how far they might make it.
You could be flying into Arizona to see the Grand Canyon, or perhaps visting buddies in Oklahoma Metropolis or New Mexico and easily need to drive a particular portion. Whichever a part of route 66 you select, you’ll discover a lot to see alongside the previous route and we’ve highlighted the very best issues to see on route 66.
How you can plan Your Route 66 Highway Journey Itinerary
Planning a highway journey alongside Route 66 may be an thrilling journey, however it additionally requires cautious preparation. Listed below are some steps that will help you plan your journey:
Decide Your Route
There are a number of doable itineraries for driving Route 66, so you must select one which fits your pursuits and schedule. Take into account the gap you need to cowl every day and the stops you need to make alongside the best way.
- Examine highway situations: Some sections of Route 66 could also be closed or have restricted entry, so it’s vital to examine the most recent highway situations earlier than you go.
- Take into consideration time of yr – Route 66 is an extended highway journey and temperatures and terrain adjustments drastically. In Arizona and the encircling desert it could turn out to be extraordinarily sizzling within the summertime however nice within the winter. Within the northeast, winter snow is usually a actual issue and have an effect on your route 66 travels.
- Make reservations: For those who’re touring throughout peak season, it’s a good suggestion to make resort or campground reservations prematurely to make sure you have a spot to remain every evening. A classic motel on route 66 will promote out rapidly so plan accordingly.
- Plan your finances: Set up a finances to your journey, together with the price of gas, meals, lodging, and actions.
- Put together your car: Be sure that your car is in good situation earlier than you go, and take into account bringing a spare tire, jack, and fundamental instruments in case of an emergency. You may hire a automobile to drive a portion or select a method leases and drop it off while you get to your vacation spot. Evaluate costs at RentalCars.com
- Pack good: Pack garments and kit appropriate for the climate situations, in addition to a map or GPS gadget, a digicam, and every other necessities you would possibly want.
- Make a listing of must-see sights: Analysis the sights and sights alongside Route 66 that you simply don’t need to miss. We’ve given some nice concepts for what to see on route 66, however with a freeway spanning 2400 miles, we couldn’t cowl every thing.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to be sure that your Route 66 highway journey is secure, snug, and memorable.
Route 66 Indicators And Quriky Roadside Sights
As People migrated west on the lookout for work, it captured the creativeness of the nation. Fortunately, a variety of the indicators, quirky roadside sights, and memorabilia have been preserved. Probably the greatest issues about driving Route 66 is to drive with no plans.
Flow and cease while you see one thing nostalgic or historic. You’ll discover a variety of roadside sights alongside the route 66 and as vacationers and People journey extra to revisit a less complicated previous, extra sights are opening up.
All alongside the route from Chicago to California cities cling to a not so distant previous and some vacationers who got down to recreate their very own American Dream by driving alongside the long-lasting route making it the ultimate road trip.
The cities that had been bypassed by the Interstates refuse to give up and appeal to guests from all over the world desirous to catch a glimpse of America’s glory days.
There are previous automobiles on show, a soda store and 50’s type fuel stations, a colourful downtown and naturally Route 66 indicators and neon indicators leftover advertisements from its heyday.
There are previous motor motels, The Highway Kill Cafe, a Texaco Fuel Station, and the previous common retailer. If you’ll purchase any souvenirs, purchase them in Seligman as a result of they’ve every thing highlighting the historic Route 66.
It truly is a tremendous journey. The picturesque panorama with cows grazing within the distance and rolling hills surrounding our lonely stretch of highway takes you again to a time when folks didn’t stare at their telephones and when household was at first.
My favorite had been the advertisements for Burma Shave. These quirky indicators lined up in teams of 5 informed just a little story with a foolish punchline on the finish, punctuated by a ultimate signal promoting “Burma Shave”
Quite a lot of instances you’ll come throughout run down buildings and ghost cities. If it could’t appeal to vacationers, cities fully shut down.
Nationwide Parks Alongside Route 66
Route 66 travels via a few of America’s most stunning surroundings. You’ll need to take your time and make some detours to see the National Parks alongside the route. Here’s a checklist it’s possible you’ll need to take into account.
We beloved driving the historic Route 66. There has by no means been a greater time to take a highway journey throughout America. Whereas folks plan on staying nearer to house, this can be a great spot to start out.