10 stops along Route 66 between Kingman and Los Angeles
If you're planning a road trip to the US west coast, you simply must drive the iconic Route 66, also known as the Mother Road and the Main Street of America because, back in the day, all secondary roads converged there.
Discover 10 must-see stops along the way!
Map of the 10 stops
Although the stretch of Route 66 from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon may be more popular, this is where you will find the historical heart of Route 66.
#1. MR D’Z ROUTE 66 DINER
Start your day on the right foot with breakfast at an old-fashioned American diner, where time seems to have stood still since the 1960s.
It doesn't get more typical than this!
#2. POWERHOUSE ROUTE 66 MUSEUM
After breakfast, pay a visit to the Route 66 Museum, which depicts the historical evolution of travel along the mythical road through paintings, life-size dioramas, photos, and other creations.
The museum is located in a hundred-year-old building called the Powerhouse.
Back in the day, the building powered many mines in the region, and also supplied power for the construction of Hoover Dam, on the Colorado River.
If you have any questions, this is your chance, as the building also houses an Arizona Visitor Information Centre.
#3. COOL SPRINGS STATION
Built in the mid-1920s, this service station was an important stop for motorists in the early days of Route 66.
It was completely destroyed by fire in the 1960s.
For the next quarter of a century, it was just a crumbling stone relic.
The building was completely rebuilt in 2001.
Today it houses a gift shop selling all kinds of Route 66 souvenirs and memorabilia.
Next, set a course for the ghost town of Oatman!
Along the way, you'll drive through the most beautiful, but also the most hair-raising, stretch of the Mother Road.
The landscapes in this area are simply magnificent.
#4. SITGREAVES PASS
7 km before Oatman, you will cross the famous Sitgreaves Pass, which rises to an elevation of 1,080 m.
The pass is peppered with many small crosses, similar to those found in a cemetery.
They are memorials for the deceased (even pets!), whose ashes have been scattered here.
#5. VILLAGE OF OATMAN
Continue on to the tourist village, which was a bustling town and home to thousands of miners during the Gold Rush Era.
Today the town has less than 130 inhabitants, but it welcomes more than 500,000 tourists each year and boasts souvenir shops, a hotel, restaurants and more.
During your visit, you're sure to see some of the famous wild burros, descendants of the beasts of burden brought to the area by prospectors in days gone by.
Now it's time to head for Newberry Springs.
If the name of the town doesn't ring a bell, its main attraction, the Bagdad Cafe, probably does!
#6. ROY’S MOTEL & CAFÉ
Along the way, make a stop at Roy’s Motel & Café, open since 1938.
While the place is an historical landmark in its own right, the real reason to stop at Roy’s is the Route 66 sign painted on the road.
As there are only a few of them left, this is your chance to take one of the most iconic photos of your trip to the American West.
Park your car at the gas station, and watch out for passing vehicles during your photo session!
#7. BAGDAD CAFE
Once you've taken your photo, drive another 92 kilometres, during which you won't see much except for desert scenery.
An hour later, you'll reach the Bagdad Cafe, the famous cafe from the Percy Adlon film of the same name.
The cafe used to be called the Sidewinder Cafe and was renamed seven years after the film's release. The film was particularly popular in France, where it won a César Award for Best Foreign Film.
Today, French tourists make up 70% of the restaurant's business, and allow the establishment to survive.
In fact, the walls, ceiling and upright piano are covered with notes, photos, postcards, business cards and other mementos from passing travellers.
While you're there, why not have a coffee and a bite to eat.
A few kilometres past the Bagdad Café, take a short detour off Route 66 to visit one of the most popular ghost towns on the American West Coast.
#8. CALICO GHOST TOWN
Founded in 1881, the former mining town of Calico had more 500 silver mines in its heyday.
A few years later, when the price of silver dropped, the population quickly declined.
The town was completely abandoned by 1907, then purchased and restored in the 1950s to turn it into a Wild West themed tourist site.
For an entrance fee, it is possible to visit a restoration worthy of the greatest American westerns, and several period buildings.
It is definitely one of the top 5 ghost towns in the USA.
It's time for a final 3-hour drive to Santa Monica, a luxury seaside resort town just west of downtown Los Angeles.
#9. SANTA MONICA PIER
The very lively Santa Monica Pier marks the official end point of the legendary Route 66.
There you will find the iconic "66 - End of the Trail" sign.
Afterwards, get comfy on the beach and watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
#10. PACIFIC PARK
In the evening, make your way to Pacific Park, Santa Monica's famous amusement park.
It's a typically American way to end the day on a high note!
And there you go!
What other must-see stops would you add to this list?
Don't hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments below.