9 Best Things To Do on Route 66 in New Mexico

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9 Best Things To Do on Route 66 in New Mexico

Route 66 is one of the most iconic road trip routes in the United States. Starting in Illinois and ending in California, the Mother Road takes you through over 2,400 miles of classic Americana.

Today we’re diving into the best things to do on Route 66 in New Mexico. Route 66 runs through New Mexico in the northern half of the state, paralleling Interstate 40 for most of the way.

There is no shortage of cool things to see and do on Route 66 in New Mexico, so let’s get started:

Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa

Price: $5.00/person

Why You’ll Love It: James “Bozo” Cordova has been restoring and rebuilding classical vehicles for over 40 years. With his family, they have built a world-renowned business for everyone to enjoy. Come on in and check out all the history within the walls, not only in the vintage vehicles, but also in the Route 66 memorabilia gathered here. With a snack bar and boutique on-site, you’ll be sure to find everything for all your senses.

Address: 2436 Historic Route 66, Santa Rosa, NM 88435

What’s the Word: Gracie A. on Facebook states, “Fantastic!  I was delighted with the beauty and conservation of the cars.  We were attended by the owner who was extremely kind and even told us a little about her story.  I highly recommend it.”

Route 66 New Mexico Vibe Score: 8.4/10

Nearby Campground: Santa Rosa Campground and RV Park

With a restaurant and gift shop on site, along with its location on Route 66, and free WIFI throughout the park, you’ll find everything you need here.  Offering Good Sam, AAA, Escapees, and Military Discounts, you’ll be able to save your money for the many nearby attractions.

History and Ghost Tours of Old Town Albuquerque

Price: $25 for adults, discounted pricing for seniors and youth, and group pricing available

Why You’ll Love It: Book a tour with people who know what they’re talking about. 

Experience eyewitness accounts of spirits as you wander through Old Town. You’ll hear family friendly tales of characters no longer physically with us.  You’ll enjoy “chills and chuckles” while learning about the history of this Route 66 town in New Mexico on this unique ghost tour. You might even learn some tips and tricks on ghost-hunting.

If you’re more into the history of Old Town without the chills, then the history tours are made for you.  Going back through time, you’ll be guided through time when the American Indians and Spanish Conquistadors ruled the lands. With its rich history dating back to the 1700’s and many cultures, your guide will educate, inform and entertain

Address: 303 Romero St., NW, Plaza Don Luis Space N120, Albuquerque, NM 87104

What’s the Word: A recent review from their site states, “We had the best time on the Ghost Tour of Old Town – and everything was easy (with the booking process).”

Route 66 New Mexico Vibe Score: 9.2/10

Nearby Campground: Route 66 RV Resort

Located 14 miles west of Albuquerque, this first class RV Resort offers all the amenities, creating the perfect Route 66 New Mexico vacation. With everything from full hookups to laundry facilities, to indoor games to horseshoe pits and community areas, Route 66 RV Resort, right next to the Route 66 Casino Hotel is where you’ll want to stay for your upscale RV vacation.

Acoma Pueblo Sky City

Price: $25 for adults, discounted pricing for seniors and youth, and group pricing available

Why You’ll Love It: This is why you travel Route 66 in New Mexico. It is in Sky City, where you can experience thousands of years of cultural heritage. Acoma Pueblo is the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America. Home to the Anasazi people, the history here brings the story of the Southwest alive.

Address: I-40, Exit 102, Acoma, NM 87034

What’s the Word: “Sky City is a truly one-of-a-kind experience that I recommend for anyone. Going in, I knew I would learn about a fascinating culture and people, but what I didn’t expect was the spectacular scenery in the valley as we approached the mesa. WOW. Just imagine if that’s where you got to actually live!” (review from Lara D on Tripadvisor)

Route 66 New Mexico Vibe Score: 9.3/10

Nearby Campground: Lavaland RV Park 

Located in Grants, New Mexico, Lavaland RV park offers easy access to nearby Sky City, is big rig friendly, has all the hookups, including hot showers and laundry, and close to restaurants and shopping.  One of the only (if only) RV parks with a brewery and taphouse on site, this RV park is a must stay.

Mesalands Dinosaur Museum and Natural Sciences Laboratory, Tucumcari

Price:  $8 for adults, discounted pricing for seniors and youth, and group pricing available

Why You’ll Love It: Home to many replicated and original fossils ranging in size from tiny footprints to the 40 foot skeleton of the Torvosaurus, Mesalands Dinosaur Museum focuses on The Age of Dinosaurs. Cultivating specimens from local dig sites, visitors can view Paleontology students working in action. Along with their impressive collection of fossils, they also have a collection from minerals all over the world, with some being sold in their gift shop.

Address: 222 E. Laughlin St., Tucumcari, NM 88401

What’s the Word: Samantha K. from Eugene, Oregon, writes on Yelp, “Lots of cool artifacts. I really liked that parts of the exhibit were hands-on. They have a section for kids with lots of activities. It’s not a big museum, which is why I liked it so much. Enough information so that you could learn but not too overwhelming. We spent about 1.5 hours there. It’s noted for its large collection of bronze skeletons and bones.”

Route 66 New Mexico Vibe Score: 8.7/10

Nearby Campground: Blaze-in-Saddle RV Park

Accommodating big rigs and horses, this in-town, full hookup RV park makes it easy to enjoy the activities and scenery along Route 66 in New Mexico. With all the amenities you would expect from an RV park and friendly service, Blaze-N-Saddle will make you feel right at home.

Richardson’s Trading Post in Gallup

Price: Free

Why You’ll Love It: Richardson’s Trading Post is the premiere source for Native American jewelry, rugs, pottery, painting, and other arts and crafts. Whatever gifts you may need for others or yourself, this is the place to find true Native American arts.

Address: 223 W. Historic Highway 66, Gallup, NM 87301

What’s the Word: Facebook user, Linda T., had a great experience here. “The quality goods are here and the business is family-owned.  They treat the people with respect.  Their mark up is now higher than it used to be, but you won’t get taken to the cleaners for shop made items with synthetic stones.  If you’re serious about your Native American arts, this is a must shop on your list.”

Route 66 New Mexico Vibe Score: 7.2/10

Nearby Campground: USA RV Park

Located in Gallup on Route 66 only a short distance from Mesa Verde, Window Rock, Four Corners, and more, USA RV Park is the place to stay while traveling Route 66 in New Mexico. Here you will find all the amenities you expect from a full service RV park and more, including a heated outdoor pool, a gift shop, playground, game room, and even WIFI.

Image Source: Thomas Hawk on Flickr

Singing Highway in Tijeras

Price: Free

Why You’ll Love It: In 2014, this stretch of road was paved with rumble strips to the tune of America the Beautiful, but only if you go the exact speed limit of 45 mph.  This was a creative way to get travelers to follow the speed limit.  With recent needs of road improvement; however, most of the rumble strips have since been paved over. But if you listen closely, there’s still a chance you’ll hear a small section of the song near the end of mile marker four shortly before mile marker five. Get there before it’s gone.

Address: eastbound on Route 333 (part of the old Route 66 system) between mile markers 4 and 5, near exit 170.

What’s the Word: From a Roadside America User, “The song pavement is still there, though the blue music signs that marked it are gone. It can be a bit of a challenge to find just the right spot. The music is not very loud, but it was enchanting to hear!”

Route 66 New Mexico Vibe Score: 6.5/10

Nearby Campground: Hidden Valley Camping Resort

Located in the Sandia Mountain Range in Tijeras, New Mexico, right off of I-40 and Route 66, this RV campground is all you need for a relaxing stay while you explore the Historic Route 66 area in New Mexico. Whatever you have, big rig, small rig, tent, you’ll find everything you need here from full hookups to friendly service to a pool, laundry, and even a basketball court.

Brews and Eats: Kelly’s Brew Pub in Albuquerque

Price: Appetizers start around $6 and pizzas start around $13 with a variety of other menu items

Why You’ll Love It: With a few brews of their own and a variety of other craft beers on tap and in cans, along with some of the best pizzas in New Mexico, you’ll stop in for a bite, but you’ll stay for the community and beer. 

Address: 3222 Central Ave. SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

What’s the Word: Yelp Reviewer Annie J., loves the patio space. “Great food, uber-cool interior space, and that rare commodity: An awesome patio. That patio alone is success with a capital ‘S.’ You just can’t overlook that patio which has always been crowded when the weather permitted which was most of the time.”

Route 66 New Mexico Vibe Score: 7.2/10

Nearby Campground: Route 66 RV Resort

Located 14 miles west of Albuquerque, this first class RV Resort offers all the amenities, creating the perfect Route 66 New Mexico vacation. With everything from full hookups to laundry facilities, to indoor games to horseshoe pits and community areas, Route 66 RV Resort, right next to the Route 66 Casino Hotel is where you’ll want to stay for your upscale RV vacation.

Image Source: Second Half Travels on Flickr

Brewery: Route 66 Junkyard Brewery in Grants

Price:  Pricing varies depending on menu items ordered

Why You’ll Love It: This junkyard themed brewery fits right into the nostalgia of Historic Route 66 in New Mexico.  In its past life it was an actual junkyard, so the owner kept the authenticity going, utilizing the junk cars and memorabilia as decor. Enjoy movie nights while sipping on a handcrafted brew amidst the history of Route 66. 

Address: 1634 E. Historic Highway 66, Grants, NM 87020

What’s the Word: Facebook user Andrew M had this to say after his visit, “Henry, the owner was an awesome guy.  Answered our questions and spoke with us about a number of topics.  We enjoyed our time there and will definitely be back.  Oh, and the beer was interesting and delicious for sure.”

Route 66 New Mexico Vibe Score: 9.2/10

Nearby Campground: Grants-Cibola Sands KOA

With ample sites for all sizes of RV’s, along with everything you would expect from an award-winning KOA site, Grants KOA will keep you entertained, comfortable, and well educated on all the things to do while exploring Route 66 in New Mexico.

Image Source: Run-a-Way Bill on Google

Hotel: El Rancho Hotel in Gallup

Price: Standard rooms start around $60 a night and increase from there.

Why You’ll Love It: El Rancho provides a glimpse into the American West.  Known as the home of the western movie stars from the 30’s and 40’s, this hotel is much more than just a place to stay. Surround yourself with history as you wander through this beautiful hotel where once movie stars stayed, played, and worked.  Maybe you’ll make your Hollywood dreams come true as you travel through the west.

Address: 1000 E. Historic Highway 66, Gallup, NM 87301

What’s the Word: Google Reviewer, Shannon S. loved her stay here. “Great piece of history. Room was basic but clean and comfy. The restaurant was amazing! The food was perfect and so full of flavor. The workers were kind and great to hang out with. Patio was wonderful to eat at with the kids. Security was amazing there and friendly. Fun little place, will be back!!”

Route 66 New Mexico Vibe Score: 9/10

Image Source: El Rancho Hotel

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1 comment

  1. In 10 years of driving through Tumcumcari. Santa Rosa and the rest on my way from MN to AZ I never knew anything possibly interesting existed there! Lol!
    Now a question. Since you say you hate to pay for camping why is it you only show RV parks nearby, wherever, instead of places to camp for free?

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