Guide to the USA’s famous Route 66 – you’ll get your kicks!
If you really want to see the best of the US from east to west, there really is no better way to get your kicks than out on Route 66. Running from Chicago on the east coast to Los Angeles in the West, the road covers some two-and-a-half thousand miles through the southeast and mid-west of the States.
Here are some of the stops that you don’t want to miss on your trip along America’s most famous highway.
Springfield, Illinois – home of Abraham Lincoln
Without the Founding Fathers, there would be no USA and no Route 66.
For that reason alone, Springfield is worth a stop on your way along the most famous road in the States.
Whilst in the town, you can visit Lincoln’s final resting place.
His tomb, in Oak Ridge Cemetery, is open to visitors Tuesday to Saturday for you to walk through and see where the location of Lincoln’s funeral and see reproductions on brass plate of some of his most famous speeches.
The Presidential Library and Museum, on Sixth Street, is open daily. With lots of interactive exhibits, the kids can get hands-on with the history of the US, the Founding Fathers and the birth of the Constitution.
Jesse James Museum, Stanton, Missouri
Much controversy and conspiracy still surround the life and death of Jesse James.
The great outlaw is commonly believed to have been shot dead by Robert Ford in 1882, but some think it was an elaborate hoax, leaving James to live to a ripe old age in Texas.
The Jesse James Wax Museum offers a host of artifacts that are said to prove that his death was a sham.
An eccentric collection, the museum is an entertaining diversion on the way through Missouri.
Baxter Springs Heritage Centre, Kansas
The little town of Baxter Springs in Kansas has a rich heritage from the Civil War through mining and industry to the two World Wars.
Its heritage center, which covers a full 20,000 square feet, has exhibits that give an insight into the town’s role in Native American history and its population’s engagement in wars through the ages.
Located on East Avenue, the Centre is open Monday to Saturday and gives a fascinating localized view of the country- and worldwide events.
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City
No visit to Oklahoma would be complete without getting a taste of the old Wild West!
With permanent collections of Native American artifacts, art depicting the Frontier West and the American Rodeo Gallery, the museum has some fascinating stories to tell about how the West was won and kept.
Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas
A truly unique attraction, Cadillac Ranch is set in the middle of the desert.
One of the most famous stops along Route 66, the Ranch is part-breakers yard, part Sculpture Park that encourages visitors to come and deface the Cadillac’s planted hood-first in the dirt.
Heady with the smell of spray paint, the Ranch is very popular.
Make sure you take your camera because whatever is there when you visit is likely to be painted over within hours!
National Museum of Nuclear Science History, Albuquerque, New Mexico
With a heritage park housing aircraft, rockets and even a decommissioned nuclear submarine there’s plenty to see and do outdoors while inside you’ll find exhibitions charting the history of atomic energy through science and popular culture.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
While the other recommended stops off Route 66 have been a single place, Grand Canyon National Park is a vast and breathtaking landscape that you really mustn’t miss.
The highlight is the canyon itself, over a mile deep with the Colorado River at its basin.
The south rim of the canyon is easily accessible from the road all through the year.
Santa Monica Pier, California
Finish your trip along Route 66 with a stop at the westernmost point – Santa Monica Pier.
The pier has an amusement park, lots of bars and restaurants and stunning views over the Pacific Ocean.
If you’re lucky enough to visit in the summer, you might catch one of the series of Twilight Concerts held on the pier, where musicians from around the world keep the party going into the night.
Make sure you book an apartment in the area. Santa Monica is conveniently situated to travel to other areas of California such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.
There is so much to see and do along this iconic freeway through America. Even if you manage to catch one or two of these sights, you’ll have lived some of the American dream.