Route 66 is no mere highway. It is the quintessential American road trip. And for legions of domestic as well as international fans this iconic old highway is a destination. It is America’s longest attraction.
Add an event such as Chillin’ on Beale, third Saturday of each month April through October, in historic downtown Kingman, Arizona, to your travel plans and you are assured of blurring the line between past and present. Another way to enhance the sense of time travel that is a Route 66 odyssey is to include a stop at one of the superb auto musuems found along this storied highway between Chicago, Illinois and Santa Monica, California.
Here are my museum recommendations. If any of these museums inspire a road trip, check out the Jim Hinckley’s America website. This travel planning portal is chock full of recommended motels and restaurants. There is also information about events along the Route 66 corridor, reviews of navigation apps, and a lengthy archive of stories about Route 66, the great American road trip, and the dawning of the American auto industry.
– The California Route 66 Museum in Victorville, California. This museum focuses on the westernmost portion of Route 66, and displays a variety of memorabilia and artifacts related to the road and its impact on California. You can see vintage signs, gas pumps, license plates, maps, and some interesting cars for photo opps such as a 1915 Ford Model T.
– The Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. This museum is a must-see for car enthusiasts, as it has over 30 privately owned cars on display, ranging from classics to street rods. You can admire the chrome, the paint jobs, and the engines of these beauties, and learn about their history and owners. There are also an array cars that are for sale. And don’t overlook the parking lot with a ew interesting automotivve relics.
– The New Mexico Route 66 Museum in Tucumcari, New Mexico. This museum offers a unique look into New Mexico’s Route 66 heritage, and showcases the diversity and creativity of the people who lived and traveled along the road. You can see exhibits on Native American culture, Hispanic art, cowboy life, and much, much more. There are also some cars on display that provide a glimpse into Route 66 travel before the era of the interstate highway. While in town check out the museum in the railroad, and the fascinating Mesalands Community College Dinosaur Museum.
– The Pontiac-Oakland Museum in Pontiac, Illinois. This museum is dedicated exclusively to Pontiac and Oakland automobiles. Fittingly it is located near the pictruesque late 19th century courthouse in the historic heart of charming Pontiac. The museum chronicles the history of Pontiac, and its parent company Oakland with displays of cars, promotional materials, neon signs, and time capsule dioramas.
If you enjoy cars, history, automotive history, and road trips, make planes for an adventure on the most famous highway in America, legendary Route 66.