Cozy Dog in Springfield, Illinois
Photograph by Werner Krug Photography
Route 66 was commissioned in 1926 to link Chicago to Los Angeles, a distance of 2,440 miles. It was updated and realigned over the years, but parts of the historic route can still be traveled.
Pictured here: The family-run Cozy Dog Drive In has been serving corn dogs, or what they call hot dogs on a stick, in Lincoln's hometown since the '40s.
Chain of Rocks Bridge, Illinois-Missouri Border
Photograph by Alan Copson, Getty Images
Why make the drive across the Mississippi into Missouri when you can walk or bike it? The Chain of Rock Bridge, built in 1929, has a unique 22-degree angle partway across. It's now open only to pedestrians and cyclists.
Meramec Caverns, Missouri
Photograph by Michael Szönyi, Alamy
Advertised by painted barn tops along Route 66 (and I-44), the 4.6-mile Meramec Caverns has lured road-trippers since 1935. Much ado is made about Jesse James supposedly hiding out here.
Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, Missouri
Photograph by Gordon Radford Photography
A traditional auto court, the Munger Moss Motel has been in business on Route 66 since 1946. The motel even has special Route 66 theme rooms.
Brady District in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Photograph by Rachel Coward
Across the tracks from downtown Tulsa, the revitalized Brady District gives the best sense of Tulsa's Route 66 era. You can catch a show at the ever present Cain's Ballroom, where Bob Wills housed his Western Swing in the '30s.
Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma
Photograph by Walter Bibikow, Corbis Images
The Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma, counts a gleaming 1957 Chevy among its treasures. The museum promises a "personal journey through the history of the nation's most revered highway."
Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Texas
Photograph by Holger Leue, LOOK Die Bildagentur der Fotografen GmbH/Alamy
Detour about 30 miles southeast of Amarillo, Texas, and you'll find the Lone Star State's "grand canyon" in Palo Duro Canyon State Park. The grasslands drop 800 feet at the 120-mile-long canyon.
Meteor Crater, Arizona
Photograph by Danita Delimont, Alamy
About 50,000 years ago, a meteor about half the size of a football field crashed here, leaving a nearly mile-wide crater you can tour on a guided hike.
Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico
Photograph by Car Culture, Getty Images
In Tucumcari, New Mexico, the historic coral-and-sky-blue Blue Swallow Motel, a 12-unit place with a cozy courtyard, still promises "100% Refrigerated Air."
Hackberry General Store in Hackberry, Arizona
Photograph by DanieleC, Alamy
The Hackberry General Store is a makeshift Americana museum that includes a wall mural of Route 66 and a ceiling's worth of donated license plates.
Photograph by Schimmelpfennig, Premium Stock Photography GmbH/Alamy
In the Old West town of Oatman, tourists can buy burro pellets and carrots to feed the descendants of miners' burros, which wander into town every day looking for a snack.
Wigwam Motel in Rialto, California
Photograph by David Zaitz, Alamy
Just past San Bernardino, as the cityscape takes over, this kid-friendly motel is the best of the three remaining "wigwam" motels that appeared in the '30s, '40s, and '50s. Each concrete room is well kept up and faces a palm-dotted lawn with a pool.
Will Rogers State Historic Park, Los Angeles
Photograph by Arcaid Images, Alamy
A plaque for the Will Rogers Highway in Santa Monica's Palisades Park marks Route 66's unofficial end. The plaque pays tributes to Rogers, an Oklahoma native who found fame via the Mother Road. At the nearby Will Rogers State Historic Park, you can tour his ranch, pictured here.
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