ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Vacation on Missouri's Route 66: St. Louis to Springfield

Updated on April 30, 2019
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has 30 years experience in medicine, psychology, STEM instruction, history; and aerospace education for USAF Civil Air Patrol.

Pacific MO on Route 66 displays "St. Peters Sandstone" formations.
Pacific MO on Route 66 displays "St. Peters Sandstone" formations.

Historic American Roads Come to Life

Route 66 is a favorite historic highway in the USA, extending from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California in full force for 60 years from 1926 – 1985.

By the mid-1980s, the American Superhighway had displaced much of Route 66, making many parts impassible because of lack of maintenance. Businesses along Route 66 had closed and traffic had died down with drivers taking I-70, I-44, and I-40 westward in its place.

Refurbishing the Mother Road

Parts of Old Route 66 and newer “alignments” that are newer roads built in parallel with Old 66 remained open. A movement to restore the entire length of highway began and as of 2010, much of the Mother Road was open again.

Author Tom Snyder founded the US Route 66 Association and published a collection of official guidebooks for traveling the road across all of its passable sections. Old and new sections of Route 66 wrap around parts of I-44, running roughly parallel.

Bobby Troup Plays Route 66 on the Julie London Show

Bobby Troup wrote Route 66 and helped to write the Guidebooks for the Route with Tom Snyder. You may remember Bobby as Dr. Early in the TV series Emergency, with wife July London as nurse Dixie McCall.

Route 66 Reconstruction

My favorite section of Route 66 is across Missouri, From St. Louis and its suburbs like St. Peters. to Springfield and smaller towns in between. This is the Ozarks Region and has always seemed mystic, because of the rumors, ghost stories, and legends found in this region. It serves the state well in October holidays celebration of Halloween and alternatives along road.

Missouri is known for its grape harvests and along Route 66, you will find fruit stands at the side of the road selling them, especially in the St. James Area. A good set of day trips to cover 2 or 3 days in Missouri along Route 66 include the following towns in the lists accompanied by maps.

The better route driven to reach these communities is actually I-44, although many parts of Route 66 weave around it under local or county road names or along roads running parallel to the old impassable parts. Historic US Route 66 signs should be posted all along the way to help travelers find the correct turns. Descriptions of driving on the nearly-impassable parts of Route 66 are found in the mystery anthology Murder on Route 66.

Chain of Rocks Bridge at the eastern end of the Mother Road. Today, this is a pedestrian-only bridge and on the National Register of Historic Places.
Chain of Rocks Bridge at the eastern end of the Mother Road. Today, this is a pedestrian-only bridge and on the National Register of Historic Places.

St. Louis to Stanton MO

A
Chain of Rocks Bridge MO:
Chain of Rocks Bridge, St Louis, MO 63137, USA

get directions

B
Kirkwood MO:
Kirkwood, MO, USA

get directions

C
Eureka MO:
Eureka, MO, USA

get directions

D
Pacific MO:
Pacific, MO, USA

get directions

E
Gray Summit MO:
Gray Summit, MO, USA

get directions

F
Stanton MO:
Stanton, Meramec, MO 63080, USA

get directions

St. Louis to Stanton

This is my favorite part of a driving tour through Missouri.

  • Chain of Rocks Bridge: Route 66 was built from east across the Mississippi River to St. Louis on a bridge with a bend in it necessitated by other structures nearby. The original bridge is a footbridge now and fun to walk along.
  • St. Louis: Among many attractions, Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Gateway Arch is another here along the Mississippi Riverfront, with museums and national historic buildings. Between the legs of the Arch you'll find the underground Museum of Western Expansion. Nearby are the Eads Bridge, the historic courthouse, Kiener Plaza, Laclede's Landing, the Old Cathedral, the art deco ship SS Admiral, and the entrance to the St. Louis Riverfront Trail. One the way out of town and westward, you will find several shopping malls.
  • Kirkwood: A registered historic railroad depot, the Missouri Pacific Depot is located here. The National Museum of Transport is also in this locale.
  • Eureka: Route 66 State Park. The Visitor's Center and Museum is located near the entrance, which was formerly a location called Times Beach. Six Flags Over Mid-America amusement park is also here.
  • Pacific: National Historic Places include the Red Cedar Inn.
  • Gray Summit: From Eureka to Gray Summit and around this region, the State of Missouri built the first Route 66 Park in the nation. It offers greenspace, picnicking, and bike/hike trails with Missouri River access among over 400 acres of land. The Henry Shaw Nature Center is in this locale and a scenic overlook in the park is located at Pacific.
  • Stanton: Meramec Caverns and Meramec State Park. During the 1950s, Art Linkletter’s TV show matched couples up by using the UNIVAC computer. In exchange for the match, their wedding and a honeymoon, a young couple agreed to spend some time each day in the Meramec Caverns dressed as a caveman and cavewoman. As tourists walked by their hideaway in the cave, they came running out, him chasing her, yelling, and scaring the guests. It was a haunted cave for several days and many tourists began laughing after the initial shock. I heard about this on a tour of the caverns and have always remembered it. One cave contains a shallow lake that looks very deep, but it is illuminated with colorful lights and when a recording of Kate Smith singing God Bless America plays, a light show entertains the guests. You might also want to visit the Jesse James Wax Museum, commemorating the legends that Jesse and his gang hid in the caves.

Art Linkletter asked a couple matched by the UNIVAC Computer, and who married as a result, to spend their honeymoon in the Meramec Caverns, where they entertained guests as cave people.
Art Linkletter asked a couple matched by the UNIVAC Computer, and who married as a result, to spend their honeymoon in the Meramec Caverns, where they entertained guests as cave people. | Source

Sullivan to Arlington MO

A
Sullivan MO:
Sullivan, MO, USA

get directions

B
Bourbon MO:
Bourbon, MO 65441, USA

get directions

C
Cuba MO:
Cuba, MO 65453, USA

get directions

D
St. James MO:
St James, MO 65559, USA

get directions

E
Rolla MO:
Rolla, MO, USA

get directions

F
Doolittle MO:
Doolittle, MO, USA

get directions

G
Arlington MO:
Arlington, MO 65550, USA

get directions

Sullivan to Arlington

  • Sullivan: Architecture and old cemeteries make interesting sightseeing and places for doing tombstone rubbings. The Shamrock Court is all hand-cut Ozark stone.
  • Bourbon: The main street of Bourbon is the actual Route 66, although it may be marked Business I-44. The town's water tower is a particular landmark.
  • Cuba and Fanning: Cuba is known as the Route 66 Mural City for its many outdoor murals, including one of Betty Davis by a local artist. A famous attraction here is the historic Wagon Wheel Motel and another is an old Phillips 66 service station. At Fanningf, youcan see the World's Largest Rocking Chair at 42 feet tall.
  • St. Jame: Grape country is especially productive here for table (eating) grapes. Much of Missouri produces excellent wine grapes. Several wineries are located in nearby Rosati.
  • Rolla: Route 66 Motors features vintage cars out front. Historic buildings and stores are great sightseeing venues. The University of Missouri branch here even has Stonehange (see photo above). A mule trading post is also fun to visit.
  • Doolittle: This town honors Captain Jimmy Doolittle of WWII in the Pacific Theater. He was also a well-known airplane race champion. John's Modern Cabins is a site that contains remnants of individual log cabins in its old motor court.
  • Arlington: Beginning in Arlington, a side route carries travelers to Big Piney River to find Devil’s Elbow, a curve in Route 66 lined with bluffs above the river. Arlington offers historic builds and an old resort called Stoneydell.

Stonehenge on the U of M at Rolla.
Stonehenge on the U of M at Rolla.

Hooker to Springfield MO

A
Hooker MO:
Hooker, MO 65550, USA

get directions

B
Waynesville MO:
Waynesville, MO, USA

get directions

C
Lebanon MO:
Lebanon, MO 65536, USA

get directions

D
Marshfield MO:
Marshfield, MO 65706, USA

get directions

E
Springfield MO:
Springfield, MO, USA

get directions

Hooker to Springfield

Along this portion of the route, family-friendly sights and retail establishements are several and travelers can see trading posts, historic bridges, and small picturesque towns between the stops.

  • Hooker: Hooker and Hooker's Cut are uninhabited places that make up a beautiful yet dangerous section of Route 66, containing a river bend known as Devil's Elbow curve. Route 66 was improved to a 4-lane divided highway in 1981, but fell into disuse. The official Bluffs and Outlook above the river are under good maintenance and considered a state-recognized scenic area. Some military museums lie between here and Waynesville.
  • Waynesville: This town has a historic stagecoach stop and buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. A rock frog named W.H.Croaker stands on a hill to the north and an annual Frog Fest is held in the middle of May. An entrance to Fort Leonard Wood is found near this town as well.
  • Lebanon: The Munger Moss Motel with bright neon sign and Sandwich Shop are now the Elbow Inn, still a sightseeing place as well as a motel. Between here and Springfield, Route 66 veers far to the east from I-44, but is drivable. The local library hosts a Route 66 Museum.
  • Marshfield: Buena Vista’s Exotic Animal Paradise is a family-oriented venue and the town has a few historic buildings.
  • Springfield: Several preserved buildings and historic Route 66 signs are located here. Dozens of native Ozark stone buildings and underground warehouses are located in Springfield, along with many old motor courts, stores, trading posts, markets, churches, and service stations. National historic places are practically innumerable.The Shrine Mosque (turned into a concert venue) is included, as well as Central Square where Wild Bill Hickock killed a poker opponent over a gold watch. Controversy fills some historical and media sources about this incident shooting, and many feel that it took place in Kansas City, on either the Kansas or Missouri sides of the double-city. Elvis Presley played the Shrine Mosque twice and always swore he'd come back, so it's a place for Elvis-spotters.

Route 66 in Entertainment and Documentaries

Route 66: 75th Anniversary Collector's DVD Set
Route 66: 75th Anniversary Collector's DVD Set
This is my favorite video visit to Route 66. The 75th Anniversary collector's set contains "Route Return to the Road with Martin Milner"; "Route An American Odyssey"; "Drive The Guide to taking a Trip", and "Greetings From Route A Video Postcard". This is great fun to view and good preparation for travel.
 
TV show from the 1950s in Springfield MO. Today Branson MO, to the south challenges the Nashville music industry.
TV show from the 1950s in Springfield MO. Today Branson MO, to the south challenges the Nashville music industry.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Patty Inglish MS

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://corp.maven.io/privacy-policy

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)