The most poetic highway, the famed Route 66, no longer exists in its original state. It was the original route from the Midwest straight to the Pacific Ocean. While it’s been mostly replaced by the modern system of interstates, many of the most interesting travel destinations by car along the old route still present a taste of a bygone era in American history.

The route started in Chicago, Illinois and you can still see its starting point. If you follow its original path through the heart of Illinois, you might want to stop in Wilmington, Illinois. There you’ll find a twenty foot green space alien who looks surprisingly like something from Futurama.

From Illinois, Route 66 stayed on its diagonal southwest course through the neighboring state of Missouri. You can drive over to Stanton to visit the Meramec Caves. They’re incredibly beautiful creations of nature, but they have some history too. Outlaw Jesse James found his way to them, even before Route 66 was named, and used them as a hideout.

From here, Route 66 would have wound across Oklahoma and crossing the smallest part of Texas, it’s panhandle. While it’s the smallest section of the Lone Star state, it still has Texas style. The Cadillac Ranch is in Amarillo. A most appropriate expression of Americana, this major public art installation is a line of ten Cadillacs half buried up to their windows. They are free and open for all to add their own artistic expression, making them a truly democratic creative experience.

When you plan where you’ll be stopping for the nights, take care to workout spending a night in New Mexico. In Tucumari, you’ll find the Blue Swallow Motel. Known not only for the blue neon swallow on its signage, it’s also believed to be the oldest hotel along the old Route 66 that is still open.
Your final two states before reaching the ocean are Arizona and Nevada. You might decide to visit the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, both of which are long the old route. However, once in California there is only place to go: Santa Monica Pier, the last of the travel destinations by car, which sits literally at the end of the road.

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*Per night, flights not included. Prices may vary depending on date.
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