Amarillo, TX

As they say “Step into Real Texas.”  This city may be a long haul for many Texans, but it is worth the drive.  And if you can make it to “Amarillo by Morning” then you must stop in at Youngblood’s Stockyards Cafe which serves an amazing breakfast and is attached to Amarillo’s historic stockyards.  On Mondays you can even catch a live auction.  The other food joint, you MUST check out is the Big Texan Steak Ranch, where they give out FREE 72oz steaks.  Small catch – you’ve gotta eat it in one hour, along with a table full of sides.  Good luck!

Amarillo was built on beef and the cattle industry is still the lifeblood of town.  But it takes more than cows to have a successful ranch, so head to the America Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum to learn about the most popular horse breed in the world and the one that makes ranching happen.

The decades of the cattle drives gave way to decades of cross-country drives on America’s “mother road” – Route 66 which passed through Amarillo.  You can visit some vestiges of this era in the Historic Rte 66 District, or explore the way folks used to travel in style at The RV Museum.

And, finally, if you’re the type that thinks the panhandle is nothing but flat earth – you are WRONG!  And a trip to Palo Duro Canyon State Park is a must.  This is officially the second largest canyon in the U.S.  There is tons of hiking available, but I recommend a mountain bike ride to the Lighthouse, which is truly one of the most beautiful sights in Texas.