Route 66 – New Mexico attractions you should see!

After a stunning time travelling Route 66 in Texas we had high hopes for New Mexico.  Here’s some of what we enjoyed and the best Route 66 New Mexico attractions:

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After stopping for a bite to eat at a service station just over the border in to New Mexico and having a Taco Tuesday we arrived in the small town of Tucumcari.

taco tuesday new mexico route 66
Taco Tuesday!

Route 66 – New Mexico attractions

Tucumcari and the Blue Swallow Motel

Tucumcari is quite a well preserved town on Route 66 with quite a few nice ‘mom and pop’ motels to choose from including the very popular and iconic Blue Swallow motel.

We didn’t stay there as we found the Motel Safari just across the road for a better deal and good reviews (we always checked the reviews on trip advisor or other blogs we searched online for – some of the hotels can change hands and go down hill quickly) and what I really liked about this motel is that it just looked like a classic motel from movies – all the rooms arranged around the car park.  Just needed a swimming pool 😉

To check prices at motels in Tucumcari click here

It was getting late when we arrived and the sun was just going down.  I remember hearing crickets and it just feeling so warm.  It felt like a beautiful setting.

Not everything is in a great restored state in Tucumcari – there’s plenty of old abandoned buildings about the place too including the Ranch House cafe (some great pics on this site of it).

Motel safari at sunset on route 66 in new mexico
Motel Safari at sunset


blue swallow motel in tucumcari new mexico on route 66
Blue Swallow Motel at dusk


Later on the neon lit up the main street of Tucumcari and we went to explore more.  It is such a beautiful little town with murals all over the place all pointing back to a time gone by and classic americana.

neon in tucumcari


blue swallow motel and american flag

curios tepee in tucumcari new mexico


The next day we travelled further across New Mexico, marvelling at the changes in scenery and the different kinds of buildings that kept cropping up.  I even had a go at driving our rental car myself – normally I got James to do it, but I figured if I couldn’t do it driving along a straight and quiet road like this I’d never do it.  And I could finally say I’d driven a part of Route 66 myself – had to be done!

We stopped for breakfast at a lovely cafe in Santa Rosa which is called, aptly, the route 66 cafe and it was incredibly retro!  We loved it there and it was a nice change to eat out for breakfast instead of dinner!

route 66 cafe


Petroglyph National Monument

Later on and after stopping off for some lunch supplies in a grocery store in Albuquerque we found our way to our first national park in the US – the Petroglyph National Monument

It was warm but not as hot as it had been and we started to walk around the Boca Negro trails.  The petroglyphs were fascinating – so interesting to see the insight in to people from such a long time ago.  We loved walking and looking round.  The view from the top of the Mesa point trail was spectacular!


view from petroglyph national monument

petroglyph national park near route 66
Petroglyph on a rock


Continental Divide in NM

Further on, this is the continental divide – apparently on one side of this point water drains in to the Pacific ocean and the other side will go to the Atlantic.



After our time out in nature we retired to our hotel in Gallup.  We ended up in a motel slightly on the outskirts of the town which wasn’t the best plan really, but it was clean and quiet which really is all we needed!

For the best prices on motels in Gallup click here



Interested in Route 66?  Check out my other posts from our road trip:


Finding the Mother Road and our journey on Route 66 begins!

Arizona Route 66 Attractions

Exploring Route 66 in Texas

Visiting the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert

Route 66 on a budget – how we kept costs down

Route 66 to Grand Canyon


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things to see on route 66 in New Mexico. There's loads of attractions, retro motels and fun to be had in new mexico from Tucumcari to Gallup! #route66 #newmexico #usatravel

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