Route 66 truly is a legendary road. After all, how many highways only end when the sea itself stands in its way?
That's the message the sign at the end of Santa Monica Pier is really communicating. In 2009, the Route 66 Alliance partnered with the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation to dub the boardwalk the new end of Route 66 and erect the famous "End of the Trail" sign looking out over the Pacific.
While Federal Highway rules prevent the road from officially reaching a dead end, the pier has served as the unofficial climax of westbound Route 66 ever since.
So, what about Santa Monica Pier made it seem like the best place for the road to reach its conclusion? Let's find out!
The best fishing spot in Santa Monica
Predating Route 66, the pier was established in 1909 and was the first concrete pier to grace the West Coast. Orginally planned to disguise a sewage pipeline out to the ocean, this waste system was discontinued in the 1920s.
In no time, the pier was declared by the public as the number one spot for fishing in Santa Monica. People told stories of enormous fish that got away – likely referring to giant Black Sea Bass that were frequently caught off the pier.
Today, the pier features multilevel fishing balconies, restrooms, and fish-cleaning tables. You can even get your own gear including poles and bait from the Santa Monica Pier Bait & Tackle Co., conveniently located on the pier.
Of course, for those who prefer to simply observe, the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium lets you get up close with indigenous marine life.
Tonnes of things to do
Pacific Park is the West Coast's only pier-mounted amusement park. You'll likely recognise the iconic sight of its enormous Ferris wheel – the only solar-powered one in the world. A 16.8m tall roller coaster stretches across the water and countless other smaller rides and games are available.
For some timeless joy, why not take a ride on the wooden horses of the Santa Monica Pier Carousel. The ride was built in 1939 in the Looff Hippodrome, which is one of very few structures remaining from the original pier.
Grab your Route 66 souvenirs
Toward the end of your Route 66 tour, make sure to stop by 66-to-Cali. The souvenir shop is dedicated to Route 66 memorabilia, all of which is made in the United States from T-shirts to shot glasses. So, every purchase is strengthening the American economy and supporting true homegrown heritage.
To plan your great American road trip, including Santa Monica Pier and much more, get in touch with the team at Route 66 Tours today!