Five must-see attractions on Route 66

The legendary Route 66 is one of the greatest driving routes in the world, spanning no fewer than eight US states and taking you across the width of America from east-to-west. And if you’re travelling by car, you can make the most of it regardless of the weather forecast!

First opened in 1926, Route 66 has been featured in many movies, TV shows and songs and has been a tourist attraction for many years. Some of the historic highway has been replaced by newer roads (I-40), but there are still many things to take in when travelling Route 66.

Here are our favourite five must-see attractions on Route 66:

  • Roy’s Motel & Café, Amboy, California
    Along Route 66, there are so many things to see that you will find yourself taking photos of all sorts of inanimate objects in the middle of nowhere. One such example is the iconic sign for Roy’s Motel & Café located in Amboy, CA.

    Unfortunately, the motel and café are no longer open but the site provides a unique dose of Route 66 history.  First opened in the 1930s, the business most recently closed its doors in 2008. You must take a photo of the sign that still stands outside the empty property, so famous it has been used in many big-brand commercials.

  • Route 66 drive-in theatre, Carthage, Missouri
    You can’t get more American than a drive-in movie theatre, and the one located in Carthage, Missouri, on Route 66 is perhaps one of the most famous anywhere in the US. Originally opened in 1949 it did close down for a period but thankfully reopened in 1999 to show movies at weekends. This dose of nostalgia would not be complete without the wonderful art deco ticket booth that’s sits beside it.

  • Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, New Mexico
    First opened in 1939, the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico, is still open for guests to stay in today. Independently-owned and lovingly restored, if you wanted to know what life was like for travellers across Route 66 in years gone by, then reserve a night here. Even if you don’t plan on staying for the night, you must visit to take a photo of the incredible neon sign outside the property.

  • Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas
    Cadillac Ranch is one of those uniquely Route 66 experiences that you simply have to find time to visit while travelling the Mother Road. If you’re not already aware, it’s not actually a ranch, but instead a public art installation erected in 1974. The installation consists of a line of Cadillac cars half buried (nose first) in the desert sand, all equally spaced and on an identical angle. It shows the evolution of this classic US car from 1949 to 1963.

  • Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, California
    California’s most famous pier marks ‘The End of The Trail’, a final destination for travellers heading east-to-west before the highway gives way to the Pacific Ocean. Santa Monica Pier is a wonderful place to spend an evening, especially during the summer months as the weather forecast is almost always hot and sunny.  Evening gives way to some breath-taking sunsets, while the Pier is also home to several restaurants, a fair ground and often a mix of the town’s eccentric artists and musicians.


Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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