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Spots You Can’t Miss on Route 66!

 We took this particular trip three years ago, but I am still getting questions about it today so I thought I would start my Travel Itinerary Recaps with this one. In my opinion, every family needs to take a big old-fashioned road trip to the Grand Canyon. It is the All-American vacation, and ever since I watched the Brady's take their trip there and saw Cindy and Bobby get lost and eat beans out of an empty flashlight - I had to go.

There is something magical about The Mother Road. There is so much history and mystery to the road and endless stops to explore. Oh, the decades of stories locked permanently into the pavement of Route 66. If only she could tell them. 

In order to get the full experience of the Grand Canyon, one must not fly to get there. The fun of this vacation absolutely starts on the road! There is so much to see! 

In this blog post I am going to recap the awesome stops we took along the way as we traveled Route 66 - from Oklahoma to Arizona.

Route 66 Museum: Elk City, OK

We only made this stop thanks to the massive Route 66 sign in front of the museum. We were eager to get on out of Oklahoma, so I can't vouch for the actual museum - but the sign is a great stop to document a Route 66 road trip! 

The Big Texan Steak Ranch: Amarillo, TX

Try to hit Amarillo by evening, not morning, so you can stop for a nice steak dinner at the Big Texan. (Any George Straight fans out there? Ask me how many times I sang that song that night. You don't want to know.) This place is a must-stop that everyone should experience it at least once in their lifetime. The place is monstrous, and even at that be prepared to wait. They have an enormous gift shop and snack shacks as well, if that gives you any idea just how big this place is. 

They are famous for their 72 oz. steak challenge - where if you finish the massive steak, salad, baked potato, bread & butter, and shrimp cocktail in one hour or less you get your meal free. We got to watch several people attempt the challenge while we were there. No one won. We had the best evening there and we still talk about it today!

Ezra proudly finished his 6 oz. steak and then finished the rest of mine. He's well on his way to the 72 ouncer. One day!

Cadillac Ranch: Amarillo, TX

Route 66 is known for some peculiar stops, and this is certainly one of them! Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation that has been there since 1974. There are 10 Cadillacs buried nose first in the ground and everyone stops by to spray paint them. My (rule-following) sons were very leery of this entire place and I had to promise them about 10 times each that what we were doing wasn't illegal. After their first spray, they were hooked!

What I didn't realize is that it's a lot further out in the field than I expected, so be prepared for a little walk from where you have to park (right off the road). Bring your own spray paint, but if you stop on a whim and don't have any, people were freely handing theirs out to others when they were finished. We also found half-full cans on the ground. This was a super fun spot, and certainly a memory! 

Wigwam Motel: Holbrook, AZ

If your kids are fans of Disney's Cars movies, you have to stop at the Wigwam Motel. Or if you just want to be transported back in time, make this stop. It's as if time stood still when you walk onto the premises, and the classic cars they have parked all over the property only adds to the effect. These unique wigwam motel rooms were built in the 1950's and little has changed since. Something that fascinates me about this motel is that my mom passed them every year when she was a little girl on their annual trip from California to Oklahoma to visit family, always begging her dad to stop and stay in one. I think it's pretty cool that they're pretty much the same now as they were back then, and that my children got to see with their own eyes what their grandma saw at their same ages. 

Though the experience would be one to remember forever, we didn't stay in one. Our travels took us further down the road than Holbrook so we stopped and admired it for a bit and kept on moving. The accommodations look ... interesting to say the least. It would definitely be an adventure! 

Jack Rabbit's Trading Post: Joseph City, AZ

Jack Rabbit's Trading Post is a historical trading post that has been around since 1949. You will see signs for this store for miles and miles before you arrive, and that alone will make you want to stop and see what this place is all about. It's a great spot to get out and stretch your legs and look around. It's a kitschy gift shop with unique souvenirs and snacks. We grabbed a cold beverage (they had a large variety of specialty pop), and snapped some pictures on their famous black rabbit. It's a fun, quick stop! 

Standin' on the Corner Park: Winslow, AZ

If you're a fan of the Eagles, this is a must-see! It's a simple stop in a quaint little town, but it was a lot of fun. This photo-op stop comes from the verse in the popular hit Take It Easy: "Well, I'm a-standin' on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see. It's a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin' down to take a look at me."

If you're driving through, stop to snap a pic. There are plenty of people around to grab a family photo for you! There is a fun "Standing at the Corner" gift shop on the corner across the street selling all kinds of fun trinkets and souvenirs.

Meteor Crater: Winslow, AZ

This is a must see! This meteor crater (known as the Barringer Crater) is a meteorite impact crater that will absolutely blow your mind. The thing is massive. They claim this is the best preserved meteor crater on earth, so if that kind of thing interests you at all (or even if it doesn't, it will by the time you leave), then you must make this stop. There is a museum that you walk through to get to the crater and there is an admission fee, so be sure to plan for that. My boys loved this stop and it spurred on some interesting conversation and research when we got back in the car to continue our drive. 

The Petrified Forest National Park: Near Holbrook, AZ

This stop was one of our absolute favorite stops along the way. It was fascinating and seemed otherworldly. Some parts seem moon-like. It makes for some incredible photos! We spent several hours here, and I wish we would have had even more time. You could easily spend an entire day here - and that's just driving through. There are so many different stops/museums/information centers, if you come here and enjoy learning and reading, allot for a good amount of time to make those stops. If you just want to drive through, you can do it in a couple hours. There is an informational CD you can buy and it tells you all kinds of stuff at each stop. We enjoyed learning along the way!

The petrified wood was amazing to me. Trees that after millions of years turn to stone. It boggles the mind! Definitely a must-see if you're in the area.

So, there you have it - a comprehensive list of our favorite stops on America's Highway along the path of OK to AZ.

I will focus on our Arizona itinerary later this week. We traveled all through the state and there was so much to see and do. Arizona is a true national treasure! 

Stay tuned...! 

I am a modern day homemaker with a passion for family, cooking, celebrating, decorating, travel, and memory making! The Lord has blessed me with the desires of my heart in my husband and our two sons. We recently built our dream home and cultivating a loving and happy haven for my family is where I find so much joy.