10 Must See Stops Along Route 66 in California

The golden state of California may be best known for pretty beaches and movie stars, but did you know that along this state’s strip of Route 66 lies some of the oldest, most historic, and wondrous destinations? California is the last stop when traveling east to west along Route 66, so before you end your road trip be sure to check out one of these ten stops.

Bottle Tree Ranch

Located in Helendale, California, Bottle Tree Ranch combines a mixture of “bottle trees”, old road signs, broken rifles, retro toys and more. This attraction is sure to provide a quirky, yet memorable experience to kids and adults alike. This spot is open from dawn until dusk, and donations are welcomed at entry. Come stretch your legs and take a picture of one of the many tree-shaped sculptures made from glass bottles and vintage items.

Calico Ghost Town

Calico produced over $20 million in silver ore from their 500 mines in a 12 year time period. However, the town lost its population when silver’s value declined in the 1890s. When the miners left and abandoned this area, this town became a “ghost town.”  Today Calico Ghost Town features mine tours, gunfight stunt shows, gold panning, the Calico & Odessa Railroad and various merchandise stores.

Amboy Crater

This Amboy Crater is an extinct volcano located 1.5 miles south of Route 66 near the town of Amboy. This volcano is roughly 79,000 years old and its last eruption was about 10,000 years ago. The drive to this spot is absolutely astonishing and offers some of the most amazing scenery. Make sure to bring a camera because the sunsets here are some of the best!


Hollywood has a lot to offer, but when visiting this famous city, be sure to check out Kodak Theatre, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, the iconic Hollywood sign, and the many stars along the walk of fame. Although this area is known for being very touristy, it is easily made justifiable by the amount of things to do, places to see and attractions nearby. If spotting celebrities, joining a guided bus tour of movie stars’ homes or touring
Warner Bros Studios interests you, this stop is for you!

Galco’s Old World Grocery

This attraction is dedicated to the art of soda pop and supporting the various small businesses behind each bubbly bottle. Galco’s Soda Pop Stop features over 700 flavors of pop at its Los Angeles storefront and nationwide thanks to its online shop. There is a rainbow of soda colors, and most of them are in glass bottles.

Wigwam Motel

Built in 1949, this motel is the final of seven Wigwam Motels originally constructed and one of the only three still in existence. This friendly motel features 19 refurbished wigwams, renovated by the Patel family, who were awarded the National Historic Route 66 Federation’s 2005 Cyrus Avery Award due to their efforts in the restoration of this landmark. It is a great example of Americana and makes for the perfect stay in San Bernardino, California.

Original McDonald’s Museum

This McDonald’s restaurant opened in 1940 and changed the face of fast food forever. The location is packed with original menus, news articles and memorabilia. The museum does a wonderful job at documenting the history of such an iconic and loved restaurant. There are also exhibits that represent all corners of the world, displaying thousands of items such as Happy Meal toys and historical artifacts.

Cucamonga Service Station

The Cucamonga Service Station is a historic gas and automobile service station built in 1915 located in Rancho Cucamonga. After closing in the 1970s, it was renovated and reopened as a museum in 2015, making it a worthwhile visit for those who want to get a sense of how much times have changed in the last 100 years. Gas stations definitely aren’t like this anymore!

Route 66 “Mother Road” Museum

This museum is ranked #1 of 17 things to do in Barstow, California. It is home to a large collection of historical artifacts of the “Mother Road” Route 66 and the Mojave Desert communities. Be sure to check out the retro jukebox and gift shop filled with books, DVDs and a wide selection of gifts.

Santa Monica Pier

Where is Route 66 in California? In 2009, the Route 66 Alliance and the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation came together and decided that the end of the iconic pier would be the western terminus of Route 66. It is now marked by a sign that says, “The End of the Trail”, and is a very popular photo location for travelers. This sign is actually a replica of the one that once stood on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Ocean Ave before its
mysterious disappearance 50 years ago.

10 Must See Stops on Route 66 in Arizona

Arizona boasts itself as one of the few states along the historic Route 66 that has several miles of the original roadbeds still open, and the traffic congestion is minimal! A majority of the cities along the way are small, but the largest stop is the city of Flagstaff which is home to roughly 72,000 residents. Check out these 10 fascinating stops that you can make when traveling Route 66 through Arizona!

Petrified Forest National Park

If you are traveling from the starting point in Illinois, the first stop you will want to take is at the Petrified Forest National Park within the Painted Desert. You and your family or friends can stroll through colored badlands that are dotted with logs from millions of years ago. If you are a fan of museums check out the Painted Desert Inn. It used to be a popular stopping point for Route 66 travelers but has since been converted into a museum. A few must-do things are hiking the Blue Mesa Trail, taking in the views at Tawa Point and visiting Newspaper Rock to observe over 600 ancient polygraphs. The Rainbow Forest contains the highest concentration of petrified wood and you will also find the Agate House here.

Little Painted Desert County Park

To get to this little park known as, Little Painted Desert County Park, you have to take a 15 minute detour that is well-worth your time. The Painted Desert is a large range of colorful badlands that go on for over 160 miles from the eastern end of the Grand Canyon to the Petrified Forest National Park. Unlike the Petrified Forest, this park offers a glimpse of this colorful landscape for free. Although there are no designated trails, visitors are free to explore and hike around the park.

Holbrook Wigwam Village Motel

The Wigwam Motels are a chain of motels that were constructed during the 1930s and 1940s. Vintage cars and cozy tipis are the highlights of these structures. Of the seven original locations, two were built along Route 66 in Holbrook and San Bernardino. These two locations and an additional one in Kentucky are the only three that remain and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Do you love the popular Eagles song, “Take It Easy”? Well now you can be like the lyrics and stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona! This famous song is what helped put this old railroad town on the map and there is even a statue to commemorate the song. As you walk down the streets of this town you will feel like you were transported back in time while being in one of the most iconic stops of Route 66. There are several cafes lining the block, and if you want a sandwich and an old-fashioned malt make sure to stop by the Sipp Shoppe.

Two Guns

This is a fascinating yet tragic and obscure attraction along the Route 66 roadside. This ghost town is located at Canyon Diablo, which is the site of the Apache Death Cave. It is rumored that Billy the Kid also hid out in Canyon Diablo and that the money he stole during a train robbery is still buried somewhere within the canyon. When Route 66 began to boom, Two Guns became a popular trading post and the death cave was marketed as a tourist attraction by Harry Miller. As a town rumored to be haunted by ghosts, you won’t go without noticing the eerie feeling in the air while visiting here!

Meteor Crater

Here you will find the best preserved meteor impact site in the entire world. This crater was formed roughly 50,000 years ago and is nearly a mile wide. The discovery center is interactive and is packed with hands-on exhibits and loads of information, but the highlight is the observation deck that overlooks the crater. An interesting fact is that in the 1960s and 1970s, Apollo astronauts actually trained at this sight because of its similarity to lunar craters.


Route 66 runs right through the heart of this town where lots of the nostalgia and charm has been preserved. At the visitor center you can pick up a map for a free Route 66 walking tour and a haunted historic Flagstaff walking tour. You will come across original diners, vintage motor lodges and murals that nod to the original road. As you explore the town you will find many Route 66 landmarks including the Western Hill Motel that looks just as it did when it first opened its doors in the 1950s. Stop by Miz Zips, serving pies since 1952, or if you are a lover of brunch and fun decor, head over to the Toasted Owl.


This is the last Route 66 town that was bypassed by I-40 leaving its main street filled with classic Route 66 souvenir shops, retro diners and neon signs. If you are hungry after a long day of traveling, grab a hearty American breakfast at Jeff’s Place at Goldie’s. While in Williams, make sure to check out Bearizona, which is a drive-through wild animal park. There is also a traditional zoo that you can walk through and see the different animal habitats. This town is also considered the gateway to the Grand Canyon, so if you have the time try spending a day there.


Here you can find the Route 66 shield painted along an open stretch of road and see one of the cities that inspired the movie Cars. Radiator Springs was heavily influenced by various Route 66 towns, but particularly Seligman. If you are a fan of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, you can find one of the featured restaurants here, Roadkill Cafe. Guy Fieri enjoyed the “Buffalo Burger”, which is a very popular menu item for good reason!

Peach Springs

On your way to this town, stop by the Grand Canyon Caverns which are the largest dry caverns in the world. You can also dine 21 stories below the ground at the Caverns Grotto Restaurant. You can even stay at the Grand Canyon Caverns Suite which is the darkest, deepest and oldest motel room in the world. Peach Springs was previously one of the busiest cities along Route 66 between Flagstaff and Kingman. Two notable attractions here are the historic Peach Springs Trading Post and the preserved John Osterman Shell Station.