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7 Don't Miss Attractions in Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle

7 Don't Miss Attractions in Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle


By avatar  Stacy
Posted On 02/06/2019 17:19:20
Trip Date 10/05/2018  

Destinations | Texas | Amarillo | Texas Panhandle Sightseeing | Palo Duro Canyon | Jack Sizemore RV Museum | Water Still | Cadillac Ranch | Big Texan | Route 66



As we began our travels to the west, we only had plans to visit two of the attractions on this list. Along the way our plan blew up (as usual), as we heard and read about more of what there is to see and do in Amarillo and the panhandle of Texas. We unfortunately only made it to 5 of the 7 sites, so we'll be returning for dinner and a show during the summertime!

If you have plans to spend some time in Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle, this post is for you. If you are planning to travel along I-40 through Texas, take a look at this post before you head out - you may want to adjust your plan so that you can spend some time seeing some of these don't miss attractions. As you read on, you'll discover that most of these 7 favorites are either no or very low cost.



1. Explore Palo Duro Canyon State Park

A 30 minute drive southeast from Amarillo brings you to Palo Duro Canyon State Park, home of the second largest canyon in the country. At 800 feet deep and 120 miles long, the canyon is sometimes referred to as the Grand Canyon of Texas. The fee for entrance into the park is $8.00 per day for each person 13 years or older. (The fee is waived for those traveling in the same vehicle with a holder of a valid Texas State Parks Pass.)

With over 45 square miles comprising the state park, it's easy to spend a full day (or even more) exploring. Ranging from a half mile loop trail to a nine mile round trip hike, the park has 16 trails for hikers of all skill levels. Equestrians and mountain bikers will also find options among the 30 miles of trails. Anyone preferring to see the natural beauty at a less active pace will be delighted with the many scenic points throughout the park. Some points of interest in the park can be seen from the comfort of your vehicle while others do require a short walk.


The Big Cave at Palo Duro Canyon State Park

The Big Cave at Palo Duro Canyon State Park

In addition to the many regularly scheduled events at the park including ranger led activities, the Visitor Center has a number of displays. From helping visitors learn the history to understanding the role of the Civilian Conservation Corps credited for many of the structures still in the park today, time passes quickly while reading and viewing photos.



A variety of items are available for sale in the Visitor Center (canyon rim) and/or The Trading Post (canyon floor) including souvenirs, books, jewelry, framed prints, snacks and more. No visit to Palo Duro Canyon State Park is complete without viewing the canyon from both the rim and the floor!


Peering Down into Palo Duro Canyon

Peering Down into Palo Duro Canyon

Looking Up at Palo Duro Canyon's Rim

Looking Up at Palo Duro Canyon's Rim

2. Enjoy a Performance of the Outdoor Musical "TEXAS"

If you can plan your visit to the Texas panhandle during the summer months, catch a showing of the outdoor musical drama, TEXAS. Tickets are available at TEXAS Outdoor Musical in Palo Duro Canyon for the performance located in the Pioneer Amphitheater at the state park as well as an optional barbecue dinner on the patio.

We definitely want to plan our next visit to this areas to coincide with a showing of the family friendly musical drama which begins with the famous horseman carrying the flag of the Lone Star State. Including both fireworks and a water show, the patriotic performances paint a picture of the life led by the early settlers.


Entrance to "Texas" Outdoor Musical at Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Entrance to "Texas" Outdoor Musical at Palo Duro Canyon State Park

If you can't plan your visit during the summer months, be sure to check for any special events scheduled at the amphitheater. We missed a Concert in the Canyon performance by the nationally recognized band Shenandoah by just one day.


Preparing Palo Duro Canyon's Pioneer Amphitheatre for a Concert in the Canyon

Preparing Palo Duro Canyon's Pioneer Amphitheatre for a Concert in the Canyon

3. Step Back in Time at Jack Sisemore RV Museum

Located on the lot of Jack Sisemore Traveland at 4341 Canyon Drive in Amarillo is a museum housing an impressive collection of vintage RVs. Wandering through Jack Sisemore RV Museum is like taking a journey back through time. The indoor museum is packed with fully restored RVs from as early as the 1930's as well as other camping gear, antique cars, motorcycles (both dirt and street) and more.


Jack Sisemore RV Museum

Jack Sisemore RV Museum

Belonging to Jack Sisemore and his son Trent who stated their collection more than 25 years ago, some items on display include:

  • an all-original 1936 Alma;


    1936 Alma on display at Jack Sisemore RV Museum

    1936 Alma on display at Jack Sisemore RV Museum

  • a 1946 Tear Drop trailer built out of surplus aluminum after the war;


    Restored 1946 Tear Drop Trailer on display at Jack Sisemore RV Museum

    Restored 1946 Tear Drop Trailer on display at Jack Sisemore RV Museum

  • the actual 1948 Flxible Bus used in the movie "RV" starring Robin Williams; and


    1948 Flxible Bus from movie RV starring Robin Williams

    1948 Flxible Bus from movie RV starring Robin Williams

  • the first Itasca Motorhome ever built (it's a 1975 model with the serial number "1").


    1975 Itasca Motorhome on display at Jack Sisemore RV Museum

    1975 Itasca Motorhome on display at Jack Sisemore RV Museum

To visit the museum, just ask an employee in the main showroom at Jack Sisemore Traveland. They'll probably call one of their team members to escort you to the museum where you can then roam around at your own pace. Although not as impressive as the museum itself, the fee charged for a tour of the museum is still rather impressive - it's free! (Jack Sisemore Traveland has a large selection of RV parts and accessories. If you are an RVer this is the perfect place to pick up something that you've been needing or wanting. Or, if you're in the market for a new RV or need service on your current one, they can help with that too!)



4. Sip an Iced Tea from Water Still

When I texted a friend of mine to ask what we should see when in Amarillo for just one day, here's her response:
"Do you have any tea places in Austin? You need to check out Water Still for multiple flavors of tea!!"
Although I'm not normally a tea drinker, we decided that, since it was at the very top of her list of recommendations, we should check it out.

Founded in 1989 in Amarillo, Water Still is in the water purification business. Their website states:

"Ultra Premium Vapor Distillation is recognized as the premium method for purifying consumable water and produces the purest tasting water available today!"
In addition to selling bottled water and ice, Water Still offers both sweetened and unsweetened brewed iced teas as well. Some of the flavors that I was trying to choose from included:
  • Coconut Tea (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • Blueberry Green Tea (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • Mixed Berry Green Tea (unsweetened)
  • Acai Mango Green Tea (unsweetened) or Sweet Mango Tea
  • Peach White Tea (unsweetened) or Sweet Peach Tea
  • Orange Mango Red Tea

After confirming that I could mix two flavors, I settled on Unsweetened Coconut Tea mixed with Sweetened Blueberry Green Tea. Yummo - I wish we had bought a gallon!


24 oz. Brewed Iced Tea from Water Still

24 oz. Brewed Iced Tea from Water Still

When you are ready for a cool drink, give them a try at one of their two Amarillo locations (2728 S. Georgia St. and 4712 Bell St.). With over 20 flavors to choose from and priced at only $1.29 for a 24 oz. drink, you'll be happy that you did!



5. Take a Walk on Cadillac Ranch

Imagine burying your car half-way into the ground with its nose face down ... and then multiplying that by ten - that's what you'll see at Cadillac Ranch! Of course, all of the half-buried cars are caddies (model years from '48 to '63). To top it off, what's left of the caddies is being held together by layers upon layers (and even more layers) of spray paint in every color imaginable.


All 10 Cadillacs Lined Up in a Row at Cadillac Ranch

All 10 Cadillacs Lined Up in a Row at Cadillac Ranch

My first recollection of Cadillac Ranch was while reading the book "Weird Texas: Your Travel Guide to Texas's Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets". As we planned our westbound road trip, this was on our list of our must see destinations. I had forgotten about the constantly changing graffiti on the cars, so never thought to buy paint before our visit. It was probably just as much fun, however, to watch others with their aerosol cans spraying love notes and supporting their favorite teams!


Spraying Support of the Texas Longhorns at Cadillac Ranch

Spraying Support of the Texas Longhorns at Cadillac Ranch

There is no charge for seeing this "public work of art" that was sponsored by Texas millionaire Stanley Marsh 3 and originally created in 1974. In the more than 40 years since, the caddies were relocated just two miles down the road to the cattle ranchland where they stand today. The Cadillacs still stand with their tailfins up and continue to be quite a popular tourist attraction.


Cadillacs at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas

Cadillacs at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas

Amarillo's Caddy Ranch

Amarillo's Caddy Ranch

On the same side of the highway as Cadillac Ranch, you might also want to stop by the Cadillac Ranch Gift Shop. Located at 2601 Hope Road, the shop is packed with lots of t-shirts and other souvenirs commemorating Route 66. The shop is easily recognized by the "second amendment cowboy" and three caddies out front.


Second Amendment Cowboy at Cadillac Ranch Gift Shop

Second Amendment Cowboy at Cadillac Ranch Gift Shop

For more about a visit to Cadillac Ranch, check out What to Expect When You Visit the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas by a fellow travel blogger.



6. Browse the Route 66 Historic District

In a historical celebration of America's Mother Road, Amarillo's Route 66 Historic District has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places for over 20 years. Located on the 15 blocks of Sixth Street between Georgia and Western Avenues, visitors will find service stations reminiscent of a bygone era and so much more. In addition to antiquing, you can browse through an art gallery, get a tattoo, sip on an adult beverage in a bar, purchase supplies for vaping, gobble up a meal in a restaurant, search for a handmade item or a souvenir ... the list goes on and on. There's truly something in the historic district for people of all ages to see, do, buy and eat.


Leaving Amarillo's Route 66 Historic District

Leaving Amarillo's Route 66 Historic District

7. Shop and Dine at The Big Texan Steak Ranch

It seems that whenever the city of Amarillo is mentioned, the conversation doesn't end without a mention of The Big Texan Steak Ranch. In my early 30's, my Mom and I were traveling from Denver Colorado to Austin, Texas and some people that we met along the way encouraged us to stop for dinner at The Big Texan (which we did). After making it home, once friends found out that we traveled through Amarillo, it was inevitable that someone asked if we tried to eat the huge steak (we did not!). Fast forward nearly 25 years and when I asked my friend and former colleague currently living in Amarillo about the "must sees", she also recommended The Big Texan.

Originally opening in 1960 on Route 66, the restaurant moved across the highway in the 1970s when I-40 became the more popular route for cross-country drives. Today, The Big Texan is more than just a steakhouse where your meal is free if you can eat an entire 72 oz. steak plus side dishes in one hour. In addition to the restaurant, there's a brewery (opened in 2011), a gift shop, an RV "Ranch", a motel and even an event center (Starlight Ranch).



Camping at Palo Duro Canyon State Park

If you need a place to stay during your visit to the Texas panhandle, take a look at Review: Palo Duro Canyon State Park. With sites for both tents and RVs plus some cabins, the state park is only about 30 minutes away from Amarillo but feels worlds away!

Texas Panhandle

If someone mentioned that they plan to spend some time in the Texas panhandle, what would you recommend as "must sees" or "must dos", and why?




Weather:82F Partly Cloudy


7 Don't Miss Attractions in Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle






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Created On 02/06/2019 12:25:35  
Updated On 04/01/2019 20:32:34
Scheduled On 02/06/2019 14:19:20
Posted On 02/06/2019 17:19:20
Last Editor Scott
Location  Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, TX, United States
LinkId  AmarilloTexasPanhandle
StoryId  1549473935605





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