Follow one of the world’s most famous roads on this epic cross-country journey. Although little of the original Route 66 exists now, replaced by interstates and highways, the memories remain; dotted along the journey as you travel through eight of the lower states. Start on the edge of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois and travel through Missouri, cut a little corner or Kansas, cross all of Oklahoma, briefly visit Texas, spend time in Arizona and Nevada before arriving in Santa Monica, one of LAs top beach resort on the Pacific Ocean. Highlights include St Louis’ Gateway Arch, The Grand Canyon, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. A cross country adventure that will live with you forever!
Our expert tour specialists can tailor this trip to exactly meet your needs. We make the suggestions but the decision is yours
Travel to Chicago, in Illinois on the shores of Lake Michigan. Several direct flights options are available year-round from Heathrow and summer seasonal services from Edinburgh and Manchester. Upon arrival, collect your car or make you way independently to the downtown hotel for two nights.
Start off your trip across the continent with a day exploring ‘The Windy City’. Stand at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Adams Street; seen as the starting point of Historic Route 66. From here, grab breakfast at famous Lou Mitchell’s, dating back to 1923 and a real must for Route 66 enthusiasts. Spend the rest of the day exploring the shops around The Magnificent Mile, stroll by the lake side or enjoy the architecture of one of the United States most impressive skylines or head to the clouds and see the city from the Willis Tower Skydeck, the highest observation deck in the US.
Drive distance – 300 miles
Collect your hire car at a downtown location and hit the road and begin to cover the near two and a half thousand miles of Historic Route 66 through heartland America. The traditional east-to-west direction of Route 66 begins by taking you through endless cornfields and flat prairie land, heading through Illinois and just over the state line to St. Louis, Missouri. En route, a suggested site to stop is Lincoln Home National Historic Site, in Springfield, Illinois, to learn about Abraham Lincoln and his inspiring story. Once in St. Louis, the largest city along Route 66, you can follow in the footsteps of legendary explorers by visiting the historic sites found throughout the city, including the Gateway Arch, the tallest monument in the US.
Drive distance – 220 miles
The route travelling west takes you through Missouri and the Ozark Highlands. En route, stop at Meramec Caverns, an extensive set of natural limestone caves whose formations and colours are as unique as they are beautiful. Adding to the pleasure of exploring the caves is learning that Jesse James used them as a hideout and took advantage of the underground river to escape through the back door.
Drive distance – 290 miles
Today you are much less than 24 Hours from Tulsa as you head from Missouri into Oklahoma, cutting briefly into the south-east corner of Kansas. The Oklahoma section of Route 66 contains more driveable miles than any other state. In Tulsa, see the Cyrus Avery Route 66 Memorial Bridge, honouring the ‘Father of Route 66’s memory and connection to the historic highway. Once in Oklahoma City, the state capital, be sure to check out the old Route 66 motels, gas stations and numerous vintage buildings.
Drive distance – 260 miles
Drive into Texas today and a state with one of the shortest sections of Route 66, running through the flat plains of the Texas Panhandle. Along the way, make time for a stop at the Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma and experience six decades of Route 66 history. In Shamrock, Texas, see the famous Art Deco spires of U-Drop Inn, also known as Tower Station; a preserved Gas Station and café from 1936. Groom, Texas is home to an impressive 150-foot tall stainless-steel cross and less impressive but maybe more interesting leaning water tower. Once in Amarillo, be sure to stop at The Big Texan Steak Ranch where you can attempt their 72oz. steak challenge.
Drive distance – 290 miles
Before leaving Amarillo be sure to visit Cadillac Ranch. This unique display of art features a row of ten colourfully painted Cadillac cars buried grille first in the ground. Continue to the MidPoint Cafe in Adrian famous for its ‘ugly crust’ pies. From Adrian, follow Route 66 to Albuquerque, New Mexico for a great taste of the Land of Enchantment.
New Mexico’s largest city, Albuquerque straddles the Rio Grande. Take tour around this fascinating city with downtown offering a treasure trove of Route 66 landmarks, Historic Old Town offers a real taste of New Mexico’s Spanish colonial past while the Native American Cultures of the area are celebrated at the Pueblo Cultural Center.
Drive distance – 150 miles
Route 66 has changed a lot over the years, and Santa Fe is a real historic part of the original route, even though it hasn’t officially passed through New Mexico’s state capital for over 80 years. A short detour today will take you to this picturesque little city, America’s oldest state capital. Famous for art galleries and museums full of traditional and modern art, including work by Santa Fe’s own Georgia O’Keeffe, Santa Fe is perfect place to spend a day.
Drive distance – 315 miles
Enter Arizona today and travel through Petrified Forest National Park, the only US National Park with a section of Route 66. Here you will come face-to-face with over 13,000 years of human history and one of the world’s largest and most colourful assemblies of petrified wood, historic structures and archaeological sites. Stay late enough if you wish to catch the sunset over the Painted Desert from Kachina Point, within the Park, before continuing on to Flagstaff for your overnight stop.
Drive distance – 105 miles
This morning, pass through Williams en route to Grand Canyon National Park, a natural wonder that you have to see to believe. Spend the day discovering the distinct South Rim of the Canyon. Stop at one of the numerous overlooks, walk part of the Rim Trail or along the historic Hermit Road. You could climb to the top of a stone Watchtower for panoramic views that extend over 100 miles on clear days or head to Grand Canyon Airport and take to the skies in one of numerous helicopter trips that can take you deep into the canyon or offer even more spectacular, birds eye views.
Drive distance – 270 miles
Leave Grand Canyon behind as you make your way to Seligman, the first stop heading west on the longest uninterrupted stretch of Route 66. Continue through Kingman whose old Route 66 cafes and motels still flourish, to one of Arizona’s hidden treasures, Hoover Dam. Considered the largest single public works project in the history of the US, Hoover Dam straddles the mighty Colorado River, which forms the border between Nevada and Arizona and brings much-needed water and power to the Southwest. Continue to Las Vegas, Nevada, a city that needs no introduction.
Enjoy a full day Las Vegas style. Walk the famous Strip lined with mega-resorts and flashing neon lights, place a bet at one of the many casinos, dine at world-class restaurants, catch the latest must-see show, shop designer boutiques, ride a rollercoaster, lay by the pool ... the list goes on. With so much to do, 24 hours in a day hardly seems like enough.
Drive distance – 290 miles
This morning, set out through the Mojave Desert for Calico Ghost Town, California’s authentic silver mining town and one of the few original mining camps of the Old West. Rejoin Route 66 in Barstow where a collection of historic photographs and artefacts related to Route 66 and the Mojave Desert communities are on display at the Route 66 Mother Road Museum. Continue through Pasadena, Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills to Santa Monica for a true Hollywood ending to your cross-country journey. Park and venture the last few blocks on foot to view the ‘End of the Trail’ sign on Santa Monica’s Pier. This sign officially marks the western end of Historic Route 66.
A full day to explore all that Los Angeles has to offer from the beaches of Santa Monica to the high-end boutiques of Beverly Hills. A thriving downtown now exists around LA Live or head for the stars of Hollywood Boulevard. For thrill seekers, head to Universal Studios Hollywood or the original Disney theme park, Disneyland Resort in Anaheim. Plenty to pack into a day, so maybe you will wish to extend?
A final morning exploring LA before returning your car at Los Angeles International Airport prior to an overnight flight back to the UK.
‘In the Heart of the Loop’
Set in the middle of the famed Chicago Loop, W Chicago - City Center is close to the Willis Tower, the Chicago Art Institute, music at Millennium Park, and the theater district. Step out – the Windy City surrounds you. The hotels technology, creative cuisine and innovative spaces will help you make your trip memorable or you can work the body at SWEAT, our 24/7 fitness centre. Retreat from the bustle of town into the serenity of our 368 guest rooms. Dive into the comfort of our signature pillow top mattresses, 350-thread-count sheets and down comforters. Connect with High Speed Internet Access – all rooms are wired.
‘Elegant Hotel; Great Location’
St Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton sits in the centre of a lively metropolitan area. Guest rooms are adorned with timeless décor and the suites offer excellent views of the courtyard. Dining ranges from the all-day Station Grille overlooking the fountain to the Grand Hall Market for coffee and pastries. Facilities on-site include a fitness centre, seasonal outdoor pool and 3D light show experience.
‘Downtown Boutique Hotel’
In downtown Springfield, Hotel Vandivort is inspired by the area’s history and culture. This boutique hotel offers 50 guest rooms including 12 suites and 2 premier suites, all of which are in a modern design. The Order is the on-site restaurant, serving a full gourmet breakfast, light bites for lunch and delicious dishes for dinner. Lounge areas are designed in an open-plan design, with a cosy fireplace inviting you to relax.
‘Historic Hotel; Luxury Rooms’
Completed in 1910, Colcord Hotel was the first skyscraper built in Oklahoma City. Visiting today, you can still see the original marble on the columns in the lobby. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. While many historic elements remain, the guest rooms have been updated in a modern style and offer a supremely comfortable stay. Two restaurants are featured at the hotel, serving upscale American cuisine using fresh local ingredients.
‘Good Location and Extensive Amenities’
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Amarillo is conveniently located close by to downtown Amarillo and Husband International Airport. Facilities and amenities include free internet access, meeting rooms, indoor pool and fitness centre. A free breakfast buffet is served each morning.
‘Stylish Rooms; Good Facilities’
In Albuquerque, Isleta Resort and Casino offers leisure options for every guest. As well as a casino, facilities include a spa, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness centre and 27-hole golf course. Seven restaurants are featured at the resort, ranging from a steakhouse and grill to an ice cream and coffee bar.
‘Luxury Resort and Casino’
Overlooking the San Francisco Peaks, Twin Arrows Casino Resort offers comfortable accommodation alongside a full on-site casino. Other facilities include a heated indoor pool, fitness centre and meeting rooms. Four dining options are featured at the resort, including a steakhouse, sports bar, buffet restaurant and two cafes.
‘Close to the Grand Canyon Entrance’
The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon sits only one mile away from the south entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park. In the style of a three-storey chalet, the hotel offers 121 guest rooms with bright and comfortable décor. Facilities include an indoor swimming pool, hot tub and fitness centre. Enjoy the finest cuts of meat at the steakhouse and a wide range of draft beers at the bar.
‘Leisure Rich Hotel with European Playground Elegance’
Park MGM Las Vegas mixes the elegance of a European playground with good old USA grandeur. It's at the heart of the Las Vegas strip near dozens of fantastic attractions with plenty of its own including a 24-hour gaming casino, salon, spa, pool and events schedule featuring the mind boggling Blue Man Group. Local family attractions include the Everything Coca-Cola store, M&M’s World, several Cirque du Soleil shows and Bodies, The Exhibition. Resort dining options are plentiful from a AAA 4 Diamond home of contemporary French cuisine to Italian, Japanese and Mexican.
The Hollywood Roosevelt is a boutique hotel designed by Yabu Pushelberg in the centre of the city. It features an Olympic sized outdoor heated pool inspired by David Hockney, five dining options including vintage bowling lanes and vintage American cuisine. Accommodation includes suites, pool and balcony rooms and feature hardwood flooring, vintage pieces and white furniture.
Flights in economy
Car hire with GPS
15 nights accommodation as listed
Meals unless otherwise stated
National Park Entry Fees
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