Route 66 Activities Bucket List + Printable

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Before you hop in the car for a most epic road trip down historic Route 66, grab our printable list of Route 66 activities to try! This fun bucket list of suggestions is a fun way to travel across the United States!

Route 66 Bucket Lists HERO (1)

The Mother Road

Route 66, also known as the “Mother Road,” plays a big role in the history of The Great American Road Trip. Starting in Illinois and stretching all the way to the Pacific Ocean (via Santa Monica, California), it was the main highway to drive cross country from the mid-1920’s through the construction of the interstate system.

There are still plenty of fun sites to see, foods to eat, and photo ops to be had on the old Route 66. Sure, some of the original businesses have long since closed. But there are still enough Route 66 activities left to enjoy a great road trip across America. So buckle up and keep reading all about how to “get your kicks on Route 66!”

Road Trip Bucket Lists

We have a really cool printable for you that will help plan your own Route 66 road trip. It breaks down potential Route 66 activities into 3 sections.

Here are the themes:

  • Route 66 Sites
  • Route 66 Experiences
  • Foodie Themed Route 66 Trip

Route 66 Sights

One of the neatest things about Route 66 is the sheer variety in landscapes that you will drive through. From urban settings like Chicago and St. Louis to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon and Petrified Forest National Park, this is the trip to see many different things.

If there was such a thing as the Main Street of America, it would no doubt be Route 66.

Here are a handful of some of the best sights to take in on Route 66.

  • Grant Park (Chicago, Illinois): This is the official starting point of Route 66 and was also the site of the1893 World Exposition. Check out the Chicago skyline and snap a picture with the famous fountain in the park. Now find the “Route 66 BEGIN” historic marker and start your engines. You’re officially on your way!
  • Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum (Pontiac, Illinois): Stop into this museum to discover thousands of artifacts and pieces of memorabilia related to the Mother Road.
  • Gemini Giant (Wilmington, Illinois): Any space fan old or young will love seeing this quirky statue! Check out the 28 foot tall fiberglass space astronaut who stands outside of The Launching Pad restaurant. Inside the restaurant, you can grab a bite to eat and then check out the mini museum and gift shop.
  • Abraham Lincoln’s Home (Springfield, Illinois): Stop and take a tour of Abe Lincoln’s home. You can visit several of the rooms in the 16th president’s residence. This home is on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Gateway Arch (St. Louis, Missouri): It’s hard to miss this 630-foot tall monument that sits close to the Mississippi in St. Louis! Stop for a visit to the arch and check out the Museum of the Gateway Arch. The museum is a great place to learn all about the Westward Expansion of the US.
    Want to take a trip to the top of the arch? You can do that, too! (Word of caution – on breezier days, you can feel the arch sway when you’re at the top!)
st louis arch route 66
  • Springfield, Missouri: Check out the Route 66 Car Museum which features a nice collection of cars, motorcycles and auto memorabilia.
  • Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo, Texas): Stop and see this iconic attraction along Route 66. At Cadillac Ranch, you will find 10 Cadillacs are buried nose-down in a field. VW Fans – head just east of Cadillac Ranch on Route 66 and find the Volkswagen Slug Bug Ranch. This parody of Cadillac Ranch features 5 VW Bugs buried nose-down in the ground! All of these cars are covered in spray paint graffiti from visitors.
  • Wigwam Motel (Holbrook, Arizona): Want to stay in a tepee-shaped hotel room? Be sure to book a stay at the Wigwam Motel for a unique lodging experience! Stay in one of the original Wigwams or book a stay in one of the more modern apartments nearby.
  • Las Vegas, Nevada: Sin City! As you cruise through Nevada, we highly recommend stopping for a night or two in FABULOUS Las Vegas, Nevada. There are so many neat things to see and do in and around Vegas, and contrary to popular belief, plenty of them are family friendly. Get a picture with the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas Sign,” see a show, grab a gourmet meal, visit the Neon Museum (home to more than 250 old neon signs!) and watch the Bellagio Fountain Shows.
Las Vegas Sign
  • Grand Canyon National Park (Arizona): Not too far north of Route 66 (and TOTALLY worth the stop!) is the Grand Canyon. If you are on Route 66, you can head up to the Western area of the canyon, which includes the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
  • Petrified Forest National Park (Arizona): Another really neat stop in Arizona is the Petrified National Park! Check out some amazing fossils, petrified wood and ancient petroglyphs.
  • Albuquerque, New Mexico: Home of the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta each October, Albuquerque, NM is a magnificent place to stop and explore. With giant mountains looming off in the distance, you can check out historic Old Town, find numerous outdoor adventure sports, or visit a museum to immerse yourself in the Native American culture and history in the Southwestern US.
  • Meteor Crater, Arizona: Stop and take a look at this amazing natural wonder. The crater is the result of a meteorite impact. If you have time, spend the morning or afternoon at the Barringer Space Museum located at the same spot. They also have an RV Park 5 miles down the road if you are looking to stop for a spell.
  • Santa Monica Pier (Santa Monica, California): One of the coolest things about historic Route 66, is that it ends, quite literally, at the end of the earth. The end of the trail stops at the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica (Southern California). Walk along the pier, dip your toes in the ocean, and enjoy that warm California sunshine. You made it!

Route 66 Experiences

There are so many different experiences available on a Route 66 road trip. Check out this list of some of our favorite suggestions:

  • Driving the Mother Road: This in and of itself is an experience! Take in the vintage signage, roadside attractions, and small towns that transport you back to yesteryear.
  • Notable US Cities Tour: Route 66 is also a great way to check out some of the larger cities across the Midwest. Cities on or nearby the route include: Chicago, IL, St. Louis, MO, Springfield, MO, Tulsa, OK, Oklahoma City, OK, Amarillo, TX, Santa Fe, NM, Albuquerque, NM, Flagstaff, AZ, Las Vegas, NV, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Sampling Local Cuisine: Route 66 will wind you through some of the best culinary experiences that this country has to offer! Grab deep dish pizza in Chicago and authentic Tex-Mex cuisine in Texas. No matter what you are hungry for, you are almost guaranteed to find it long this route.
  • Meeting Friendly Locals: Chat up local shop and restaurant owners for their unique memories and perspectives on the area and Route 66.
  • Stay in a Classic Motel: Many classic motels are still open for business along the Mother Road. Stay in a tepee at the Wigwam Motel (Arizona) or get a room at Munger Moss Motel in Missouri. Check into the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri. Those are just 3 examples of many!
  • Explore Historic Sites: Route 66 is full of historic places that tell the story of America’s past. Some of these include: Grant Park (IL), Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station (IL), Lincoln’s Tomb (IL), Meramec Caverns (MO), The Gateway Arch (MO), National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (OK), Cadillac Ranch (TX), San Miguel Chapel (NM), and many many more! Find small towns on the route that take you back to Main Street America and imagine life there 50+ years ago.
  • Take Scenic DEtours: Take a departure from the main road once in awhile to enjoy a scenic detour. Two great options are the Turquoise Trail (New Mexico) and the Santa Fe Trail (Kansas).
  • Soak up the Natural Beauty: Route 66 just happens to take travelers through or very close by some of the most jaw-droppingly natural wonderful that the world has to offer. Take advantage of the close proximity to places like the Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Mojave National Preserve (California) and Joshua Tree National Park (California).
  • Attend a Classic Car Show: Classic cars are understandably a big part of the Route 66 culture. It is not uncommon to see classics parked outside various roadside attractions including restaurants, motels and gas stations. There are sometimes car shows and other events for car enthusiasts to check out along the drive.
  • How Many Quirky Roadside Attractions Can You Find? Route 66 is known for its many roadside attractions. Try to miss the Milk Bottle Grocery in Oklahoma City, OK (you can’t!). How about Henry’s Rabbit Ranch in Staunton, IL? From the giant rocking chair in Fanning, MO to the Blue Whale of Catoosa, OK, there is not shortage of these silly photo opportunities.
  • Capture the Journey: From those quirky roadside attractions to beautiful, stunning vistas, there will be a lot to remember! Bring your camera and a journal and capture moments with pictures and words. These memories will be great fun to look back on for many years to come!

Route 66 for Foodies

As you might imagine, a road trip along Route 66 is sure to present all kinds of different culinary experiences! From downhome cookin’ at the diner to local specialties, foodies will have plenty of good eats to sample as they travel.

Here are just a few highlights:

Printable Route 66 Activities Bucket Lists

I have a printable version of this blog post that you can print and use to plan your own trip!

Get it here: Route 66 Activities Bucket Lists Printable

You can grab our printable right here. Simply enter your email address in the box and opt-in to receive our free newsletter.  Check your inbox for this printable, which you will receive as a subscriber bonus. NOTE: This file is for PERSONAL USE ONLY. You may NOT sell the digital file or sell the printed work. You may NOT redistribute the digital file or printed work.

Let me know if you are planning a Route 66 road trip and what kind of Route 66 activities you are adding to your itinerary!


Route 66 Bucket List PIN

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