RVs are made for road trips. So if you’re looking for the perfect route for your next adventure, why not try an American classic? Route 66 stretches across more than half of the continent and is a great way to experience a wonderful slice of Americana. This road makes for an incredible journey in any vehicle, but your family will have the best possible trip in an RV. First, visit your favorite RV Dealership to make sure your camper is in great shape or explore new rigs before you hit the road. Then check out this guide to the best Route 66 RV trip around.
Route 66 stretches between Chicago and Los Angeles, running roughly east-west over more than half the country. Whether you want to start in Illinois or California is up to you. You might have a different preference based on the time of year, weather, and any side trips you want to take. This guide starts in Chicago and heads west to Los Angeles. Chicago is centrally located, which makes it a good starting point for most travelers. If you are coming from the west coast, feel free to start in LA and make your way backward through this list to Illinois.
You won’t run out of things to do on Route 66. This road travels through major cities, smaller towns, and plenty of scenic countrysides. This list includes all the most popular stops along the way. Keep an eye out for smaller roadside attractions on your travels. You never know what hidden gems are waiting to be discovered on the road. One great part of RV travel is the freedom to make your travel itinerary. You can take your time in towns that interest you and zip through other places if they don’t grab your attention. After all, you’re taking your home with you! If you’re planning your Route 66 trip but don’t have your perfect camper yet, visit RV Wholesalers to explore all your options.
The Windy City is a great starting point for your travels. We recommend taking a walk along the beautiful lakefront before hitting the road. You’ll be able to compare the view of Lake Michigan with the Pacific Ocean when you reach LA.
Chicago is full of interesting architecture, culture, and food. Explore sites like the Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower), the Chicago History Museum, Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute, and more. Don’t forget to try a deep-dish, Chicago-style pizza or a loaded hot dog while you’re in town. You can also snap a picture at Cloud Gate (The Bean). Then hop in your Rockwood RV and head west on Route 66 to start your journey.
Springfield is a busy city. However, the capital of Illinois boasts many lovely parks and green spaces outdoors, making it a perfect stop for RV kids and pets. Continue your outdoor time in Springfield’s world-famous zoo and wildlife sanctuary. You can also brush up on your presidential history by visiting the home or tomb of Abraham Lincoln.
Route 66 might not start in St. Louis, but other well-known journeys began here. Lewis and Clark set out from St. Louis to explore the western reaches of North America more than 200 years ago. Thousands of west-bound settlers also launched their covered wagons from St. Louis. Visit the Gateway Arch to mark the country’s unofficial western entrance before climbing in your Forest River RV and moving on. You can take a ride to the top of the arch or stay on the ground and enjoy a museum, park, and beautiful river views.
Don’t skip the second Springfield on Route 66. Springfield, Missouri, offers impressive cave tours, the Dickerson Park Zoo, and the Discovery Center family science museum.
While you’re in the area, don’t miss the historic 66 Drive-In Theater in Carthage, Missouri. This drive-in is located near Joplin and is a fun way to relive the classic Route 66 lifestyle. The theater usually runs from April to September, making this a great addition to late spring or summer tours.
Tulsa is a prime example of what you’ll find along Route 66. Oklahoma might not sound like an exciting place to stop, but Tulsa is full of renowned cultural and historic sites. Animal lovers can stop at the Oklahoma Aquarium and the Tulsa Zoo. If you’re interested in art or architecture, check out the famous art deco buildings like the Philcade and Philtower.
Tulsa also offers weird roadside attractions that shouldn’t be missed. For example, visit the Blue Whale of Catoosa, a giant blue whale outside town. The whale offers a waterslide and picnic opportunities, making it a great place to spend the afternoon.
Learn about western history in the capital city of Oklahoma. You can visit Oklahoma’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum for a comprehensive look back at the region’s past. Families will love exploring the Nature Center, zoo, botanic gardens, Science Museum, and other kid-friendly attractions.
For an off-beat stop, try the Milk Bottle Grocery. This tiny shop is notable for the giant bottle of milk perched on the building. This is the kind of weird attraction that Route 66 is famous for! You can also experience modern Oklahoma in the Bricktown district full of delicious restaurants, wine bars, piano lounges, trendy boutiques, and more.
Dip into the Texas panhandle in Amarillo. This mid-sized town is equal parts working Western city and modern art destination. You can check out live cattle auctions, the American Quarter Horse Museum, and operational factories, as well as out-there art installations and unique attractions. Leave your mark at the Cadillac Ranch, tackle a 72-ounce steak challenge, and more.
Don’t miss the Jack Sisemore Travaland RV Museum for a touch of RV history. This museum features a fascinating range of vintage and retro RVs. The museum is only open a few days a week, making it perfect for a relaxed RV itinerary. Park your Puma XLE outside and see how the older models compare to your current home-on-wheels.
Visit Albequerque to explore New Mexico’s Land of Enchantment. As the biggest city in the state, Albuquerque is home to amazing food, culture, and outdoor events. Pop culture lovers can enjoy Breaking Bad attractions as well as alien-themed fun from nearby Roswell. If you plan your trip so you pass through New Mexico in the fall, you can visit the annual International Balloon Fiesta and see thousands of hot air balloons take flight at once.
Gallup is one of the smallest attractions on our Route 66 list, but it’s not to be missed. You’ll see the classic old west lifestyle in this small town. The Rex Museum, which was both a brothel and a grocery store in years past, is a great way to learn about days gone by. Red Rock Park, Petrified Forest National Park, and other dramatic outdoor attractions are also close at hand. Take in the striking desert scenery before getting on the road in your Cherokee RV.
Flagstaff is an amazing Route 66 stop if you want to experience the great outdoors. Grand Canyon National Park is nearby. Since the Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most impressive natural features, we recommend visiting anytime your travels take you near Flagstaff. After looking deep into the earth, turn your gaze upward for stargazing at the Lowell Observatory.
There are plenty of nearby parks around Flagstaff. Meteor Crater is one of the largest and best-preserved impact craters on the entire globe. It’s worth a visit on any trip. It’s hard to stand on the crater’s rim and not be moved by natural history. You can also stop at the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge between Arizona and California. This refuge is home to hundreds of species of birds, sheep, coyotes, foxes, and more. However, don’t leave Flagstaff without getting in some cultural enrichment. Flagstaff is a college town, so it’s full of fantastic food, beer, entertainment venues, and art centers.
Once you cross the California border, keep driving until you reach the ocean. Santa Monica is a seaside town with gorgeous ocean views, a waterfront pleasure pier, and delicious seafood. Give yourself some time to enjoy the water and relax after your long trip. You’ve seen lots of the country and deserve to relax in your RV!
RV travel is the best way to see America. You have the freedom and flexibility to make your itinerary in an RV. Route 66 is one of the country’s best driving tours. Whether you start in Chicago and head to the ocean, or begin in Santa Monica and wrap up in Illinois, you’ll never forget your Route 66 trip. RV Wholesalers can help you find the best camper for your travels. Contact us today to learn more about your options.