I love road trips. I don’t care the destination, I just love to get in the car and go. When I was little my Dad and I would go for rides in the car. I always asked him where we were going and his response was, ” we are going to follow the radiator!”
I have never been a big fan of the interstate. I live in Denver now and will always choose to avoid the interstate. I enjoy looking at the homes, stores and restaurants, for me it is a way to really know the flavor of the neighborhood.
My clients love me driving them around so that they can get a feel for the area that they want to live in. Keep me in mind when you are looking to buy or sell a property! Denverneverstopsmoving.com
If you are planning a road trip across the country, Roadtrippers put together one that looks pretty cool. Here you go!
If you’ve driven along Old Route 66, then a lot of the driving you’re doing will be along present-day Interstate 40. Connecting Barstow, CA to Wilmington, NC, much of the Western portion overlaps what was once the Mother Road. These days, it’s part of a much larger highway that connects the western half of the country with the eastern half, via Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee. Passing through major cities like Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City Little Rock, Memphis, and Nashville, it’s a great route to take when touring some of the interesting spots across the South as well. With that, here are some of the coolest, must-see stops along I-40!
Barstow is a small town that oozes kitschy Old Route 66 vibes! Spend some time exploring the town’s Route 66 ‘Mother Road’ Museum or the Western American Rail Road Museum, or stock up on snacks and souvenirs at Barstow Station, a massive rest stop.
Ghost towns are dotted all across the west, and Calico is one of the cutest! It’s been super well-preserved, and is now more of a tourist attraction than an authentic historic stop, but with the museums, shops, restaurants, train rides, and restored buildings, it’s a fun little stop with tons to do. There’s even a campground here, if you’re looking for a place to stay the night!
36600 Ghost Town Rd, Yermo, CA, US
Calico Ghost Town
For a taste of the authentic desert landscape you’ve been driving through on I-40, stop at the Mojave National Preserve. Scrubby plants, multicolored rocks and stark, stony earth provide a unique view. The Mojave is especially breathtaking at sunset and sunrise, and if you plan on hiking here, remember to be careful of the heat and lack of shade!
90942 Kelso Cima Rd, Barstow, CA, US
Mojave National Preserve
Don’t expect to top off your tank here (the gas pumps, while beautifully restored, don’t actually work) but make a pit stop at Cool Springs Gas Station because it’s an authentic Route 66 icon. There’s a museum and souvenir shop inside the building, and it’s touching to see how much time and effort was put into restoring this once-abandoned gem of the Mother Road!
Old Route 66, Golden Valley, AZ, US
Cool Springs Gas Station
A little further down the road, you’ll find another retro stop: Delgadilloas Snow Cap Drive-In. The restaurant was built out of scrap material, which gave it a funky, quirky look. It’s grown quite a bit since its early days, but it still serves up delicious burgers, burritos and a healthy dose of kitsch! Chat with the waitresses; they have tons of inside knowledge about Seligman and Route 66.
301 E Chino Ave, Seligman, AZ, US
Delgadillos Snow Cap Drive-in
Surrounded by National Forests and designated Wilderness areas, Flagstaff is an oasis of natural beauty that can give you the comforts of a big city. Check out the Museum of Northern Arizona during the day and the Lowell Observatory come nightfall. Grab dinner at Diablo Burger if you’re craving fresh food as a respite from all the fast food you normally eat on road trips. And, if you’re in search of hotels in Flagstaff, the city provides tons of options. The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff features a gorgeous setting in a pine forest, and the Starlight Pines Bed and Breakfast will make you feel like royalty with the clawfoot tubs, private balconies, delicious breakfasts and comfy beds.
Flagstaff, Arizona, United States
Just outside Flagstaff is one of the weirdest attractions in the west: Meteor Crater. The impact crater formed from a meteor that hit Earth thousands of years ago is unbelievably massive– and the mile-wide hole in the ground is topped with a visitor center that features a museum, videos, and a killer observation deck.
I 40 Exit 233, Winslow, AZ, US
PO Box 2217 or 1 Park Road, AZ, US
Petrified Forest National Park
Eventually, I-40 will take you to Albuquerque. Famous for its balloon festival and association with the cult TV show “Breaking Bad”, this town has loads of artsy Southwestern charm. Visit the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, grab a bite to eat at Perea’s New Mexican Restaurant, and tuck in for the night at the Nativo Lodge… or just drive past Walter White’s house on your way through! As for hotels in Albuquerque, there are some cool options. Hotel Parq Central is an old hospital turned sleek hotel, Hotel Cascada has a waterpark onsite, and the Casas de Suenos let you rent your own private cottage right in Old Town!
Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
If you’re looking for a place to cool off while driving through the desert, then you won’t find a better spot than the Blue Hole of Santa Rosa. The crystal-clear and deeply blue water is super cool and refreshing. Jump off the rocks into the pool, scuba dive to the bottom, or just dip your toes in and soak up the natural beauty of the setting!
Route 66, Santa Rosa, NM, US
Blue Hole of Santa Rosa
924 E Tucumcari Blvd, Tucumcari, NM, US
Tee Pee Curios
Interstate 40 Frontage Road, Amarillo, TX, US
Welcome to Amarillo, TX! This town in Texas’s panhandle is a great place to experience the Lone Star State, since I-40 only passes through a small portion of it. Home to the kitschy Big Texan Steak Ranch and authentic Tyler’s BBQ, it’s got some good eats. You’ll also find the vintage Wonderland Amusement Park, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum here! There are some great hotels in Amarillo, too. The Courtyard in Downtown Amarillo is in a historic building with a great location, and the Ashmore Inn and Suites is incredibly relaxing, with a nice pool and gazebos where you can watch the sun set!
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is a beautiful place to stretch your legs. There are several trails that traverse the bottom of the canyon and take you to the top for more lovely views. The camping in the canyon is excellent as well… and the stargazing is unbeatable!
11450 Park Road 5, Canyon, TX, US
Palo Duro Canyon State Park
101 E. 12th Street, Shamrock, TX, US
Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Café
3000 Logan Road, Weatherford, OK, US
Stafford Air & Space Museum