A Route 66 street journey is without doubt one of the nice street journeys in America. Often called The Mom Highway and the Essential Avenue of America, Route 66 was the primary thoroughfare by america for many years. This historic route runs from downtown Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California, overlaying a complete distance of about 2,400 miles (3,900 km). The Mom Highway was one of many authentic highways throughout the U.S. Freeway System and have become an iconic image of American tradition and cross-country street journeys.
final route 66 Highway Journey Information
In-built 1926, Route 66 was a street of desires passing by eight states all the way in which 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 dwelling. Alongside the way in which, they found that The Mom Highway was crowded with different migrants. Learn extra about street journeys at 25 Finest Highway Journeys within the World
Mud Bowl, Melancholy, and Struggle
Throughout the Nice Melancholy, Route 66 was full of folks dreaming of a greater life within the West as they escaped the drought-stricken southern plains generally known as the Mud Bowl. Route 66 was a street 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 street extensively because it was essentially the most direct route by 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 season holidays to see the Grand Canyon and different iconic websites in California and Arizona from the Nineteen Fifties to the Eighties.
Quickly the Mom Highway grew to become generally known as the Essential Avenue of America full of neon indicators, present retailers, gasoline stations and enjoyable memorabilia. Route 66 was a rip-roaring good time by the 50s to the 70s. In 1984 the final section of the freeway was decommissioned and the previous route of Route 66 was now not. Folks have been now in a rush driving the Interstates to their locations.
Companies alongside Route 66 closed and the historic buildings fell into break.
The place does Route 66 Begin?
Beginning in Chicago, Route 66 passes by 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 a number of main cities and small-town America alongside the way in which.
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 non secular ending of route 66. I imply who wouldn’t wish to go all the way in which 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 the complete previous route 66 to Santa Monica Pier on the Pacific Ocean, we have now damaged down the very best issues to see alongside the Mom Highway by part.
Automobile leases might be booked a method in the event you don’t have your personal. 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 a great 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.
In case you are driving the opposite method, 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. 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 presents the last word bragging rights. Who wouldn’t wan to drive from Lake Michigan and drove all the way in which to the Pacific Ocean. Learn extra at: 21 of the Finest Issues to Do in Chicago
Issues to See on Route 66 in Illinois
You’ll be able to’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 ultimate resting place. Don’t neglect 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 dwelling to the unique scorching canine on a stick.
Illinois can also be dwelling to three muffler males statues. In your route ensure 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 retailers and eating places alongside the historic route.
Route 66 Corridor of Fame Museum in Pontiac is price a cease the place you may 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 without doubt 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 could cease at. They aren’t solely one of many in style roadside sights alongside historic route 66, however they’re additionally one of the vital in style sights in Missouri.
In Springfield Missouri, there’s a automotive museum the place you may see classic vehicles that drove this route faithfully. There’s one other Route 66 Museum in Lebanon.
Do you know there’s a Cuba in america? 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 eventually, you’ll be passing by Joplin Missouri since route 66 goes straight by 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 slicing by the southern portion of the state.
In case you are a fan of the Pixar film, Vehicles, cease at Vehicles on the Route, and the previous gasoline station and present store that sells snacks, and film memorabilia. I didn’t see Vehicles, however apparently, a few of it came about on route 66.
When you’ve got children, 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 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 previous 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 the state.
In Oklahoma, you’ll go by the cities of Tulsa and Oklahoma Metropolis alongside the historic route. However there are various roadside sights and historic websites to see as properly. Tulsa metropolis is unquestionably pleased with its route 66 heritage and as you drive alongside the primary road of America, its East Gateway welcomes you to a locations that basically embraces its historical past.
The Blue Whale of Catoosa is without doubt one of 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 you 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 Points of interest in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has accomplished a fantastic job restoring its historic websites and buildings and there are a number of stops which you can take pleasure in alongside this stretch. A few of the quirkier roadside sights embody.
- The Spherical Barn in Arcadia courting again to 1898
- Pops in Arcadia that stands out with its enormous 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 purchase 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 presents one thing for everybody. Learn subsequent: 29 Finest Issues to do in Austin, Texas
The Cadillac Ranch is without doubt one of the most iconic stops on route 66. Positioned in Amarillo the Cadillac Ranch is in style on account of its 10 Cadillacs standing nostril down which are lined in graffiti. If there’s one landmark to see in Texas, it’s the Cadillac Ranch.
Plus in the event you just like the artwork set up on the Cadillac Ranch, you could 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 night time.
The Huge 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 Huge Texan Steak Ranch is known for its 72 ounce steak dinner problem. Are you up for it?
Different Texas Route 66 Points of interest
Mid Pointe Cafe in Adrian. Do you know that when driving route 66 in Texas, you will 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 gasoline 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 Nineteen Thirties and hold an eye fixed out for the leaning water tower in Groom
Take a look at extra Texas Journey
6. Route 66 – New Mexico
The foremost metropolis in New Mexico is Albuquerque. Albuquerque, New Mexico has loads of historic sights and you might wish to spend the night time 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 Finest Historic Websites in New Mexico
Issues to see in New Mexico – Route 66
Tucumcari has a great portion of Route 66 sights in New Mexico with a dinosaur museum, roadside motels, and previous gasoline stations. The Teepee Curios gasoline station in Tucumcari has a big concrete teepee out entrance and as you cruise by 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 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 vehicles, and scenes from the Mom Highway.
The Blue Gap in Santa Rosa is price stopping at when driving by 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 number of issues to see together with the La Fonda Lodge, one of many oldest resorts in america. Learn extra: The Very Finest Historic Websites in New Mexico
7. Route 66 – Arizona
Arizona has a number of Route 66 Points of interest which are properly preserved and is unquestionably price a cease as you drive the primary road of America. Learn our full Arizona Highway Journey
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 gasoline stations, quirky cafes and historic buildings.
Jack Rabbit Buying and selling Put up 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 Put up was born.
Winslow Arizona – I can not 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.
In case you are searching for a novel place to remain in Arizona, make your option to the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook. Throughout the migration west alongside the Mom Highway, the Wigwam Motel chain was a outstanding chain. Right now, 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 will not be on the unique Route 66 however it’s positioned simply north of Essential 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. The truth is, it was throughout the Nineteen Fifties that households made their method alongside route 66 to see the Grand Canyon that was fashioned by the Colorado River slicing by and eroding the canyon for 1000’s of years.. After 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 might not formally be on Route 66 however how are you going to not pop into the town if you end up so shut? Many individuals go to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, so after you will have spent a few days exploring this pure surprise, make your option to the mom of neon lights Las Vegas. It’s the proper praise to a drive alongside America’s essential road. Learn extra: Off the Strip – Issues to do Outdoors Las Vegas
Route 66 – California
The ultimate cease on the nice American street 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 number of the websites to see that are particular to Route 66 in California. Learn extra: 16 Finest Cities in California
The Wigwam motel chain was constructed within the Nineteen Thirties and Nineteen Forties. Right now 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, In case you are searching for a novel place to remain, the Wigwam Motel is a good selection.
What street journey would miss stopping at McDonalds and whereas in San Bernardino you may hit up one other in style route 66 attraction? The McDonald’s museum is positioned in San Bernardino and is a free museum which you can 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 is going to 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 at this time you may take a mining tour watch previous 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 a number of days exploring Los Angeles Take a look at – 25 Finest Issues to Do in Los Angeles – Hollywood, Hikes, And Extra
Santa Monica – Finish of the Path
Santa Monica Pier that is the non secular 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 will have pushed the whole 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 America that noticed folks touring often to the west coast from center America. However that each 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 at this time, 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 Finest Hikes in Arizona
What Occurred to Route 66?
Why did Route 66 crumble? Within the Eighties, the freeway system was constructed bypassing many 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 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 street journey nonetheless holds robust 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 Heart 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 have been used to advertise automotive restore retailers alongside the historic route.
And in the event you spend the night time 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 authentic drive ins on Route 66.
Quirky Roadside Points of interest
Bloomington, Atlanta and Lincoln – Alongside this route you’ll discover the bizarre Paul Bunyon scorching canine statue, the world’s largest lined wagon, and Abe Lincoln holding an ax. There are soda retailers and diners.
How lengthy Does it Take to Drive Route 66?
You’ll be able to drive the complete route 66 and it’ll take about 2 weeks (three weeks in the event you actually wish to take your time which we suggest). However you are able to do parts of Route 66 as properly. There are various parts which you can drive. As we mentioned, route 66 passes by 8 states with loads to discover in every.
It’s not simple 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 additional safety as a result of at instances, 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 season 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 at all times pop as much as tell us we have been getting into the fitting straight.
In case you are “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 soar in our automotive and head southwest to drive route 66. However in the event you don’t have the posh of driving to a place to begin, you may take a look at automotive rental corporations and even resolve on an RV rental to take pleasure in this historic driving route. Some folks have it on their bucket checklist to drive traditional vehicles throughout the unique route and there are traditional automotive leases that cater to this dream. You may also ebook a method leases from Chicago to Santa Barbara. Examine costs at CarRentals.com
One other nice concept is to hire an RV to expertise the mom street. Cruise America presents RV leases and may help you intend the proper street journey itinerary.
If you happen to don’t have your personal automotive and must fly into the place to begin, there are many automotive rental corporations all alongside the route the place you may hire every thing from traditional vehicles to convertibles.
Stops on Route 66
Now we have 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 street journey and begin driving West to see how far they may make it.
You could be flying into Arizona to see the Grand Canyon, or possibly visting associates in Oklahoma Metropolis or New Mexico and easily wish to drive a particular portion. Whichever a part of route 66 you select, you’ll discover loads to see alongside the previous route and we’ve highlighted the very best issues to see on route 66.
Learn how to plan Your Route 66 Highway Journey Itinerary
Planning a street journey alongside Route 66 might be an thrilling journey, nevertheless 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 potential itineraries for driving Route 66, so it’s best to select one which fits your pursuits and schedule. Contemplate the space you wish to cowl every day and the stops you wish to make alongside the way in which.
- Examine street situations: Some sections of Route 66 could also be closed or have restricted entry, so it’s essential to examine the newest street situations earlier than you go.
- Take into consideration time of yr – Route 66 is a protracted street journey and temperatures and terrain adjustments drastically. In Arizona and the encircling desert it could possibly turn out to be extraordinarily scorching 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: If you happen to’re touring throughout peak season, it’s a good suggestion to make lodge or campground reservations upfront to make sure you have a spot to remain every night time. A classic motel on route 66 will promote out shortly so plan accordingly.
- Plan your funds: Set up a funds to your journey, together with the price of gasoline, meals, lodging, and actions.
- Put together your car: Be sure that your car is in good situation earlier than you go, and contemplate bringing a spare tire, jack, and primary instruments in case of an emergency. You’ll be able to hire a automotive to drive a portion or select a method leases and drop it off while you get to your vacation spot. Examine costs at RentalCars.com
- Pack sensible: Pack garments and equipment appropriate for the climate situations, in addition to a map or GPS machine, a digital camera, 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 just don’t wish to miss. Now we have 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 may make sure that your Route 66 street journey is protected, snug, and memorable.
Route 66 Indicators And Quriky Roadside Points of interest
As People migrated west searching for work, it captured the creativeness of the nation. Fortunately, a number 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.
Drift and cease while you see one thing nostalgic or historic. You’ll discover a number 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 enduring route making it the final street journey.
The cities that have been bypassed by the Interstates refuse to give up and entice guests from all over the world desirous to catch a glimpse of America’s glory days.
There are previous vehicles on show, a soda store and 50’s type gasoline stations, a colourful downtown and naturally Route 66 indicators and neon indicators leftover adverts from its heyday.
There are previous motor resorts, The Highway Kill Cafe, a Texaco Fuel Station, and the previous normal retailer. If you’re going to purchase any souvenirs, purchase them in Seligman as a result of they’ve every thing highlighting the historic Route 66.
It truly is an incredible journey. The picturesque panorama with cows grazing within the distance and rolling hills surrounding our lonely stretch of street takes you again to a time when folks didn’t stare at their telephones and when household was before everything.
My favorite have been the adverts 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”
Plenty of instances 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 a few of America’s most stunning surroundings. You’ll wish to take your time and make some detours to see the Nationwide Parks alongside the route. Here’s a checklist you might wish to contemplate.
We cherished driving the historic Route 66. There has by no means been a greater time to take a street journey throughout America. Whereas folks plan on staying nearer to dwelling, it is a excellent spot to begin.