Historic Route 66
|Chicago, Illinois, USA
||Los Angeles, California, USA
Known colloquially as ‘The Main Street of America’, it goes without saying that Route 66 is something of an iconic stretch of highway. Running from Los Angeles to Chicago and crossing eight states, it has been immortalised in films, music and novels.
Why we love it:
- Travel on what is affectionately known as the Mother Road. The former Highway 66 was the first paved highway linking America from east to west.
- Our journey takes us from one great city, Chicago, to another, Los Angeles.
- Along the way we stop at cities that all have stories to tell; places such as St Louis, Oklahoma City, Santa Fe and Las Vegas.
- We also visit centres of country music, pay homage to the great Texan steak, meet Native Americans living in their reservation and experience that great natural icon of the American southwest -the mighty Grand Canyon.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1: Chicago - Springfield
Travel time: approx. 4 hours (290 km or 180 miles)
- Your tour starts at 7:30am at the Red Roof Inn Chicago Downtown. As this is an early start we recommend booking a night's pre-tour accommodation at this hotel, which can be arranged when you book this tour. . We also recommend you arrive in Chicago earlier and book a few days' pre-tour accommodation in order to discover the highlights of this impressive city.
- After leaving Chicago, you'll drive to Springfield - the capital of the state of Illinois.
- Springfield’s favourite son was of course Abraham Lincoln and you will pay a visit to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, which is the home that he lived in with his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, from 1844 until 1861 when he because US president. It was the only house that ‘Ol’ Abe’ ever owned. Springfield is also the birthplace of the corndog and drive-thru restaurants!
Day 2: St Louis
Travel time: approx. 2 hours (155 km or 96 miles)
- From Springfield, Missouri, it’s only a couple of hours driving to St Louis, Missouri.
- St Louis is one of the largest cities in USA with a metropolitan population of over 2.8 million. Founded in 1764 it became a major port on Mississippi River and even hosted the Olympic Games in 1904.
- You will pay homage to the iconic Gateway Arch which commemorates the settlement of America's West. It was from here that countless pioneers set out to explore and conquer the wild frontier.
- You will also visit Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in St Louis – an Iconic Route 66 attraction established 1941. The specialty here is a Concrete - an über-thick milkshake made from vanilla frozen custard. Try the Cardinal Sin (hot fudge and tart cherries), get All Shook Up (peanut butter and bananas) or make up your own creation.
- St Louis is also associated with the music scene, particularly blues music. Perhaps you can spend the evening checking out the city’s vibrant nightlife?
Day 3: Branson
Travel time: approx. 4½ hours (405 km or 252 miles)
- You will drive on to the town of Branson today. Home to Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede and their version of 'The Strip', Branson has become to country music what Las Vegas is to gambling. With over 50 dinner theatres, shows and other entertainment oddities, Branson is certainly where it's at in Missouri!
Day 4-5: Oklahoma City
Travel time: approx. 4½ hours (409 km or 254 miles)
- Your first stop today will the town of Miami, Oklahoma where you'll visit the Route 66 Vintage Iron Motorcycle Museum, and the silent-film era Coleman Theater.
- Next you will drive on and arrive in Oklahoma City for a two-night stop.
- Located in the heart of 'cowboy country', Oklahoma City was originally founded in 1889 as a tent city for 10,000 settlers. Check out the Crystal Bridge at the Myriad Botanical Gardens, a large downtown urban park and tropical conservatory, visit the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, or take a walk through the sobering Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, chronicling the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Day 6: Amarillo
Travel time: approx. 4½ hours (418 km or 260 miles)
- Today you'll drive to Amarillo in the State of Texas.
- On the ‘Way to Amarillo’ and before you leave Oklahoma, you will stop to visit the 'official' Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, where you'll learn about the legends surrounding the road you're travelling on.
- From here you'll travel on to Amarillo where you'll make your way to the Big Texan Steak Ranch for a steak meal (optional). If you can eat a 2.04 kg (72 oz) steak in less than one hour, you get it for free!
Day 7-8: Santa Fe
Travel time: approx. 4½ hours (368 km or 229 miles)
- Your road journey continues out to Cadillac Ranch - a Texan version of Stonehenge with 10 classic cars buried nose-down in the dirt.
- Then it’s on to New Mexico and the city of Santa Fe. Although it is the state capital it is only the state’s fourth largest city and is known for its adobe architecture and new world spiritualism.
- The earliest settlements in the area were Pueblo Native villages that date back 1000 years, but the Spanish took over in 1598 and laid down the city’s foundations. It wasn’t 1912 that the state of New Mexico became part of United States.
- The historic downtown area called the Plaza still retains reminders of the Hispanic era whilst the Palace of the Governors and the San Miguel Mission both date back to 1610 and are said to be the oldest European-era buildings in United States.
Day 9: Gallup
Travel time: approx. 2½ hours (253 km or 157 miles)
- You'll move from modern cultures to ancient civilisations and make a stop at Acoma Pueblo, also known as the 'Sky City' ruins, on the Native American Reservation. This is a fortified community of indigenous people living in a sandstone mesa that dates back to the 12th century AD. They are believed to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in USA.
- You will spend the night in Gallup, New Mexico, home to a diverse population with a third of its residents being of Native American decent.
- You'll stay at the historic El Rancho Hotel tonight. This hotel was built in the 1930s as a home away from home for some of Hollywood's famous while they were filming in the area. Just some of the big names who have stayed here (and have rooms named after them) are Betty Grable, Doris Day, Errol Flynn, Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, Mae West, Katherine Hepburn, and William Holden.
Day 10-11: Grand Canyon National Park
Travel time: approx. 3½ hours (309 km or 192 miles)
- Although it's not on the original Route 66, it's so close it would be a shame to pass it by! The Grand Canyon is an iconic symbol of the Desert Southwest and a spectacle not to be missed. This incredible spectacle is difficult to comprehend, even as you stand at the rim or hike down into the canyon. Carved over several millennia, this massive wonder of nature is 445 kilometres (277 miles) long, up to 29 kilometres (18 miles) wide and over 1.6 kilometres (1 mile) deep. Snaking through the canyon floor is the mighty Colorado River, which runs 2330 kilometres (1450 miles) through seven US states and two Mexican states.
- In your free time, we highly recommend a scenic flight over the canyon, which offer perspectives that you cannot see by visiting on foot.
- Also recommended is the film show at the IMAX Theater, which will give you a good overview of the area and how it developed. There are many walks that you can enjoy ranging from easy to moderate ones. There is also time to shop around for local souvenirs.
Day 12-13: Las Vegas
Travel time: approx. 5½ hours (431 km or 268 miles)
- You will leave nature behind and head into Las Vegas and all of its neon splendour today.
- You'll make an optional lunch stop at the quirky Snow Cap Diner.
- Stop and view the Hoover Dam.
- Las Vegas is renowned as the ‘tacky capital of the world’ - home to pirates and pyramids, weddings and waterfalls. If it is gambling you want, you have come to the right place as nowhere else in the world will you find so many casinos. But if you really want to look at something different, stop by one of its countless wedding chapels. In Las Vegas you will enjoy a city tour that takes you to see some of the quirky things that epitomise this city, you will also learn about some of its colourful history.
- You will have time for some last-minute bargain shopping and relaxing by a pool before spending the night out on the town amidst the bright lights, casinos and world-class shows. You may also like to enjoy a buffet dinner at one of Las Vegas’ famous all-you-can-eat dining places.
Day 14: Los Angeles (Santa Monica)
Travel time: approx. 5½-6 hours (430 km or 270 miles)
- On your final day you will return to California and drive across the great Mojave Desert to the city of Los Angeles.
- Your tour concludes upon arrival at approximately 5pm at Santa Monica Pier, where you'll toast farewell to the ‘Mother Road’.
- Optional post-tour accommodation is available at your Los Angeles hotel - please inquire when booking your tour.
- If you are planning to fly out of Los Angeles tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 9pm (21:00 hrs).
- The services of a professional tour leader
- Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Route 66 Museum, Acoma Sky City Pueblo, Abraham Lincoln House and Museum, St Louis Gateway Arch and Grand Canyon National Park
- Transport in a customised vehicle
Some meals are included on your trip (except for North America trips - please refer to your day-to-day itinerary). However, sometimes we think you'll benefit from getting out and discovering the local cuisine. So when a meal is not included, it's a great opportunity to try something new. For group trips, ask your leader for tips on where to get the best meal, or you might decide to dine out as a group and experience the fun together.
- International flights
- Airport transfers
- Airport departure taxes
- Any optional tours and activities
- Items of a personal nature.
- Daily budget
We have chosen some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. For group trips, speak to your leader if you are interested in any of the following:
- Grand Canyon IMAX Theater
- Grand Canyon scenic flight
US$234 (25 min) or US$264 (40 min)
- Las Vegas clubs and casinos
- Las Vegas limousine
- Meramec Caverns
- National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum
- Scenic walks and hikes
What to know
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.
Visas and Permits
It is your responsibility to ensure you have all required visas for your trip. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables nationals of certain countries, including Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa, if certain requirements are met. Under the VWP, time spent in Canada, Mexico and adjacent islands counts towards the maximum of 90 days stay allowed under the program. You will be required to complete an online visa waiver prior to travelling (at a cost of US$14). This can be done at: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/
For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Customs and Culture
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in.
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
The Air-Conditioned Nightmare (1945) - Henry Miller Coast to Coast (1956) - Jan Morris On the Road (1957) - Jack Kerouac Travels with Charley (1962) - John Steinbeck Blue Highways (1982) - William Least Heat-Moon On the Rez (2000) - Ian Frazer The Great Gatsby (1925) - F.Scott Fitzgerald The Grapes of Wrath (1939) - John Steinbeck The Catcher in the Rye (1951) - J.D.Salinger The Call of the Wild (1903) - Jack London
Peregrine Adventures and Grand American Adventures
This trip is operated by our partners, Grand American Adventures, a US based company with nearly 40 years experience in adventure travel. They also share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a code-shared departure you can expect there to be both Grand American Adventures and Peregrine travellers on your trip.
In the event of an emergency or if you wish to report a problem on tour please do not hesitate to call Grand American Adventures' toll free* 24-hour emergency contact number.
Toll-Free (*in the US): 1 (800) 345 - 8777
International: 001 (310) 719 - 9877
Possible Itinerary Amendments
Our routes have been carefully chosen to include the best night stops and highlights. However, as local and operational conditions may vary and unforeseen circumstances can arise, our stated itinerary should be used as a guideline. All travelling times quoted in the itinerary are also estimates only and can vary substantially due to unscheduled stops and traffic or weather conditions.
About this Information
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
7 January 2014
General Contact Details
Web: Visit Peregrine