Unmissable Stops on Route 66: Top 10 On The Road

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You most certainly have heard about this famous road in the United States at least once in your lifetime. This highway was first opened in 1926 and it originally linked Chicago to Santa Monica Beach. It crossed the states of Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, and with time it became a great resource to the states which were crossed by it. So, in this article, you will discover 10 unmissable stops on Route 66!

You may have heard of some people who dream about going on a road trip on the famous Mother Road, which is about 4000 kilometres long. For some time now it has been known as historic Route 66, but it was replaced by the Interstate Highway System in 1956. Today some parts of it are still accessible, and we’re here to suggest to you 10 attractions on the road if you decide to go on an adventurous trip through the famous route.

In truth, finding the right way there is not always easy. Always remember to pay attention to the street signs which signal the old route directions, and try not to mistakenly follow the updated signs. Moreover, remember to arrange your stops also according to where you can find gas stations! So, that being said, here are some recommended stops to add to your itinerary!

1. Historic Route 66 Begin Sign

Unmissable Stops on Route 66
The beginning of historic Route 66 in Chicago, Illinois, USA

Let’s begin with the starting point of the Mother Road on Adams Street East in Chicago, Illinois. Find it right at the intersection with Michigan Avenue. Prepare your camera and take your best shot! Keep a selfie of you and your friends here to remember the beginning of this unique adventure.

Unmissable Stops on Route 66

2. Hall Of Fame And Museum

Unmissable Stops on Route 66
Inside theRoute 66 Hall Of Fame And Museum

Then we shall proceed to Pontiac, Illinois where you can find this museum with many historical relics and documentation about the Mother Road. Additionally, you will be able to read about the stories of many Americans who have travelled there through the years and discover the huge impact that this highway has had on the USA since its construction.

3. Lincoln’s Tomb 

Unmissable Stops on Route 66
Monument for Lincoln Tomb

Moving on, you could stop by the Lincoln’s Tomb at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois. Here rests the former president of the USA who died on April 15, 1865. Also his wife and three of his sons lie with him there. It would be a special opportunity to have a walk around the city and witness an important piece of American history.

Unmissable Stops on Route 66

4. The Meramec Caverns

Unmissable Stops on Route 66
Inside of the Meramec Caverns

The following one is a hidden gem of Missouri. Reach the Meramec Valley and stop for a tour of the Meramec Caverns, known as the worldwide hugest cave formations. They’re peculiar for their complex and colourful mineral formation which create a stunning visible effect. Their rarity and beauty are not something you want to miss on. You can book a guided tour, attend light shows and learn about the history of the place through the well-informed and helpful local guides.

5. The Blue Whale

The funny Blue Whale

One of the most famous attractions along the way that we recommend to you is this very funny sculpture. The Blue Whale of Catoosa, Oklahoma was built by Hugh Davis in the 1970s. The pond where it stands rapidly became a very popular destination for both locals and travellers of the Route 66, making the site as iconic as we know it today. Don’t miss the opportunity to stop there and take the perfect postcard-like picture!

Unmissable Stops on Route 66

6. The Cadillac Ranch

Spray-painted cars at Cadillac Ranch

Our next stop is in Amarillo, Texas. We’re talking about the Cadillac Ranch, a classic among the attractions on the route. It’s a site consisting of a single row of vintage cars which are half-buried in the ground and decorated with colourful graffiti. It was created in 1974 by the artists of the Ant Farm Group. The collective gathered for the first time in 1968 in San Francisco. They mostly dealt with graphic arts and media and eventually stopped working in 1978. However, we think this peculiar view can’t be left out of your travel list.

7. 66 Diner

Nighttime picture of the 66 Diner

Next up we have a recommendation for a very traditional American gastronomic experience. We’re talking about the 66 Diner in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With the vintage and nostalgic style of interiors, you will feel like a time traveller who just landed in the 1950s or the 1960s. Enjoy a good burger and fries, maybe a typical American breakfast, or even a good, sweet milkshake. Enjoy all the history it holds: from Elvis and Marilyn to the beautiful jukebox, it really is an unmissable attraction on the road.

Unmissable Stops on Route 66

8.  Petrified Forest National Park

Peculiar multicolour rock formations in Petrified Forest National Park

Moving on, when you reach Arizona you should stop by the beautifulPetrified Forest National Park in Navajo and Apache counties. It has been open since 1916 and it safeguards the rare natural heritage of the area. Watch this wonder from you car, or stop go for a walk or a quick hike on the designated paths. Don’t miss out on the Painted Desert, Puerco Pueblo, the Blue Mesa and so on. A full tour by car takes about 45 minutes, but if you stop at some of the sites you should take at least 2 hours to enjoy it properly. For more information on how to plan your trip there, check out the official website of the placed linked at the bottom of this article.

9. Grand Canyon National Park

Stunning View of Grand Canyon

Although this popular stop is not exactly part of the route, a little detour is definitely worth it. It won’t take you much time, but it will leave you an indelible memory. Located in northwestern Arizona, the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is a place everyone should visit at least once in a lifetime. You can do the Grand Canyon Skywalk at the South Rim, visit the North Rim (unavailable during winter), go for a trip on the river or backcountry hiking. Plan your visit in advance and enjoy one of the Wonders of the World.

Unmissable Stops on Route 66

10. Historic Route 66 End Sign

The end of historic Route 66 in Santa Monica Beach, California, USA

 Finally, reach the end of the trail in California. The only proper and perfect way to end your magical tour of the Historic Route 66 is to reach the end sign near Santa Monica Beach, on Jackson Boulevard East. Enjoy the amazing weather of the City of Angels, behold the view of the Pacific Ocean and party hard at the Santa Monica Pier. Play at the Arcade, go for a ride at the Pacific Park and or enjoy a good meal and drinks.

Before you go, for more information and updates check out the Route 66 official website.

Petrified Forest National Park – plan your visit

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