How to Plan the Ultimate Route 66 Road Trip
Route 66 is an American road travel experience like no other. Also affectionately called the Mother Highway, or The Great American Highway, this incredible road trip has been immortalized in movies, songs, and even a clothing brand.
This is a driving experience along what is probably the most famous road in the world. The route spans some 2450 miles and crosses eight states, from Chicago Illinois and ending at Santa Monica, California, in the Pacific Coast.
The best time to travel Route 66 is between early May and late September, partly due to convenience (summer breaks) and partially because these months present the best weather conditions. Many of the attractions are also open during these months.
Here is our planned 12-day Route 66 itinerary.
Day 1 – Chicago
Having jetted in its time to book a room at a downtown hotel. The remainder of the day is for settling in. You could visit the Millennium Park and admire its fountains or head out and grab a local pizza and a drink.
Day 2 – Springfield Illinois
Day 2 marks the start of the 2450-mile journey to California. You can collect your car and head out on Route 66, with road maps and Satellite navigation. Springfield is a 3 and a half hour destination from Chicago. In Springfield, you’ll explore the presidential museum and several of the attractions.
Day 3 – St. Louis Missouri
It takes two hours driving through patchwork fields and farmland to reach St Louis, Missouri. There’s plenty to explore and see in St Louis. A visit to the City Museum is a must, the Gateway Arch and Lafayette Square.
Day 4 – Springfield, Missouri
Springfield Missouri city is a regional hub with many amenities and small town hospitality. One of its chief attractions is the Ozarks. With many attractions, great food and accommodation, this is one destination you will enjoy as you travel to the west.
Day 5 – Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City offers many exciting things for the traveller. You may pause and tour the revitalized downtown area, sample the local cuisine, and explore its OKC Thunder.
Day 6 – Amarillo, Texas
Also known as “The Yellow Rose.” Amarillo is home to one of the largest meatpacking industries in the U.S. It is also home to a nuclear plant which employs a sizeable number of city residents.
Day 7 – Albuquerque, NM
If you’re traveling in October, then you’re in luck for the International Albuquerque Balloon festival. This is the time to see a sky filled with vibrant multi-colour balloons, balloon glows, and the breath-taking Rio Grande Valley.
Day 8 – Santa Fe, New Mexico
You can pause to sample Spanish, Mexican, and Anglo-American cultural influences in Santa Fe. Its low adobe houses, picturesque street lanes, and Native American arts and crafts can be a huge attraction to both tourists and travellers.
Day 9 – Winslow, Arizona
If you still have time on your trip, visit the main Winslow attractions including the Meteor Crater, Rock Art Canyon Ranch, and the McHood park.
Day 10 – Grand Canyon National Park
Take a couple of hours while en route and visit the Grand Canyon National park in northern Arizona. The park covers over 4000 sq km and receives over 6 million visitors each year.
Day 11 – Las Vegas, Nevada
From Axe Monkeys to Red Rock climbing, Las Vegas has it all. Famed for fun and excitement, the city serves up all kinds of possibilities for travellers. Its famous resort lined streets, glamorous sites, and sparkling night lights will awe and mellow the most hardened traveller.
Day 12 – Los Angeles, California
Finally the end of your Route 66 road trip. LA is home to famous museums, diverse experiences, and unique hotels. It boasts a 75-mile sandy and sunny coastline.
Now that your trip is over, you can take time to discover the city by exploring its famous neighbourhoods and its multicultural scenes.