Route 66 is the ideal road trip destination. From scenic views to colourful history and rugged charm, the Mother Road has it all. Come rain or shine, this highway is always here, but wise travellers know which season speaks to them the most. This storied strip of asphalt can be very different depending on the time of year you visit.
While we’re partial to autumn adventures, the American spring and summer have their pros and cons, too. So, we offer several different seasonal trips from April to November. We’ve crossed winter off the list because some stretches of this time-tested road become impassible under sleet and snow.
To help you decide on the ideal season for navigating the Main Street of America, we’ll discuss how seasonal changes can affect the weather conditions, crowd levels and pricing patterns along Route 66.
Weather conditions along Route 66 throughout the year
Road trips require two things: a spirit of adventure and a watchful eye towards the weather. All the rest of it is negotiable. While mapping out your driving route, you’ll want to account for the various climate zones you’ll encounter along the way.
On Route 66, you’ll start out in the blustery Midwest before approaching blistering deserts in the Southwest, and of course, seasonal variations can play a big role in determining which kinds of weather you encounter.
Don’t let your views of the breathtaking scenery be hindered by the heat or obscured by a sudden rain.
Watch the thermometer
There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind with regard to the temperature along Route 66. First of all, America’s springtime runs from March to May, while June, July and August are summer months. September, October and November are their fall. The Fahrenheit fluctuates accordingly, and the western half of the route gets much hotter than the east.
At first, you may be tempted to trade the chilly Aussie winter weather for summertime in America. We don’t blame you, but keep in kind that as our road trip passes through the Southwest, temperatures will climb. USA Today reported that summer temperatures in New Mexico and Arizona can top 100 degrees Fahrenheit, or 37.8 degrees Celsius.
Also, remember: On our tours, you can ride either on the back of a bike or in the comfort of a car. If you want to keep the air conditioning running, you can!
If you’re looking for a more temperate time to explore the Mother Road, spring and fall are great options. As an added bonus, the autumn colours are truly something to see.
Keep an eye out for rain
Since we don’t offer tours of Route 66 in the winter, we largely avoid having to deal with freezing conditions like ice and snow. Still, we’re bound to encounter at least a few sprinkles during the course of our road trips.
The summer months typically see the heaviest rainfall for certain sections of our journey. According to the Climate Assessment for the Southwest, Arizona and New Mexico see half their rainfall for the year during the summer monsoon months. In the Midwest, rain will occur sporadically throughout the spring, summer and fall.
As long as you’re mindful of road conditions and shifting weather, Route 66 is safe to drive.
Solitude or celebration?
While you won’t have to worry too much about a flood of general traffic along this historic route, tourists still flock to this esteemed stretch of road, and you’re likely to encounter larger crowds at certain times. Additionally, large groups of visitors at specific destinations near Route 66, like the Grand Canyon in Arizona, will be particularly noticeable during certain months.
Make friends on Route 66
Some people are looking to mingle with other thrill-seekers when they set out on a road trip. You won’t find a huge mass of people lining the entire route, but there are many opportunities to mix it up with other travellers.
Skip the crowds and stick with the tour
If you’re more of a lone wolf than a social butterfly, a road trip during the fall might be right for you. Schools in the U.S. have off during the summer, making that a particularly busy travel time. So, the open road of Route 66 might feel a little bit more inviting during the cool, crisp autumn months as this highway meanders through eight different states.
Check the price tag
Here’s the good news: Our prices for a Route 66 tour don’t change from one season to the next. On the other hand, we don’t cover absolutely everything, so you might spend a little bit more if you embark on your road trip during certain times of the year. As we mentioned, since schools are out during the summer, it can be a more in-demand time to travel, with airfare to match.
No matter when you visit, though, we’ll cover a tour of Las Vegas from the back of a stretch limo as we bid you farewell. So don’t concern yourself too much with picking the right time of year for a budget-friendly stop in Sin City. Let your Route 66 road trip plans do the picking for you.
Rain or shine, we’ll be your Route 66 guides
Our all-Australian team knows how to lead a road trip in style. If you’re still uncertain about whether to book a spring, summer or fall tour, don’t worry. We’re ready to help you find the decision that’s right for you, particularly as it pertains to factors like weather patterns, crowds and price points. We also offer express tours in the spring and summer, as well as customisation options. Contact us today for further assistance.