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Complete Route 66 Self-Drive Tour

26 days from £5,060pp

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Tour highlights

  • Admire the beaches, architecture and nightlife of Chicago.

  • Marvel at the epic scenery of the Grand Canyon.

  • Enjoy a hike through the beautiful Petrified Forest National Park.

  • Experience the excitement and bright lights of Las Vegas.

  • Soak up the atmosphere, relax on the beach or go shopping in Los Angeles.

26 days from £5,060pp

Price includes:

  • Scheduled international flights
  • Fully insured vehicle hire
  • All accommodation
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Travel that's shaped around you

We know that travel has the most meaning when it's created individually for you. Our specialists will only start designing your trip once they understand exactly what you want it to be. So, consider this idea simply as inspiration for your own experience.

Itinerary idea in detail

Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Chicago. On arrival in Chicago make your own way to your downtown hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to settle in. You could relax in Millennium Park and admire its art installations and fountains, visit one of the city's museums or head out to a local pizzeria for your first taste of an authentic Chicago deep dish pizza.

  • This city is the home of the skyscraper and its skyline is widely regarded as one of the three finest in the world by aficionados of this type of building. One of the best vantage points is from the Chicago River, on a boat that cruises between the architectural highlights with a knowledgeable guide.

  • Enjoy a full day at leisure exploring the 'Windy City', Chicago. There's plenty to do in this exciting metropolis; we recommend a trip to the Skydeck at the top of Willis Tower or, for a different view of the city skyline, take a boat trip on Lake Michigan at sunset.

  • This morning marks the start of your 3,945 km (2,451 mile) drive to California. Collect your car which comes fully-covered; road maps and a sat-nav are included. Heading out of Chicago on Route 66, your three and a half hour drive to the pretty city of Springfield, Illinois takes you through grassy farmlands and past small towns that dot the rural landscape. Springfield is Illinois' state capital and was the former residence of Abraham Lincoln. Making an early start allows free time to explore Lincoln's presidential museum, home and final resting place at Oak Ridge Cemetery.

  • On the second day in Springfield it's worth seeking out some Route 66 memorabilia and making time to visit a traditional diner.

  • Departing Springfield, this morning's two-hour drive takes you through rolling farmland and patchwork fields into St. Louis, Missouri. The afternoon is free for you to explore this historic city at leisure. There's plenty to see and do in St. Louis; the famous Gateway Arch represents the city's moniker, the 'Gateway to the West', and the City Museum and Lafayette Square are well worth a visit.

  • There are few more quintessentially American pastimes than baseball, and even if you have a limited understanding of the game, an afternoon spent watching the players limber up, pitch with unerring accuracy and maybe even hit a home run is well worth it. It is also great fun just to sit in the sun, grab a hot dog and a drink and listen to the locals sit and gossip while the organ music plays, before standing to sing 'take me out to the ball game' during the seventh innings. Confusing — yes, but a very enjoyable US experience.

  • Leave the Mississippi River behind and travel along Route 66 through the scenic beauty of the Ozark Mountains. The Ozarks are the second oldest mountains in the world and offer beautiful vistas and great walking opportunities for visitors. Around a four-hour drive from St. Louis is Springfield, Missouri, where you'll stop for the night.

  • The second Springfield of the trip is the less-celebrated, and is not a place that is instantly appealing, but given time it has undeniable charms, not least the fact that overseas visitors are less frequent here, and a foreign accent acts to give you a kind of minor-celebrity status.

  • Today's journey sees you drive almost 483 km (300 miles) west to Oklahoma City — a journey of around five hours. Crossing the state border, you officially enter the American South; the land around you becomes increasingly arid and dusty as you pass through land that was once the haunt of American Indians, later the territory of cowboys and outlaws. On arrival at your hotel, tuck into a hearty meal and put your feet up after your long journey.

  • Today you have a full day at leisure to explore. You may wish to take a stroll around the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, the Botanical Gardens or the vibrant district of Bricktown.

  • Your journey continues for another 418 km (260 miles) west across the state border into Texas to Amarillo. It's on this four and a half hour journey that you'll find some wonderful icons of Route 66, including the National Route 66 Museum, which is home to an array of antique cars, historical artefacts and a replica drive-in theatre.

  • Continue your road trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico; around a four and a half hour drive from Amarillo. You'll be driving through the former hunting ground of the Comanche; now the land of tumbleweed, cattle and cotton of the Texas Panhandle.

  • Enjoy a day at leisure exploring Albuquerque under your own steam. There's plenty to see and do; you may wish to take one of the many hiking trails into the nearby Santa Fe Forest or visit one of the city's excellent art galleries, which are housed in brightly painted adobe huts that line the old town's cobblestone streets.

  • Santa Fe is only just over an hour from Albuquerque, north of Route 66, but it is well worth the detour for its mixture of Spanish colonial architecture, art galleries and vibrant dining scene.

  • The day-long scenic drive through the high deserts and mountain scenery of northern New Mexico to Taos offers the chance to stop at viewpoints, explore small villages and adobe churches.

  • There is plenty to see on your drive into Arizona; you'll pass Petrified Forest National Park, a huge landscape dominated by red, barren vistas of the Painted Desert and thousands of acres of petrified wood. Your destination today is the town of Winslow, which was a thriving town on the Santa Fe Railway and made famous by the Eagles' song 'Take It Easy'.

  • Today's four-hour drive will take you to the Grand Canyon, passing the world's first proven meteor crater en route. You may wish to stop in the town of Flagstaff for lunch, before an afternoon free to explore the canyon.

  • Spend a full day exploring Grand Canyon National Park. You may wish to take a helicopter trip over the canyon, take a hike down into the valley, or simply gaze in awe at the sight of the canyon at sunrise or sunset.

  • Continue your drive west for another 483 km (300 miles) into Nevada. It's worth making an early start as there's lots to see on this five and a half hour journey. Detouring from the main highway at Seligman allows you to travel along the original Route 66, which is peppered with abandoned motels, derelict gas stations, and the outdoor Route 66 Car Museum. Venturing deeper into the desert, you'll have the opportunity to stop at the Hoover Dam, which is located around 56 km (35 miles) south of Las Vegas.

  • Spend a full day at leisure exploring the spectacle that is Las Vegas. Visit one of the many themed casinos, admire the bright lights and take in a show from some of the world's most famous performers.

  • Complete your epic journey with your final 435 km (270 mile) drive to Los Angeles. A journey of around six hours, you'll travel through the Californian desert for much of the day, passing by the Mojave National Preserve; a sweeping desert landscape punctuated by wildflowers and Joshua trees. On arrival in Los Angeles, return your car to the depot and make your own way to your hotel.

  • Enjoy a full day at leisure exploring California's largest city, Los Angeles. This cosmopolitan city offers a diverse range of shops, restaurants and nightlife as well as world-renowned art galleries, beaches and film studios. Don't miss a shopping trip to Beverly Hills, explore the celebrity haunts of Hollywood or just relax on the golden sands of Santa Monica.

  • You'll have driven enough on this trip, so let somebody else take the wheel and take you for a spin around LA in a classic convertible. It's an excellent way to get an insider's perspective on the city and adds a little Hollywood glitz to the LA experience.

  • Enjoy a last morning at leisure in Los Angeles then make your way to the airport in time for your onward flight.

  • Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

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Contact a the USA specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to the USA will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
July is one of the best times to visit
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Springfield, Illinois
St. Louis
Springfield, Missouri
Oklahoma City
Santa Fe
Grand Canyon National Park
Las Vegas
Los Angeles

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