Tucumcari Travel on Route 66

Greetings from Tucumcari, New Mexico

Leaving Glenrio on the Texas-New Mexico border, Route 66 headed west and passed through San Jon on its way to Tucumcari. Further west were the towns of Montoya, Newkirk, Cuervo and Santa Rosa.

Today as we leave Glenrio, we are back on I-40, and arrive in Tucumcari after only a 42 mile trip. It is an active city with a variety of vintage motels and electric neon signage, and services for Route 66 fans and travelers.

Founded in 1901, Tucumcari is located in Quay County and has a population of over 5,000 residents. Tucumcari is the largest city between Amarillo and Albuquerque, and has long used the slogan "Tucumcari Tonite!"

Early 1900s aerial view of Tucumcari, New Mexico, with its namesake mountain in the backgroundEarly 1900s aerial view of Tucumcari, New Mexico, with its namesake mountain in the background

For decades, Tucumcari has been a popular stop for travelers on Interstate 40 and previously Route 66. Many businesses, service stations, restaurants and motels were built to accommodate tourists as they traveled through the city on the Mother Road.

Today, Historic U.S. Route 66 continues to pass through the center of Tucumcari via Route 66 Boulevard.

A large number of the vintage motels, restaurants and gift shops built in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s are still in business. One of the more famous hotels here is the Blue Swallow Motel.

Two area State Parks offer boating, fishing, skiing and other outdoor recreation.

We have visited and stayed in Tucumcari on several occasions, and highly recommend making Tucumcari a stop on your next Route 66 road trip!

Map of Route 66 from Amarillo to Santa Fe showing the location of Tucumcari
Map of Route 66 from Amarillo to Santa Fe showing location of Tucumcari

 

Early scene of rural U.S. Route 66 between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa, New Mexico
Early scene of rural U.S. Route 66 between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa, New Mexico

 

 

Things to See and Do in the Tucumcari Area

The Route 66 Monument in Tucumcari, New MexicoThe Route 66 Monument in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Whatever your interests, Tucumcari offers a variety of indoor and outdoor attractions, including:

  • Mesalands Community College Dinosaur Museum
  • Tucumcari Historical Museum
  • New Mexico Route 66 Museum
  • Tucumcari Railroad Museum
  • Tucumcari Mountain
  • Route 66 Monument
  • Ute Lake State Park
  • Conchas Lake State Park
  • Tee Pee Curios
  • Vintage neon signs
  • Route 66 Townhouse Welcome Center & Gift Shop
  • Murals of Tucumcari

The city also offers other facilities such as a convention center, golf course, and public library. Tucumcari Municipal Airport is a full-service facility.

Also known as the “City of Murals”, Tucumcari and Quay County have over 40 murals and counting! Mural maps are available at the Chamber of Commerce, 404 W. Route 66 Boulevard. Several popular murals are shown below.

The Murals of Tucumcari ... Some Highlights

The "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico
The "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico

The "Dodge and Cowboy" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico
The "Dodge and Cowboy" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico

The Route 66 "Texaco" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico
The Route 66 "Texaco" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico

The "Tucumcari in the Land of Enchantment" mural
The "Tucumcari in the Land of Enchantment" mural

The "Red Corvette and the Ladies" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico
The "Red Corvette and the Ladies" mural in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Signs of the Times in Tucumcari

Ranch House Cafe in Tucumcari (2004)
Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark sign
Westerner Drive-Inn ... Tucumcari NM (2004)
Westerner Drive-Inn ... Tucumcari NM

Lodging Options in the Tucumcari Area

Tucumcari offers a variety of lodging options, and features over twenty motels for the traveling public,  including the historic and well-known Blue Swallow Motel. Many "one-of-a-kind" properties are available as well as nationally operated chain facilities. Several are in the city, others offering great views of area lakes.

Tucumcari Tonite

Long famous for its number and variety of motels and lodging, the city adopted the "Tucumcari Tonite" advertising campaign.

Tucumcari Tonite billboard"1,200 rooms, RV parks, 3 museum, restaurants and fuel"

 

Tucumcari hotels and traveler reviews at TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor

 

The Blue Swallow Motel

The Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari has been serving travelers along the Mother Road since 1939, and today, guests enjoy a pleasant reminder of what it was like to travel across the USA in the “good old days.”

From the beautifully restored rooms, to the distinctive attached garages, to the fabulous neon display each night, a stay at the Blue Swallow is a unique experience!

815 E. Route 66 ... Phone 575.461.9849

Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico

website of the Blue Swallow Motel

Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico, at night


 

Earlier times on Route 66: Conchas Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Earlier Times on Route 66 in Tucumcari

What was Route 66 like in its prime, driving to and staying in a motel in Tucumcari? What did all the service stations, motels and diners look like when they were new?

What did the traveling public experience on the Mother Road? We wonder such things when we travel Route 66 today.

Those earlier times in the 1930s, 40s and 50s were not always captured on film. But the use of colorful postcards was common in those decades.

We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards showing scenes on Route 66 in Tucumcari. These portray the historic road in its prime and help us to visualize "yesterday" as we drive around Tucumcari today.

Desert Air Motel

Centrally located on U.S. Highway 66 in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Desert Air Motel ... centrally located on U.S. Highway 66 in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Flying "M" Ranch Motel

The Flying "M" Ranch Motel, east entrance of U.S. Highway 66 in Tucumcari

The Flying "M" Ranch Motel, east entrance of U.S. Highway 66 in Tucumcari

The Cactus Motor Lodge

The Cactus Motor Lodge on Highway 66 in Tucumcari, NM ... "A Western Welcome Awaits You"

The Cactus Motor Lodge on Highway 66 in Tucumcari, NM ... "A Western Welcome Awaits You"

Motel Conchas

Motel Conchas on U.S. Highways 66 & 54, Tucumcari, New Mexico

Motel Conchas on U.S. Highways 66 & 54, Tucumcari, New Mexico

The Palomino Motel

The Palomino Motel on Highway 66 East Entrance, Tucumcari, New Mexico

The Palomino Motel on Highway 66 East Entrance, Tucumcari, New Mexico

The Yucca Motel

The Yucca Motel on Highway 66 East ... Facing the Historic Tucumcari Mountain

The Yucca Motel on Highway 66 East ... Facing the Historic Tucumcari Mountain

Elk Rexall Drug Store

Elk Rexall Drug Store in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Elk Rexall Drug Store in Tucumcari, New Mexico

 

Interactive Map of the Tucumcari, New Mexico Area


More Information About Tucumcari

Tucumcari Tourism website

 

Tucumcari Chamber of Commerce

 

City of Tucumcari website

 

Tucumcari Main Street website

 

Tucumcari Economic Development Council (EDC) website

 

Tucumcari at New Mexico Tourism website

 

Tucumcari Travel Guide at TripAdvisor: Hotels, restaurants, things to do


Driving West
on the Next Route 66 Segment?

Tucumcari to Santa Fe

Route 66 Road Trip westbound from Tucumcari to Santa Fe, New Mexico


Travel Guides for Other States Along Route 66

Planning a Road Trip on Route 66? Here are trip planners for the major segments ...

Historic U.S. Route 66 ... An Introduction to the The Mother Road
Route 66 in Missouri Route 66 in Texas Route 66 Across Arizona Route 66 Across New Mexico
Route 66 Road Trips Across Oklahoma Route 66 Road Trips in Illinois Route 66 Across California Route 66 in Kansas

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