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Best Time to Visit

Route 66 stretches across more than half of the United States, meaning that climates can vary significantly from place to place. For example, a winter day in California may have a day time high in the 80s, while the same day in Illinois can be well below freezing.

In general, spring and fall are ideal times for an extended drive along Route 66. If you are driving from east to west and plan on taking a few weeks for the drive, shoot for starting in September or October. This way, the climate in the Midwest will be mild, and the extreme desert heat of Arizona and eastern California should pass by the time you get out west. If driving from West to East, a trip in spring will offer the same general good weather.

Temperatures aside, precipitation can also play a big role in deciding when to drive. In summer, afternoon thunderstorms can dominate the weather from Arizona through the plains. While rare, tornadoes can also appear in spring while snow storms are common in winter on the eastern stretches of the route.

Weather isn’t the only consideration when determining when to go. Local events and festivals along the route can influence when you want to go. Perhaps you want to experience the world-famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in fall. Or a Cub’s game in Chicago in late spring or early summer. Find what you can expect during your planned trip by looking at the average temperatures for different cities here.

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