Welcome to the historic Route 66 in Missouri!
Route 66 is a legendary road that has been immortalized in countless books, movies, and songs. This iconic highway, also known as the “Main Street of America,” stretches for over 2,400 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica, passing through Missouri. Missouri is home to some of the most famous and picturesque sections of Route 66, offering visitors a glimpse into America’s past.
This is a guide to exploring Route 66 in Missouri, detailing the best attractions, activities, and sights to see along the way. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or a road trip enthusiast, Route 66 in Missouri has something for everyone.
We’ll start by exploring the history and significance of Route 66 in Missouri, followed by a breakdown of the top attractions and stops along the way. We’ll also offer tips and advice on how to make the most of your trip, including where to eat, sleep, and play. So, buckle up and get ready for a trip down memory lane as we take you on a journey through Route 66 in Missouri.
Route 66 – American history
Route 66 is a historic highway that stretches from Chicago to Santa Monica, covering a distance of over 2,400 miles. It was established in 1926 as a highway that connected rural and urban communities and provided access to new opportunities for travelers. Over the years, Route 66 became a symbol of the American dream, embodying the spirit of adventure, freedom, and exploration.
The highway gained popularity in the 1930s as it served as a primary route for migrants from the Dust Bowl region, who were seeking jobs and better lives in the west. During the 1940s, Route 66 became a vital supply route for the US military during World War II. After the war, the highway played a significant role in the growth of the American car culture and the development of roadside businesses such as motels, diners, and gas stations.
Despite its significance, Route 66 was officially decommissioned in 1985, with most of its sections replaced by the interstate highway system. However, the highway remains an iconic symbol of American history and nostalgia, attracting millions of visitors every year who want to experience the unique culture and charm of the towns and cities along its route.
We will focus on the section of Route 66 that passes through Missouri, highlighting its history, attractions, and must-see destinations. Whether you’re a history buff, a road trip enthusiast, or simply looking for a unique travel experience, Route 66 in Missouri has something to offer for everyone.
Brief overview of the Route 66 in Missouri
Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America, was one of the original highways in the U.S. highway system, stretching from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California. The highway was established in 1926 and played a significant role in American history, serving as a vital route for migration, commerce, and tourism.
Route 66 in Missouri spans over 300 miles, passing through major cities such as St. Louis, Springfield, and Joplin. The highway was a popular route for travelers and played a significant role in the growth and development of Missouri’s economy, particularly during the 1950s and 1960s.
Today, Route 66 in Missouri is a popular destination for tourists and history enthusiasts, offering a glimpse into the past and the iconic landmarks and attractions that once lined the highway. The route is dotted with museums, historic sites, and roadside attractions, providing visitors with a unique travel experience and an opportunity to explore the state’s rich cultural heritage.
In this blog post, we will explore the Route 66 in Missouri, highlighting its significance in American history and providing a comprehensive guide for travelers looking to embark on a road trip along the iconic highway.
Best attractions along the Route 66 in Missouri
Missouri is one of the most popular states to visit on the historic Route 66, also known as the “Main Street of America.” This iconic road spans 2,448 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica, California and passes through eight states, including Missouri. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or just looking for a fun road trip, there’s something for everyone on this iconic highway. Here are some of the top attractions along the Route 66 in Missouri:
- Gateway Arch: Located in St. Louis, the Gateway Arch is a must-see attraction along the Route 66. Standing at 630 feet tall, it is the tallest national monument in the United States. Visitors can take a tram to the top and enjoy stunning views of the city and Mississippi River.
- Meramec Caverns: Located in Stanton, Meramec Caverns is a series of underground caves that offers a unique and fascinating glimpse into Missouri’s geological history. Visitors can take a guided tour through the caverns and learn about the stalagmites, stalactites, and other rock formations.
- Route 66 State Park: Located in Eureka, the Route 66 State Park is a perfect stop for those interested in the history of the highway. The park features a museum that explores the history and impact of the Route 66 in Missouri, as well as hiking trails and picnic areas.
- Ted Drewes Frozen Custard: Located in St. Louis, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard is a beloved institution along the Route 66. Visitors can enjoy a delicious frozen treat while taking in the nostalgic atmosphere of this classic roadside stand.
- Uranus Fudge Factory and General Store: Located in St. Robert, Uranus Fudge Factory and General Store is a quirky and fun stop along the Route 66. Visitors can sample delicious fudge, browse the selection of Route 66 souvenirs, and take a tour of the Uranus Sideshow Museum.
These are just a few of the many exciting attractions along the Route 66 in Missouri. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder that this historic highway continues to be a popular destination for travelers from around the world.
Attractions worth visiting
Missouri is one of the states that Route 66 passes through, and it’s home to some of the most popular attractions along the historic highway. These attractions offer a glimpse into America’s past and showcase the state’s natural beauty, making them worth visiting for anyone traveling along Route 66 in Missouri.
One of the top attractions along Route 66 in Missouri is the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. This iconic landmark stands 630 feet tall and is the tallest man-made monument in the United States. Visitors can take an elevator to the top of the arch for stunning views of the city and the Mississippi River.
Another must-see attraction is Meramec Caverns in Stanton. These limestone caves have been used as a shelter by Native Americans and outlaws throughout history. Today, visitors can take a guided tour of the caverns and learn about their history and geology.
The Route 66 State Park in Eureka is also a popular stop. This park is home to a museum that showcases the history of Route 66 and features exhibits on the highway’s impact on Missouri and the country as a whole. The park also offers hiking trails, picnic areas, and a visitor center.
These attractions are just a few of the many that Route 66 in Missouri has to offer. They provide visitors with an opportunity to learn about American history and appreciate the natural beauty of the state.
Best places to eat and drink along the Route 66 in Missouri
Missouri’s section of Route 66 is home to some of the best eateries in the country, and it’s not just the food that draws visitors; it’s the unique ambiance and historic charm that come with it. Here are some of the top places to eat and drink along the Route 66 in Missouri:
- The Ariston Cafe – Located in Litchfield, Illinois, just over the border from Missouri, this is one of the oldest Route 66 restaurants in the country. The cafe has been serving up classic American fare since 1924 and is a must-visit for anyone traveling along the Route.
- Ted Drewes Frozen Custard – This famous frozen custard stand in St. Louis has been a Route 66 staple for over 80 years. With a wide variety of flavors and toppings, it’s no wonder why it’s become a favorite stop for travelers and locals alike.
- The Rock Cafe – Located in Stroud, Oklahoma, just outside of Missouri, this iconic Route 66 eatery has been serving up delicious burgers, fries, and milkshakes since the 1930s. It’s a popular spot among both locals and tourists, and the building itself has a unique history, having survived both a tornado and a fire.
- The Munger Moss Motel – This iconic motel in Lebanon, Missouri, has been a Route 66 landmark since the 1940s. The motel also has a cafe that serves up classic American fare, and its historic charm makes it a popular spot among Route 66 enthusiasts.
- The Wagon Wheel Motel – This restored motel in Cuba, Missouri, offers visitors a chance to step back in time and experience the charm of a Route 66 roadside motel. The motel also has a cafe that serves up classic diner fare, including some of the best pie you’ll ever taste.
These are just a few of the many fantastic places to eat and drink along the Route 66 in Missouri. Whether you’re looking for classic American diner fare or something a bit more modern, there’s something for everyone along this iconic stretch of highway.
Popular Places among locals and visitors
Route 66 in Missouri is not only famous for its scenic drives and iconic landmarks but also for its delicious and unique cuisine. From classic diners to modern restaurants and bars, there are plenty of places to satisfy your cravings along the way.
One of the must-visit places along Route 66 in Missouri is Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. This St. Louis institution has been serving up creamy, delicious frozen custard for over 90 years. Their signature concretes, which are made by blending toppings into the custard, are a local favorite. Whether you prefer a classic vanilla or something more adventurous like the “Campfire,” which is made with hot fudge, marshmallow, and graham crackers, you won’t be disappointed.
Another iconic dining destination on Route 66 in Missouri is Lambert’s Cafe. Known as the “Home of the Throwed Rolls,” Lambert’s Cafe has been a popular spot for locals and tourists alike since 1942. The restaurant is famous for its generous portions of Southern-style comfort food, including fried chicken, catfish, and homemade rolls that are literally thrown across the dining room.
For a taste of Missouri’s craft beer scene, head to Public House Brewing Company in Rolla. This award-winning brewery and taproom serves up a variety of delicious beers, including their flagship Rod’s Cream Ale and seasonal offerings like the Gose Rider and the Big Creek Coffee Stout. The taproom also offers a full menu of pub food and hosts regular events and live music.
Whether you’re in the mood for something sweet, savory, or hoppy, the restaurants and bars along Route 66 in Missouri are sure to please.
Best places to stay along the Route 66 in Missouri
When traveling along Route 66 in Missouri, there are several great places to stay overnight. Here are some of the best options for accommodation along the way:
- Wagon Wheel Motel: This historic motel in Cuba, Missouri, has been around since the 1930s and offers a nostalgic experience with its retro decor and classic cars parked outside. The motel has been restored to its original state and features modern amenities.
- Boots Court: This motel in Carthage, Missouri, is a restored Route 66 icon that has been operating since the 1930s. The motel offers vintage-themed rooms with modern amenities and a complimentary breakfast.
- Munger Moss Motel: Located in Lebanon, Missouri, this motel has been a Route 66 landmark for over 70 years. The motel features cozy and comfortable rooms with vintage decor, a swimming pool, and a souvenir shop.
- Wagon Wheel Inn: This inn in Cuba, Missouri, is a popular lodging option for Route 66 travelers. The rooms are comfortable and spacious, and there is an on-site restaurant serving home-cooked meals.
- Best Western Route 66 Rail Haven: This hotel in Springfield, Missouri, is a restored Route 66 motel that offers modern amenities and comfortable rooms with a vintage twist. The hotel features a swimming pool, a fitness center, and a complimentary breakfast.
No matter where you choose to stay along the Route 66 in Missouri, you’ll be sure to have a unique and memorable experience.
Top Route 66 hotels and motels
The Route 66 in Missouri has some of the most unique and quirky places to stay, offering a glimpse into the past and a chance to experience the iconic highway in a new way. Here are some of the top hotels and motels along the Route 66 in Missouri.
One of the most famous Route 66 motels in Missouri is the Wagon Wheel Motel, located in Cuba. Built in 1935, this historic motel has been restored to its former glory and is now a popular spot for travelers. The rooms are decorated with vintage furnishings and offer a cozy and nostalgic atmosphere.
Another popular option is the Boots Court Motel in Carthage, which has been a Route 66 icon since it opened in 1939. The motel has been restored to its original style and features classic 1940s and 1950s decor, making it feel like stepping back in time.
For a more modern take on lodging along the Route 66, there’s the Hotel Vandivort in Springfield. This boutique hotel is located in a historic building that has been renovated with a contemporary flair, offering a sleek and stylish place to stay while still providing a nod to the past.
No matter which option you choose, staying at one of these unique and historic hotels or motels along the Route 66 in Missouri is sure to be a memorable experience
Unique and worth staying
Missouri’s Route 66 is dotted with unique and charming lodging options that provide a one-of-a-kind experience for travelers. From retro-style motels to cozy bed and breakfasts, there’s something for everyone along the historic highway.
One of the top places to stay on Route 66 in Missouri is the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba. This classic 1930s motor court has been beautifully restored and offers 14 rooms that are decorated with vintage furnishings and decor. The motel’s neon sign and retro roadside architecture make it a popular spot for photo opportunities.
Another great option is the Boots Court Motel in Carthage. This historic motel was built in 1939 and has been carefully restored to its original Art Deco design. The rooms feature vintage furnishings and decor, and the motel’s neon sign and distinctive architecture make it a popular spot for photographers.
For those looking for a cozy bed and breakfast, the Briar Rose Inn in Eureka Springs is a must-visit. This charming Victorian-style house offers three guest rooms, each with its own unique decor and amenities. The inn’s lush gardens and outdoor seating areas provide a peaceful retreat for guests.
Overall, staying in one of these unique and historic lodgings along the Route 66 in Missouri is a great way to experience the charm and nostalgia of America’s iconic highway.
Best time of year to drive Route 66
Route 66 is a famous road trip destination, and Missouri is no exception. If you’re planning to drive the Route 66 in Missouri, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Firstly, the best time to drive the Route 66 in Missouri is from late spring to early autumn. This is because the weather during this time is pleasant, and you can enjoy the scenic beauty without any hindrances. Additionally, driving during this time of year allows you to take advantage of the many festivals and events that take place along the Route 66 in Missouri.
To plan your trip, start by researching the attractions, restaurants, and accommodations along the way. You can also consult with local travel guides or online resources to find out the best routes to take and the must-visit spots along the way. Be sure to map out your itinerary in advance to make the most of your time on the road.
Another important tip is to be flexible with your plans. While it’s good to have an itinerary, unexpected detours and discoveries can make the trip even more memorable. So, leave some room for spontaneity and explore the less-traveled parts of the Route 66 in Missouri.
Lastly, it’s important to be prepared for the long drives and varying terrains. Make sure your car is in good condition and carry plenty of water, snacks, and other necessities for the road. Also, keep in mind that the speed limit on the Route 66 in Missouri varies from 45 to 70 miles per hour, so adjust your driving accordingly.
Make the most of your Route 66 trip in Missouri and create unforgettable memories along the way.
Tips for navigating the route and making the most of the experience
Driving the Route 66 in Missouri is an unforgettable experience, but it can be daunting for first-time visitors. Here are some tips to help you navigate the route and make the most of your trip:
- Plan your route: While it’s tempting to just hit the road and see where it takes you, it’s a good idea to plan your route ahead of time. Take a look at a map and decide which sections of the route you want to cover, and make note of any attractions, restaurants, or hotels that you want to visit along the way.
- Pack essentials: Don’t forget to pack essentials like water, snacks, and sunscreen. The weather can be unpredictable, so bring layers in case of sudden temperature changes. It’s also a good idea to have a map and GPS system on hand, as some sections of the route may not have reliable cell phone service.
- Take your time: The Route 66 in Missouri is not just about getting from point A to point B. Take your time and stop to appreciate the unique scenery and attractions along the way. Many of the best experiences on the route are off the beaten path, so be open to exploring.
- Connect with locals: Locals are often the best source of information about the route. Strike up a conversation with people you meet along the way, whether it’s at a restaurant, gas station, or attraction. They may have tips for hidden gems that you won’t find in guidebooks.
- Embrace the experience: Driving the Route 66 in Missouri is not just about the destinations, but also about the journey. Embrace the experience and enjoy the sense of freedom and adventure that comes with exploring one of America’s most iconic highways
Visit and experience Route 66 in Missouri!
In conclusion, the Route 66 in Missouri is an iconic and historical road trip that offers a wealth of attractions, dining options, and lodging choices. From the Gateway Arch to Meramec Caverns, there are plenty of sights to see and experiences to be had along the way. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for an adventure, the Route 66 in Missouri has something for everyone.
To make the most of your journey, plan your trip ahead of time, and consider driving during the shoulder seasons for more moderate weather and fewer crowds. Make sure to navigate the route carefully and take the time to stop and explore the small towns and hidden gems along the way.
Don’t miss out on the chance to experience one of America’s most iconic road trips. Come and explore the Route 66 in Missouri, and discover the rich history, culture, and natural beauty that make this part of the country so special.