How To Plan a Route 66 Trip

How To Plan a Route 66 Trip
Route 66, often referred to as the "Main Street of America," was a highway established in 1926 to run cross-country from California to Illinois. "Route 66" was removed from maps and citations in 1985, and it now is referred to under a variety of names, depending on the section and the state. Portions of the road still maintain the name, especially since it was designated a National Scenic Byway. Plan your trip and enjoy yourself during the whole process, from planning to driving Route 66. It is all part of the fun.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • GPS Navigation
  • Map of the U.S.
Step 1
Decide on the stretch of road you want to cover. Route 66 extends for 2,451 miles and crosses eight states, making for a very long road trip. If you only have a limited amount of time or have a list of preferred things to do and see along the way, you will need to decide on a specific point of departure.
Step 2
Get a map of the route well in advance, so you can mark points of interest as well as decide on the direction to follow. Most travelers start their way up from Los Angeles, California, stopping at least once in each state along the way. It takes an average of 37 hours to drive the whole stretch of the route if you don't plan any stops, so you should keep that in mind when deciding where and how often to stop along the way.
Step 3
Visit at least one of the Route 66 museums along the way. There are several in different states, including California, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona. The museums are not only a great place to learn about the history of the road but also a resource for maps, brochures and books to help you plan the trip.
Step 4
Don't miss classic stops. Because the route no longer exists, historic markers along the way are one of the main attractions. Revival spots have been restored as well, including service stations in Mount Olive, Illinois, and the Route 66 Drive-In movie theater in Carthage, Missouri. The Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, designed in giant teepee style, is also a classic stop.
Step 5
Make a list of the most important sights alongside Route 66. Aside from the renovated stops, there are also lots of unusual attractions along the way, including Adrian, Texas (the exact midpoint of Route 66, with 1,139 miles of road in either direction), the Blue Whale of Catoosa (a waterfront structure complete with a pool and picnic tables), the Gemini Giant (a 1960s sci-fi fiberglass structure) and the world's tallest ketchup bottle, which also is a 179-foot tall water tower.

Tips & Warnings

Route 66 is best enjoyed as a road trip. Allow at least a week, but preferably 10-14 days, to explore the stretch of highway.

Article Written By Sarah Dray

Sarah Dray has been writing since 1996. She specializes in health, wellness and travel topics and has credits in various publications including "Woman's Day," "Marie Claire," "Adirondack Life" and "Self." She is also a seasoned independent traveler and a certified personal trainer and nutrition consultant. Dray is pursuing a criminal justice degree at Penn Foster College.

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