Route 66: The Ultimate American Road Trip

Route 66: The Ultimate American Road Trip

13/05/2016 Off By tripsology

The iconic Route 66 first opened in 1926, and immediately captured the imagination of America, representing notions of freedom, migration West, The American Dream and the barren isolation of the American heartland.

Route 66

Running for over two thousand miles between Chicago and Los Angeles, the old ‘Mother Road’ traverses a broad cross-section of American terrain, from the gritty streets of downtown Chicago and St. Louis, ‘Gateway to the West’, to the golden sands and glamour of Los Angeles and the majestic beauty of the Grand Canyon. It goes past such wonders as the Native American communities of the desert Southwest, and Santa Fe, a city defined by its Spanish colonial charm, overlooking the brooding Rocky Mountains.

tripsologists love to join the legions of dream-seekers embarking on a full-scale American road trip following the remnants of the original highway, which was decommissioned in the 1980s. Who’s up for it?! Perhaps not ideal for young families, tripsologists thinks this sort of trip would be well-suited to couples or groups of friends looking to make incredible memories. We’ve put together some tips to make sure you get the most out of your trip and outlined a basic day by day route plan for you guys. There is so much to see and do along the way, the key to success here is in the planning.


  • Appoint more than one designated driver. The loads are long and you will have to drive in shifts.
  • No road trip is complete without great tunes. Put together fun compilations before you go, and get ready for sing along central. We guarantee that you will return home hoarse!
  • You will spend a fair bit of the trip driving through desert landscapes, so make sure that you are well stocked with food and water. If you are renting a car, air conditioning is a must.
  • In the western parts of Route 66, gas stations can be up to 100 miles apart, so know your vehicle’s range and fill up accordingly. The glamour of an American road trip is lost somewhat if you find yourself stranded at the side of the highway out of petrol, awaiting rescue from the American equivalent of the AA.
  • Repair services are equally few and far between on Route 66; make sure your car is in good repair before setting out, and carry a spare tyre in the boot.
  • Along the majority of the route, you will be able to find lodgings on the spur of the moment. Think quirky roadside motels. However, at stops such as Flagstaff and Santa Fe reservations are pretty much compulsory.
  • Historic66 has a fantastic turn-by-turn description of the original Route 66. This is invaluable, as road signs can be few and far between, and easily missed in busy traffic.


Route 66 Highlights

  • Willis Tower, Chicago
  • Chicago Blues Clubs
  • St. Louis Blues Clubs
  • St. Louis Arch
  • Ozark region
  • Strafford Route 66 Days Festival
  • Amarillo and the heart of Cowboy Country
  • Petrified Forest National Park
  • Old Town Albuquerque & historic Santa Fe
  • Meteor Crater
  • Winslow, Arizona – stand on the corner
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • The Strip, Las Vegas
  • Rainbow Basin
  • Santa Monica beach and the famous Santa Monica Pier


tripsology’s suggest route plan 

Route 66

Route 66

Day 1: Chicago to Springfield, Illinois

Chicago → Cicero → Joliet → Gardner → Dwight → Pontiac → Chenoa → Bloomington → Normal → McLean → Atlanta

→ Lincoln → Williamsville → Sherman → Springfield

Day 2: Springfield to St. Louis

Springfield → Litchfield → Mount Olive → Staunton → Hamel → Edwardsville → Mitchell → Missouri border → St. Louis

Day 3: St. Louis to Springfield, Missouri

St. Louis → Eureka → Pacific → Gray Summit → St. Clair → Sullivan → Bourbon → Cuba → Rosati → Rolla → Doolittle → Jerome → St.Robert → Buckhorn → Sleeper → Lebanon → Phillipsburg → Conway → Vance → Marshfield → Strafford → Springfield

Day 4: Springfield, Missouri to Oklahoma City

Springfield → Halltown → Paris Springs Junction → Spencer → Phelps → Rescue → Plew → Avilla → Carthage → Carterville → Webb City → Joplin → Kansas border → Galena → Riverton → Baxter Foyil → Claremore → Catoosa → Tulsa → Oakhurst → Sapulpa → Kellyville → Bristow → Depew → Stroud → Davenport → Chandler → Warwick → Wellston → Luther → Arcadia → Edmond → Oklahoma City

Day 5: Oklahoma City to Amarillo

Oklahoma City → Bethany → Yukon → El Reno → Hydro → Weatherford → Clinton → Foss → Canute → Elk City → Sayre → Erick → Texola → Texas border → Shamrock → McLean → Jericho → Groom → Alanreed → Conway → Amarillo

Day 6: Amarillo to Albuquerque

Amarillo → Bushland → Wildorado → Vega → Adrian → Gruhlkey → Glenrio → New Mexico border → San Jon → Tucumcari → Santa Rosa → Moriarty →Edgewood → Albuquerque

Day 7: Albuquerque to **Flagstaff

Albuquerque → Grants → Gallup → Arizona border → Petrified Forest National Park → Holbrook → Joseph City → Winslow → Flagstaff

Day 8: Flagstaff to Barstow

Flagstaff → Williams → Chino Valley → Ash Fork → Seligman → Peach Springs → Kingman → Oatman → Topock → California border → Needles → Chambless → Amboy → Bagdad → Siberia → Klondike → Ludlow → Newberry Springs → Daggett → Barstow

Day 9: Barstow to Santa Monica

Barstow → Lenwood → Helendale → Oro Grande → Victorville → San Bernardino → Rialto → Fontana → Rancho Cucamonga → Upland → Claremont → Pomona → La Verne → San Dimas → Glendora → Azusa → Monrovia → East Pasadena → Pasadena → Los Angeles → Hollywood → Beverly Hills → Century City → Santa Monica

If you are looking for an unforgettable journey into the heart of America, a Route 66 road trip is the holiday for you. tripsologists can’t wait to hear all about it – send us a postcard!