Route 66 road at Sunset

Route 66 Explorer

Visit Chicago, Springfield, St Louis, Oklahoma City, Amarillo, Albuquerque, Winslow, Grand Canyon NP, Las Vegas & Los Angeles.

Drive the most iconic American road trip... Route 66

15 Nights from £1,599pp
i
‘from’ prices are based on off peak travel, 2 people sharing a standard car, economy flights and 2-3* Hotels. All trips are completely bespoke so just tell your expert any requirements you have.

This Route 66 road trip is an all-time classic that has been etched into American folklore by those migrating west along “The Mother Road” during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Route 66 offers over 2300 miles of nostalgic Americana, ever-changing scenery and some of America’s best cities. Starting your road trip in Chicago, you’ll cross through eight States as you drive to Route 66’s “End of the Trail” sign in sunny Santa Monica, Los Angeles.

Key road trip highlights:

  • Over 2300 miles of nostalgic Americana, ever-changing scenery and some of America’s best cities like Chicago, St.Louis, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
  • This is our best-selling Route 66 holiday, as it includes detours away from Route 66 to stay at The Grand Canyon and in Las Vegas.
  • This is a 15-night adventure, rather than 14, because that’s the minimum amount of time it takes to do this road trip properly. Some other tour operators rush the start, but we think an extra day away is essential so that your Route 66 adventure is the perfect pace.
  • What other route allows you to visit crazy roadside attractions like a giant Blue Whale and the world’s biggest Ketchup bottle, to name just two.
  • Spend the last four days relaxing in Las Vegas and Los Angeles at the end of Route 66. Want to stay longer in Vegas or LA? Then just let us know.
  • What’s included? Direct flights with a premier carrier, accommodation, car rental and a detailed road trip pack.
Route 66 Explorer route with The American Road Trip Company

Our Favourite Hotels

We’ll suggest properties to match your preferred budget, be it low-cost, mid-range or high-end luxury that you’re looking for. We can also mix it up so you’ll experience a range of standards and experiences along your road trip.

Moxy Hotel Chicago Downtown

Hotel:

Moxy Hotel Downtown

Location:

Chicago

Bright Angel Lodge, Inside the Park at The Grand Canyon

Hotel:

Bright Angel Lodge

Location:

Grand Canyon NP

The Hollywood Roosevelt, Los Angeles, California

Hotel:

The Hollywood Roosevelt

Location:

Los Angeles

Hotel Chaco, Albuquerque

Hotel:

Hotel Chaco

Location:

Albuquerque

Mondrian, West Hollywood Los Angeles

Hotel:

Mondrian

Location:

West Hollywood, LA

Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas

Hotel:

Bellagio Hotel

Location:

Las Vegas

The Langham Hotel, Chicago

Hotel:

The Langham Hotel

Location:

Chicago

Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California Road Trip

Hotel:

Shutters on the Beach

Location:

Santa Monica, LA

Road Trip Itinerary

All of our American road trips can be tailored to meet your requirements. Do you have more or less than 15 days for your road trip? No problem, we can bolt on extra nights to allow more time to explore or shorten the number of destinations as required.

1

Welcome to Chicago, Illinois

You’ll start your Route 66 road trip by spending three nights and two exciting days in Chicago. Many start by enjoying Chicago’s famous pizza or by going to the top of Willis Tower to watch the sunset and get the lay of the land. You’ll collect your wheels when you leave Chicago to begin the drive down Route 66. For now, you’ll be pounding the pavement from one outstanding attraction to another.

Location:

Chicago, IL

Drive:

0 miles

Chicago, USA Route 66 Holidays
2

A full day to explore north of Chicago River

Most visitors to Chicago head straight to the ‘Magnificent Mile’, a vibrant, bustling area which is home to upscale shops, trendy restaurants and posh hotels. Landmarks include the historic Chicago Water Tower, the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower and the 100-story Hancock Center, which has a rooftop observation deck called 360 Chicago. Spend the rest of the day exploring some of the other attractions found north of the Chicago River. These include Navy Pier, Wrigley Field and the beaches along Lake Michigan’s shoreline.

Location:

Chicago, IL

Drive:

0 miles

Lake Michigan, Chicago, Great Lakes, Illinois, USA
3

A full day to explore south of Chicago River

On your final full day in Chicago, we recommend that you spend time visiting the city’s attractions that are located south of the Chicago River. Some of America’s very best museums are found here, including the Art Institute, the Alder Planetarium, and the Field Museum of Natural History. Be sure to stroll around Millennium Park; you’ll find world-famous outdoor artworks like Cloud Gate and Crown Fountain for those all-important Social Media snaps. Lastly, before leaving town, make sure you spend at least one evening partying at Buddy Guy’s Legends Nightclub.

Location:

Chicago, IL

Drive:

0 miles

Chicago, Illinois, Route 66, USA
4

Collect your car and set off down Route 66

Start your engines; iconic Route 66 awaits. After collecting your road trip wheels, we recommend you head to Jackson Blvd, where you can pass the small Route 66 sign that marks the beginning of your Mother Road adventure. Driving Route 66 through Illinois is super easy, as it’s really well-signposted and surprisingly rural once you’ve left the city of Chicago. Along the way to Springfield, you’ll enjoy highlights such as Route 66 obsessed Pontiac and the historic Standard Oil Gas Station in Odell. Once you arrive in Springfield, history enthusiasts will want to visit Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb, the Lincoln Presidential Museum and the Lincoln Home.

Location:

Springfield, IL

Drive:

202 miles

Route 66 - Historic Route 66 in the California desert
5

Next up, you'll cruise southwest to St Louis

Onto St. Louis today, which sits on the banks of the Mississippi River. Highlights include the Missouri Botanical Gardens, Citygarden and the famous Gateway Arch National Park. If you have time, try to catch a baseball game here at the Cardinals stadium, which is located right in the heart of the city. Remember that you’ll be provided with a detailed Road Trip Pack, which will guide you through all the Route 66 roadside attractions and much more.

Location:

St Louis, MO

Drive:

97 miles

Gateway Arch in St Louis, Missouri, USA - St. Louis
6

Visit the iconic Route 66 stop off of Meramec Caverns

Today, you’ll continue southwest through the State of Missouri. En route, we recommend you stop by Meramec Caverns, which are located in the Ozarks region. These vast caverns are an extensive set of limestone caves offering unforgettable underground tours. You’ll finish the day in Springfield, Missouri, which is officially recognised as the birthplace of Route 66.

Location:

Springfield, MO

Drive:

216 miles

Route 66 road at Sunset
7

Continue along Route 66 to Tulsa and Oklahoma City

Get an early start and continue along the Mother Road to Tulsa. You’ll pass through Joplin before skimming through a corner of Kansas and into Oklahoma. In Tulsa, we recommend visiting the Philbrook Museum, home to a vast art collection housed in an Italian-style villa surrounded by idyllic gardens. During the afternoon, you’ll continue onto Oklahoma City. Visit the Bricktown District for an evening meal at one of the numerous diners and restaurants. Lastly, before turning in for the evening, consider visiting the Oklahoma City National Memorial, which remembers the victims and survivors of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. This perfectly executed dedication is especially moving at night.

Location:

Oklahoma City, OK

Drive:

285 miles

Oklahoma City - Bricktown at night
8

Your Route 66 holiday reaches Texas today

Spend the morning at the incredible National Cowboy and Western Museum before checking out the real-life cowboys over in Stockyard City. If you still have the energy, then the daring amongst you should check out some of the activities at Riversport Adventure Park. Our amazing Road Trip Pack will show you the way to Amarillo. You’ll pass some fantastic Route 66 museums along the way, packed with nostalgic Americana, classic cars and more. Once you hit Amarillo, there’s only one place for any true road-tripper to go for dinner. The Big Texan Steak Ranch & Brewery (pictured) is simply a must, just make sure you arrive hungry, as the portions are HUGE!

Location:

Amarillo, TX

Drive:

260 miles

The Big Texan Motel, Amarillo, Texas
9

Santa Fe or Albuquerque? The choice his yours...

Today’s drive are packed with classic Route 66 attractions like Cadillac Ranch (pictured), The Midpoint Cafe and the Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa. You can then opt to finish the day with an overnight stop in either Albuquerque or Santa Fe. We’ll talk you through the pluses of both options when you request a quote from us. Santa Fe lies on the old or original Route 66 route, offering an upmarket spa town feel. Albuquerque lies on the newer, more direct route and is famous for the Sandia Peak Tramway and “Breaking Bad” filming locations.

Location:

Albuquerque, NM

Drive:

285 miles

Cars at Cadillac Ranch at Amarillo, Texas, USA
10

Through Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park

El Morro is a detour worth considering to see ‘inscription rock’, a large sandstone pueblo where travellers since the 17th century have left messages. Later in the day, you’ll pass through two Natural Wonders – Painted Desert (pictured) and Petrified Forest National Park, before getting your head down in the classic Route 66 overnight stop of Winslow in Arizona.

Location:

Winslow, AZ

Drive:

265 miles

Painted Desert National Park, Arizona
11

say a big hello to the incredible grand canyon

The awe-inspiring Grand Canyon is located one hour’s drive north of Route 66. The world’s largest and most famous geological wonder is simply staggering. Two billion years in the making, the Colorado River has forged a mile deep, 18 mile wide and 277 mile long slice into the Arizona landscape that will stay with you forever. Before leaving Route 66 however, you’ll get the chance to experience another natural wonder in the form of Meteor Crater. Not as large a hole as the Grand Canyon, but in many ways just as spectacular and intriguing.

Location:

Grand Canyon NP

Drive:

144 miles

Grand Canyon, Arizona trip, USA - Tourist hiking the Grand Canyon on a Southwest USA Holiday
12

From The Grand Canyon to Las Vegas via The Hoover Dam

Again, it’s not strictly on Route 66, but Las Vegas is so close that it would be rude not to pop by and say hello. Along the way, you’ll pass by some iconic Mother Road locations like Seligman and Hackberry General Store. As you get closer to Vegas, you’ll pass over the Hoover Dam before seeing the bright lights of Las Vegas in the distance.

Location:

Las Vegas, NV

Drive:

298 miles

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
13

A second day to enjoy all that Las Vegas offers

If your head hurts after a big night out, then why not chill out by one of the fantastic swimming pools that adorn every hotel. Alternatively, you can explore the legendary ‘Strip’ and book tickets to see an outstanding show. Witness the Bellagio Fountains in full flow, or take a Gondola ride at the Venetian. A visit to The Neon Museum might appeal, where you can experience the Las Vegas magic of a bygone age by touring the Neon Boneyard. Whilst, driving enthusiasts might want to test their skills at Speed Vegas, where you can drive supercars around a thrilling race track. Want more time here? Then just let us know.

Location:

Las Vegas, NV

Drive:

0 miles

Las Vegas strip, Las Vegas and The Canyons, California coast and Vegas
14

Complete your drive down Route 66 to Los Angeles

The iconic Santa Monica Pier signals the final stop of your Route 66 holiday. To celebrate the finale of your journey, we suggest you enjoy a rewarding meal at one of the Pier’s many eateries that overlook the Pacific Ocean and take a picture by “The End of Trail” sign. After lunch, we suggest you take a stroll and explore Santa Monica and neighbouring Venice Beach.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Drive:

285 miles

Los Angeles. Santa Monica, California, USA Route 66 Sign
15

A full day to spend visiting LA's famous sights

Spend the day relaxing by the pool after your Route 66 adventure, or head out to explore the sites of Los Angeles. There’s plenty to keep you busy. Hollywood is synonymous with glitz and glamour, and it’s the most visited part of the city. The Griffith Observatory is just a short drive northeast of here, perched high on a hill overlooking the urban sprawl. This famous landmark is well worth visiting and offers excellent views of the legendary Hollywood Sign. We could go on, so if you want more time in LA, then just let us know.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Los Angeles, Hollywood Walk of fame, New Orleans to Los Angeles

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Frequently Asked Questions

You’ll find answers to most of your questions right here. If you still need assistance, Feel free to get in touch, and we’ll be sure to get back to you promptly!

Can I Add Extra Nights To The Road Trips?

Not a problem. If you are lucky enough to have extra time to explore more places or add more rest days, then just let us know and we’ll adjust your trip to match your preferred timescale.

Must I Have Travel Insurance?

We strongly advise that you purchase travel insurance for your holiday to cover you against medical expenses, theft and other financial costs. Should you need to cancel before travelling, some insurance policies may pay out for any loss of funds that have been paid to us and which cannot be refunded under our cancellation policy.

Can I Do A One-Way Rental?

Many of our trips have a different end destination than the starting point, so this is not a problem. Please note a fee sometimes applies for one-way rentals between other regions or states, which will be paid to the supplier directly when collecting the vehicle. We’ll endeavour to inform you of this charge within your quote.

Am I Limited To Certain Hotels Or Chains?

No, far from it. We work with a range of properties from 3* to 5*, so we can adapt the trip to match most budgets. We have access to rooms in more than 800 hotels, motels, lodges and B&Bs across North America.

How Old Do I Need To Be?

The minimum age to rent a car is 21 in the United States or Canada, although, in addition, any drivers under 25 years of age will generally incur a surcharge.

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