back to articles | May 13, 2024 | Greg Thibodeau

Categories: Lifestyle

Explore Historic Route 66 & See These Landmarks

Route 66 is a historic highway that stretches from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California. Traveling on this iconic road is like taking a journey through time as you pass through charming small towns and bustling cities.


Route 66 is a historic highway that stretches from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California. Also known as the “Mother Road” you’ll find a plethora of landmarks, quirky attractions, and historical sites along this iconic route. Traveling on Route 66 is like taking a journey through time while you pass through charming small towns and bustling cities. Whether you're a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a unique road trip experience, Route 66 has something for everyone.

Gemini Giant (Wilmington, IL)

Originally part of a 1950s roadside hotdog and ice cream stand called Dari Delite, the Gemini Giant now stands tall at 28 feet. This spaceman sculpture was installed during the space race between the US and the Soviet Union. Today, it welcomes diners and explorers seeking a rest from driving Route 66.

Henry’s Rabbit Ranch (Staunton, IL)

Located along a portion of historic Route 66, Henry’s Rabbit Ranch pays homage to the Mother Road with a collection of Volkswagen Rabbits and real rabbits. The retro service station exterior, rabbit tricks, memorabilia, and a Route 66 gift shop make it a fun stop.

Railsplitter Covered Wagon (Lincoln, IL)

This 24-foot-tall covered wagon, which the Guinness Book of World Records recognizes as the largest in the world, is a well-liked Route 66 photo opportunity. Visitors can climb inside the wagon and imagine what it was like for early settlers traveling across the country. The intricate details and craftsmanship of the wagon make it a popular attraction for tourists passing through Lincoln.

The Gateway Arch (St. Louis, MO)

The Gateway Arch is a symbol of westward expansion and a prominent landmark in St. Louis, Missouri. Standing at 630 feet tall, it is the tallest man-made monument in the United States. Visitors can take a tram to the top for stunning views of the city and the Mississippi River. Designed by architect Eero Saarinen, the Gateway Arch is a must-see attraction for anyone traveling along Route 66.

Blue Whale of Catoosa (Catoosa, OK)

The Blue Whale of Catoosa in Oklahoma is a quirky and unique roadside attraction that has become a beloved landmark along Route 66. Built in the 1970s by Hugh Davis as a gift for his wife, the Blue Whale has since become a popular spot for families to stop and take photos. Its whimsical design and playful atmosphere make it a fun and memorable pit stop on any road trip adventure.

Oklahoma Route 66 Museum (Clinton, OK)

The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum offers a comprehensive look at the history and culture of the iconic highway. Visitors can learn about the people, places, and events that shaped Route 66, making it a memorable road trip destination. With interactive exhibits and fascinating displays, the museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the golden age of American road travel.

Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, TX)

Ten half-buried Cadillacs, spray-painted by visitors, create a unique art installation in the Texas desert. Visitors can bring their own spray paint and leave their mark on the cars, adding to the ever-changing artwork. The Cadillac Ranch is a popular photo spot and a great place to stretch your legs and take in the quirky sights along Route 66.

Taos Pueblo (Taos, NM)

Taos Pueblo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States. This adobe village offers a glimpse into the rich history and culture of the Taos Native American tribe. Visitors can explore the traditional architecture, art, and ceremonies that have been preserved for centuries.

Wigwam Village Motel (Holbrook, AZ)

Stay overnight in a vintage wigwam-shaped motel room! Each room is uniquely decorated with a retro feel, offering a fun and nostalgic experience for travelers. The iconic teepee-shaped accommodations provide a cozy and comfortable place to rest after a day of exploring the historic route.

Jackrabbit Trading Post (Joseph City, AZ)

Visitors can browse through a variety of Southwestern souvenirs and gifts, including Native American jewelry, pottery, and rugs. The trading post also features a wide selection of Route 66 memorabilia, perfect for those looking to take home a piece of this iconic American highway. Be sure to snap a photo in front of the famous “Here It Is” sign before hitting the road.

Meteor Crater (Winslow, AZ)

This massive crater was formed over 50,000 years ago when a meteorite struck the earth, leaving behind a crater nearly a mile wide. Visitors can explore the visitor center, which offers informative exhibits and a viewing platform overlooking the crater. It's a fascinating stop for those interested in geology and astronomy, providing a glimpse into the incredible forces of nature that have shaped our planet.

Oatman Ghost Town (Oatman, AZ)

Oatman Ghost Town is a former mining town turned tourist destination. Visitors can experience the Wild West atmosphere and watch wild burros roam the streets. The town is filled with historic buildings, charming shops, and Old West saloons. Be sure to catch the daily gunfight reenactments and explore the surrounding desert landscape for a taste of Arizona's rich history.

Santa Monica Pier (Santa Monica, CA)

As you reach the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica, visit the historic pier. Indulge in some classic carnival treats like cotton candy and funnel cakes while taking in the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. The pier is also a great spot for fishing and people-watching, with street performers and artists adding to the lively atmosphere.

Route 66 is about the journey as much as the destinations. Take your time and soak in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the Mother Road. Whether you're stopping for a bite to eat at a roadside diner, snapping photos of quirky roadside attractions, or simply enjoying the open road, every moment on this historic highway is a memory in the making.

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