Route 66 stretches right from Chicago to Los Angeles spanning more than 2,400 miles. This is the best long drive route that can provide you the best experience ever as it takes you through different areas of America from huge desert landscapes to the biggest US cities.
You can cover the ROUTE 66 IN 1 WEEK and if you are looking for the best itinerary to follow, then you are at the right place. We have put up a perfect one-week itinerary that you can follow for the Route 66 road trip.
CAN YOU COMPLETE THE ROUTE 66 IN ONE WEEK? THE ANSWER IS “YES”. Read on and you will find the perfect one-week itinerary that you can follow for the Route 66 road trip.
There are many people who have this question in their mind about whether or not they can do the Route 66 road trip in one week. The answer is – YES! You just need the right itinerary for that. If you follow the right itinerary and a proper mileage, you can definitely complete the entire Route 66 in just 1 week or 7 days. Read on to know the 7-day complete itinerary in detail.
7-DAY ITINERARY TO COMPLETE THE ROUTE 66
Do you want to complete the popular Route 66 road trip in just one week or 7 days? It is not impossible at all. To make it possible, we have the perfect 1-week itinerary to cover Route 66 i.e. FROM CHICAGO TO LA IN 7 DAYS. Here is the complete plan for 7 days:
DAY 1: FROM CHICAGO TO ST. LOUIS
The journey of Route 66 starts officially from Chicago. Over the years, Route 66 has changed a lot and has improved for the better. You can enjoy an amazing ride along this road. You have to start with Chicago where there are two starting locations. One is Michigan Avenue which has been there since 1926 and the second one is Lake Shore Drive which has been there since 1933.
Both of these locations are quite close to each other. So, you can choose any one of these for starting your 2,400 miles of journey. There are amazing stops that you can make on this route. The very first highlight of this Route 66 is the Gemini Giant in Wilmington of Illinois. This is the first one among all the quirky and scenic attractions that you will get to see. Once you cross Wilmington, you will come across Pontiac. Here, you must stop at the Half of Fame and Museum.
Further off, you will reach Springfield where you can stop for food. It has some of the best dining options that you can choose from. You will get ample choices where you can dine in as well as you can take away some foods too for the to-go. You will reach St. Louis on day 1 where you will get a number of attractions to visit. The most popular among all these is Gateway Arch. It is a huge 630 feet monument that is the tallest arch in the world.
DAY 2: FROM ST. LOUIS TO CARTHAGE
On the second day of your road trip on Route 66, you will leave St. Louis for Carthage. You will go right across Missouri. You will get to see a lot of attractions while driving along this road. It will be 4 hours to 5 hours of drive for you. The most famous stop that you will come across on Day Two is Meramec Caverns. This is a 400 million-year-old cavern system that you can visit. It has been one of the best attractions on this route for several years now.
You must get your coffee here as the road after this stop will continue till you reach Cuba (Missouri). You can stop there for a motel. The oldest operating motel here on this route is Wagon Wheel Motel. You can get some sodas and coffee here in their shop. Some of the best attractions of Cuba are – a 1932 gas station, lovely murals, and a drive-in theater (still operating).
After this, you will reach Fanning which has a giant rocking chair. You will like to get some photos here. These photos will surely make it to your social media accounts. You can also pick up some souvenirs for Route 66. The next stop after this is Rolla town. You will be amazed by the number of attractions here. You can include some of them and still can complete your ROUTE 66 IN 7 DAYS. From there, you will head straight to Carthage. In between, you can stop at the Route 66 car museum in Springfield if you want.
DAY 3: FROM CARTHAGE TO CLINTON
It is time for you to start your third day and you can start by visiting the Red Oak II. This is actually located four-mile backtrack. So, you can either fit it in Day 2 or you can include this on Day 3. It is a partly community where you can also enjoy an art installation gallery too. You can find some old buildings in this area. After that, head straight to Galena which will pass through Joplin where you can find many motels.
You will get to see the Historic Rainbow Bridge here across Bush Creek which was built in the year 1923. Make sure to notice the painted shields that are present road. You have to drive through Baxter Springs town. After some time, you will cross Oklahoma and drive through Miami. There are also a number of great stops that you can make in Oklahoma. Most of these stops are quite popular and picturesque in nature. Don’t miss out on the classic Dairy King, Conoco Hole in the Wall, and Marathon Oil Service Station.
From there, you will head to Tulsa which also has a lot of amazing attractions. If you want to eat something, Tulsa is the best place the stop. It has some great options for dining with amazing eateries. You can also visit the Sapulpa Historical Museum as it is one of the best ones. The next stop will be Arcadia town where you will see the Round Barn. Once you are done, you can head straight to Clinton (Oklahoma) for your layover.
DAY 4: FROM CLINTON TO TUCUMCARI
On this day, you will be driving into New Mexico which will be the 5th state on your Route 66 map. You will be staying the night in the town where you will find the best Route 66 motels. You must start by exploring Clinton first. It has some of the best attractions like Clinton Route 66 Museum and Mohawk Lodge Indian Store. After that, you have to leave Clinton for your first stop on Day 4 i.e. Elk City.
In Elk City, you can visit National Route 66 Museum complex. This is something that everyone recommends visiting. After that, you have to continue driving. As you will leave Oklahoma, you will enter the next state on your Route 66 map i.e. Texas. As you drive along, you can notice a change in the landscapes. The landscape will be more desert-like and arid than that of the lush green meadow.
You will surely love driving through this section of Texas by the edge of California. You will witness open blue skies giving the best experience of a road trip. There are many stops that you will come across where you can halt for enjoying the beauty and some photo sessions. You will get to see the Pioneer West Museum in Shamrock, the Cadillac Ranch, or the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo. Try out their steaks as they are the best!
After that, you will leave Texas behind to enter the next and final destination of Day 4 – New Mexico. You will have to stop at Tucumcari as you will get the best motels here to stay the night. You can enjoy a great dining experience as it has excellent eating options too. You can try Del’s Restaurant, Kix on 66, and Watson’s BBQ here.
DAY 5: FROM TUCUMCARI TO GALLUP
So, you have completed four days of your ROUTE 66 IN 1 WEEK plan and now you have to drive right across the state of New Mexico. This place has some amazing landscapes with beautiful open roads for miles. You can enjoy a great road trip here. You can head towards the west to Santa Rosa. In this route, you will go through some of the ghost towns that are abandoned.
Once you reach Santa Rosa, you will be able to find Route 66 Auto Museum. From there, you can continue to Albuquerque. You can make a stop right at Flying C Ranch. This is the perfect rest stop where you can enjoy different services for travelers. You can find a resting point in the Clines Corners as well. There are some great attractions here too along with Route 66 themed restaurants and diners.
After that, you can stop at Rio Puerco. Here you will be able to walk across and see the 1933 bridge. You can also check out the themed casino named Route 66 Casino. The next place that you must make a stop is none other than Cubero. You will love the feel of this place and you can also get some amazing snacks and important supplies. From there, you need to go along Grants. Here you will get to see the Continental Divide which will be a fun location for photography. This road will lead you to Gallup where you have to stay at night.
DAY 6: FROM GALLUP TO SELIGMAN
On this day, you will be entering the 7th state on the Route 66 map. This is probably the most scenic route of the entire road trip. You will have to drive through Arizona and your first stop will be Arizona’s Petrified Forest National Park. This is one of the most popular stops that you can make with many fossilized trees and colorful landscapes. This is a popular stop that you cannot miss at all. You can take some amazing photos here too.
You can also a lot of hiking trails and experience some wilderness activities if you want. After that, you have to head to Holbrook which has some fun experiences to enjoy. From there, you can continue to the west which is quite famous.
You can also take a tour along the Grand Canyon. You can enjoy the unbelievable beauty of the Grand Canyon on this road trip. This will be a full-day excursion for you. From there, you can take a detour for the most epic hike called Havasu Falls. You will like to experience this if you are a fan of hiking. Once you are done, you will head straight to Seligman where you have to spend the night. There are many amazing cafes, stores, and motels that you can choose from for your stay.
DAY 7: FROM SELIGMAN TO LOS ANGELES
This is the final day of your Route 66 road trip. You will reach the final destination i.e. Los Angeles. You will have to continue from Seligman to Kingman. Here you can stop at the Arizona Route 66 Museum. After that, you have to continue on the roads with a very scenic beauty over the hills. There are some great spots too for clicking photos. You have to be careful here as the winding stretches can be tricky at times.
The next stop is Oatman and from there you will head straight to Topock which is the last town in Arizona. After that, you will cross River Colorado to enter California, Los Angeles. Needless to say, there are some amazing stops that you can make in California. You can also get some snacks and coffee here. So, it is a perfect spot for a break. The major stop that you can make is in Barstow city which has a museum with some vintage motels too.
From there, head straight to San Bernardino which has the first restaurant of McDonald’s in the world. But it is now turned into a museum. From there you can go exploring Los Angeles at its best. You can drive across the Pacific Coast Highway.
You can also go back from LA TO CHICAGO IN 1 WEEK following the right itinerary. This will be a backward journey back home which will take another week to complete.
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