Traveling Route 66 with OK Travel Family
With Fall Break just around the corner, Tulsa parents are scrambling to find a way to make the most of the extended weekend for their families. For our first post for TulsaKids.com’s guest blog, we’re going to throw you some actionable advice on how you can get the whole family together for a fun road trip.
After all, our goal at OKTravelFamily.com is to help increase awareness with Oklahoma families about the fun, cheap, and interesting things to do in your own backyard.
Oh — feel free to use this post like a guide. We went ahead and took the trip, mapped it out, and noted the stops you should take your family to see.
We hope you enjoy — and if you do, would you please share our article with your friends? You can click one of the social media icons near the top of this post to help us out in promoting our great state’s landmarks!
Okay — let’s kick this off!
A Very Brief History of Route 66
Long before the Interstate Highway System was so much as a glimmer in President Eisenhower’s eye, Route 66 was the main means of travel between Chicago and Los Angeles.
While millions of Americans used it to reliably traverse the United States in the first half of the 1900s, Route 66 is now considered a historic trail that hundreds of thousands of people tour each year.
There are several fun stops for families on the stretch of Route 66 between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. We’re going to show you the fun stuff today.
Preparing for The Trip
If you’re going to take your family on this trip over Fall Break, there are a few minor things to make sure you have straight the evening before the trip:
- Pack the night before. Cell phone chargers, a change of clothes (just in case), snacks, and bottled water — these are all good things to take care of the night before the trip.
- Make sure your vehicle is roadworthy. Check your tires, lights, and fluids. It is also advisable that you make sure your license, insurance, and tag are up to date. Make sure your vehicle of choice is fueled up the night before, too.
- Be familiar with the route you’re taking. If you use Google Maps, it may try to take you down the Turner Turnpike, since it’s a considerably faster (and less interesting) drive. We had cell reception during the whole trip, so your navigator can still keep an eye on the map.
Keep your eyes peeled for the Route 66 highway signs — they’ll show you where to turn, since Route 66 isn’t actually a single road.
Once you have these things lined out, you’ll be ready to sleep easy knowing that you’ll be ready to leave as soon as everyone is awake and ready for the morning’s road trip.
First Things First
We always like to start road trips with breakfast at a diner if it’s convenient. In this particular case, we kicked off our Route 66 trip at Ollie’s Station Restaurant on Southwest Boulevard, in the old Red Fork downtown, just across the Arkansas River from Tulsa.
Ollie’s is decorated in a railroad motif that pays tribute to its situation on Route 66, with several model trains zooming around the dining area the whole time. Our daughter, Liv, loved that! The breakfast buffet was a great deal for the price and since they don’t charge for children 4 and under to eat from the buffet, Liv ate for free. We loved that!
And We’re Moving Along!
After we finished eating, we started moving along down Route 66. We stopped over in Sapulpa to snap a few pictures of the Waite Phillips Filling Station — a fully-restored gas station from 1923. This service station was opened by Waite Phillips, brother of Frank Phillips of Phillips 66 Oil fame.
Downtown Sapulpa is home to several neat Route 66 artifacts and murals, so consider doing some browsing around if you’re looking to burn off some energy.
Follow the Route 66 signs out of Sapulpa and you’ll find yourself touring some beautiful Oklahoma countryside — now in full fall foliage, if you’re taking the Fall Break tour.
You’ll find yourself soon passing through Kellyville and Bristow, which will offer a few great chances to get out and stretch your legs, especially if the kids start getting antsy.
This particular part of the trip feels a little longer because we’re heading towards Stroud, but think of it as a chance to let your breakfast digest a little bit… or is that just something my dad always said?
You’ll pass right through the middle of downtown Bristow, which has some picture-worthy murals. You’ll pass a little playground, which will be on your right if you’re coming from Tulsa. These playgrounds are a godsend when we need to let our daughter get out of the car for a few minutes.
The Rock Cafe in Stroud, OK
Do your kids love Pixar’s Cars? The Rock Cafe’s owner, Dawn Welch, was the inspiration for Cars character Sally Carrera.
If you take some time between Tulsa and Stroud, it will be time for lunch by the time you hit Stroud. Liz and Liv — the prettier two thirds of OKTravelFamily — opted to split one of The Rock’s buffalo burgers, while I enjoyed a fine Jagerschnitzel meal.
The Rock has several fun (and interesting) menu choices, so consider trying something new — you won’t be let down.
The Route 66 Interpretive Center in Chandler, OK
Our next stop was the Route 66 Interpretive Center.
Chandler, which is just a few miles west of Stroud on Route 66, is home to two museums that are worth checking out when you pass through: The Route 66 Interpretive Center and the Lincoln County Museum of Pioneer History.
While the Lincoln County Museum of Pioneer History is only open on weekdays, it is definitely worth seeing if that lines up with day of your trip. The name is self-explanatory.
The Route 66 Interpretive Center costs $5 per adult, but is quite a display of Route 66 with several video exhibits. We loved the exhibits at this stop.
Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum in Warwick, OK
Continuing west on Route 66, we came across our next stop: the Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum.
There is also a great little Route 66-themed store at the front of the museum, with t-shirts, postcards, and all sorts of other Route 66 branded goodies.
The Round Barn in Arcadia, OK
In the interest of keeping our tour humming along, we got back in the car and pointed back west towards Arcadia. You’re going to enjoy 20 miles of beautiful fall scenery between Warwick and Arcadia, so don’t forget to take some pictures of the blackjack trees in their fall foliage.
When we finally got to Arcadia, my daughter’s eyes lit up as she saw The Round Barn. Built in 1898, it cracks me up to think that this historical structure entertained Liv as much as it entertained me.
The lower level of The Round Barn is chock-full of artifacts and oddities from yesteryear. I always enjoy stopping by this piece of history when I’m near Arcadia.
Pop’s in Arcadia, OK
Pops in Arcadia
Featuring a uniquely cantilevered building and a 66-foot tall soda bottle that seems to beckon thirsty travelers to enjoy one of 600 different types of sodas, Pops was the perfect stop for the end our trip.
We always let Liv pick out a few sodas — and she does seem to pick them well — while Liz and I split a six-pack of sodas that we’ve picked out. If it does happen to be time to eat again, Pops has a restaurant inside, too.
Tuckered Out and Ready for A Nap
In a well-advised decision, I opted to book a night at the Hampton Inn in Edmond — just 9 miles west of Pop’s on Route 66.
There are actually a cluster of 4 or 5 hotels right by the Hampton Inn we stayed at, but figure on paying $100/per night, or more, to stay at any of them.
We kicked around the idea of turning around at the end of our Route 66 trip and heading back to Tulsa, but we ended up exploring a little more around Oklahoma City (and Guthrie on the following day.)
We Hope You Enjoyed Our Trip!
We had an absolute blast on our little tour of Route 66. If you’re up for a fun road trip, you’re going to have a good time on this one.
We thank you for reading – stop in at OKTravelFamily.com to say “hello” or leave us a comment below if you have any questions or comments about the trip.
OK TRAVEL FAMILY
Hi — We’re the Halls!
We started OKTravelFamily.com to let other families know about all the fun things to do in the Tulsa area and all around Oklahoma without breaking the bank or wasting time. And with 35 state parks and a never-ending list of quirky landmarks and towns, there is no reason to be bored in Oklahoma!