Route 66 ghost towns are just another reason to take one of the world’s greatest road trips. There are many fascinating and intriguing sights to see along this iconic road but if you want a themed trip, the Route 66 ghost towns are a great option.
1. Glenrio, Texas
Along the border between New Mexico and Texas is the forgotten town of Glenrio that actually serves as a monument to the boom cycle of Route 66. It's a must-visit ghost town for anyone interested in learning more about the history of Texas. You will be amazed to see how advanced the things were in this town before cars had air conditioning – there were bars, diners, western-themed motels, and gas stations, making Glenrio a flash of neon in the desert. In this town of 84 people, you shouldn't expect several tourist facilities, but it is definitely worth a shot to see how the new Interstate travelers have ditched it and turned it into one of many Route 66 ghost towns. Don't forget to check the ruins of an old Endee Motor Court – you might find one of many stories locked away behind those doors.
2. Newkirk, New Mexico
Despite the fact that a handful of people still live there, Newkirk, New Mexico can always qualify for one of the best ghost towns along route 66. It is definitely a bit of an enigma, but thanks to some of the old and abandoned stores and gas stations, a visit to this railroad town-turned-service center will definitely prove to be an interesting outing.
3. Dilia, New Mexico
The town of Dilia did very well to survive the 1937 alignment of Route 66, but it is definitely a good choice for someone interested in visiting the best ghost towns along Route 66, mainly because less than 600 people live there. Ok – so not so much a ghost town, but an almost-ghost town, and the old, deserted buildings will give you a creepy feeling that you experience after watching a horror flick. While you will have a few old adobes and red stone buildings to explore, don't forget to drop a visit to the thick-walled Sacred Heart Church to see Stations of the Cross and a beautiful altar screen.
4. Afton, Oklahoma
If you're interested in traveling across the US and want to learn more about the Route 66 culture, Afton, OK, is the town to visit. Be ready to walk through empty streets to explore old buildings that you may have seen in some movies. It's a ghost town, but interestingly, you can find some affordable theme motels here with clean, comfortable rooms.
5. Spencer, Missouri
Just travel west of Paris Springs on Route 66 and you'll find the village of Spencer. The roadside remnants make Spencer a good place to visit and have a dive into Route 66 culture. You'll have great fun crossing over an old truss bridge – be sure to approach the town from the east to experience the thrill. Soon after crossing the bridge, you will be in front of a cluster of buildings that serve as a perfect backdrop for photography – you may also love seeing vintage Phillips gasoline pumps that are sure to take you back in time.
6. Erick, Oklahoma
In Erick, you will come across some towering buildings that cast long shadows over Route 66. The arrival of Route 66 made old saloons and cattle yards of boisterous cow towns disappear to make way for coffee shops and truck stops. You must visit this ghost town to explore the Sandhills Curiosity Shop, which is one of the finest and unique roadside establishments on all of Route 66. A trip to this building will give access to thousands of items of memorabilia, such as antique furniture, signs, guitars, books, as well as photographs of roadies who've stopped in over the years. Unfortunately, you cannot buy anything here, but you'll definitely enjoy browsing.
7. Oatman, Arizona
If you're on the lookout for one of the most desolate and demanding route 66 ghost towns, you should drive to Oatman, AZ. Even though it's now a desolate stretch of the old road climbing from I-40, Oatman's crusty charms make it an awesome experience for visitors. The wildlife refuge along the Colorado River is an attraction of its own, but you experience the 'real' thing when you take a turn on the old road and drive on the narrow roadway that will take you through a stretch of desert. This is a perfect destination for those interested in experiencing the rigors of desert driving in Arizona.
Are you ready to put the pedal to the metal for an awesome trip to the Route 66 ghost towns?