Route 66 Festivals and Events

Route 66 Day Trip Ideas

The "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico

The length of the Mother Road is typically stated as 2,448 miles; the distance changed over the years as new alignments were added. It IS a long way from Chicago to Santa Monica, California!

This question "how long does it take" is asked often ... but it is difficult to answer. Total time to drive the route, assuming no stops, is in the 32-38 hour range. But we would never recommend doing that.

We like to take it slow, remain flexible, stop to visit attractions, and catch all those great photo ops on The Mother Road! As an example, on our recent road trip in 2023 on Route 66 in Oklahoma, Google Maps estimated travel time on our trip from Tulsa to Joplin, Missouri, to be 1:45 ... but in actuality, it took us 8 hours!

Travelers often break up their journey into day trips, and drive only a limited number of miles in a day. They plan their Route 66 road trips by how many miles, and how long it will take to cover a relatively small distance on their day trip.

As travelers plan their Route 66 road trips, it is important to have ideas of how long it will take to traverse different segments of the Mother Road. Included below is a listing of popular day trip itineraries with approximate mileages.

Note that the mileages listed are estimations, and actual miles and driving time will vary depending on which Route 66 alignments are of interest. Over the years and decades, the length of Route 66 varied as new segments were added and older alignments eliminated. In certain areas, multiple alignments can still be driven.

Route 66 Day Trip Itinerary/Highlights
Approximate Mileage

Route 66: Chicago to Bloomington-Normal Illinois
Lou Mitchell's, Polk-A-Dot Cafe, Ambler/Becker station, Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, Route 66 Memory Lane, Sprague's Super Service


Route 66: Bloomington-Normal to Springfield Illinois
Paul Bunyon statue, Lincoln Heritage Museum, Lincoln Presidential Museum, Cozy Dog Drive-In, Motorheads


Route 66: Springfield to St. Louis
Route 66 Experience at the Illinois State Fair Grounds, red brick road near Auburn, Turkey Tracks, Litchfield Museum, Ariston Cafe, Soulsby's Shell Service Station, Henry's Rabbit Ranch Station, Pink Elephant Antique Mall, Old Chain of Rocks Bridge


Route 66: St. Louis to Lebanon Missouri
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, Route 66 State Park, Meramec Caverns, Murals in Cuba, Wagon Wheel Motel, Devil's Elbow, Gasconade River Bridge, Munger Moss Motel


Route 66: Lebanon to Joplin Missouri to Kansas
Lebanon Route 66 Museum, Museum on the Square in Springfield, Spencer 66 Station, Gary Parita Sinclair Filling Station, 66 Drive-In, Mural Park in Joplin, Boots Court


Route 66: Kansas Road Trip
Luigi's Pit Stop, Cars on the Route, Eisler Brothers Old Riverton Store, Rainbow Curve Bridge, Baxter Springs Heritage Center & Museum


Route 66: Commerce to Tulsa, Oklahoma
Ribbon Road, Blue Whale of Catoosa, Totem Pole Park, Will Rogers Memorial Museum, Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza


Route 66: Tulsa to Oklahoma City
Route 66 Historical Village, Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum, Rock Cafe in Stroud, Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum, Threatt Filling Station and Family Farm, Arcadia Round Barn


Route 66: Oklahoma City to Texas
Milk Bottle Grocery, Murals in Yukon, The Pony Bridge, Lucille's Service Station, Oklahoma Heartland Museum, Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, National Route 66 Museum


Route 66: Shamrock to Amarillo, Texas
Pioneer West Museum, Tower Station & U-Drop Inn Cafe, Vintage Phillips 66 Service Station in McLean, Texas Route 66 Museum, Devil's Rope Museum, Volkswagen Slug Bug Ranch


Route 66: Amarillo thru Glenrio to Tumcumcari
Historic 6th Street District in Amarillo, The Big Texan, Cadillac Ranch, Milburn-Price Culture Museum in Vega, Midpoint of Route 66 in Adrian, Glenrio ghost town

New Mexico

Route 66: Tucumcari to Santa Fe New Mexico
Blue Swallow Motel, Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa, The Blue Hole, 1926 alignment to Santa Fe


Route 66: Santa Fe thru Albuquerque to Gallup NM
San Miguel Mission, Palace of the Governors, Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Central Avenue in Albuquerque, Rio Puerco Bridge, Budville, Route 66 Arch in Grants, Continental Divide, Hotel El Rancho on Gallup


Route 66: Holbrook to Flagstaff AZ
Petrified Forest & Painted Desert, Wigwam Village #6, Jack Rabbit Trading Post in Joseph City, Standin on the Corner in Winslow, La Posada Hotel


Route 66: Flagstaff to Seligman and Kingman
Flagstaff Visitor Center, Historic Williams, Angel & Vilma's Gift Shop in Seligman, Snow Cap Drive-In, Hackberry General Store, Powerhouse Museum


Route 66: Needles to Barstow California
Amboy Crater, Roy's Motel & Cafe, Bagdad Cafe, Ludlow Cafe, Route 66 Mother Road Museum


Route 66: Barstow to Santa Monica
Bottle Tree Ranch, California Route 66 Museum in Victorville, Cajon Pass, Wigwam Village #7 in San Bernardino, The Original McDonald's, Cucamonga Service Station, California Street Bridge, Ending Point of Route 66 in Santa Monica


List of Route 66 Mileage by State (1926 Alignment)

State - Miles

Illinois - 301
Missouri - 317
Kansas - 13
Oklahoma - 432
Texas - 186
New Mexico - 487
Arizona - 401
California - 314

TOTAL - 2,448 Miles

It's time to stop for a "selfie"!
The arch in Grants, New Mexico on Route 66
The arch in Grants, New Mexico on Historic Route 66 ... a great place to stop for a "selfie"!