Taking Route 66 with Kids

Road trips aren’t a new thing for our family. Heck, the drive home from the hospital after the birth of our first child was practically a road trip. Our kids are well traveled and able to handle time on the road quite well – of course we have our secrets like the iPad and some of their favorite toys, but even without these things they are still pretty great (for kids!).

First I have to say that I think planning is everything for a road trip. Planning is important when you have kids no matter where you go. We are lucky with Route 66 in its design – it is easy to navigate and you will always know where you’re going. You wont be confined to a GPS as any map will suffice. Its well signposted and just an exciting drive all up, and one we wanted to do for a while.

We chose Route 66 mainly due to its history – this interested us more than the kids but there is so much to see that it worked out well for all of us.

Planning for us involved several things. Besides for our regular things to pack when traveling with babies, we considered the following:

Car Seats

Our kids are still young and so after reading some reviews we chose the best convertible car seat we could find. As the kids grow we are hoping to be able to squeeze the life out of the car seat and use it until we no longer need one. Here’s hoping!


We knew we would need a good supply of snacks to keep the kids occupied (and us). We decided to go to Walmart beforehand to stock up. It was cheap to buy a few things and it meant that no matter where we found ourselves we were prepared. Although we are usually health freaks, we decided it to let the kids pick out a few snacks thinking it would help with the drive. I think it worked.


Although there is no spots over 200 miles without a gas station, this was too much in my opinion. Being the over thinker that I am, I decided to stock up. I brought with us a gallon of gas so that on the off chance if we needed to go a few extra miles, we would be able to.

Car Hire

We do not live in Chicago, and since we wanted to go the entire distance, we decided on hiring a car. This allowed us to fly to Chicago, pick up a hire car, drive it the distance of Route 66 and drop it off at Santa Monica. This turned out to be a great option for us and would definitely recommend it to make the most of the experience. I can image it would be tough to drive back after driving all the way there, and because we knew we wouldn’t see the sites again on the way back, we fully appreciated them when we could.

So how was it? We loved it.  The recommended time to allow is 2 weeksIt really was eyeopening to see places of our beautiful country that I had never seen before, and it made me want to explore it even more. The kids loved it too and it was a great way to bond. In total, it took us 3 weeks. to see the most popular cities, but we wanted to see more and to really make the most of the time together.

What were out favorite parts?

New Mexico

New Mexico was a favorite for us mainly due to the historical elements. There were so many small towns scattered around that were just so different than what I had imagined. Tucumcari was a favorite of mine specially. The landscape and weather were perfect.


The east of our country has one of the most sensational landscapes. Petrified Forest National Park was amazing and a huge contrast to the some of the luscious greenery we are used to. The kids really enjoyed this area and we ended up staying 2 days here.


I was actually quite eager to get back to Oklahoma after my last trip there – although that was without kids. It is interesting how your perspective changes when you have kids. We found so many kid friendly attractions that this city turned out to be a favorite for them. The zoo was excellent and the food even better.

Our thoughts

We had a fantastic time traveling Route 66 and would definitely recommend it to families with young kids. It is easy to navigate and you can take as long as you like. We loved the flexibility. We had no prior booking and if we enjoyed an area then we would stay an extra night.

The one thing I would say is be prepared. With the right gear you are sure to have a great time.

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