One of the most famous highways anywhere in the world, Route 66 has become an icon of American culture and history. Established in 1926, this semi-transcontinental highway stretches 2448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. In the 1930’s the road became the main thoroughfare for migrants seeking a better life in the promised land of California. Thousands of hopefuls loaded up their battered old cars and trucks and motored west. Route 66 soon entered American folklore with the famous song written by Bobby Troup who urged us all to ‘get our kicks on Route 66’.
Whilst much of the old highway has been superseded by modern Interstates, many of the towns and cities along the route have protected their Route 66 heritage. Motels, gas stations and restaurants along the way have maintained their neon signs and character and provide a glimpse of life as it was on the road in the ’30’s. Create your own road trip through America.
Although Route 66 is one of the most iconic and well known routes in the USA there are plenty of other journeys that offer any intrepid explorers just as much opportunity for adventure and discovery. Check out our Route 66 alternatives page for your opportunity to explore a road less travelled!
Our Route 66 tour operates daily between 01 April and 15 Oct.
Day 1. Chicago arrival. Day 2. Chicago. Day 3. Chicago – St. Louis (approx. 300 miles). Day. 4 St. Louis – Springfield (approx. 210 miles). Day 5. Springfield – Tulsa – Oklahoma City (approx. 310 miles). Day 6. Oklahoma City – Amarillo (approx. 260 miles). Day 7. Amarillo – Albuquerque (approx. 120 miles). Day 8. Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Day 09. Albuquerque – Holbrook (approx. 260 miles). Day 10. Holbrook – Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim (approx. 180 miles). Day 11. Grand Canyon National Park – Las Vegas (approx. 300 miles). Day 12. Las Vegas. Day 13. Las Vegas – Santa Monica/Los Angeles (approx. 290 miles). Day 14. Los Angeles/Santa Monica. Day 15. Los Angeles departure.
Day 1. Chicago arrival. Upon arrival at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport we recommend that you take a taxi or shuttle to your downtown Chicago hotel. Overnight: Essex Inn (Standard) or Silversmith Hotel (Superior).
Day 2. Chicago. A free day to explore the Windy City. Stroll along the shores of Lake Michigan, explore the shops of Michigan Avenue, the attractions of the Navy Pier and the stunning architecture of this lovely city. Overnight: Essex Inn (Standard) or Silversmith Hotel (Superior).
Day 3. Chicago – St. Louis (approx. 300 miles). Collect your rental car and begin your journey south along Route 66 as it winds its way out of Chicago and traverses the Illinois farmland to St. Louis, Missouri. Overnight: Courtyard Marriott St.Louis Downtown (Standard) or Majestic Hotel (Superior).
Day. 4 St. Louis – Springfield (approx. 210 miles). Leave the Mississippi River behind and travel along Route 66 through the scenic beauty of the Missouri Ozark region. Overnight: Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven (Standard & Superior).
Day 5. Springfield – Tulsa – Oklahoma City (approx. 310 miles). Nowhere is Route 66 more at home than in Oklahoma, where the roadway follows the contours of the land as though it has always been there. In the dust-bowl years of the 1930’s, fifteen percent of Oklahoma’s population started out on Route 66 in single cars or convoys, carrying all their belongings, children, hopes and dreams with them. This section of your trip takes you through rolling countrysides once the haunt of Native Americans, later the territory of cowboys and outlaws, and along part of the famous Cherokee Strip. Overnight: Best Western Plus Saddleback Inn (Standard & Superior).
Day 6. Oklahoma City – Amarillo (approx. 260 miles). Shortly after leaving Oklahoma City make a stop at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum. This museum has undergone a major renovation and tells the story of the ‘Mother Road’ through modern technology, games, video presentations and wonderful photo exhibits. Travel through the land where the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians lived and hunted bison. Enter the Texas Panhandle, the haven of cowboys, oil-field roughnecks, and self-made millionaires. Overnight: Big Texan Motel (Standard & Superior)
Day 7. Amarillo – Albuquerque (approx. 120 miles). Before leaving Amarillo, make a visit to the Cadillac Ranch where you’ll find ten tail-fin Cadillac cars half buried nose-first in the sand. This is the land of tumbleweeds, cattle, cotton and oil. Continue to New Mexico, driving through what once was the hunting ground of the Comanche Indians. Overnight: Best Western Plus Rio Grande (Standard) or Hotel Albuquerque (Superior).
Day 8. Albuquerque and Santa Fe. A free day to enjoy Albuquerque and the surrounding area. Take a ride on the famous Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway to the 10,350 peak of the Sandia Mountains which overlook Albuquerque. The city is famous for its annual hot air Balloon Fiesta (October) and it arguably the ballooning capital of the world. There are several companies based in Albuquerque offering short balloon flights. Enjoy a self-guided tour of Albuquerque’s Route 66 sites and landmarks, lots of neon Route 66 signs, shops and restaurants. En route to historic Santa Fe, take the scenic Turquoise Trail drive through the mountains and pass through small artist communities such as Madrid (made famous in the movie Wild Hogs). In Santa Fe make sure you visit the Palace of the Governors established in 1610 as a government building and still used today, it is the oldest continuously used public building in the US. Santa Fe is also home to America’s oldest church, and some of the finest galleries, shops and museums. Overnight: Best Western Rio Grande (Standard) or Sheraton Uptown Hotel Albuquerque (Superior).
Day 09. Albuquerque – Holbrook (approx. 260 miles). Today’s highlight is the Petrified Forest National Park, with its thousands of acres of petrified trees. Overnight: Best Western Arizonian, Holbrook (Standard & Superior).
Day 10. Holbrook – Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim (approx. 180 miles). Travel through Navajo Indian Country towards today’s destination, the spectacular Grand Canyon National Park. A walk along the rim will provide you with memorable views of this stunning canyon. Overnight: Maswik North Lodge (Standard) or Yavapai East Lodge (Superior).
Day 11. Grand Canyon National Park – Las Vegas (approx. 300 miles). You might choose to take an optional short helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon this morning before continuing your journey to Las Vegas. Just America will be pleased to arrange your helicopter flight at the time of booking your holiday. Your drive takes you through Williams and Kingman to the Hoover Dam. Continue to nearby Las Vegas, the glittering oasis in the desert. Overnight: Excalibur Hotel & Casino (Standard); Signature @ MGM or Monte Carlo Hotel (Superior).
Day 12. Las Vegas. A full day to enjoy the “Entertainment Capital of the World”. Take an optional jeep tour to Red Rock Canyon; take a flightseeing excursion to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon and the amazing glass Skywalk; enjoy the shopping and attractions of Las Vegas, or just relax by the hotel pool. In the evening be sure to take in one of the world-class shows. Overnight: Excalibur Hotel & Casino (Standard); Signature @ MGM or Monte Carlo Hotel (Superior).
Day 13. Las Vegas – Santa Monica/Los Angeles (approx. 290 miles). Journey through the Mojave Desert today, stopping at the ‘ghost town’ of Calico en route to Los Angeles and the termination of Route 66, Santa Monica. After a stroll along the boardwalk and perhaps dipping your toes in the Pacific Ocean, continue to your hotel. Overnight: Best Western Plus Redondo Beach Inn (Standard) or Portofino Redondo Beach (Superior)
Day 14. Los Angeles/Santa Monica. Spend a full day at leisure in Los Angeles, the City of Angeles. A short drive will take you to Hollywood and Mann’s Chinese Theater. Stroll along the exclusive shopping street of Rodeo Drive in the heart of Beverly Hills, home to the rich and famous. Universal Studios is located just a couple of miles from Hollywood and is well worth a visit. For a more leisurely day, relax by the ocean and soak up the sun on the miles of sandy beaches in Santa Monica. Or, wander along Third Street Promenade, lined with colourful shops and restaurants. Just America will be pleased to advise your on the sightseeing opportunities in, and around, Los Angeles and we can prebook excursions should you choose to join an escorted sightseeing tour today and leave the car at the hotel. Overnight: Best Western Plus Redondo Beach Inn (Standard) or Portofino Redondo Beach (Superior).
Day 15. Los Angeles departure. Spend your last morning relaxing in the California sunshine before returning your rental car at Los Angeles International Airport and transferring to the terminal for your return flight.
Standard Hotels Superior Hotels Prices per adult
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01 Apr-15 Oct On request On request On request On request 01 Apr-15 Oct On request On request On request On request
Children under 12 yrs free when sharing a room with 2 adults and using existing bedding at hotels.
* 14 nights hotel accommodation inc. local taxes.
* Maps, guides and itinerary.
Not included: Flights, airport taxes, car rental, car rental one-way rental charges, travel insurance, optional excursions, meals, petrol, national park admissions & personal expenses.
Just America will be pleased to assist with transatlantic flights from the UK, car rental, additional accommodation and sightseeing excursions.
Location No nights Standard Hotels Superior Hotels Chicago 2 Essex Inn Silversmith Hotel St. Louis 1 Courtyard Marriott St.Louis Downtown Majestic Hotel St. Louis Springfield, Missouri 1 Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven (Breakfast inc) Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven (Breakfast inc) Oklahoma City 1 Best Western Plus Saddleback Inn (Breakfast inc) Best Western Plus Saddleback Inn (Breakfast inc) Amarillo 1 Big Texan Motel Big Texan Motel Albuquerque 2 Best Western Plus Rio Grande Hotel Albuquerque Holbrook 1 Best Western Arizonian (Breakfast inc) Best Western Arizonian (Breakfast inc) Grand Canyon National Park 1 Maswik North Lodge Yavapai East Lodge Las Vegas 2 Excalibur Hotel & Casino Signature @ MGM or Monte Carlo Hotel Los Angeles 2 Best Western Plus Redondo Beach Inn (Breakfast inc) Portofino Redondo Beach (marina side room) Hotels are subject to availability at the time of booking. Just America is pleased to provide a full tailor-made service so if you want to extend the itinerary, change the hotels, add excursions alter the number if nights in each location etc., please let us know.
Tour prices:The prices shown in the price panels are for the accommodation elements only, they do not include flights or car rental (unless indicated). This enables you to choose the airline and car of your choice and add them to the accommodation package to create your holiday. Our reservations staff will be pleased to help you with flight availability, to suggest which is the best airline for your itinerary and to advise you of any special offers the airlines may have introduced.
Hotels:Hotels featured in our self-drive and independent tours are chosen for their location, value for money and facilities. Whenever possible we offer a choice of Standard or Superior hotels. There is no recognised 'star' system throughout North America for classifying hotels, motels and resorts. The hotel ratings for our tours are subjective and are provided to give you an understanding as to the level of facility. They are either the hotel's official categorisation as per the Official Hotel & Resort Guide, or Just America's. Standards vary from location to location, therefore ratings in the remote areas can differ from those in the cities. Standard hotels would be those classified as Moderate, and Superior hotels would be First Class, in the Official Hotel and Resort Guide. National Park accommodations are more rustic and are chosen almost entirely because of their location. It should not be assumed that because an hotel is listed as Superior that it has certain amenities. Often a hotel is classified as Superior due to its position, views or room standard, it does not always follow that a superior hotel will have a swimming pool, hair-dryers, golf course, room service etc. We will try to provide information on individual hotels on request although the internet is usually the quickest and most accurate source of information. Hotel rooms in North America usually have one or two double beds. Triple and Quad rooms have two double beds. Very few hotels in North America have three or four beds. It is sometimes possible to have a rollaway bed which can be requested, but cannot be guaranteed. Occasionally hotels are chosen purely for their location - i.e. half-way between two points of interest - and may be included as a one night stop to break up an otherwise long journey. Such hotels may not have the full facilities normally associated with a Standard or Superior hotel, but sometimes we don't have any other choice. Where possible hotels providing free car parking have been included, however in some locations, such as city centres, the hotels may make a charge.
Note:Hotels are not usually ready to accept guests until after 3 or 4 pm, so please try not to check in before mid-afternoon. Check out time is usually before 11 am or 12 noon. It is sometimes possible to arrange late check out, or the storage of luggage, but this is at the discretion of the hotel.
Tour notes and itineraries:On several of our tours the tour notes and itineraries are provided at the first hotel. On other tours this information is forwarded with the travel documents approximately 14 days prior to departure. We will endeavour to provide the best information we can to help you, but it is not our policy to provide mile by mile detailed route guides, the frequent changes to local road conditions, layouts etc., makes this impossible. We do provide maps, guides to the major attractions en route, and directions to hotels whenever possible. These are independent self-drive holidays and you will be required to read a map and locate attractions and hotels. Sat.Nav. is available from the car rental companies - at a charge - and you may find this useful, however all technology is prone to failure so we always recommend that you keep the maps handy.
Tailor-made holidays:We will be pleased to discuss your own ideas and itineraries and help you plan your holiday. If you would like to email, fax or mail an outline of your tour with dates, number of people, ages of children etc., to us we will be happy to advise you. We request that you include your daytime telephone number on all correspondence. Where you have chosen the route and we have designed a tailor-made holiday for you, it may not be possible to provide you with a detailed tour itinerary. We suggest that you read up about the area you are planning to visit well in advance, preferably before you book the holiday. Insight Guides cover almost every region of North America and are about the best on the market. Just America can also provide a some tourist information subject to availability, but we do not have detailed route information to cover every area of the Continent. You might find the internet to be the best source of free, up-to-date information.
National Park Passes:Both the US and Canada charge entrance fees for their national parks, and if you are visiting a number of parks, this cost can add up to a significant amount. We recommend that you purchase a Parks Pass at the first national park you visit. For the US the pass currently costs $80 for up to four adults (children under 16 are free). In Canada a family pass currently costs $136.40. Both passes provide unlimited visits to that country's parks for 12 months. The passes can only be used in the country of purchase. Full details available at www.nps.gov (for USA) and www.pc.gc.ca/index_e.asp
ROUTE 66 Plus 1 (Highway 1)