Route 66, also going by the names of Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America and Mother Road, is one of the original highways of the United States transport system and one of the most iconic road-trips in the world.
Covering almost 2,500 miles and stretching across the entire country, there are limitless local delights and unique attractions to be found along the route, not to mention the colorful characters that inhabit the towns along the way. Entertainment is never-ending along Route 66 but here are 10 of the more unusual places to stop and stretch your tired legs.
10 Fantastic Caverns, Missouri
Located nearby to Springfield, Missouri which is locally known as the birthplace of Route 66, the Fantastic Caverns are a great place to get acquainted with the iconic cross-country jaunt. Here you can ride on a Jeep-drawn tram that journeys through an underground cave that once hosted concerts in secret speakeasies.
There is also a surprisingly fantastic organic food scene here and a love of craft beer that may make it difficult to stick to the originally planned driving schedule. They aren’t called the Fantastic Caverns for nothing!
9 Standin' on the Corner in Winslow, Arizona
Road-trippers have the joy of jumping right into the lyrics of a classic Eagles song in Winslow, with the town fully embracing the famous stanza ‘standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona, such a fine sight to see.'
Visit a park on the most famous corner in Arizona and see a flat-bed Ford truck and wonder if your sweet love is gonna save you while taking it easy. A mural here brings the song to life beautifully and is a must for all Eagles fans.
8 The Amboy Shoe Tree, California
If you find yourself in California and need to shed a very specific amount of weight from your luggage, the Amboy Shoe Tree is the place to visit. The only tree in sight as you roll into the town, the unusual decorations adorning it will take most unexpecting adventurers by surprise.
The tamarisk tree on the roadside is fully-laden with the footwear of hundreds of travelers that have gone before. Your own sacrifice will be graciously accepted by the wooden warrior, just make sure you have another pair for your onward journey.
7 Cucamonga Service Station, California
Stopping for gas is not normally viewed as one of the attractions on a road-trip, but Cucamonga Service Station in California changes all that. It transports visitors into a time gone by and shows what it would have been like for drivers of the past to attempt the iconic Route 66.
One of the last remaining gas stations holding onto the classic architecture of the 30s and 40s, there is also a museum attached and several photo opportunities for the interested tourist. You don’t even need to be low on fuel to stop here, just do it for the experience.
6 Meteor Crater, Arizona
Route 66 is home to many things and perhaps one of the more unusual is the world’s largest preserved meteor crater. A stop in Flagstaff, Arizona will allow access to this mammoth crater measuring 2.4 miles across and a crazy 550 feet in depth.
The fact that this hole in the ground is in the same state as the Grand Canyon and still manages to hold its own as a tourist destination is testament to its majesty. There are plenty of information sources here that will reveal the amazing history of the crater to all who are interested.
5 Elmer's Bottle Tree Ranch, California
Another tree bearing unusual fruit, this Route 66 institution is riddled with bottles of all shapes, sizes, colors and materials. This is actually a collection of trees, all combining to form the Bottle Tree Ranch and it has steadily grown as a tourist destination over the years.
It is the life’s work of Elmer Long, who is simply continuing the bottle collection efforts that his father undertook during his lifetime. It wasn’t until the year 2000 that Elmer mounted the collections on trees but some of the bottles are decades old and still hold some of the magic from when they were first collected.
4 The World's Largest Totem Pole, Oklahoma
Perhaps unexpectedly, Oklahoma is home to some of the most beautiful totem poles in America, including the world’s largest concrete totem creation. This particular totem pole is supported by a massive turtle and draws visitors from all over the country and indeed the world.
Adjacent to the totem garden created by Ed Galloway many years ago is his 11-sided fiddle house that is an architectural marvel and contains a wonderful museum that perfectly depicts the unusual history of the area.
3 The Singing Road, Albuquerque
Originally born of a National Geographic television show that crafted experiments designed to change social behavior, the singing road in Albuquerque is a truly unusual attraction that has to be heard to be believed.
When driven over at 45-miles per hour, rumble strips on this section of Route 66 belt out the patriotic tune ‘America the Beautiful.’ The goal of the rhythmical road is to help focus drivers on the task at hand, requiring a vehicle to be traveling at the exact speed limit to work correctly.
2 The Polk-a-Dot Drive In, Illinois
There isn’t much that is more American than cruising along Route 66 and pulling into a drive-in diner. The Polka-a-Dot Drive-In is in Braidwood, Illinois and transports travelers straight back to the 50’s with their classic menu of burgers, fries and shakes alongside the bottomless coffee that diners are famous for.
Home to endless old-American memorabilia including likenesses of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, Betty Boop and others, this diner is not only a great place to get a feed, it is the perfect place to remind drivers why they have undertaken such a momentous journey.
1 Cadillac Ranch, Texas
As you roll through Amarillo, Texas you may think you see a strange mirage on the side of the road. Colorful cars sticking out of the dirt in an otherwise empty cow paddock. It is in fact not a figment of your imagination however, Cadillac Ranch is a very real place.
First created in 1974 and arranged to mirror the placement of Egypt’s Great Pyramids, today travelers can spot off an add their own flair to the scene thanks to the graffiti tools provided at the bizarre roadside attraction.