Best Route 66 Stops (part 1)
In this article, we will explore some of the most iconic and must-visit stops along the historic Route 66. Known as the “Main Street of America,” Route 66 stretches over 2,400 miles from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. This legendary road trip route has captured the imagination of travelers for decades, offering a glimpse into America’s past and providing a unique travel experience. Whether you’re a history buff, an adventurer, or simply looking for a memorable road trip, Route 66 has something to offer. Join us as we uncover the must-see attractions and hidden gems along this iconic highway.
Gateway Arch (St. Louis, Missouri)
As you embark on your journey along Route 66, one of the must-see attractions is the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. Designed to commemorate the westward expansion of the United States, this iconic arch stands at an impressive 630 feet tall, making it the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. Located in the Gateway Arch National Park, the arch serves as a symbol of St. Louis and offers visitors a unique experience. Upon arrival, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the museum located at the base of the arch, which provides a comprehensive history of the westward expansion and the role of St. Louis in this significant period of American history.
The Painted Desert (Arizona)
The Painted Desert is one of the best stops along Route 66 and should not be missed by travelers seeking a truly unique and breathtaking experience. Located in northern Arizona, this natural wonder is renowned for its magnificent and vibrant colors, which are a result of millions of years of geological activity. As visitors explore the Painted Desert, they will be treated to surreal and awe-inspiring sights. The landscape is adorned with layers of sediments in various hues, ranging from deep reds and oranges to vibrant purples and pinks. These colors are caused by the presence of minerals such as iron and manganese in the rocks, which have been exposed through erosion over time.
Blue Swallow Motel (Tucumari, New Mexico)
Located in Tucumcari, New Mexico, the Blue Swallow Motel has been a staple of the Route 66 experience since it first opened its doors in 1939. The Blue Swallow Motel is not only known for its charming retro aesthetics, but also for its warm hospitality and excellent customer service. When you stay at the Blue Swallow, you can expect to be treated like family by the friendly staff who go above and beyond to ensure your comfort.
The rooms at the Blue Swallow Motel are individually decorated with a nostalgic flair, featuring period furnishings and classic touches. Each room is clean, comfortable, and equipped with modern amenities to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. And of course, complimentary Wi-Fi is available throughout the motel. But what truly sets the Blue Swallow Motel apart are the vintage neon signs that light up the property at night, casting a magical glow over the entire place. These iconic signs are a symbol of the motel’s rich history and add to the nostalgic atmosphere that Route 66 travelers seek.
66 Drive-In Theatre (Carthage, Missouri)
As you embark on your journey along Route 66, one stop that should definitely be on your itinerary is the iconic 66 Drive-In Theatre. Located in Carthage, Missouri, this historic drive-in theatre offers a unique and nostalgic experience that is sure to delight both young and old.
First opened in 1949, the 66 Drive-In Theatre has stood the test of time and remains a beloved destination along the historic Route 66. With its classic neon sign and vintage ticket booth, the theatre exudes a sense of nostalgia that transports visitors back to a bygone era of entertainment. The theatre itself features a large outdoor screen and a spacious parking area where you can park your car and enjoy the movie from the comfort of your own vehicle. It’s a great way to relive the magic of drive-in cinemas and create lasting memories with friends and family.
Mojave National Preserve (California)
If you’re planning a trip along Route 66, then the Mojave National Preserve is a definite must-visit stop. Located in southern California, this expansive preserve spans over 1.6 million acres and offers a diverse range of natural wonders and outdoor activities. As one of the best stops along Route 66, the Mojave National Preserve boasts stunning desert landscapes, unique rock formations, and a rich array of flora and fauna. It’s a true haven for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike.
When visiting the Mojave National Preserve, there are several notable attractions you won’t want to miss. One of the top sights is the Kelso Dunes, a vast expanse of sand dunes that reach up to 650 feet high. It’s an area of incredible natural beauty and offers a perfect opportunity for sandboarding or simply enjoying a serene walk amidst the dunes.