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End of Route 66: A Legendary Road Trip to Santa Monica, California

End of Route 66

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End of Route 66 is in Santa Monica

Welcome, fellow road warriors and adventure enthusiasts, to the ultimate journey through time and American history! Today, we’re embarking on an epic road trip to the end of the road, the final stretch of the iconic Route 66 in Santa Monica, California. Buckle up and get ready for an unforgettable ride as we explore the history, attractions, and hidden gems along the way.


The Birth of Route 66: A Brief History

Unveiling the Legend of Route 66

Before we hit the open road, let’s take a quick trip back in time to understand the origins of Route 66. 

Route 66, often referred to as the “Main Street of America” or the “Mother Road,” holds a rich and fascinating history that has left an indelible mark on American culture and the way we perceive road trips. Let’s delve deeper into the history of this iconic highway:

The Birth of Route 66

Route 66 was established on November 11, 1926, as one of the original U.S. highways in the American highway system. It was conceived to connect the rural and urban areas of the United States, providing a vital link between the Midwest and the West Coast. The highway initially stretched from Chicago, Illinois, and the end of route 66 is in Santa Monica, California, covering approximately 2,448 miles.

A Road of Dreams During the Great Depression

The late 1920s and early 1930s saw Route 66 become a beacon of hope during the Great Depression. It provided jobs for thousands of unemployed Americans as it was constructed and paved, offering a glimmer of economic stability in the midst of hardship.

Migration on the Mother Road

During the Dust Bowl era and the Great Depression, thousands of families packed up their belongings and headed west along Route 66 in search of a better life in California. This mass migration became the subject of John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath,” which immortalized the struggles and aspirations of those who journeyed along the Mother Road.

Route 66 in Popular Culture

Route 66 captured the American imagination, becoming an icon of freedom and adventure. It was romanticized in literature, films, and songs. Nat King Cole, Bobby Troup, and Chuck Berry are just a few of the musicians who penned famous tunes inspired by this legendary highway.

The Decline and Resurgence of Route 66

The completion of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s marked the beginning of the decline of Route 66 as a major thoroughfare. Modern, faster highways diverted traffic away from the old route, leading to the closure of many businesses along its path. In 1985, Route 66 was officially decommissioned as a U.S. highway.

However, the story doesn’t end there. A revival of interest in preserving and celebrating Route 66 began in the late 20th century. Communities along the route have worked tirelessly to restore landmarks, roadside attractions, and historic motels. Route 66 has experienced a resurgence in popularity as a symbol of nostalgia and a connection to America’s past.

Route 66 Today: A Road of Adventure and Discovery

Today, Route 66 serves as a historic byway, inviting travelers from around the world to embark on a journey through time. It’s a road where you can explore charming small towns, classic diners, vintage gas stations, and roadside oddities. The highway’s enduring appeal lies in its ability to connect us to the spirit of the American road trip, reminding us of the adventures that await just around the bend.

So, whether you’re planning a cross-country road trip or simply yearning for a taste of Americana, Route 66 stands as a testament to the enduring allure of the open road and the stories woven into its pavement.


Preparing for the Journey: Gearing Up with Treads Tires

Why Treads Tires are Your Trusted Travel Companion

Before you roll out, it’s crucial to make sure your trusty steed is ready for the adventure. At Treads Tires, we understand the importance of reliable rubber beneath your wheels. Our top-notch tires are designed for long journeys, ensuring safety and performance throughout your road trip. So, make sure your vehicle is equipped with the best, and let’s hit the road!

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The Route: From Chicago to Santa Monica

The Adventure Begins: Chicago to St. Louis

Our journey to the end of Route 66 starts in Chicago, Illinois. As we venture westward, you’ll witness the changing landscapes and experience the heart of America. From the bustling streets of Chicago to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, your Route 66 adventure is off to a fantastic start.


Exploring Quirky Stops Along the Way

Route 66 Attractions: More Than Meets the Eye

Route 66 is more than just a road; it’s a collection of quirky roadside attractions and unique experiences. Get your cameras ready as we visit places like the Cadillac Ranch in Texas, the Blue Whale of Catoosa in Oklahoma, and the Wigwam Motel in Arizona. Each stop along the route is a snapshot of American culture and history.


Cruising the California Coast: A Breathtaking Journey

End of Route 66: Santa Monica, California

As we approach the final leg of our journey, the anticipation builds. The California coastline comes into view, and the ocean breeze welcomes us to the Golden State. Santa Monica, known for its palm-lined beaches and iconic pier, marks the end of our legendary Route 66 adventure.

California Coast in Santa Monica at the End of Route 66

Santa Monica: A Haven of Fun and Sun

Santa Monica Pier: Where the Road Ends and Fun Begins

We’ve finally made it! Santa Monica Pier, the official end of Route 66, is our ultimate destination. Here, you can soak up the sun, stroll along the sandy shores, and ride the famous Ferris wheel. Don’t forget to snap a photo at the “End of the Trail” sign, marking the culmination of our cross-country journey.

Pacific Pier at Pacific Park- the End of Route 66


Savoring Local Flavors: Santa Monica Eateries

Route 66 Culinary Delights

No road trip is complete without indulging in the local cuisine. When you reach the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica, you’ll find a tantalizing array of dining options along the iconic Santa Monica Pier. Whether you crave classic seafood delights with a Pacific Ocean view, mouthwatering beachside burgers, or international cuisine, the pier has it all. Savor freshly caught fish and chips at the end of Route 66, indulge in gourmet tacos with a seaside breeze, or opt for classic American fare while soaking in the pier’s vibrant atmosphere. These culinary experiences add a delicious finale to your journey at the end of Route 66, leaving your taste buds satisfied and your memories enriched.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. at Santa Monica Pier at the End of Route 66


Exploring the Santa Monica Pier: Where Route 66 Finds Its End

The Santa Monica Pier is not just a mere endpoint; it’s a destination that encapsulates the essence of the American road trip, and it holds a special place in the hearts of travelers completing their journey at the end of Route 66. Stretching out into the Pacific Ocean, this historic pier is a vibrant playground of nostalgia, entertainment, and seaside charm.

End of Route 66 in Santa Monica

Historical Significance

The Santa Monica Pier has been an integral part of Southern California’s history since its inception in 1909. Originally built as a municipal pier for public access to the ocean, it quickly evolved into a hub of amusement and entertainment. Over the years, it has weathered storms, witnessed Hollywood history, and become an enduring symbol of Santa Monica’s cultural heritage.

Amusement Park Delights

One of the standout features of the Santa Monica Pier is the Pacific Park amusement park, complete with a colorful Ferris wheel, thrilling roller coaster, and classic carnival games. The Ferris wheel, in particular, offers panoramic views of the coastline and the glittering Pacific Ocean, making it a must-visit attraction for those arriving at the end of Route 66.

Amusement Park and Ferris Wheel at Pacific Park at the End of Route 66

Entertainment Galore

Live entertainment is a staple at the Santa Monica Pier. From street performers and musicians to special events and concerts, there’s always something happening here. The pier’s iconic carousel, featuring hand-painted horses and a historic organ, is another delightful attraction that harks back to a bygone era.

Dining with a View

As we previously mentioned, for those craving a taste of the sea, numerous seafood restaurants line the pier, offering fresh catches and spectacular oceanfront dining. Enjoy a meal with a view, and you’ll not only savor delicious cuisine but also create lasting memories of your visit to the end of Route 66.

Mariasol Restaurant at Santa Monica Pier

Dinner with a View at Mariasol Restaurant at Santa Monica Pier- the End of Route 66

Endless Sunset Strolls

The Santa Monica Pier is an ideal place to unwind and take in the breathtaking California sunsets. As the sun dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the Pacific, you’ll understand why so many travelers make this their final stop on the iconic Route 66 journey.

In essence, the Santa Monica Pier serves as the perfect conclusion to the adventure of Route 66. Its history, amusements, oceanfront dining, and scenic beauty offer a fitting tribute to the spirit of exploration and discovery that defines this legendary highway. It’s not just the end of a road; it’s the beginning of unforgettable memories.

Sunset Stroll at Santa Monica Pier- the End of Route 66

The End of Route 66: Santa Monica’s Symbolic Culmination

The selection of Santa Monica as the ending point for Route 66 was a strategic and symbolic choice that has deep historical significance. When the route was established in 1926, the decision to conclude it at the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, California, was driven by several factors.

Firstly, the idea of ending Route 66 at the Pacific Ocean symbolized the idea of the American Dream and westward expansion. The highway served as a crucial link between the heartland of America in the Midwest and the promise of a better life on the West Coast. Santa Monica’s beautiful beaches and breathtaking ocean views epitomized the allure of the California dream.

Secondly, Santa Monica offered practical benefits as well. It was already a popular tourist destination in the early 20th century, known for its mild climate and scenic beauty. The Santa Monica Pier, with its amusement rides and entertainment, provided a lively and appealing conclusion to the long journey along Route 66.

Furthermore, Santa Monica’s proximity to Los Angeles, a major urban center, made it a convenient and logical terminus for the highway. Travelers arriving at the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica could easily access the cultural and economic opportunities of the city.

In essence, Santa Monica was chosen as the ending point for Route 66 not only for its picturesque location but also for its symbolic representation of the American spirit of adventure, hope, and the pursuit of dreams. Today, as travelers reach the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica, they continue to experience the magic of this historic route and the promise of new horizons.

Significance of the End of Route 66 in Santa Monica


The End of One Journey, the Beginning of Many Memories

As our tires roll to a stop on Santa Monica’s sandy shores, we reflect on the incredible journey we’ve had along Route 66. This iconic road trip is not just about reaching the end; it’s about the memories, experiences, and stories that you’ve collected along the way. The end of Route 66 is just the beginning of a lifetime of adventures.

At Treads, we’re honored to be a part of your journey, ensuring you have the best tires for the road ahead. So, whether you’re planning your own Route 66 adventure or embarking on a different road trip, remember that the open road is calling, and Treads will be there to guide you on your way. Safe travels, road warriors!

As you set out on your own Route 66 adventure, remember to embrace the spirit of the open road, explore the roadside attractions, and soak in the history and culture of this legendary highway. And, of course, make sure your trusty vehicle is equipped with a Treads Tire Subscription to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey to the end of Route 66 in Santa Monica, California. Happy travels!

Iconic journey to the End of Route 66 in Santa Monica / Pacific Pier


Let’s Connect!

Let us know what experiences you’ve had on the legendary Route 66 or if you’ve made it to the end of Route 66! We’d also love to hear about any experiences you have had with your Treads tire subscription. Connect with us on our socials: Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. We want your 🚙 🛞 stories! 

Also for more information about a Treads Tire Subscription download the Treads App in the App Store or in Google Play and live chat with a team member with any questions you may have. We are always happy to help!

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