Route 66 is considered the most famous road in the United States, even though it's not widely used anymore. The iconic road begins in downtown Chicago, Illinois, and runs through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona and finally ends at Santa Monica, California, totaling 2,448 miles. Even with many of the roads now just dirt roads with most of them extremely neglected, people still make the trip to see the quirky attractions and Americana scattered along the route.
Route 66 is littered with attractions that travelers won't ever see anywhere else. These one-of-a-kind sights are reminiscent of old America. Passing motorists making this long trip should stop and check out these well-known attractions and unbelievable sights. From gigantic statues, vintage motels and gas stations, to a meteorite crash that travelers can walk around, there are several sights that are a must-see.
Here are 20 stops along Route 66 that are worth planning your U.S. trip around.
20 Meet The Muffler Man Statue In Atlanta, Illinois
On the first leg of your Route 66 adventure, stop and see the muffler man known as Paul Bunyon holding a massive hot dog in Atlanta, Illinois. According to Atlas Obscura, the 19-foot figure once stood atop of a restaurant in Cicero, Illinois, to grab people's attention, but has now made its way to Atlanta after the hot dog stand closed.
19 Pet Rabbits At The Strange Henry's Rabbit Ranch In Staunton, Illinois
Score some memorabilia and collectible items that have to do with Route 66 when you visit Henry's Rabbit Ranch. There is a replica gas station which you'll see plenty of scattered along the route, with a gigantic fiberglass rabbit that people can ride, and of course, plenty of real bunnies for visitors to pet.
18 See Jesse James' Hideout At The Meramec Caverns In Stanton, Missouri
One of the most amazing sights to see is the Meramec Caverns in Missouri. Take a guided tour of the seven-level natural cave that was rumored to be used by outlaw Jesse James and his gang when they were in hiding. You'll be walking through well-lit walkways and witnessing one of Earth's most beautiful wonders.
17 Eat Endless Amounts Of Fudge At "Uranus" In St. Robert, Missouri
This tourist attraction is a shopping mall that features a sports bar, nightclub, tattoo shop, festival food truck lot, and is home to a Fudge Factory for those who have a sweet tooth, according to Driving Route 66. It is a great place to relax, eat fudge and maybe even get a tattoo to remember your trip by!
16 Take A Plunge If You Dare At The Blue Whale In Catoosa, Oklahoma
Travelers can't miss this big blue whale when driving through Catoosa, Oklahoma, which has become a historic landmark along Route 66. Initially built as a playground for children, travelers can no longer swim in the pond, but it makes for a great area to have a picnic and kids will love walking through a secret compartment in the whale's head.
15 Try Bacon Soda At Pops In Arcadia, Oklahoma Which Has Over 700 Sugary Drinks
POPS is one of the newest attractions along Route 66 where travelers can stop and have a delicious burger and thick shakes, fill up their gas tanks and check out over 500 different sodas and beverages like Peanut Butter Jelly or Bacon Soda at the convenience store. It is a one-of-a-kind attraction you won't find anywhere else.
14 Check Out An Installation Of Old Cadillac's Buried In Amarillo, Texas
Art enthusiasts will enjoy this sculpture made out of 10 Cadillac's, which was created as a monument to the "Golden Age" of the American automobile, according to Atlas Obscura. These graffiti-covered cars are half-buried nose-first on a field in Amarillo, Texas and putting your own graffiti on these cars is reportedly encouraged.
13 Snap A Photo Of The Leaning Water Tower In Groom, Texas
The Britten Leaning Water Tower has attracted many travelers who have all made up their own assumptions on how it ended up on its side. However, there was no earthquake or other unnatural forces that made it this way. In fact, the lean was deliberate and created as a marketing tool for passing motorists to stop at where once stood a truck shop and restaurant, according to Weird US.
12 Chow Down On Massive Portions At The Big Texan Steak Ranch In Amarillo, Texas
The Big Texan Steak Ranch is a Route 66 landmark that has become a great place for travelers to stop for a delicious steak grilled over an open flame. Be warned, these aren't any ordinary steaks. Travelers can order a 72oz steak here for $72, or get it for free if they can chow down on it in one hour or less including all its sides.
11 The Blue Swallow Motel In Tucumcari, New Mexico Is One Of The Last Hotels Still Standing On The Route
The Blue Swallow Motel is considered a treasure on the route because it has become one of the few remaining retro motels from the '30s and '40s. Travelers are still able to book a room at the motel where it'll feel like you've traveled back in time. Its outdoor neon sign also makes for a great photo opt.
10 Take A Dive In A Natural Wonder In Santa Rosa, New Mexico
The Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, New Mexico is a natural wonder travelers need to see to believe. The lake is famous for its pristine pure water that is at a constant 62 degrees and renews itself every six hours, meaning it is never the same lake twice, according to Santa Rosa Blue Hole. Scuba divers from all over are drawn to this magical lake and so are kids who can take a jump in on a hot day.
9 See The Abundance Of Wild Burros In Oatman, Arizona
Find yourself in Oatman, Arizona and you'll be stunned to see yourself surrounded by wild burros, better known as donkeys. According to Amusing Planet, the town embodies an old western appearance where travelers can hand-feed these animals, but proceed with caution. While these donkeys look friendly, you never know what they'll do.
8 Walk Through A Ghost Town In Winslow, Arizona
According to Tripping.com, this ghost town, which was known as Two Guns, was originally the site of major confrontation between the Apache and Navajo Indians in the 19th century. The area was later made into a zoo that was home to various animals, but that closed down. The ruins now remain a ghost town where travelers can walk through several abandoned buildings.
7 Visit A Meteor Crash Sight In Winslow, Arizona
One of the most jaw-dropping sites along Route 66 is this 4,000-foot-diameter hole that is known as "the most well known, best-preserved meteorite crater on Earth." Travelers can take a tour of the site along its rim, and even see the wreckage of a plane that flew over the crater in 1964.
6 Sleep In A Teepee At The Wigwam Motel In Holbrook, Arizona
Passing through Holbrook, Arizona, travelers can stop and see fifteen concrete and steel teepees arranged in a semi-circle that are actually rooms for tired motorists making their way through Route 66. Rooms feature original hand-made furniture, sink, toilet and shower and outside, visitors can take photos of the vintage cars parked throughout the property.
5 Walk Through The First-Ever McDonald's Restaurant In San Bernardino, California
While you can't order a Big Mac here, you can still enter the first-ever McDonald's and see all the amusing and extensive collections of McDonald's memorabilia. Travelers can learn all about the beginnings of this fast-food restaurant at the San Bernardino location including how they came up with different creepy-looking Ronald McDonald mascots.
4 Get Lost In A Sea Of Trees At Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch In Oro Grande, California
According to Atlas Obscura, after being left with a huge collection of bottles, Elmer Long decided to create the first bottle tree. With bottles of all different colors and shapes, Long's idea grew to 200 installations of bottle trees that have become a tourist attraction for those traveling on Route 66.
3 See Unusual Decorations At The Amboy Shoe Tree In Amboy California
No one knows how this tree filled with shoes came about, but as travelers are on their final leg of their trip on Route 66, they've decided to give up a pair of their own shoes and leave them here. According to Roadside America, even though the tree fell down in 2010, the desert air has happily preserved the tree and travelers continue to add shoes to it.
2 Take Selfies At One Of The Last Remaining Gas Stations Of The '30s In Cucamonga, California
One of the last stops on the trip across Route 66 is here at the Cucamonga Gas Station. It is the last station reminiscent of the roadside architecture of the 1920s, '30s, and '40s, and has been restored to all its glory, so passing motorists will feel like they've traveled back in time. You can't pump gas here, but it makes for an amazing photo opportunity and history lesson.
1 End Your Trip At Santa Monica Pier, California
The "End of the Trail" will take travelers to Santa Monica pier in California. According to the California Historic Route 66 Association, in the past, travelers saw the pier and ventured into the waters of the Pacific as a "traditional" end to Route 66. Today, a large sign on the boardwalk now marks the end of the 2,448-mile trip.