Road trips are the best way to get acquainted with America’s vast and varied landscape. While there are many routes to choose from, the legendary Route 66—which runs between Los Angeles, California and Chicago, Illinois—is undoubtedly the most famous. In part one of this post, let’s take a look at some of the sites and attractions you can visit in California, Arizona, and New Mexico on your road trip out west:
Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch – Helendale, California
This peculiar attraction in Helendale, California is the brainchild of Elmer Long, who was left with a sizeable collection of bottles after his father passed away. Long decided to weld the bottles into a colourful tree-like art installation shortly thereafter, and the rest is history! Today, the bottle tree ranch contains over 200 art installations, which make music when the wind passes through them. Quite an impressive site.
Wigwam Villages – Rialto/San Bernadino, California and Holbook, Arizona
Between 1933 and ’49, “Wigwam Villages” started to pop up all over the American landscape. This motel chain featured rooms that took the shape of tepees, providing guests with a truly unique lodging experience on their trips out west. Only three “Wigwam Villages” survive today, two of them being located on Route 66. Make sure to stop in at Wigwam Village #7 in Rialto/San Bernadino, California and Wigwam Village #6 in Holbrook, Arizona to snap a few photos or even plan a stay.
Meteor Crater – Meteor City, Arizona
Did you know that approximately 50,000 years ago, an asteroid travelling at 26,000 miles per hour crashed into the Earth? Meteor Crater in Meteor City, Arizona marks the spot where this collision occurred—and it’s quite a sight to behold! The colossal cavity measures one-mile across, nearly two and a half miles in circumference, and 550 feet (167 metres) deep. Pay a visit to see the crater and to explore the on-site Interactive Discovery Centre.
Tepee Curios – Tucumari, New Mexico
Originally built as a Gulf gas station and grocery store in the 1940s, this little slice of Americana was eventually forced to shut down its pumps to accommodate the widening of the roadway. In its place, the small businesses began selling curios to travellers on Route 66, a tradition which continues today. Stop in and see what souvenir you can find to show all of your friends back home.
As well as the traditional sites and attractions, plan a few side trips to check out awesome summertime festivals happening along the way. The city of Los Angeles will rock out to the FYF Fest in late August, while Chicago will play host to the likes of the Pitchfork Music Festival, Lollapalooza, and the North Coast Music Festival. Stock up on festival clothes and accessories to get you through the sweltering days out in the summertime sunshine.