If you have visited Disneyland during your childhood with your family, chances are you probably took Route 66 at some point while traveling, no matter where you started from. This is because Route 66 is one of the best highways in the USA and possibly the whole world.
It spans over 8 states in the United States, Chicago, Illinois, and ends the blissful journey at the Santa Monica Pier in California. No matter how many times you have been through this amazing stretch of asphalt, there is always something new to discover on Route 66.
So pack your bags and put on some tunes for the road, while we take you through an off- beat trip guide to explore the mother road in all its glory!
Getting its name from the 66 destinations in its path, Route 66 has played an important role in US history. After being recognized as a federal highway in 1926, offering support to families who were migrating to different states during the Great Depression and made itself an essential part of the US roadways spread.
Over the years Route 66 gained a celebrity status and had a rise and fall in its career, ultimately stretching to 2448 miles and some of the most iconic tourist attractions along the way. It also became a crowd favorite and had made multiple appearances on TV, in movies, TV shows and music videos.
However, as time passed it was more and more important to carry an elaborate trip guide through the highway, because of its changing status and deteriorating conditions. The iconic route helped to carry massive amounts of traffic during its time and many attempts were made to keep it safe.
But after 59 years of its services, it was finally decommissioned as a US federal highway in 1985, as roads evolved and a safer highway system came into action. Over the years, many parts of the route became damaged and dangerous and thus, about 15% of the original route 66 stretch has been decommissioned today.
But the good news is that a major part of this historic road is still drivable with several parts preserved to honor its glory day. Youngsters and adults from across the country aim to take on the challenge of driving on possibly the most popular highway in the entire world.
Also checkout: 9 Best Road Trips in the USA: Drive Your Way!
Surprisingly enough, taking the road trip of your life through the majestic Route 66 is still possible with a little alterations and changes from the original route, but the drive still remains one of the best stretches in the United States.
Let us take you through the most important destinations on Route 66 in this trip guide that you can use to plan your very own adventure.
· New Mexico
These are all the states that you’ll come across during your trip on the US 66, therefore if you do not wish to travel the whole way, you can still catch the many iconic attractions on Route 66, while driving on a stretch that is nearest to you.
Each of the states still has an elaborate plan to take on Route 66 and explore everything it has to offer, from offbeat detours, to the most popular restaurants on the route. Let us take you through what each of America’s main streets has to offer in each of the states. You can use this trip guide to plan your very own Route 66 exploration adventure.
Lake Michigan, Chicago, Illinois is the starting point of this amazing journey. From here, the Route 66 takes you on a 300 Mile tour of the state alone and offers some of the most iconic restaurants and diners which are a crowd favorite. Grab a bite, or fill up on some delicious food, while sharing and discovering stories from the family-own restaurants. As you keep moving forward, you will come across huge rusty old bridges, cornfields and flat prairie lands till you reach the Mississippi River and cross the state to enter Missouri.
After reaching the Mississippi river, enter Missouri through St. Louis, and commence the second leg of the route 66 road trip. The state also offers close to 331 miles of scenic stretch along the route 66 highway and iconic stops which you absolutely cannot miss. The gateway arch, Anheuser-Busch Brewery and the Southwest diner are some of the most popular spots which attracts hundreds of tourists to this iconic route in Missouri.
However, a lot of the original stretch has not been changed and altered with many routes permanently cut off, but there is still quite a lot of the original trail that you can drive on to alongside scenic views of small towns and green hills to make your journey memorable. The stretch taking you from St. Louis to Tulsa is one of the most iconic sections of the route as it brings together the eastern and western cultures. As you come across Joplin, you have finished the second leg of this multistate road trip and should now enter into Kansas.
The Kansas leg of the route 66 road trip guide is quite short, but quite beautiful with many great attractions. The Kansas leg of route 66 only lasts for 13.2 miles, covering three small towns, Baxter Springs, Riverton and Galena, and takes no more than 30 minutes, till you enter the next state. But the best thing about this stretch is that you get to experience the original route, without many changes and the historic legacy of the towns which were left after the Great Depression. Soon after this short and beautiful spread you’ll reach the end of Kansas on route 66 and enter Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is where you’ll get to experience the Mother road in all its glory, with almost 400 miles of the original route which are still in drivable condition to this day. The drive offers a lot of attractions, to explore such as the Massive golden driller, and the Blue whale of Catoosa. In addition, while driving through Oklahoma you’ll find some of the best hotels on the route to take a break and explore the nearby museums and memorials.
The Texas leg of the route 66 road trip guide is not a big stretch, as many parts of the drive have been closed off with only 180 miles of tarmac remaining. If you’re driving through this particular part of the drive during noon, then you better ramp up the AC because you will be crossing across the town of Vega which is solar capital Texas as it receives the most sunlight in United States. If you want to take a break from the heat you can also take a break at the historic Vega Motel and the Bonanza Motel to commence your journey again once the sun dims down a little. Driving through Texas with your Route 66 road trip guide will take you no more than 4 hours, with minimal stops and breaks, before you enter the land of enchantment.
As you enter New Mexico you will feel southwestern spirit as the scenic landscape changes. This leg of the Route 66 road trip guide will offer you multiple landscapes to explore, from hot springs to forests, mountains and a whole lotta desert. The drive through New Mexico is filled with great food, traditional architecture, art and scenic beauty by your side. Cross through Albuquerque while exploring, one of the oldest human settlements in Pueblo, which dated back to 3000 B.C If you want to take a break on the journey, then Gallup is the best town to take a break at a the Hollywood el Rancho hotel and then continue your journey to reach the end of New Mexico at Flagstaff.
As you enter the second last leg of your great road trip guide through route 66, you should be prepared to bear the dry heat a little longer while you’re in Arizona. As you drive down the road you’ll come across the massive red rock canyons and witness the majestic Grand Canyon National Park. This would be a time to take a break, relax, grab some refreshment and take a hike to the Grand Canyon to witness its grandeur.
You’re almost there! After crossing the majestic mountains in Arizona, you will now enter the final leg of the great Route 66 road trip in California. The final leg of the road trip guide in California stretches to 310 miles, which means you’ll have close to 7 hours of time to buck up and finish the epic trip through the mother road. Enter the beautiful city of Los Angeles and reach the end of your pilgrimage at the Santa Monica Pier. Park your car and take a walk to the edge of the pier to enjoy this amazing feat and take a picture with the iconic end of trail sign at the end of route 66, before you bask in your glory with a dip in the ocean.
A road trip Route 66 is without a doubt one of the most popular one in the country, however, it is very important that you take a road trip guide along with you and explore the mother road safely and at your own pace without speeding up the process, as you will end up missing out on a lot of historic destinations.