Route 66, otherwise known as the Main Street of America. From Illinois to California there is so much to see within this 2,500 mile stretch of road. We’ve outlined some of our favorite stops along the route to make sure you don’t miss a thing. Complete with vintage shops, mysterious ghost towns, 1960s-esque fill-up stations, and beautiful scenery throughout, there is so much to do both on and off the pavement. From the sleepy town of Seligman to Albuquerque’s stunning sights, there is a little something for everyone along the way. Explore a few of our favorite Route 66 road trip pit stops today!
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Everything You Need to Know About Planning a Route 66 Road Trip
Buckle up and put it in gear for the road trip of a lifetime. Route 66 is America’s favorite highway for a reason, and we’re ready to help you plan the best vacation yet. Here are a few of our favorite stops to adorn your Route 66 road trip.
As you travel along Route 66, you’ll notice several time-stricken towns along the way. The Ghost Town of Glenrio is one of those casualties but in the most interesting way. All it requires is a quick drive-through, but there are tons of photo ops along the way. Check out the 1920s hardware store, hotel, and grocery store!
Tucumcari, New Mexico
Tucumcari, New Mexico is home to the famous Route 66 monument, but that’s not the only picture-worthy spot in town. Learn more about America’s favorite road at the New Mexico Route 66 Museum, see a show at the Odeon Theatre, or swing by the brightly lit neon sign of Tee Pee Curios for some Route 66-style shopping.
Blue Hole | Santa Rosa, New Mexico
Take a dip at Blue Hole in Santa Rosa. The small swimming hole is a natural wonder boasting sapphire-blue waters and constant, comfortable water temperature. It is one of seven sister lakes connected by an underground water system in the Santa Rosa sink. This is one-stop made of pure magic.
View over 30 of America’s most popular and historic hot rods at the Route 66 Auto Museum. The museum has indoor and outdoor exhibits and it’s an inexpensive way to experience the rich history of Route 66. You’ll also want to peek inside Bozo’s garage to get a glimpse of current restorations in progress!
Canyon Road | Santa Fe, New Mexico
Santa Fe is the art capital of New Mexico, and nothing screams creativity more than Canyon Road. With over one hundred galleries, restaurants, and boutiques within walking distance, Canyon Road is the perfect place to stop to stretch your legs!
Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe was opened in 1850 as the first Catholic school for girls in the area. The highlight of the building is a stunning staircase that breaks architectural rules with two full 360-degree turns. It’s said that the staircase was built with no nails, only wooden pegs making it a true work of art.
Petroglyph National Monument | Albuquerque, New Mexico
Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque holds over 25,000 petroglyphs carved into the volcanic rock over 500 years ago by the Native Americans and Spanish settlers. Walking through the park will bring you closer to the rich history of New Mexico and gives insight into the culture of people who created them. The trails are short, but plan to spend time examining the many carvings.
66 Diner | Albuquerque, New Mexico
Gain the ultimate Route 66 experience when you fill up (your belly) at 66 Diner in Albuquerque. The world-famous diner features a nostalgic 1950s-themed restaurant complete with a soda fountain, malt shakes, delicious Blue Plate Specials, and a decadent breakfast menu.
Sandia Peak Tramway is an aerial tram that travels across the Sandia Mountains. A one-way trip takes about 15-minutes, and you’ll glide across the sky, 10,000-feet above sea level. A ride on the Sandia Peak Tram offers incredible panoramic views of some of the country’s most awe-inspiring mountain scenery. Visit the fun gift shop at the bottom or grab a bite to eat at the newly renovated Ten 3 restaurant once you reach the top!
Gallup, New Mexico
Gallup, New Mexico is another one of Route 66’s most classic towns. Gallup was founded in 1881 and was home to the Southern Transcontinental Rail Route Headquarters. Take a hike in Red Rock Park and explore New Mexico’s natural terrain or visit Rex Museum for an overview of New Mexico’s Tyrannosaurus Rex-sized history.
Local Fact: Remember Radiator Springs from Disney Pixar’s Cars? Seligman was the inspiration for the Blockbuster hit, and there’s a good chance you’ll notice a few similarities while you’re exploring.
Put It in Park at Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch
Located slightly off the Route 66 road trip map, Geronimo Trail Guest Ranch is nestled in the heart of 3.3 million-acre Gila National Forest and is the perfect retreat for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of real life. Enjoy unlimited horseback riding through the valleys, meadows, and towering canyons of New Mexico’s largest National Forest. Once you’ve explored the gorgeous scenery, come back to your private cabin with all the comforts of home, indulge in Chef Fred’s authentic southwest style cooking, and unwind with campfire songs, s’mores, and fantastic stargazing.