"Since 1926, driving down Route 66 has been the experience of a lifetime for travelers, adventurers, desperados, and dreamers." – Historic Route 66
Route 66 runs from Chicago, Illinois, across the states of Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona all the way to Santa Monica, California. Its two lanes stretch over an expanse of 2,448 miles — that's over 3,900 kilometres! Known as America's Mother Road and the Main Street of America, Route 66 is a piece of living history that we must do our best to keep alive. As the road is unpaved along some stretches, it no longer appears on many modern maps. Route 66 Tours offers a guided experience of the old road so you can take in every mile.
When to visit
When planning a trip as big as a journey along Route 66, you'll want to make sure you're visiting at the right time. Come in the midst of American summer and the road will be unbearably hot. Come in the winter, and some stretches may be closed or impassible due to bad weather. Like Goldilocks' third bowl of porridge, Route 66 in autumn is just right.
Route 66 in Autumn
The fall brings smaller crowds, warmer weather and an air of adventure. In September, children go back to school and parents return to their regular work schedule. This means everyone's back on a routine, and there's less tourist traffic along Route 66. The big traveling months tend to fall during the summertime and around Christmas, so you'd miss holiday tourism by visiting in autumn as well.
Lingering heat from the summer months keeps the road a pleasant temperature. According to Current Results, average temperatures can range from around 50 degrees in the Midwest to up to 70 and 80 degrees as you approach the coast. The crisp autumn air is sure to keep you invigorated and refreshed along your ride. As October transitions into November, the warm weather cools and days begin to get shorter.
Dates to avoid
Although the fall is the best time to visit Route 66, there are specific days and weekends you should aim to avoid.
Labor Day Weekend
Labor Day is the first Monday of September every year and is a national holiday. Americans love to take the long weekend to spend time with their family, often hosting barbecues to send off the summer, heading down to the beach or lake or road tripping. Route 66 is usually pretty busy on Labor Day Weekend, but luckily it comes at the very beginning of September, earlier even than the Autumnal Equinox.
Columbus Day Weekend
Columbus Day, also known as Indigenous People's Day, is in some ways the U.S. equivalent to Australia Day. The day is marked to commemorate the landing of the first European ship on American soil, 12 October 1492. Columbus Day weekend is a three-day weekend, making it a popular time for travel.
Thanksgiving falls on the third Thursday of each year. It is one of the biggest family holidays in American culture, and also a very big time for travel. Although many families use this time to take longer trips – since the weekend can be anywhere from four to six days long – many decide to do smaller-scale road trips instead.
Route 66 Tours' fall trip conveniently falls between Columbus Day Weekend and Thanksgiving, so you won't have to worry about any of the overcrowding concerns.
Guided Tours of Route 66
Route 66 Tours offers a 20-day, Australian-led, guided tour of Route 66. This year, the experience runs from 17 October to 6 November, starting in Chicago and running all the way to Santa Monica before ending in Las Vegas. Tours are customisable by the number of travelers in your group, the mode of transportation you prefer, and the number of rooms and beds your party needs.
Route 66 Tours has decades of guiding and road-tripping experience. We understand that when it comes to Route 66, the journey is the destination, and so we don't rush through any part of the experience. Our tours average fewer than 275 km of travel each day of the trip, and make pit stops along the way with enough time allowed to slow down and take it all in. We even allow for a practice day to get used to driving on the opposite side of the road so you're not preoccupied with the mechanics. Gear up, sit back, and focus entirely enjoying yourself as our knowledgeable and dedicated guides lead you on a journey back in time to the glory days of Route 66.