Route 66

If you’re looking for great displays of neon signs, mom-and-pop motels in the middle of nowhere, or kitschy Americana, do as the song says and “get your kicks on Route 66.”


The Show-Me State

The State Seal of Missouri.

Missouri State Seal

The Ozark Highlands of southern Missouri, which Route 66 crosses in its 300-odd-mile journey between Illinois and Kansas, are about the only significant hills the road crosses east of the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico. This plateau region, though not by any means alpine or breathtaking, is visually dynamic in a way the broad flatlands of Illinois or Oklahoma rarely are.

Though the I-44 freeway has replaced the old road all the way across the state, there are many signs of older alignments, and just about every Interstate exit drops you within a moment’s drive of the Mother Road. Missouri also holds some great old motels and one of the greatest of the old Route 66 tourist attractions—Meramec Caverns, an extensive set of limestone caves offering the most over-the-top underground tour you can take.

Map of Route 66 through Missouri.

Map of Route 66 through Missouri.