Drive down America’s most famous highway, Route 66, travelling from Chicago to Los Angeles through incredible natural landscapes, ...
... desert towns and spectacular modern cities. Along the way you’ll stop off at dusty, cactus-filled national parks, take in impressive mountain views and view one of the best preserved meteorite craters in the world.
Some of the highlights included are:
- Drive one of the world’s most famous road trip routes
- Admire far-reaching views of the Grand Canyon
- Try your luck in the casinos of the Las Vegas Strip
- Pose with the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles
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- International flights
- 18 nights in 4–4.5* hotels & hand-picked accommodation
- 16 days' car hire
- One-way fee, payable locally
- Sunset Helicopter Grand Canyon trip
- Airport transfers
Need to know+
- Arrives: Chicago O’Hare International Airport
- Time difference: GMT-5
- Visa requirements: British passport holders require an electronic travel authorisation (ESTA), available online
- Language: English
- Currency: US dollar (USD)
- Flying time from UK: around 9 hours direct
- Plug type: 2 flat pins
- Voltage: 120V
Fly from UK to Chicago
Explore the sights of the Windy City, including the Willis Tower, perhaps better known as the Sears Tower, which is the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere after New York’s One World Trade Center. Visitors can ascend as far as the 103rd floor for far reaching views across the city and Lake Michigan. Chicago is also well-known as a sporty city, so it’s a great place to take in a game, and don’t forget to tuck into a few extra cheesy Chicago deep pan pizzas while you’re here.
At the meeting point of the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers, St Louis is well-known for offering a large number of free attractions, including the Saint Louis Art Museum, the zoo, the history museum and the Science Center, all of which you’ll find within the grounds of pretty Forest Park. You can’t fail to notice the huge silver tower of the scene-stealing Gateway Arch, which at 192 metres high is the world’s tallest arch. Ascend in the uniquely designed lift system, which is similar to a Ferris wheel.
Also in Missouri, Springfield is known as the birthplace of Route 66. Boasting a whopping 102 parks, the city is not short on peaceful spots, and there are also various museums and galleries to keep you entertained. Aside from the Sports Hall of Fame and the Springfield Nature Center, the city’s most popular attraction is the appropriately named Fantastic Cavern, where you can ride a jeep-drawn tram along the path of a dried up underground river and learn about the cave’s former life as a speakeasy.
Continue on to Oklahoma City, the capital of Oklahoma. Here, spend your time browsing the museums, including the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the moving Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum. After all that sightseeing, if you’re feeling peckish, head for Little Saigon, the city’s Asian district, where you can slurp on freshly cooked noodles in one of the many Vietnamese restaurants.
Cross into Texas and stop at Amarillo, a western heritage town and the gateway to the hiking trails and hoodoos (columns of rock) of Palo Duro Canyon, the second largest in the USA after the Grand Canyon. Other than admiring the scenery, you can gape at the strange Cadillac Ranch art installation, which has been moved from its original Route 66 location, as well as the even weirder Ozymandias on the Plains, a huge pair of legs, complete with graffiti socks.
Arrive in the dusty desert town of Albuquerque, a laid-back place where the local dress consists of T shirts and flip flops. Albuquerque receives over 310 sunny days per year so it’s the perfect place to get outdoors and explore the impressive Sandia Mountains and their cactus-lined walking trails. If hiking’s not your thing though, you can always take the Tramway, the longest in the world, whisking you up to the 3,169 Sandia Peak in just 15 minutes. After all that exertion head to one of the many taco shops and indulge in a Mexican flavoured feast.
A popular Route 66 stop-off, mainly for its easy access to nearby natural attractions, Holbrook is filled with hotels and tempting eateries. Most visitors come to view the 50,000-year-old, 0.8-mile wide Barringer Meteor Crater, one of the best preserved examples of a meteorite crater anywhere in the world. Holbrook is also the gateway to the Petrified Forest National Park, where you can observe geology at work on the preserved trees, and follow the trails on horseback or on foot.
Drive on to the mighty Grand Canyon, one of the world’s most impressive natural wonders. Walk from viewpoint to viewpoint along the rim, drive the scenic routes and stop to admire the wonderful views of the jagged cliffs and dramatic rock formations below. In summer, it’s possible to white-water raft on the Colorado River, while at night be sure to look up at the blanket of twinkling stars that fills the night sky.
Get ready to Viva Las Vegas! Take an unforgettable sunset helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon and touch down among the cliffs for Champagne before flying back over the famous Vegas night lights.
Finish with the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles, a vibrant and lively metropolis home to many a celebrity. Here you can pose with the Hollywood sign, walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame and check out the hand and foot prints at the Chinese Theatre. Browse the artworks on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art or view the mammoths and sabre toothed cats at the La Brea Tar Pits. If you’d prefer to relax, simply chill out on Venice Beach and watch the skateboarders zipping past.
Depart Los Angeles and return to the UK
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