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Get your kicks on Route 66 in Missouri

Missouri is home to a significant section of the “Mother Road” and features some of Route 66's most historic tourist attractions.

Gay Parita Sinclair Station is a replican Sinclair station on Route 66
Gary’s Gay Parita, Everton (Credit: Missouri Division of Tourism)

Route 66 is one of the most famous highways in the United States. Missouri is home to more than 280 miles (450km) of the “Mother Road” and features some of the Route’s most historic tourist attractions. As you travel Route 66, we recommend taking the “scenic route” and spending a few days to cover a handful of the things to do on Route 66 in Missouri. Begin your journey from St. Louis, one of the most popular cities on Route 66.

Day 1

Morning

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard Since 1929

A St. Louis tradition on Old Route 66 since 1929. Known for specialty “concrete” shakes so thick you can turn them upside down, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard is a must-taste food while you travel Route 66. Journey back in time when you order from the walk-up window and enjoy a “concrete” shake outside in the summertime. No inside seating.

Old Chain of Rocks Bridge

Spanning the Mississippi River, the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge is the world’s longest pedestrian and bicycle-only bridge. Park your car on the Illinois side and enter Missouri by bicycle or foot across this historic piece of Route 66. This bridge is located just north of St. Louis.

National Museum of Transportation

The Museum of Transportation has “one of the largest and best collections of transportation vehicles in the world,” according to the Smithsonian Institution. Fittingly positioned along Route 66, the Museum of Transportation is one of many historic things to do on Route 66. Spend an afternoon learning about the vehicles and other modes of transportation used to travel Route 66 in years past.

Afternoon

Meramec Caverns

Meramec Caverns is the largest commercial cave in the state of Missouri. Well-trained rangers can accommodate groups of any size, making the Caverns a must-see outdoor destination for families & groups. As you travel Route 66, pull off for a day to explore the caves and see a hideout once used by outlaw Jesse James.

Meramec Caverns Restaurant

Enjoy home-style cooking, soups and sandwiches from Memorial Day through Labor Day or pop into the snack bar, with 28 flavors of ice cream, open daily, March to December.

Route 66 State Park

Located along the original Route 66 corridor, the nearly 419-acre (170 hectare) park is a boon to visitors who want to enjoy nature and see interesting displays showcasing Route 66.

Cuba Missouri’s Historical Murals

In 2002, Cuba was designated the “Route 66 Mural City” by the Missouri legislature, solidifying it as a must-see destination as you travel Route 66 through Missouri.

Evening

Route 66 Rocker

In September 2008, the Guinness Book of World Records awarded Dan and Carolyn Sanazaro’s 42-foot-tall steel rocker the designation of World’s Largest Rocking Chair. The chair sits adjacent to the Fanning Route 66 Outpost, about 4 miles (6km) from Cuba.

Wagon Wheel Motel

Stay the night at Wagon Wheel Motel, a Route 66 destination since 1934. The completely remodeled motel features modern amenities, including WiFi and flat-screen TVs.

Day 2

Starting from Cuba, Mo., continue your great American road trip by heading west on Route 66 to see everything from picturesque courthouses to re-creations of Old Route 66 filling stations. Explore the Route 66 museum, quaint bed & breakfasts, wineries and more as you make one of the great American road trips.

Morning

St. James Winery

Is it ever too early to sip wine? We won’t judge, and your friends at St. James Winery won’t either. Hey, they’ve got juice, too, so enjoy the free, self-serve tasting bar. There are 32 varieties of wine and juice. Wine cellar tours are offered hourly on Saturday and Sunday; other days by reservation.

Stonehenge Replica

This half-scale replica of Stonehenge was created using water-jet technology at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Wooden Railroad Trestle Bridge

Built in 1941 to bring building supplies to Fort Leonard Wood. Stop at the scenic overlook from Teardrop Road, and then continue east to Trophy Lane and turn left to the old trestle bridge and journey back in time to see why Route 66 has become one of the great American road trips.

Afternoon

Route 66 Museum

Take a self-guided tour of this museum, which features recreations of a 1950s gas station and a classic diner, along with displays of antique cars, a collection of Route 66 books, magazines and videos. It’s the perfect place to add a history lesson to your Route 66 trip.

Dowd’s Catfish and BBQ

Dowd’s Catfish and BBQ offers award-winning Southern fried catfish, barbecue, steaks, seafood, burgers, sandwiches, and salads.

Gary’s Gay Parita

This recreation of a 1930 Sinclair gas station takes you for a journey in time. The site includes a replica station, along with original pumps and other memorabilia from the heyday of Route 66.

Jordan Valley Park

Route 66 was born in Springfield (it was here where the highway officially was named) and today, a section of the highway borders Jordan Valley Park. Take a break from driving and stretch your legs, while enjoying open spaces and water features; any kiddos in your group will enjoy the playgrounds.

Evening

Jasper County Courthouse

Enjoy an evening stroll (and wonderful photo opportunities) around this magnificent courthouse. Built in 1894-95, this Romanesque Revival building is constructed of Carthage stone and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Jasper County Courthouse is said to be the second-most-photographed building in the state of Missouri.

Grand Falls

It’s a little bit off the Route 66 path, but a trip to Grand Falls, on Shoal Creek, is worth the trek. One of Missouri’s most scenic destinations, it’s the largest, continuously flowing natural waterfall in Missouri, plunging 25 feet.

Creekside Cottage Bed and Breakfast

End your great American road trip on Route 66 with a secluded getaway at Creekside Cottage. This rustic and comfortable cottage is located beside Shoal Creek, 3 miles (5km) from Joplin. Fix breakfast at your own pace and on your schedule the next morning; you’ll find all the fixings in the fridge.