Texas is the second largest state by population and area after Alaska, and the largest contiguous state in America. This part of 66 is also called the “Pan-handle” or “Staked Plains”, for its 200-mile stretch of almost devoid of trees or other features pancake-flat plains. The second name possibly relates to early travellers who marked their route by driving stakes into the earth. Although Texas is mainly associated with deserts, deserts cover less than 10% of the land area. The rest of the landscape contains prairies, grasslands, forests, mountains, and the coastline. The state is also considered to be a country within country. Here, people decorate the facades of their houses with the Texan flags, and like to call themselves first Texans, than Americans.

Roadside Attractions

Cadillac Ranch

  • T U-Drop Inn: Location – Shamrock. Former service station built in 1936. It can be easily recognized from afar by its two towers. In the movie “Cars”, The U-Drop Inn features as the Ramones garage.
  • The Giant Cross: Location – Groom. Visible for many miles around and being 190 feet high, it dominates the plains of eastern Texas. We are treading “Bible Belt” territory here.
  • The Leaning Water Tower: Location – Groom. Looking like it is about to collapse, it is only intended to attract passing motorists.
  • The Bug Ranch: Location – Conway. Interpretation of the “Cadillac Ranch” in Amarillo. Nose-driven into the ground Beetle Cars with their doors open, represent small community dotted with number of abandoned service stations, looking like bugs crashing on the desert floor.
  • The Cadillac Ranch: Location – Amarillo. The most famous work of art along Route 66 consisting of ten Cadillac vehicles nose – driven into the ground, in the same orientation as the pyramids of Egypt. The art was mainly commissioned to represent the evolution of the auto – mobile brand in years 1949 and 1963 .
  • The Big Texan Steak Ranch: Location – Amarillo. The Ranch is represented by giant 30 – meter high cowboy statue, which offers the 72 oz. steak and accompaniments for free if eaten in under an hour! Amarillo is really the only town on Route 66 through Texas, and with the rest places being dormant, near ghost-towns like, it might be a good idea to make a pit-stop here.

Outdoor Destinations

Garner State Park

  • Enchanted Rock State Natural Area: Distance – 390 miles, 6h 40 min from Shamrock , TX. Rising 425 feet above the ground and 1825 feet above sea level, it is one of the largest, natural rock formations in America.  Attractions – Horse Riding, Biking, Hiking, Hunting, Bird Watching, Rock Climbing.
  • Palo Duro Canyon State Park: Distance – 32 miles, 40 min from Amarillo, TX. Known as the ‘Grand Canyon of Texas, Palo Duro Canyon is one of the nation’s most magnificent natural attractions and very popular mountain biking destinations in the country. Attractions –  Horse Riding, Hiking, Biking, Climbing, Fishing, Diving.
  • Garner State Park: Distance – 470 miles, 7 h from from Amarillo, TX. Located on the Frio River in Concan, it is one of the most popular summer destinations in Texas.   Attractions – Hiking, Swimming, Boating, Fishing, Canoeing, Snorkelling, Tubing, Horse Riding.
  • Mustang Island State Park: Distance – 682 miles, 10 h from Amarillo, TX. If already missing the cost and you fancy a long side trip, you can visit Mustang Island State Park which is located between Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, 10 hours away forom route 66. Attractions – Fishing, Camping, Swimming, Surfing and many other activities.
  • Longhorn Caverns State Park: Distance – 460 miles, 7 h from Amarillo, TX. Longhorn Caverns are wonders created over thousands of years which display the remains of many Ice Age animals that once occupied the cave. It was also once a shelter for Comanche Indians, Confederate Soldiers and, perhaps, some outlaws. Attractions – Hiking, Biking, Picnicking.
  • Devil’s River State Natural Area: Distance – 438 miles, 7 h 30 min from Amarillo, TX. Kayakers and canoers seeking to row in crystal clear waters, have their own paradise here with over 47 miles of paddling on one of the most ecologically intact rivers in Texas. Activities – Horse Riding, Hiking, Biking, Kayaking, Canoeing, Swiming, Fishing.


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