A Route 66 highway journey is likely one of the nice highway journeys in America. Referred to as The Mom Highway and the Primary Avenue of America, Route 66 was the principle thoroughfare by means of the USA for many years. This historic route runs from downtown Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California, protecting a complete distance of about 2,400 miles (3,900 km). The Mom Highway was one of many authentic highways inside 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
In-built 1926, Route 66 was a highway of desires passing by means of 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 residence. Alongside the best way, they found that The Mom Highway was crowded with different migrants. Learn extra about highway journeys at 25 Greatest Highway Journeys within the World
Mud Bowl, Melancholy, and Struggle
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 additionally hope as folks drove to Santa Monica taking the shortest distance between Chicago and Los Angeles searching for a greater future.
Throughout World Struggle II troopers and army autos used this highway extensively because it was probably the most direct route by means of the nation from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Route 66 Hey Day
Because the melancholy pale 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 Nineteen Fifties to the Nineteen Eighties.
Quickly the Mom Highway turned referred to as the Primary Avenue of America stuffed with neon indicators, present outlets, gasoline stations and enjoyable memorabilia. Route 66 was a rip-roaring good time by means of the 50s to the 70s. In 1984 the final phase of the freeway was decommissioned and the outdated route of Route 66 was not. Individuals have 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 by means of 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 by means of a number of main cities and small-town America alongside the best way.
The unique start line 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
If you happen to aren’t planning on driving all the outdated route 66 to Santa Monica Pier on the Pacific Ocean, now we have damaged down one of the best issues to see alongside the Mom Highway by part.
Automotive leases may be booked a technique if you happen to don’t have your individual. So there isn’t a excuse to not drive this historic freeway if you end up in America. (Or at the least a portion or two). Because it spans throughout America, there’s probability you can 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 Avenue and Michigan Ave the place 78-98 E Adams St, Chicago, IL 60603, United States.
If you’re driving the opposite approach, 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 recommend spending at the least 2 days within the metropolis earlier than beginning your drive alongside route 66. Ensure to go to Navy Pier so as to say your Route 66 journey went from Pier to Pier. Navy Pier to Santa Monica Pier provides 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 Greatest Issues to Do in Chicago
Issues to See on Route 66 in Illinois
You possibly can’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 also be the place you’ll discover the house of Abraham Lincoln that has been restored. Additionally it is free to enter and you’ll go to the Lincoln Tomb, Abraham Lincoln’s closing resting place. Don’t overlook to cease in to see the Capitol Constructing in Springfield.
The Cozy Canine Drive In can also be positioned in Springfield Illinois a route 66 icon that has been in operation since 1949. It’s residence to the unique sizzling canine on a stick.
Illinois can also be residence to three muffler males statues. In your route be certain that 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 outlets and eating places alongside the historic route.
Route 66 Corridor of Fame Museum in Pontiac is value a cease the place you may peruse its hundreds of Route 66 artifacts and memorabilia.
In Pontiac, Illinois, there may be the Illinois Route 66 Corridor of Fame and Museum showcasing the historical past of route 66.
Odell Station in Odell Illinois is likely one of 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 should cease at. They don’t seem to be solely one of many well-liked roadside points of interest alongside historic route 66, however they’re additionally one of the crucial well-liked points of interest in Missouri.
In Springfield Missouri, there’s a automotive museum the place you may see classic vehicles that drove this route faithfully. There may be one other Route 66 Museum in Lebanon.
Do you know there’s a Cuba in the USA? 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 by means of Joplin Missouri since route 66 goes straight by means of 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 photograph alternatives
3. Route 66 – Kansas
Kansas is the shortest part of Route 66 with solely 13 miles of the Mom Highway reducing by means of the southern portion of the state.
If you’re a fan of the Pixar film, Automobiles, cease at Automobiles on the Route, and the outdated gasoline station and present store that sells snacks, and film memorabilia. I didn’t see Automobiles, however apparently, a few of it occurred on route 66.
You probably have youngsters, they’ll acknowledge the tow truck Tow Tater from the film. Apart from the tow truck, there may be an outdated jalopy and a fireplace truck, so be certain that to cease there.
Baxter Springs has the Coopers Dry Items Retailer and diner courting again to 1865 and the historic Bush Creek Bridge. There are the same old outdated gasoline 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 by means of the state.
In Oklahoma, you’ll cross by means of the cities of Tulsa and Oklahoma Metropolis alongside the historic route. However there are a lot of roadside points of interest and historic websites to see as properly. Tulsa metropolis is certainly pleased with its route 66 heritage and as you drive alongside the principle avenue of America, its East Gateway welcomes you to a locations that basically embraces its historical past.
The Blue Whale of Catoosa is likely one of the most well-known points of interest on route 66. This big blue whale marks a preferred swimming gap for folks driving route 66 within the 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 displaying artifacts celebrating the spirit and historical past of route 66.
Make sure you see the outdated vaudeville theater, the Colman Theatre in Miami, Oklahoma. And ensure to Seize a basic soda pop at POPS in Arcadia.
Different Route 66 Sights in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has achieved an incredible job restoring its historic websites and buildings and there are a number of stops that you could get pleasure from alongside this stretch. A few of the quirkier roadside points of interest embody.
- The Spherical Barn in Arcadia courting again to 1898
- Pops in Arcadia that stands out with its big 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 could 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 provides one thing for everybody. Learn subsequent: 29 Greatest Issues to do in Austin, Texas
The Cadillac Ranch is likely one of the most iconic stops on route 66. Positioned in Amarillo the Cadillac Ranch is well-liked attributable to its 10 Cadillacs standing nostril down which can be lined in graffiti. If there may be one landmark to see in Texas, it’s the Cadillac Ranch.
Plus if you happen to just like the artwork set up on the Cadillac Ranch, you should 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 could find a classic motel and get your kick on route 66 for the evening.
The Large 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 Large Texan Steak Ranch is legendary 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 may have made it midway from Chicago to Los Angeles? Seize lunch on the Midpoint Cafe which is the oldest repeatedly working 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 gasoline pumps and a museum devoted to barbed wire. You heard me appropriately, barbed wire was referred to 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 Nineteen 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 points of interest and you could 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 Greatest Historic Websites in New Mexico
Issues to see in New Mexico – Route 66
Tucumcari has portion of Route 66 points of interest in New Mexico with a dinosaur museum, roadside motels, and outdated gasoline stations. The Teepee Curios gasoline station in Tucumcari has a big concrete teepee out entrance and as you cruise by means of New Mexico, you may cease right here to browse its present store.
It’s in Tucumcari that you just’ll additionally discover the Route 66 Monument. The basic Cadillac fin is a well-liked photograph 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 vehicles, and scenes from the Mom Highway.
The Blue Gap in Santa Rosa is value stopping at when driving by means of New Mexico. The crystal clear waters of this blue pool make it a preferred diving vacation spot.
Santa Fe, New Mexico was a preferred cease on the sooner Route 66 alignments and has just a few issues to see together with the La Fonda Lodge, one of many oldest lodges in the USA. Learn extra: The Very Greatest Historic Websites in New Mexico
7. Route 66 – Arizona
Arizona has plenty of Route 66 Sights which can be properly preserved and is certainly value a cease as you drive the principle avenue of America. Learn our full Arizona Highway Journey
Williams, Arizona, is taken into account one of the best preserved stretch of Route 66 and right here it feels as if time has stood nonetheless. It has historic gasoline stations, quirky cafes and historic buildings.
Jack Rabbit Buying and selling Submit is positioned in Joseph Metropolis and has been a Route 66 staple since 1949. Authentic proprietor Jim Taylor put a statue of a black rabbit in a black convertible and the Jack Rabbit Buying and selling Submit was born.
Winslow Arizona – I can not imagine we didn’t make it to Winslow Arizona. I really like the Eagles and I’m all the time singing “Standin’ on the nook of Winslow Arizona…” from Take it Simple.
If you’re searching 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. As we speak, 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 isn’t on the unique Route 66 however it’s positioned simply north of Primary Avenue 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 Nineteen Fifties that households made their approach alongside route 66 to see the Grand Canyon that was shaped by the Colorado River slicing by means of and eroding the canyon for hundreds of years.. Once we visited the Grand Canyon, we stayed in Williams Arizona and took day journeys to the Grand Canyon.
To plan extra in your Grand Canyon journey learn our guides:
Detour to Las Vegas – Route 66
Las Vegas might not formally be on Route 66 however how are you going to not pop into the town when you find yourself so shut? Many individuals go to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, so after you may have spent a few days exploring this pure marvel, make your method to the mom of neon lights Las Vegas. It’s the right praise to a drive alongside America’s primary avenue. Learn extra: Off the Strip – Issues to do Exterior 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 the hunt for the American Dream. Let’s undergo a few of the websites to see that are particular to Route 66 in California. Learn extra: 16 Greatest Cities in California
The Wigwam motel chain was constructed within the Nineteen Thirties and Forties. As we speak of the three surviving motels are positioned on historic U.S. Route 66. You’ll discover one Wigwam Lodge in Holbrook, Arizona, and the opposite between Rialto and San Bernardino, If you’re searching for a novel place to remain, the Wigwam Motel is a superb selection.
What highway journey would miss stopping at McDonalds and whereas in San Bernardino you may hit up one other well-liked route 66 attraction? The McDonald’s museum is positioned in San Bernardino and is a free museum that you could discover.
Bottle Tree Ranch is a unusual murals in Helendale that was a preferred 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 outdated mining city within the Mojave Desert dates again to 1881. It was an enormous silver mine and as we speak you may take a mining tour watch outdated west exhibits 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 just a few days exploring Los Angeles Try – 25 Greatest Issues to Do in Los Angeles – Hollywood, Hikes, And Extra
Santa Monica – Finish of the Path
Santa Monica Pier that is the religious finish of Route 66 as a result of you may 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 may have pushed the entire route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica Learn Extra: The Final California Highway Journey Itinerary
About The Mom Highway
Route 66 was a busy and thrilling historic route by means of America that noticed folks touring often to the west coast from center America. However that every one modified in 1985 when the necessity for velocity was on the prime of individuals’s lists. Because the interstates got here in, the outdated roads connecting the east to west coast, went out.
These days are lengthy gone and as we speak, 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 Greatest Hikes in Arizona
What Occurred to Route 66?
Why did Route 66 crumble? Within the Nineteen Eighties, the freeway system was constructed bypassing many of the cities positioned alongside the route. With vacationers driving on to the vacationer points of interest of Arizona and California quick and effectively on Interstates as an alternative of the sluggish 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 highway journey nonetheless holds robust and it’s on the prime 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 value preserving. Ensure to see the statues of the Muffler Males that have been used to advertise automotive restore outlets alongside the historic route.
And if you happen to spend the evening on this portion of Route 66, you should definitely catch a film on the Skyview Drive In Theatre in Litchfield. It’s one of many final remaining authentic 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 lined wagon, and Abe Lincoln holding an ax. There are soda outlets and diners.
How lengthy Does it Take to Drive Route 66?
You possibly can drive all the route 66 and it’ll take about 2 weeks (three weeks if you happen to actually need to take your time which we advocate). However you are able to do parts of Route 66 as properly. There are numerous parts that you could drive. As we stated, route 66 passes by means of 8 states with a lot to discover in every.
It’s not simple to navigate Route 66 with simply Google Maps however there are apps and information books that can assist you out.
It’s good to have that additional safety as a result of at occasions, we felt fully remoted. There have been moments the place we barely noticed one other automotive on the route. We drove it on the finish of summer time throughout shoulder season so that could be the case. We regularly we questioned if we had taken a unsuitable flip, however fortunately, quirky indicators would all the time pop as much as tell us we have been getting in the correct straight.
If you’re “driving west” just like the Nat King Cole track, 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 soar in our automotive and head southwest to drive route 66. However if you happen to don’t have the luxurious of driving to a place to begin, you may take a look at automotive 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 basic vehicles throughout the unique route and there are basic automotive leases that cater to this dream. You can even ebook a technique leases from Chicago to Santa Barbara. Examine costs at CarRentals.com
One other nice concept is to lease an RV to expertise the mom highway. Cruise America provides RV leases and can assist you propose the right highway journey itinerary.
If you happen to don’t have your individual automotive and have to fly into the place to begin, there are many automotive rental firms all alongside the route the place you may lease every part from basic vehicles to convertibles.
Stops on Route 66
We’ve created a map of the stops on route 66 that can assist you resolve. My brother referred to as me an really determined that he was going to drive to Chicago to start his highway journey and begin driving West to see how far they may make it.
Chances are you’ll be flying into Arizona to see the Grand Canyon, or perhaps visting mates in Oklahoma Metropolis or New Mexico and easily need to drive a selected portion. Whichever a part of route 66 you select, you’ll discover a lot to see alongside the outdated route and we’ve highlighted one of the best issues to see on route 66.
Learn how to plan Your Route 66 Highway Journey Itinerary
Planning a highway journey alongside Route 66 may be an thrilling journey, but it surely additionally requires cautious preparation. Listed below are some steps that can assist you plan your journey:
Decide Your Route
There are a number of attainable itineraries for driving Route 66, so it is best to select one which fits your pursuits and schedule. Contemplate the gap you need to cowl every day and the stops you need to make alongside the best way.
- Test highway situations: Some sections of Route 66 could also be closed or have restricted entry, so it’s essential to examine the newest highway situations earlier than you go.
- Take into consideration time of yr – Route 66 is a protracted highway journey and temperatures and terrain adjustments drastically. In Arizona and the encircling desert it could possibly turn into extraordinarily sizzling within the summertime however nice within the winter. Within the northeast, winter snow could be a actual issue and have an effect on your route 66 travels.
- Make reservations: If you happen to’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 shortly so plan accordingly.
- Plan your price range: Set up a price range in your journey, together with the price of gas, meals, lodging, and actions.
- Put together your automobile: Ensure your automobile is in good situation earlier than you go, and take into account bringing a spare tire, jack, and primary instruments in case of an emergency. You possibly can lease a automotive to drive a portion or select a technique leases and drop it off while you get to your vacation spot. Examine costs at RentalCars.com
- Pack good: Pack garments and kit appropriate for the climate situations, in addition to a map or GPS system, a digital camera, and some other necessities you may want.
- Make a listing of must-see sights: Analysis the points of interest and sights alongside Route 66 that you just 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 part.
By following these steps, you may make sure that your Route 66 highway journey is secure, comfy, and memorable.
Route 66 Indicators And Quriky Roadside Sights
As People migrated west searching for work, it captured the creativeness of the nation. Fortunately, plenty of the indicators, quirky roadside points of interest, and memorabilia have been preserved. Top-of-the-line issues about driving Route 66 is to drive with no plans.
Waft and cease while you see one thing nostalgic or historic. You’ll discover plenty of roadside points of interest alongside the route 66 and as vacationers and People journey extra to revisit an easier previous, extra points of interest 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 final highway journey.
The cities that have been bypassed by the Interstates refuse to stop and entice guests from world wide desirous to catch a glimpse of America’s glory days.
There are outdated vehicles on show, a soda store and 50’s model gasoline stations, a colourful downtown and naturally Route 66 indicators and neon indicators leftover advertisements from its heyday.
There are outdated motor lodges, The Highway Kill Cafe, a Texaco Fuel Station, and the outdated common retailer. If you’re going to purchase any souvenirs, purchase them in Seligman as a result of they’ve every part 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 in the beginning.
My favorite have been the advertisements for Burma Shave. These quirky indicators lined up in teams of 5 instructed a bit story with a foolish punchline on the finish, punctuated by a closing signal promoting “Burma Shave”
A variety of occasions you’ll come throughout run down buildings and ghost cities. If it could possibly’t entice vacationers, cities fully shut down.
Nationwide Parks Alongside Route 66
Route 66 travels by means of a few of America’s most stunning surroundings. You’ll need to take your time and make some detours to see the Nationwide Parks alongside the route. Here’s a checklist you could need to take into account.
We cherished 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 residence, it is a excellent place to begin.