Route 66 in California – The TOP 5 BEST Stops Places to visit Along Mother Road in CA – What to see?

What to see on Route 66 in California. Top best stops in California State on Mother Road.

What to see on Route 66 in California? You may be wondering, “What are the best stops along Route 66 in California?”, “What are the best places to see on Mother Road in California, CA?”.

Today I will show you my list of best stops on Route 66 in California. This is my top 5 spots in the order they appear on Mother Road in California, CA, each with name, mileage, detailed description, helpful tidbits, address, and GPS coordinates. Remember that more of them, you can find in my travel guide about Route 66: “Route 66 Travel Guide – 202 Amazing Places”. Are you ready to see my top five choices?

Route 66 - The best attractions in California

In California, Route 66 runs from the state border with Arizona to its terminus in Santa Monica. The stretch of the route in California is known for its scenic beauty, historic landmarks, and unique attractions.

U.S. Route 66 in California is a part of a former United States Numbered Highway in the state of California that ran from the west in Santa Monica on the Pacific Ocean through Los Angeles and San Bernardino to Needles at the Arizona state line. The end of Route 66 is in Santa Monica (California), where travelers can see the famous Route 66 sign, and the Santa Monica Pier, a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. The state of California is a great place to start or finish your amazing Mother Road journey!

1. Roy’s Motel & Cafe

GPS: 34.558812, -115.743576
ADDRESS: 87520 National Trails Hwy, Amboy, CA 92304

Best stops on Route 66 in California. Where to stop and wat to see in CA?

The first place on my list of best stops on Route 66 in California.

A visit to Amboy, California is not complete without a stop at Roy’s Motel & Cafe. Originally operating as a gas and service station in 1938 under the name Roy’s Garage, the location has since evolved into a motel and cafe, but still retains its vintage charm.

You may recognize Roy’s Motel & Cafe from its appearances in numerous movies, commercials, music videos, and photoshoots. The reason why it’s so often photographed is not hard to see – with its giant vintage neon sign standing out against the blue sky and desert landscape, the location has a naturally cinematic quality that is truly unforgettable.

2. Bagdad Cafe

GPS: 34.819653, -116.643291
ADDRESS: 46548 National Trails Hwy, Newberry Springs, CA 92365

Best places to visit on Route 66 in California. What to see in CA? Must-see places! Get ready to start your journey.

The second stop in California should be this famous Route 66 cafe – Bagdad Cafe.

The Bagdad Café in the Mojave Desert is a legendary destination on Route 66, made famous by German filmmaker Percy Adlon’s 1987 indie cult-classic of the same name. The café is a popular stop for international film enthusiasts, offering a glimpse into the past with its charming vintage décor and friendly atmosphere.

Before it became the Bagdad Café, the roadside diner was known as the Sidewinder Cafe. However, after being selected as the location for the iconic film, the café’s popularity skyrocketed. In 1995, the owners of the café officially changed its name to the Bagdad Café in honor of the film’s enduring legacy.

Visiting the Bagdad Café is like stepping back in time, with its vintage interior and authentic Route 66 ambiance. The café is a must-see stop on any Route 66 road trip, and visitors can enjoy a delicious meal or a cup of coffee while soaking up the historic atmosphere.

If you are a movie buff, be sure to also check my post about Route 66’s depiction in film: Route 66 – The 10 BEST Must-Watch Movies/Films Shot on Mother Road

3. Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch

GPS: 34.690342, -117.339629
ADDRESS: 24266 National Trails Hwy, Oro Grande, CA 92368

Where to stop and what to see in California to spend a great time Route 66.

Another must-see place on Route 66 in California!

The Mojave Desert is a surprising place for art to flourish, but Elmer Long has proven that creativity knows no bounds. His mesmerizing forest of bottle trees, made from large metal pipes adorned with colorful bottles, is a testament to his ingenuity and passion for recycling.

As you wander through the property, the glimmering bottles catch the light and create a stunning visual display against the backdrop of the arid landscape. The gentle hum of the wind passing through the hollow bottles adds to the tranquil atmosphere, making it a delightful experience for all your senses.

Elmer’s fascination with bottles began at a young age, during visits to trash sites with his father. The collection of discarded materials that he inherited from his father became the catalyst for his artistic journey. After years of contemplation, Elmer hit upon the idea of creating bottle trees, and the rest is history.

Today, there are over 200 installations in Elmer’s bottle tree forest, each one unique and evocative in its own way. Visitors from around the world come to marvel at this awe-inspiring artwork, and Elmer’s contribution to the world of art and recycling is nothing short of remarkable.

4. Cucamonga Service Station

GPS: 34.106789, -117.594138
ADDRESS: 9670 Foothill Blvd, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730

What to see along Mother Route in California? This is must-see service station and museum for every traveler!

This beautiful retro station should be must-stop on your list in California.

he Cucamonga Service Station is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling along Route 66 in California. This historic service station has been lovingly restored using donated materials and labor, and the result is a stunning example of the best that the Mother Road has to offer.

The bright yellow color of the station is a sight to behold, and it’s hard not to feel a sense of nostalgia as you step back in time to a bygone era of American motoring. Built by Henry Klusman in 1915, the station was a fixture on the state route that would eventually become part of the iconic Route 66.

Although the station ceased operation in 1971, it was given a new lease on life in 2015 when it was converted into a small museum. The museum offers visitors a glimpse into the history of the station and the role it played in the development of California’s transportation infrastructure.

In recognition of its historical significance, the Cucamonga Service Station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2018. If you’re looking for an authentic Route 66 experience, this is definitely one of the must-see attractions in California.

5. Santa Monica Pier

GPS: 34.008896, -118.497402
ADDRESS: 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Must-see places on Route 66 in California. Get ready to start your journey or finish it!

The Santa Monica Pier is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling along Route 66 in California. This historic pier, constructed in 1909, was the first concrete pier on the West Coast and quickly became a beloved local landmark. Today, it continues to attract visitors from around the world with its charming mix of nostalgia, entertainment, and natural beauty.

The pier’s reputation as a top fishing spot has stood the test of time, and it remains a popular activity for visitors of all ages. The Looff Hippodrome, which opened in 1916, is a National Historic Landmark that houses a beautiful carousel that delights visitors with its ornate designs and old-fashioned charm.

The pier’s most iconic attraction is undoubtedly the carousel, which was built in 1939 and remains one of the pier’s most beloved features. Its bright colors and cheerful music make it a popular spot for families and couples alike.

And let’s not forget the Santa Monica Yacht Harbor neon sign, which was unveiled in 1941 and has become an iconic symbol of the pier’s history and character. No visit to the Santa Monica Pier is complete without a selfie or two in front of this iconic landmark.

Whether you’re looking for a fun day out with family or friends or simply want to soak up some California history and culture, the Santa Monica Pier is a must-see destination that will not disappoint.

👍 Find out more:

Route 66 California travel guide

Discover the best stops along the Mother Road in my travel guide, “Route 66 Travel Guide – 202 Amazing Places”, which is available on Amazon. This is the ultimate travel guide and pocket reference for anyone wishing to experience the nostalgia and wonder of America’s Route 66! MUST-HAVE for all Route 66 travelers. Visit 202 places on Route 66 with “Scan QR and go” for easy navigation.


Traveling on Route 66

Mark Watson is a California-based member of a Los Angeles Motorcycle Club and a keen traveler. He’s traveled the entirety of U. S. Route 66 seven times on his Harley-Davidson. He strives to interest others in the historic drive to keep the legendary Route 66 alive. He also traveled through the Alaska Highway. He is an author of bestseller books on Amazon: “Route 66 Travel Guide – 202 Amazing Places” and “Alaska Highway – 202 Best Stops”.

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