Khard on the radio, warm wind through your hair, relaxed hands on the steering wheel and a long stretch of asphalt road in front of you. Route 66 may not officially be what it used to be – in 1985 this historic highway was replaced by the Interstate Highway – you can still largely follow the legendary Mother Road to its end point Santa Monica in California. Route 66 stands for complete freedom: no one to tell you what to do, you follow your own path. From east to west or vice versa. From Illinois on to Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, 3640 kilometers of burning asphalt. Car, 4WD, motorcycle or motorhome (RV), all you need is a pair of wheels, a full tank and your view of infinity…
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Chicago, The Windy City
Chicago, Illinois – the perfect start for this ultimate roadtrip† The official starting point of Route 66 is here on Jackson Boulevard. Chicago is the second largest city in the US after New York and Los Angeles. This city, with its overwhelming skyline and towering skyscrapers, is located on Lake Michigan and immediately sets the right tone for the onward journey. Chicago is buzzing and sweltering with its cozy metropolis and pleasant atmosphere. Book a comfortable room at the Michigan Avenue Hotel on the Chicago River and relax after the long flight. There is plenty to do in this city. Get a breath of fresh air on the Navy Pier or enjoy the view from the Sears Tower, do some shopping in Chicago's most famous neighborhood The Magnificent Mile complete with excellent restaurants and small boutiques. Before you get in the car, make sure to stop by Skydeck The Ledge so you can wave goodbye to Chicago in style.
St. Louis, Missouri
So Route 66! From Chicago you drive towards the state of Missouri. A stopover in St. Louis is definitely recommended here. Of course you have to visit St. Louis' landmark, the Gateway Arch. This giant arch with sweeping views of the city and the Mississippi River is an icon of the city. The beautiful Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis is also well worth a visit. Fancy something completely different? Then book a balloon flight with Balloons Over Saint Louis and fly over the city and its beautiful surroundings for an hour and a half. Impressive and unforgettable.
Camping in Meramec State Park
Continuing through Missouri you arrive at the Meramec Caverns. These unique caves are located in the Meramec Valley and stand out because of their special colors. Missouri is known as the Cave State, these caves prove why. They are the pearls of Missouri. And while you're there, check out Meramec State Park right away. Here you can hike on various challenging trails and raft on the Meramec River. The nice thing is that there are several camping sites here, so you can pitch your tent here without any problems in the middle of this beautiful nature.
Tip:: If you are still looking for useful tips, how exactly you approach camping in America, read it these 25 tips for camping in America.
A little way past the park is one of the most fun drive-ins, the Route 66 Drive-In Theater in Carthage, Missouri. So that means scoring popcorn and an XXL Coke and sitting back and watching a movie at this historic drive-in.
Route 66 in Oklahoma
After Missouri you arrive in the state of Oklahoma. The landscape here consists of mega-refineries, yes marbles and hundreds of horses and cows. Route 66 has 400 miles of asphalt here, with several charming towns and fun stops along the way. For example, stop in Tulsa for a real roadside dinner. In Clinton you will find one of the nicest Route 66 museums, namely the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum. This museum is a worthy tribute to America's Main Street. Oklahoma City also offers plenty of day trips, such as the Devon Tower and the Chase Tower. Time for some fun? The Frontier City Theme Park is a super fun amusement park that is completely dominated by the Wild West.
Livestock Auction in Amarillo, Texas
It is not far from Oklahoma to the cowboy state of Texas. The first thing you notice here is the characteristic red color of the ground and the rocks. In Texas you should definitely hit the brakes at the town of Amarillo. Because how about a Big Texan steak of no less than 2,1 kilos! If you can finish it all, then the steak is on the house. Good luck! The Cadillac Ranch is also more than worth a visit. Cadillacs and graffiti come together here in a very special way. Another attraction is the Livestock Auction. This cattle market is an attraction in itself. From Amarillo it is only a short distance to the Midpoint Cafe. Here you have arrived exactly on the halfway point of Route 66. Of course you cannot continue without leaving a message in the official guestbook.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe is next! The road through New Mexico is absolutely beautiful. Red deserts, the Rocky Mountains, forested hills and the Great Plains to the west, the landscape amazes every kilometer. If you are a Breaking Bad fan, then the decor will look familiar to you. Once arrived in Santa Fe, it is first time for a pizza in pizzeria Upper Crust Pizza, highly recommended. If you're into a party, Santa Fe is the place to be. There are fiestas and summer festivals here all year round, hopefully you'll be just in time to experience one. Also take a stroll down Canyon Road, a street with a hundred exhibition halls. The Shidoni Foundry sculpture garden is also an excellent Kodak moment.
Grand Canyon, Ariz
On to Arizona, you have now officially arrived in Western America! The place where a stop at the Grand Canyon is a matter of course. These mighty rock formations have to be seen to be believed. What an impressive landscape! You can visit both the North and South Rim, where the South Rim is experienced as very spectacular thanks to its fabulous views. When hiking, keep in mind that the temperature can rise considerably. Another fun stop in Arizona is the town of Seligman. Here you will find America's best milkshakes, for real!
Tip:: Also read the roadtrip route West America with our travel-loving neighbor Daphnedevries.nl! An extensive blog with many beautiful photos and useful tips for Western America, take advantage of it!
Santa Monica, End of the Trail
Finally, after driving through the Californian Mojave Desert, complete with ghost towns and endless roads, you arrive at the Santa Monica terminus. Here, at the Santa Monica Pier, is the official terminus: End of the Trail. You survived and that should be celebrated! The boulevards filled with street performers and local parties are just what you need after this long trip. The entertainment on the Pier is a regular fixture every evening, so a round in Ferris Wheel is the perfect ending. Do you have time left and there is still some petrol in the tank? Then drive on to crazy Las Vegas, you're there now, aren't you?