Experience rugged deserts, cowboy towns and the thrills of Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, as you follow 'America's Main Street' to its end in Santa Monica.
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15 days from
(based on 05/06/2015 departure date)
Long journey but we saw and did lots so worth it. Lovely group of fellow travellers and excellent driver (Dwayne) and tour director (Kristen).
Fly to Chicago where you will transfer to your hotel for two nights.
Known as the 'windy city', Chicago is home to the legend of Al Capone and countless jazz and blues clubs. This morning's sightseeing takes you to the heart of this ebullient metropolis on the banks of Lake Michigan. This afternoon there is free time to further explore Chicago, perhaps by climbing the soaring Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) or stroll through Grant Park.
This morning, immerse yourself in Route 66 memorabilia. Visit the Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum in Pontiac, housed in a historic fire station. See the large maps that will sketch out your Route 66 adventure for the coming days, and see the nostalgic photos and postcards from the 'Mother Road's' heyday. Outside the museum, discover some of the outdoor murals depicting Route 66 themes scattered throughout the town centre. Cross the farmlands of Illinois to Springfield, resting place of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th US president. Later this afternoon, spend time exploring Lincoln's home as well as the new state-of-the-art Presidential Library and Museum, a unique museum dedicated to the life and legacy of Springfield's greatest citizen.
This morning cross the mighty Mississippi River and continue to St Louis, located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, and dubbed the 'Gateway to the West'. On your morning tour, visit the towering Gateway Arch and ride to the top of the 630 feet high iconic structure for panoramic views of the city and river. The evening is at leisure.
Travel through Missouri to Branson, one of America's biggest music centres. This evening, why not join our optional dinner and show?
Today, cross the cowboy country of Kansas into Oklahoma, once known as Indian Territory. After visiting the Will Rogers Memorial Museum with its artefacts from the famous cowboy-movie star's life, you'll arrive in Oklahoma City where you might enjoy the attractions of Bricktown, the old warehouse district now a warren of lively shopping, restaurant and nightclub-filled streets.
An intriguing morning's sightseeing awaits, including visits to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum, with its historic Native American and rodeo exhibits, and a recreation of a Wild West town. From here, travel to Clinton, Oklahoma where you will visit the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum, home to vintage cars, neon signs, a 50's diner and drive-in theatre. Your adventure continues through rolling hill country into Texas, and Amarillo, the state's oil capital.
Leaving Amarillo, watch for the Cadillac Ranch sculpture, crafted from real Cadillacs as you travel from New Mexico into Texas and reach Adrian, Route 66's halfway point. After passing through the old Indian town of Tucumcari, continue to Santa Rosa with its iconic Route 66 motels and drive-in grills, and call in at the quirky Route 66 Auto Museum with its 1950's fin-tailed vintage cars. Next, drive to Albuquerque and visit Central Avenue, where many of the original Route 66 buildings and businesses still stand. Next, take a walking tour of this original Spanish town, including a stroll around its quaint Old Town with its fine parish church and Hispanic-style plaza.
There is time to further explore this atmospheric city, or seize the chance to ride the aerial tramway up nearby Sandia Peak Mountain and witness spine-tingling views.
Leave Albuquerque for Acoma Sky City, a 1000 year-old town on a towering sandstone rock. As the oldest continuously inhabited village in the US, it's still populated by the Acoma Pueblo Indians. Cross the Continental Divide to Gallup, the setting for many famous Hollywood films before passing Holbrook's Wigwam Village. On to Winslow, with time to explore its historic downtown district, home to 'the corner' immortalised by The Eagles in 'Take it Easy'. Continue to Flagstaff for an overnight stay.
Today's highlight is a visit to the spectacular Grand Canyon. Leaving Route 66, you'll have time to walk the canyon rim, soaking up the staggering vistas and watching the changing lights on the towering walls of this natural wonder. To truly experience the Canyon's magnificence, join the optional helicopter 'flightseeing' tour with thrilling aerial panoramas. Overnight in the Grand Canyon National Park.
Returning to Route 66, you'll pass through historic Williams, viewing the legendary neon signs of its 1940's Motel Row. Next on to Seligman, home to the rebirth of 66, before deviating from the Route for two nights in Las Vegas.
A day at your leisure to explore this eye-popping, glittering desert city, dubbed 'Sin City' for its myriad of casinos, themed hotels and lavish shows. Don't miss the Fremont Street experience, where a glass atrium enclosing five city blocks comes alive with dazzling sounds and lights. Alternatively, choose from our optional excursions including an exhilarating raft trip along the dramatic Black Canyon.
This morning traverse desert landscapes and the San Bernardino Mountains to Barstow. After stopping at the Route 66 Mother Road Museum, head for Santa Monica, the end of Route 66. Continue on to Los Angeles for two nights.
Savour the 'City of Angels' on your morning tour of glamorous Beverly Hills, Sunset Strip, Hollywood and other legendary sights. The rest of the day is yours to perhaps shop or relax, or perhaps join an optional excursion to the 'Inside Historic Hollywood Tour' and sample the excitement of this revered film district.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK, or extend your stay in Los Angeles.
Maximum elevation on this tour is 6,905 ft.
International Route 66 Mother Road Festival Special Departure
Be a part of the International Route 66 Festival in historic Springfield, where the streets come alive with the rumble of engines from hot cars, cool trucks and vintage motorcycles. There is free live entertainment featuring R&B, Motown and favourite tunes of the 50's and 60's. There are also exhibitors, vendors and dozens of speciality foods.
Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta - 3 October 2014
Be part of the International Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta - the largest in the world! Enjoy a morning and afternoon event, including the unforgettable Mass Ascension where hundreds of hot air balloons take off, turning the sky into a virtual rainbow of colours.
Extend your stay in the world's 'Capital of Glamour'. On day 16 remain at your hotel, for the next two nights before transferring to the airport on day 18 for your flight to the UK.View Details
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