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30 Best Route 66 Attractions to Visit & Things to Do

30 Best Route 66 Attractions to Visit & Things to Do

The iconic Route 66 has inspired music, movies, and books and has become a pop culture icon. The highway was established in 1926 and quickly became one of the most famous roads in America. Covering 2448 miles, the original route crossed eight states and three time zones.

The Route 66 highway was decommissioned in 1985 and was replaced by interstate highways, legislated in 1956 by President Eisenhower. The popularity of Route 66 became its downfall as the two-lane highway could not cope with the volume of cars.

But Route 66 is still worth driving to learn about the nostalgia of America up close and personal or a way to relive old family history. This highway runs directly through the heartbeat of America, offering plenty of great stops along the way.

Since the Pixar movie Cars revived interest in the highway, towns along the highway have sprung back to life, and it’s just one of the many reasons why Route 66 is so famous. This movie breathed life into tiny towns that time nearly forgot. The route follows the footsteps of American history and allows the traveler to step back in time and experience this golden era.

Interested in taking a road trip along one of the most famous highways in the world? Let’s explore the top attractions, landmarks, and activities along Route 66!

What We Cover

TL;DR

  • Most significant landmark – Route 66 Shield at Grant Park
  • Place to eat – Old Log Cabin Inn, Pontiac, Illinois Route
  • Activity for adults – Meramec Cavern, Stanton, Missouri
  • Place to stay – The Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba, Missouri
  • Activity for kids – Four Women on the Route, Galena, Kansas
  • Free activity – Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas
  • Best park – Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert, Arizona
  • Nightlife – Santa Monica Pier

Things to Do on Route 66

1. Breakfast near Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois Route

Breakfast near Grant Park

Address: 78-98 East Adams Street, Chicago, Illinois 60603

Route 66 is known for its beautiful western scenes and long roads, but it also has city sights. The best spot to start the famous Route 66 road trip is at Grant Park in the middle of Chicago, Illinois, where the historic route begins (or ends), depending on where you start.

Grant Park is one of Chicago’s oldest parks and top things to do, made in the 1830s. In 1893, the World Exposition was held in Chicago, showing off things like Cracker Jacks, Pabst beer, diet soda, and Aunt Jemima syrup to the world.

A sign at Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue says “End of Historic Route 66.” Just a short walk away on Adam’s Street is where Route 66 begins. If you’re getting ready for a road trip and need a place to stay, consider this nice apartment in Grant Park.

See Related: Day Trips from Chicago

2. Old Log Cabin Inn, Pontiac, Illinois

Old Log Cabin Inn, Pontiac, Illinois Route

Address: 18700 Old Route 66, Pontiac, Illinois 61764

It is a classic little roadside cafe where you can start your day with fresh eggs and hashbrowns. The Old Log Cabin Inn opened as a quaint roadside eatery and gas station in 1926. Today, the Old Log Cabin is one of the best Route 66 attractions tourists visit worldwide.

The rustic interior has not changed much in the last 90-plus years. It was originally built using knotty pine and seats 45 diners, keeping with the family style and bar seating. When Route 66 expanded to four lanes, the Inn was repositioned to face the new road.

A popular attraction at the Inn and gas station was a talking crow, given to owner Joe Selotis by a retired judge. Under years of Joe’s teaching, the malt-liquor-loving crow became known for conversation with patrons at the picnic tables out-back. Both Joe and the crow are dead – but their memories live on!

Serving American classics such as fried chicken, pancakes, and made-from-scratch rhubarb pies, this iconic roadside classic, synonymous with Route 66, is open daily, except Sundays.

3. Visit the Historic Murals in Pontiac, Illinois

Visit the Historic Murals in Pontiac, Illinois
Image by IvoShandor used under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Address: Downtown Pontiac, Pontiac, Illinois 61764

Pontiac is home to 23 murals depicting the town’s local history, featuring themes from the social, economic, and political past. The largest mural is the world’s largest Route 66 shield.

Painted by Diaz Sign Art in 2006, the mural is on the outside back wall of the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum. The Route 66 Pontiac mural celebrates two important events from 1926.

The first event was building the highway, Mother Road, through the City of Pontiac, bringing much-needed economic growth. The second event was the release of the new Pontiac automobiles by General Motors. 

My favorite, the Drink Coco-Cola mural, was painted by Sonny Franks, and this is about as Americana as it gets. As well as advertising the world’s favorite soda, there’s a tribute to the Livingston County War Museum and the area’s military veterans, featuring a fighter pilot necking a bottle of the brown elixir against a backdrop of some F4U Corsairs.

See Related: Cheap Places to Visit in the US

4. Chain of Rocks Bridge, Madison, Illinois/St. Louis, Missouri

Chain of Rocks Bridge, Madison, Illinois Route

Address: 10820 Riverview Dr, St. Louis, Missouri 63137

The Chain of Rocks Bridge has a fascinating history as one of Route 66’s best-known bridges. The mile-long bridge was privately built in 1929 as a toll bridge named after a dangerous 17-mile-long rocky section of the Mississippi River called the Chain of Rocks.

Originally designed to be a straight 40-foot wide roadway with massive concrete support piers standing 55 feet above the highway mark. Riverboat men protested the original design, stating it would make the already dangerous river conditions more treacherous for the river barges and boats. To counteract this, a 24-degree turn was added mid-way across the bridge.

During World War Two, the red bridge was painted green to be less visible from the air, which would have mattered if the U.S. was ever in any real danger of air raids. With wartime gas rationing and less travel, toll fees were increased to cover the bridge’s costs.

In 1997, Trailnet began a restoration of the neglected and run-down bridge, and it was reopened in 1999 as a Route 66 Bikeway as a bicycle and pedestrian trail. The bridge connects Madison and St. Louis and offers outstanding views of the Mississippi River.

5. Henry’s Rabbit Ranch, Staunton, Illinois

Henry's Rabbit Ranch (Staunton, Illinois)
Image by Gorup de Besanez used under CC BY-SA 4.0 Wikimedia Commons

Address: 107 Historic Old Route 66, Staunton, Illinois 62088

Henry’s Rabbit Ranch is a true celebration of the history and people of Route 66 highway, with an emporium of trucking and car memorabilia next to a replica vintage gas station. A visit to Henry’s Rabbit ranch is not just about the furry but also the automobile kind, the VW Rabbit.

Rich Henry, the owner, grew up on Route 66, but the road had been decommissioned by the time he opened Henry’s Old Route 66 Emporium. Feeling there was not much interest in the venture, Rich wanted to do something different.

Owner Rich’s daughter bought a pair of rabbits, not accounting for their population explosion. Rich stepped in, and the Old Route 66 Emporium became Henry’s Rabbit Ranch.

The original Volkswagen of legendary wanderer Bob Waldmire is parked a few feet away. A stop-off at Henry’s Rabbit Ranch is a must for families traveling with kids, especially for those who love all things rabbit.

See Related: Best Travel Gifts [Gift & Present Ideas]

6. Visit the Giants of Route 66 – the Lauterbach Giant, Springfield, Illinois

Lauterbach Giant Holding an American Flag
image by Foodange/TripAdvisor

Address: 1569 Wabash Avenue, Springfield, Illinois 62704

Springfield, Illinois, is usually associated with Abraham Lincoln and is the picturesque state capital. One particular attraction is the towering fiberglass Lauterbach Giant in Springfield.

First purchased in 1961 by Russ Lewis to bring customers into his business, Midtown Tire. During this period, Paul Bunyan-type giant muffler men were popping up across America as the ultimate advertising gimmick.

When the shop closed a year later (I guess the gimmick didn’t quite work), the Lauterbach Giant was rescued and sold in 1962, where he found a new home in front of Roundup Motel until the motel closed in 1978.

Today, the Lauterbach Giant stands guard before Lauterbach Tire & Auto Service on Wabash Avenue, patriotically holding an American flag. Painted with a bright red shirt and blue pants, with weathered-looking brown boots and a full brown Bunyan beard, he is a beacon for tourists along the famed route.

If you want to spend some serious time admiring this mountain of a man, why not stay in this breathtaking Lincoln-Era National Historical Landmark Home and explore Springfield while at it?

7. World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, Collinsville, Illinois

World's Largest Catsup Bottle (Collinsville, Illinois)
RozenskiP / Shutterstock.com

Address: 800 South Morrison Avenue, Collinsville, Illinois 62234

Catsup? Ketchup? Who cares when it’s as high as a block of flats?! One of the weird attractions came about as the owners of the Brooks Tomato Products Co. needed to build a water tank and decided to build one that would serve a dual purpose of advertising.

Designed and built in 1947 as a water tank for the fire suppressant system for a canning company, the world’s largest catsup bottle stands a colossal 70-foot tall on a 100-foot tower. Located in downtown Collinsville, the water tower holds 100,000 gallons of water.

If the Brookes Tower were filled with their tangy catsup, the monument would hold up to 640,000 standard-size bottles. After the canning plant closed in the 1960s, the water tower was neglected until a 14-member group restored it in 1995 by selling over 6,000 t-shirts to raise funds.

8. Visit the Underground World of the Meramec Caverns, Stanford, Missouri

Underground World of the Meramec Caverns
Image by Ronincmc used under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 1135 Hwy W, Sullivan, Missouri 63080

The Meramec Caverns date back to 1720 when explorer Philipp Renault sailed through the fog and found the entrance to the cavern while exploring the bluffs of the Meramec River. The American Indians had long claimed that the cavern’s walls glittered with gold, though this turned out to be saltpeter, the main ingredient for gunpowder at that time.

In 1933, the Saltpeter Caves were purchased by Lester Benton Dill, who changed the name to the Meramec Caverns and began offering cave tours.

Further significant findings were made by Les, including one in 1941 during a significant drought, which resulted in a drop in the water table in the caves. Les found a different cave, considered the hiding place of famed outlaw Jesse James and his crew.

Today, a walk through this historic site is 125 miles long and takes the guest through an impressive underground world created by continuous mineral deposits and water erosion.

See Related: Best Travel Cases For Camera Gear

9. Visit Devil’s Elbow, Pulaski County, Missouri

Devil's Elbow, Pulaski County, Missouri

Address: Historic U.S. Highway 66, Piney River, Missouri

Devil’s Elbow has a long history dating back to 1816 when strong lumberjacks used the Big Piney River to transport timber downstream. The U-shaped bend in the river, which blocked the flow of logs, was named Devil’s Elbow by these tough men.

The town of Devil’s Elbow was established on the riverbanks. In 1923, a bridge was built over the Piney River as part of a highway upgrade and later became part of Route 66 in 1926.

The bridge’s maintenance became Pulaski County’s responsibility in 1985, leading to its disrepair. However, the bridge was restored and reopened to the public in May 2014. Many properties in Devil’s Elbow, including the bridge and Piney Beach, are part of the Devil’s Elbow Historic District.

See Related: Most Overrated Tourist Attractions & Destinations

10. Spend a Night at The Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba, Missouri

The Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba, Missouri
Image by Gorup de BesanezCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 901 E Washington Blvd, Cuba, Missouri 65453

Speaking of places to hang your hat, the Wagon Wheel Motel was established in 1935 and is listed as the longest-running motel on Route 66. The 85-year-old motel, with its original neon lights, welcomes weary travelers to stop and rest along the way.

In 1936, The Wagon Wheel Motel started as a mom-and-pop stop for fuel, food, and roadside lodging. Set back 200 feet from the road, The Wagon Wheel Cabins consisted of nine cabins for weary travelers.

The cafe and gas service station closed in 1940, and the cabins were purchased in 1947 by John and Winifred Mathis. As part of their renovation, the name was changed to The Wagon Wheel Motel, and the now iconic neon sign was erected.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and fully restored with the assistance of the NPS Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.

See Related: Road Trip Ideas in the US

11. Pay a Visit to the 66 Drive-In Theatre, Carthage, Missouri

66 Drive-In Theatre, Carthage, Missouri
Image by Steve Lagreca / Shutterstock.com

Address: 17231 Old 66 Boulevard, Carthage, Missouri 64836

As one of only 235 remaining drive-in cinemas in the United States, paying a visit to the 66 Drive-In Theatre in Carthage, Missouri, must be on your list of Route 66 attractions. The Drive-in Theaters became popular in the late 1940s and into the 50s during this postwar travel boom. You need a car to enjoy a movie at the drive-in (duh).

Back in 1945, during the peak of the Mother Road’s golden age, Americans took to the road in unprecedented numbers. With war-time rationing and restrictions being a thing of the past, businesses along the famed route enjoyed increased traffic and growth to cater to postwar travelers.

The drive-in was closed in 1985 with the decommissioning of Route 66 but reopened after renovations in 1998, and many of the original features remain. The Baby-Boom playground is in front of the screen, the concession stand/projector booth remains in the middle of the park, the massive steel structure houses the screen in front, and the slanted rear is still used for advertising.

12. Rainbow Bridge (Brush Creek Bridge) in Cherokee County, Kansas

Brush Creek Bridge in Cherokee County, Kansas
Chris Higgins Photography / Shutterstock.com

Address: Rainbow Bridge, South East Beasley Road, Baxter Springs, Kansas 66713

The historic Brush Creek Bridge or Rainbow Bridge is a single-span concrete old Marsh Arch bridge built in 1923. It is located on the former Route 66 highway approximately three and a half miles north of Baxter, Springs, Kansas.

The narrow bridge is the sole surviving Marsh Arch bridge on the former highway. In 2000, singer Brad Paisley performed the song “Route 66” for the TLC special “Route 66: Main Street America.” Today, the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 and is a Kansas landmark.

See Related: The Ultimate Kansas Travel Guide

13. Baxter Springs Independent Oil and Gas Service Station, Baxter Springs, Kansas

Baxter Springs Independent Oil and Gas Service Station
Image by Gorup de BesanezCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 940 Military Avenue, Baxter Springs, Kansas 66713

The Kansas Route 66 Visitors’ Center in Baxter Springs was originally the gasoline station owned by the Independent Oil and Gas Company. The Tudor cottage-style gas station replaced a livery barn and opened on July 7, 1930.

The gas service station merged with Phillips Petroleum a year later and sold gas until the 1970s. Since then, it has housed a dog parlor, a gift store, and a chiropractor’s office. In 2003, the Heritage Society acquired the building and was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

14. Milk Bottle Grocery Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Milk Bottle Grocery Oklahoma City

Address: 2426 North Classen Blvd, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73106

The historic Milk Bottle Grocery was built in 1930 and is a little Mother Road must-see in Oklahoma. The tiny 350-square-foot triangular structure is built on a speck of real estate in the middle of a busy street.

Perched on the roof is a giant, eye-catching sheet metal milk bottle constructed in 1948, which stands almost as high as the building and is eight meters in diameter. Since the 1930s, the building has been home to a grocer, a barbecue diner, a laundry, a fruit stand, a liquor store, and a florist, to name a few.

In 1998, the Milk Bottle Grocery was listed in the National Register for Historic Places, where the records show that Braum is the fourth name to appear on the bottle.

See Related: Essential Women’s Travel Accessories

15. Route 66 State Park, Eureka, Missouri

Route 66 State Park, Eureka, Missouri

Address: 97 North Outer Road, Eureka, Missouri, 63025

The famed route has captured the imagination of Americans and travelers worldwide and has exposed them to what real small-town living is like across the country. But it’s also helped showcase some of the nation’s natural beauty.

Stop at The Route 66 State Park and visit the former Bridgehead Inn, now the park’s visitor center, and view the history showcasing the road and the area.

The park offers visitors a quick getaway into nature with many picnic sites and trails, a slice of heaven in a long road trip. The Park has a boat ramp on what was once the Times Beach Town.

View the rich architecture of Missouri from the 1930s and 1960s and wander through the attached gift shop. This is certainly one of the top things to do on the Missouri leg of your road trip.

If you want more time to explore the park, stay awhile in Eureka and enjoy a quick nature getaway. This lovely rental home is great for big groups and a stone’s throw from Six Flags St. Louis!

See Related: Best Travel Backpacks

16. Arcadia Round Barn, Arcadia, Oklahoma

Old Round Barn
Image by Vineyard Perspective / Shutterstock.com

Address: 107 OK-66, Arcadia, Oklahoma 73007

The Old Round Barn, built in 1898 and unique for its shape, is a notable Route 66 landmark. Originally constructed from curved oak boards by a local farmer, it features a two-level design with the upper floor serving community events.

After falling into disrepair, the barn was restored from 1988 to 1992. Today, it functions as a tourist spot, showcasing its unique architecture and housing a gift shop, while the upper-level hosts special events.

17. The Blue Whale of Catoosa, Catoosa, Oklahoma

The Blue Whale, Catoosa

Address: 2600 Route 66, Catoosa, Oklahoma 74015

The Blue Whale is a famous attraction on Route 66 in Catoosa. It was originally built as a gift by Hugh Davis in the 1970s. Over time, it became a popular spot for locals.

Additional attractions were added to the park, but it fell into disrepair after Dave’s passing. In 2020, the City of Catoosa purchased and restored the Blue Whale, turning it into a city park.

See Related: Most Beautiful Cities in the World to Visit

18. Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, Clinton, Oklahoma

Oklahoma Route 66 Museum
Image by Gorup de BesanezCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 2229 West Gary Boulevard, Clinton, Oklahoma 73601

About 30 years ago, a smart decision was made to change the vague name and the focus of the Museum of the Western Trails to the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum.

This museum truly fits the bill from the cherry-red ’57 Chevy, the retro neon sign, and the restored vintage diner. Encounter iconic myths and the Dust Bowl’s history as travelers head west along Route 66.

You can also walk down a replica of Main Street America, filled with old cars, souvenirs, and displays, making it one of the best roadside museums in the country.

19. Nelson’s Old Riverton Store, Riverton, Kansas

Eisler brother "Old Riverton Store"
Image by AbeEzekowitzCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 7109 KS-66, Riverton, Kansas 66770

Formerly known as Williams’ Store, Leo & Lora Williams opened this community store in 1925. The spot was a handy locale for locals to get their essentials and was famous for Lora’s home cooking!

Williams’s is a great place to find souvenirs and helped inspire parts of that movie I swear I’ll stop talking about soon. No promises, though. I adore Owen Wilson and love that this was Paul Newman’s last voice-acting role. But yeah, visit the Old Riverton Store!

20. Kan-O-Tex Service Station (Cars on the Route/4 Women on the Route), Galena, Kansas

Four Women on the Route
Image by PattieCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: Kan-O-Tex Service Station, 119 North Main Street, Galena, Kansas 66739

The Kan-O-Tex Service Station, also known as Cars on the Route or 4 Women on the Route, is a popular stop and one of the most famous gas stations along the road trip.

Originally called Little’s Service Station, it dates back to 1926. The station closed in 1968 when the interstate bypassed the area. Four women restored the station, and it became a tourist attraction.

Today, it is associated with the movie Cars and is home to the 1951 International Boom Truck that inspired the character Tow Mater. Visit for a meal at the diner-style lunch counter and see the truck.

21. Galena Mining & Historical Museum, Galena, Kansas

Galena Mining & Historical Museum, Galena, Kansas
Image by TripAdvisor

Address: 319 W 7th St, Galena, Kansas 66739

The Galena Mining & History Museum in the former Missouri-Kansas-Texas railway depot informs visitors about this historic mining city. It’s a pretty modest museum that also helps showcase Galena’s roots, its slide into obscurity, and the tiny town’s comeback…which may or may not have been aided by the movie Cars. Sue me.

22. Visit the Neon-Colored Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas

Colorful tyres at Cadillac Ranch
Image by Judson McCranieCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 13651 I-40 Frontage Road, Amarillo, Texas 79124

Visit Cadillac Ranch in Texas for an unusual sight on Route 66. It’s not full of perfect old cars; instead, it has ten Cadillacs buried nose-first in a field. These cars, ranging from 1949 to 1963 models, are art pieces turned interactive by visitors who paint them bright colors.

Tourists often walk through mud and leave their mark with spray paint on the cars, which are always changing. When you go, you can spray paint the cars too, but take photos quickly – your art will soon be covered by someone else’s.

See Related: Best Mancation Destinations Around the World

23. Blue Swallow Motel, New Mexico

Blue Swallow Motel
Image by Sylvain L. from FranceCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 815 East Route 66 Boulevard, Tucumcari, New Mexico 88401

The historic Blue Swallow Motel has served customers since the good old days of 1939. Located in Tucumcari, on the decommissioned highway, the pink stucco building with the blue swallow neon sign is a welcome sight for the weary traveler.

The movie Cars (I think I mentioned it once a few attractions back) makes this dusty New Mexico Motel worth stopping on your road trip for any Dinsey fan. The Disney/Pixar movie revived interest in Route 66 travel and the dusty towns en route.

For those who don’t know, the movie is set in a fictional town called Radiator Springs based on Tucumcari and features the Blue Swallow Motel, right down to that gaudy Neon Sign – “100% Refrigerated Air.” No bucket list road trip should be completed without stopping at the Blue Swallow Motel.

See Related: Things to Do in New Mexico & Places to Visit

24. Stay a Night at the Wigwam Village Motel #6, Holbrook, Arizona

Stay a Night at the Wigwam Village Motel
Image by The Library of Congress from Washington, DC, United States, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 811 West Hopi Drive, Holbrook, Arizona 86025

Not all motel rooms are four-sided with a traditional pitched roof and A/C. The Wigwam Village Motel in Arizona comprises traditional teepees of the Plains Indians. The individual units are housed in sturdy wigwams, each constructed from steel and concrete with a base diameter of 14 feet and 32 feet high.

The 15 wigwams are laid out in an open rectangle to represent an Indian Village. Each unit has been renovated, including the original hickory furniture and a small bathroom. Joined by an office and a museum, this motel is a great place to stop and explore Arizona’s Route 66 attractions.

Today, parked permanently around the motel court are restored vintage cars, including a classic Studebaker. The museum features a memorabilia collection, a petrified wood collection, and Native American artifacts.

In 2002, the Motel was listed in the Nation Register of Historic Places as one of the three remaining Wigwam Villiage Motels in the U.S. You can also stay here overnight, so check availability and reviews on Tripadvisor in advance.

See Related: Places to Visit in Arizona

25. Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, Arizona

A Petrified Forest and Painted Desert

Address: 1 Park Road, Petrified Forest, Arizona 86028

The Petrified Forest National Park is known for its incredible vistas and features one of the world’s largest displays of petrified wood and painted deserted landscapes. Thousands of charming wood logs litter the expanse, but they contain a surprise: they are rock, not wood.

Over two million years ago, Arizona was lush and green during the Triassic period, with towering trees and rivers. Floating trees absorbed ash from the water that was spewed from the live volcanoes in the area. Over millions of years, the silica in the ash caused the trees to petrify and become rock.

The painted desert is a result of the colorful Chinle, which consists of a variety of sedimentary rocks that have eroded differently over the years into the badlands of this beautiful painted desert. The dry, plantless desert landscape makes the Chinle susceptible to erosion and weathering.

Located in northeastern Arizona’s Navajo and Apache counties, this National Park is for day visitors, with hikes and private tours suitable for all ages and abilities.

26. A Thriving Ghost Town in Oatman, Arizona

Ghost Town in Oatman Arizona Route 66
Image by Purplexsu / Shutterstock.com

Address: Black Mountains of Mohave County, Arizona

Oatman is a tiny boom town surrounded by the Black Mountains in the Navajo Desert. The town grew and prospered with the discovery of gold in 1915 and the ensuing gold rush. In 1924, the main mine shut down, and by 1944, all mines in the area closed; the gold was gone.

So what makes Oatman different from all the dusty, uninhibited ghost towns? How does a ghost town “thrive?” The 100 or so residents who have fought to keep the traditions alive have not allowed the town to become another ghost town. That might not seem a lot, but considering most ghost towns have zero population, 100 is practically booming for any old boom town!

Walk through the town, and you will find dilapidated buildings, wooden sidewalks, and gunfights. Take in the locals, laughing and chatting as they craft trinkets and souvenirs to sell. Join the herd of wild burros walking down Main Street.

Interested? You can book a tour right here if you’re visiting Las Vegas. The road is known as the Bloody 66 and will take you back into a time of gold fever and cowboys.

See Related: Practical Tips for Working While Traveling

27. Route 66 Powerhouse Museum, Kingman, Arizona

Arizona Route 66 Powerhouse
Image by Road Travel America from USACC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: 120 West. Andy Devine Avenue, Kingman, Arizona 86401

Located on the second floor of the old powerhouse in Kingman, Arizona, you’ll find the Route 66 Powerhouse Museum. This compact museum is a gearhead’s delight, featuring various vehicles from 19th-century wagons, motorcycles, early automobiles, electric cars, and even record-breaking race cars. Willie Nelson’s golf cart is here. Need I say any more?

28. Take a Train Ride from Williams, Arizona

Train Ride from Williams
Image by Grand Canyon National ParkCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Address: Grand Canyon Railway Depot, 280 N Grand Canyon Blvd, Williams, Arizona 86046

Riding on a restored vintage train is the best way to see the Grand Canyon. Williams is a stop along the legendary road trip and the location for the old western-style Willaims Station.

Stepping into the train is like stepping back in time. This trip is like a rolling time machine, from the gunmen on the platform to the train’s interior with its damask velvet wall coverings, large windows, and reclining seats.

Featuring a panoramic vista of wildflowers, pine forests, and plains with canyons and the San Francisco Peaks along the way, the Grand Canyon Rail Depot is the next stop. After a day touring the majesty of the Grand Canyon, the return trip by train holds its surprises. A wild west train holdup, with bandana-masked cowboys on horseback and guns! Cripes!

Rest assured, the cowboys are the same from the Williams Train Station gunfight earlier in the day, and all ends well.

29. Visit the Calico Ghost Town, Barstow, California

Calico Ghost Town

Address: 36600 Ghost Town Road, Yermo, California 92398

Calico Ghost Town is an old western mining town that closed when the silver lost value. Today, the Ghost is a renovated tourist attraction in Barstow, located in the Calico region of the Mojave Desert.

Take a self-guided tour through Maggie Mine along a 1000-foot route, down the mine drift, and learn about the history and workings of the mine. The mine is part of the town’s famed ghost tours, with many hauntings and stories to tell.

Visit the working Calico Odessa Railroad, ride with Hardrock John through this historic site, and pan for your gold in the surrounding rivers.

30. The Road Ends at Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California

The Road Ends at Santa Monica Pier,

Address: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California 90401

Route 66 ends at the Santa Monica Pier beyond Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. The old road sign was returned to the pier when it was awarded “last stop of Route 66” status. Visit the little 66 to Cali Kiosk for memorabilia to commemorate the end of your epic road trip journey!

The pier is the pride and joy of Santa Monica and has been a city landmark for over one hundred years. We talk about this place (and the Los Angeles area) a lot – and you can read more about this awesome town here!

FAQ

Where is the movie Cars supposed to take place?

The Pixar/Disney movie Cars is set in a fictional town called Radiator Springs. It is based on a real desert town called Tucumcari along the famed New Mexico portion of Route 66. From the gaudy neon signs to the desert mountain scenes. Blue Swallow Motel was featured in the film, including the neon-lit sign – “100% Refrigerated Air.”

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