13 days

Historic Route 66

Historic Route 66

Santa Monica pier - Los Angeles

St Louis

Santa Fe

Route 66

Oklahoma

Grand Canyon

Trip rating
  • 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.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Chicago - Springfield

    • 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!
    State House Inn or similar

    Day 2 - St Louis

    • 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?
    Drury Hotel at the Arch or similar

    Day 3 - Branson

    • 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!
    Grand Plaza Hotel or similar

    Day 4-5 - Oklahoma City

    • 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.
    Sheraton Hotel or similar

    Day 6 - Amarillo

    • 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!
    Drury Inn & Suites Amarillo or similar

    Day 7 - Santa Fe

    • 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.
    Hyatt Place or similar

    Day 8 - Gallup

    • You'll move from modern cultures to ancient civilisations with an optional 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.
    El Rancho Motel or similar

    Day 9-10 - Grand Canyon National Park

    • 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.
    Red Feather Lodge or similar

    Day 11-12 - Las Vegas

    • 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.
    Golden Nuggett or similar

    Day 13 - Los Angeles

    • 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).
  • What to Know

    What's Included

    • 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

    Not Included

    • International flights
    • Airport transfers
    • Airport departure taxes
    • Visas
    • Insurance
    • Meals
    • Any optional tours and activities
    • Tips
    • Items of a personal nature.
  • Map Itinerary

  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

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Trip at a glance

Trip Code PNPRX
Group size 5 - 13
Start City: Chicago, Illinois, USA
End City: Los Angeles, California, USA
Style: Small Group

What to know

This trip is run by our experienced sister company Grand American Adventures.

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