Three years ago, we did a 3 weeks Souhtwest road trip in a jucy. Although it has been quite some time, we have very good memories of that trip. When a friend asked me if I would choose Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon or Miami, I did not hesitate. I’ll choose Las Vegas! Not because of Las Vegas itself, but because all the amazing places you can reach from there, like the Grand Canyon, Zion NP, the Arches NP, the Horseshoe Bend or Antelope Canyon. In the end, my friend is going to fly to Los Angeles and to rent a Jucy as well. I have recommended her to drive from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon via the Route 66. It is not the fastest, but the coolest way. There are a lot of villages (more or less touristy) to stop. There is also a passport in which you collect stamps and at the end, they give you a certificate of having completed Arizona´s Route 66. From all those stops, here are the sites that we liked the most. I have listed as you will find them along the way from LA to Grand Canyon, but we drove the Route66 from the Grand Canyon to LA. It´s also possible to drive a piece of the route if you drive LA to Las Vegas or Las Vegas to Grand Canyon or vice-versa.
Route 66: Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon
Calico Ghost Town
Adults: $8, children 4-11: $5, under 3: free
From Los Angeles 230km / 3h
Calico Ghost town is not really on the route 66, but if you go from LA to Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon is an essential stop. This ghost town is located in the Calico Mountains in the Mojave Desert, California. It was founded in 1881 as a silver mining city. With its 500 mines, Calico produced more than $ 20 million in silver in a span of 12 years. When silver lost its value in the mid-1890s, Calico lost its population. The miners packed their bags, loaded their mules and left, leaving the city that once gave them a good life. It became a “ghost town”..
Calico has been restored, although not all of its buildings are the original ones. Many were demolished and rebuilt in Western movies style. The ones that are still original are Lil’s saloon, the Lucy Lane house, the Smitty gallery, the main store and Joe’s saloon. On a hot day, there’s nothing like sipping an ice cold lemonade on Joe’s terrace.
In addition to wandering around the ghost town, you can visit a mine and the museum, ride the mining train, enter a house with optical illusions and, of course, have a drink and eat in a saloon. With children, it’s, without doubt, a cool plan.
From Calico 265km / 3h
Oatman was our last stop on Route 66 (we drove it the other way, from the Grand Canyon to Los Angeles) and it was the stop that the little one liked the most. This town is an authentic old west city, where “wild” donkeys wander and were you can witness staged shootings. The donkeys aren’t shy, they are used to tourists and eating from your hand. They are the descendants of the donkeys that were dumped when the city ceased to be a mining center.
From Oatman 14km
Cool springs is a restored gas station, which now also has a museum and a gift shop. The Route 66 stretch from Oatman to Cool Spring is one of the most scenic ones.
From Cool Springs 32km
We drove in three days from The Grand Canyon to LA. We spent one night in Kingman and visited the power plant, which now is also the visitor center. Here, we got our certificate of having completed Arizona’s Route 66. We collected the passport to get the stamps in Williams, the first town where we stopped. In this passport, you have the still existing stretches of Route 66 and the places where you need to stop to get a stamp. When you get 7 stamps, you can get the certificate of having completed the route. The truth is that we didn’t seek information beforehand for this section and the passport came in handy. It took showed us the route and the most characteristic places. So, if you have started route 66 from Los Angeles, go to the Kingman visitor center to get your passport.
In Kingman, in addition to the power station, there is a steam locomotive, a railway museum, the Mohave Museum of history and art and vineyards and other tourist attractions.
Hackberry General Store
From Kingman 46km
In hot days, there’s nothing like a stop at the Hackberry General Store for a cold coke. Here, they don’t sell cans but the ¨traditional¨ coca-cola bottles. But Hackberry General Store is perhaps best known for the 1957 red convertible Corvette that is parked at the door.
Hackberry General Store was operated by artist Bob Waldmire, who toured Route 66 in his 1972 orange Volkswagen minibus. Bob was Fillmore’s inspiration in the movie Cars. If you have CARS-lover kids, make sure to stop here and see the real tow mate mater 🙂
Grand Canyon Caverns
From Hackberry General Store 58 km
The Grand Canyon caverns are the largest dry caves in the United States. They are between 200 and 300 feet below the surface and are accessible through an elevator. When we were here, the guided tour had just started and for the next we would have had to wait almost two hours. So in the end, we didn’t visit them. Anyway, the exterior has a gas station with old cars that also remind to CARS.
From Grand Canyon Caverns 40km
Seligman is where the historic Route 66 was born. In 1987, thanks to Angel Delgadillo, The Arizona Route 66 Association was formed. Driving this route became again popular. He converted his barbershop into a gift shop and visitor center. Today you can still see the chair where he used to serve customers. If you want to buy a souvenir from Route 66, you will surely find it here.
The other point of interest in Seligman is Snow cap drive-in. Juan Delgadillo built this drive-in using mainly wood scraps obtained from the Santa Fe railway depot. With a somewhat peculiar decoration and a menu with a touch of humor (there are “hamburgers without ham”, “dead chicken” and “cheeseburger without cheese”) is a place that shouldn’t be skipped from Route 66.
From Seligman 69 km
Williams is the last town on Route 66 before continuing to the Grand Canyon (well it’s the first if you come from the other direction). The truth is that more than a town is a city and like many others, has a historic center with typical Route 66 facades and decoration.
There are several tourist attractions for those who want to spend some time as the Grand Canyon steam train, or Bearizona Drive-Thru Wildlife Park. The tourist office has 66 things to do in Williams. At the time, Liam was ten months. If we were going to Williams now, we would definitely take a ride in the steam train 🙂
Grand Canyon Village
From Williams 96km
The last 96km and you will reach the Grand Canyon. If you get hungry on the way, you can stop at the flintstone bedrock city, a place set in the Flintstones and in which there is also an “amusement park” (entrance costs $5).
I hope this overview gives you a good idea of all the places you can stop when driving from LA to the Grand Canyon via the Route 66. It’s really a fun thing to do and you can decide if you stop in one, two or in all.
Have you driven from LA to the Grand Canyon via the Route 66? If yes, which one was your favourite stop? If not, would you take Route 66?
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