Route 66 - Santa Monica or Bust

The ultimate guide to seeing the best of Route 66 in one week.

  • 38
  • 68:57
  • 3,986 mi
  • $814
Take This Trip

Created by Rosie_onthe_Road_RVing - June 6th 2018

Route 66, and its 2,500 miles, is known affectionately as "The Mother Road." It's the quintessential cross-country road trip experience. From Chicago through the beating heart of America and down to Los Angeles, the route officially ends at the Santa Monica Pier. The road reached peak popularity in the late 40's and early 50's before being officially removed from the US Highway System in 1985. After a few years, travelers from America and beyond started feeling tinges of nostalgia, and by the end of the 1980's it was fast becoming one of the most popular road trip routes once more.

Fuquay Varina, North Carolina, United States

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46mi 00h 50m

102 Walmart Supercenter, Siler City, NC, US

San Felipe Restaurante Mexicano

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190mi 02h 58m
Photo of Asheville East KOA
4.2

2708 Highway 70 East, Swannanoa, NC, US

Asheville East KOA

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305mi 04h 53m
Photo of The Parthenon
4.0

Centennial Park, West End Avenue, Nashville, TN, US

The Parthenon

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66mi 01h 10m

473 Barren Hollow Rd, Hurricane Mills, TN, US

Koa Buffalo River

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5
149mi 02h 27m
Photo of Graceland
4.5

3734 Elvis Presley Blvd, Memphis, TN, US

Graceland

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441mi 06h 46m

1083 South 4290 Road, Big Cabin, Oklahoma, United States

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292mi 05h 15m
Photo of Crater of Diamonds State Park
4.0

State Park Road, Murfreesboro, AR, US

Crater of Diamonds State Park

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276mi 04h 57m
Photo of Toy and Action Figure Museum
4.5

111 S Chickasaw St, Pauls Valley, OK, US

Toy and Action Figure Museum

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76mi 01h 16m

660 W Hwy 66, Arcadia, OK, US

POPS Soda Ranch

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After all that driving, you're probably thirsty. Head over to POPS Soda Ranch in Arcadia. This is a landmark gas station and diner, but the real draw here is the hundreds of sodas they offer. Plus, there's a massive 66-ft tall soda bottle out front for a great photo-op.

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63mi 01h 00m
Photo of El Reno West KOA
4.4

301 South Walbaun Rd., El Reno, OK, US

El Reno West KOA

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44mi 00h 41m
Photo of Oklahoma Route 66 Museum
4.5

2229 W Gary Blvd, Clinton, OK, US

Oklahoma Route 66 Museum

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28mi 00h 30m
Photo of National Route 66 Museum
4.4

Old Highway 66, Elk City, OK, US

National Route 66 Museum

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51mi 00h 49m

101 E. 12th Street, Shamrock, TX, US

Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Café

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On to Texas! The Lone Star state still has about 150 miles of Route 66 road still remaining, and it all closely parallels Interstate 40, so it's easy to hop on and off the patches of Mother Road. A few highlights include Shamrock, Texas, which is home to the Conoco Tower. This once-bustling stop along the route remains a great place to take pictures to this day. Of all the gas stations, open or closed, in America, this may be one of the most stunning. It’s just a hop, skip, and jump off I-40, so you really have no excuse not to stop and see this roadside classic. While you’re in Shamrock, also hit up their very own Blarney Stone.

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20mi 00h 22m
Photo of Phillips 66 on the Route
3.5

219 Gray St, McLean, TX, US

Phillips 66 on the Route

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Another great little Texas town to visit is McLean. Here you can stop at the Phillips 66 on the Route, a vintage 1928 gas service station that was designed in what was known as "Cottage Fashion," because it resembled a little country cottage. Adorable!

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156mi 02h 25m
Photo of El Reno West KOA
4.4

301 South Walbaun Rd., El Reno, OK, US

El Reno West KOA

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210mi 03h 12m

7701 E I-40, Amarillo, TX, US

The Big Texan Steak Ranch

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No Route 66 trip through Texas would be complete without a big Texan-style meal. Do yourself a favor and head to The Big Texan Steak Ranch. It's a Route 66 legend with its 72oz steak challenge, which began way back in 1962. Just a couple years after owner Bob Lee opened the doors he noticed the influx of hungry cowboys on their paydays looking to down some hearty steaks. One Friday in 1962 he set up an eating contest to see who could eat the most one-pound steaks in an hour. After one cowboy downed 72oz worth of steak (along with a salad, a shrimp cocktail, and a baked potato) Lee declared that anyone who could eat that much steak in an hour gets it for free... and so a legend was born.

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1mi 00h 04m
Photo of Amarillo Ranch RV Park
4.0

1414 Sunrise Dr., Amarillo, TX, US

Amarillo Ranch RV Park

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12mi 00h 17m
Photo of Cadillac Ranch
4.0

13651 I-40 Frontage Rd., Amarillo, TX, US

Cadillac Ranch

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161mi 02h 33m
Photo of Blue Hole of Santa Rosa
4.0

Route 66, Santa Rosa, NM, US

Blue Hole of Santa Rosa

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Another New Mexico highlight along Route 66 is the small town of Santa Rosa, home to the Blue Hole of Santa Rosa. This deep azure-hued diving hole is a favorite local swimming spot, and it's absolutely worth a stop to take a dip, especially if you're braving the Mother Road in July or August. If you're a serious diver, this is one of America's most popular dive destinations. Then, once you've toweled off, visit the Silver Moon Cafe in town for some of the best pancakes of your life.

Best time of year to travel along Route 66: The best time to road trip down Route 66 is between late April and early July, as well as late August through late October. The worst times to visit would be July and August, this is when the temperature is sweltering and all the kids are out of school, which means you'll come across some crowds along the route. In addition, July and August is considered high season, so you're going to be paying higher rates for lodging.