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Route 66 and Texas Hill Country: Road Trippin' USA

Dreaming of hitting the open road with the top down in 2022? Borders are open once more, and you can celebrate in style by driving on one of the most famous highways in the world: Route 66. We've picked the best spots on this iconic route so you can set off on that dream road trip as soon as you dust off your passport.

Dreaming of hitting the open road with the top down in 2022? Borders are open once more, and you can celebrate in style by driving on one of the most famous highways in the world: Route 66. We’ve picked the best spots on this iconic route so you can set off on that dream road trip as soon as you dust off your passport.

Today, we’re strapping you into the passenger seat and driving through the “Wild West” of the USA on this epic road trip through the southern states of Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

This beast of an itinerary is called “Route 66 and Texas Hill Country” and is basically Americana on wheels.

So why not celebrate the #ArrivalRevival of international travel, by planning your next epic trip to the States…

Explore all of Brand USA’s 30 Amazing Self Drive Road Trip itineraries here.

Route 66 and Texas Hill Country: Route Highlights

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The Storm Mural, Dallas

1. Dallas, Texas > Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Leave the urban sprawl of dazzling Dallas and stop off at the Chickasaw Cultural Centre (about two and half hours from Dallas) to learn about Native American culture. Try some traditional foods at the onsite café (such as grape dumplings (think soft strips of dough poached in an entire pot of grape juice), before continuing on to Oklahoma City on historic Route 66.

Once you’ve arrived, visit the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, which is full of Old West artefacts, or attend a real rodeo at the National Circuit Finals Rodeo.

  • DRIVE TIME: 332kms: 3 hours and 30 mins drive time

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Route 66 Museum, Oklahoma

2. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma > Amarillo, Texas

Wake up early for a wander around town (be sure to join a guided tour at the Capital Building) then as you head west on route 66 from Oklahoma City, stop in El Reno for a famous Onion Burger served fresh daily at one of three local burger joints – Sid’s Diner, Johnnie’s Grill or Roberts Grill. It just doesn’t get more real than this.

Then get back behind the wheel and drive to the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton to learn the fascinating history behind this famous highway. On the last stretch of Route 66 to Amarillo, where you’ll bunk up for the night, drive through real Wild West territory over sections of the original highway.

  • DRIVE TIME: 416kms: 4 hours drive time
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Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo

3. Amarillo, Texas > Santa Fe, New Mexico

Suitably rested and recharged, continue west along Route 66 to Santa Fe, stopping for a coffee at the Midpoint Café – which marks the mid-way point of the highway that stretches all the way from Chicago to Los Angeles – before crossing the state line and cruising into New Mexico. 

Grab a souvenir at Tee Pee Curios before rolling into charming Santa Fe and spend the rest of the day visiting the numerous art galleries, shops museums in town, such as the Museum of International Folk Art and the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

If wellness is calling, start your day with a relaxing treatment at the Spa at Loretto. Here you can choose to indulge in one of the Spa’s own custom-crafted essential oil aromatherapy blends from its “Spirit of Loretto” collection.

  • DRIVE TIME: 449kms: 4 hours drive time
Inn and Spa at Loretto Santa Fe

4. Santa Fe, New Mexico > Carlsbad, New Mexico

If wellness is calling, start your day with a relaxing treatment at the Spa at Loretto. Here you can choose to indulge in one of the Spa’s own custom-crafted essential oil aromatherapy blends from its “Spirit of Loretto” collection.

Visit the Bandelier National Monument and marvel at petroglyphs made by ancient peoples before heading south to Carlsbad.

Stop at the UFO Museum in Roswell, home to the infamous 1947 Roswell Incident that may or may not have involved little green men, before heading underground into the world’s most famous cave system inside the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

  • DRIVE TIME: 440kms: 4 hours drive time

5. Carlsbad, New Mexico > Fredericksburg, Texas

Practice your best “guten tag!” as you drive to a little slice of Germany, Fredericksburg, through Texas Hill Country and take a guided tour to learn about the town’s German heritage.

Spend the rest of the day sampling the local beer gardens and tucking into the local grub: barbecued meat flavoured with mesquite coals. Definitely visit Backwoods BBQ.

  • DRIVE TIME: 641kms: 6 hours drive time
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Grape Creek Vineyards, Fredericksburg

6. Fredericksburg, Texas > San Antonio, Texas

Back in the car, drive about an hour to San Antonio and wander around the city’s 18th-century Spanish Catholic missions – collectively, they’re now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

When the hunger hits, rejoice, as you have tons of amazing restaurants to choose from serving authentic Tex-Mex cuisine which marries the famous Texas BBQ to Mexican food. Smoked Brisket Tacos anyone?

  • DRIVE TIME: 112kms: 1 hour and 15 mins drive time

7. San Antonio, Texas > Austin, Texas

With your sights set on Austin, enjoy the rest of the drive through Texas Hill Country by stopping for a swim at Krause Springs and enjoying even more tasty Tex-Mex treats. 

When you roll into arty Austin, a city fuelled on live music if there ever was one, keep your ears open. Surely one of the 250 music venues across the city will be playing music that tickles your fancy.

Order a margarita from the bar and tap your feet for the rest of the late afternoon and evening. Grab a late-night bite to eat at one of the city’s popular food trucks and sleep in the next day like a rockstar.

  • DRIVE TIME: 128kms: 1 hour and 45 mins drive time
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Austin

8. Austin, Texas – Fort Worth, Texas

Leaving Austin en route to Dallas, visit one of the cowboy capitals of the American south, aka Fort Worth, and walk around the Stockyards National Historic District colonised with Old West shops selling cowboy hats and boots. You’ll get a serious taste of cowboy culture here, complete with live music and lots of delicious barbecue.

Before leaving Fort Worth, visit the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame, where you’ll learn that women also played a major role in shaping the American West. Then, take a gander around the dining, entertainment and shopping Mecca that is Sundance Square.

  • DRIVE TIME: 316kms: 3 hours and 15 mins drive time

Download the complete Route 66 and Texas Hill Country itinerary here!

Get the Road Trip Playlist!

Rock out to Roy Orbison and Buddy Holly, do a little boot-scooting with a few choice numbers from Keith Urban, and wind the windows down with the incomparable Willie Nelson and just let his lyrics take you to another place… This Spotify playlist is the perfect soundtrack to your road trip – period.

Agents: Download, Escape and Explore GoUSA TV

GoUSA TV is a free premier travel entertainment channel. Watch full episodes, documentaries and films, told from the diverse perspectives of real people across America. 

With 50 hours of viewing from over 400 locations featured from all 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia, there’s never been a better time to get online and enjoy some incredible travel entertainment!

Available for download in the App or Play store and on Apple TV.

More info here.

Agents: Join the USA Discovery program!

The USA Discovery Program is Brand USA’s official trade training platform for the USA. Complete the Texas Specialist badge and get all the knowledge on the Route 66 and Texas Hill Country itinerary in a fun and interactive way. With this extra time at home, what better way to spend it than by upskilling on your USA knowledge?

Whilst you’re learning, check out the Texas, Chickasaw Country and Austin specialist badges and get immersed in the South West!

Click here to register and get all the knowledge for the USA.

PLUS! Design your own Road Trip with the USA TRIP PLANNER

The Visit USA Trip Planner is an amazing (and free!) tool that matches your personal travel preferences and style.

With over 230 million data points including the best places & times to visit, reviews and hidden gems, this is one smart piece of travel tech.

This little travel genius optimises your itinerary to minimise travel time, checks when attractions are open and even recommends how much time to spend at each stop off. Brilliant!

Finally, it lets you share & collaborate with your fellow road trippers and is easy to add or revise points of interest as you go.

Find out more: Trip-Planner.VisitTheUSA.com

Get all the tools on Brand USA’s TRAVEL TRADE SITE

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From Trip Planners to Itineraries and the USA Discovery Program and Destination information, Brand USA’s Travel Trade Site for agents has you covered.

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