Best Road Trip Drives: Route 66
If you’re looking for a captivating drive through the heart of America, we think Route 66 might be right up your alley. This legendary diagonal drive between Los Angeles and Chicago takes in some of the country’s most cliché roadside scenes. From neon signs to middle-of-nowhere truck stops, this is truly one of America’s best road trips.
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What You’ll See
Route 66 is among our list of best road trips for good reason. Along the way you’ll see old towns with restaurants, gas stations, and motels playing up the “Route 66” connection. Billboards and giant statues still line the route, creating a sense of nostalgia and days past. You’ll meet plenty of other tourists making the same stops along the way, and locals eager to share their stories.
Where to Stop
Listed below are just some of the landmarks and sights to consider seeing. For a comprehensive list, and to plan your trip, check out the Route 66 website.
- The Gemeni Giant
- Route 66 Museum
- The Cadillac Ranch
- Petrified Forest National Park
- Barringer Crater
- The Grand Canyon
- The Town of Seligman
- Former gold-mining town of Oatman
- The end of the route at Santa Monica
Long before Route 66 was paved in 1926, the road was traversed by the National Old Trails Highway, and for three decades before and after WWII, Route 66 earned the name “Main Street of America” because it travelled through small towns, lined by gas stations, restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions. During the time of the Great Depression, hundreds of thousands of families moved west to California along this route.
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Since then, beginning in the late 1950s, the interstate highway system was constructed, and piece by piece, Route 66 became less vital to get from point A to point B. Finally, in 1984, Route 66 was decommissioned, and is now designated Historic Route 66.
Route 66 is 2,451 miles in its entirety – so be prepared to spend some serious time driving. Many people plan 3 or 4 weeks in order to see many of the sights and not feel rushed along the way. Whether you are motivated by an interest in history, a passion for the good ‘ol days, or to experience the incredible diversity of people and landscapes along the way, Route 66 offers an unforgettable journey and one of the best road trip experiences the U.S. has to offer.