For years, people have been CRAZY about Mineral Wells and for good reason too. Whether you stop in to drink some of its healing waters or maybe just take in the gallons of history around each corner, this town will have you satisfied by the end of the day.
To really understand the special kind of crazy surrounding this town, you’ll want to visit Downtown Mineral Wells where tucked away in a parking lot, you’ll find the well that started it all. Tired of traveling to other towns for fresh water, James Lynch dug his own well in the 1900s. After drinking from it, he noticed that he felt healthier than he ever had. People traveled from near and far to get a taste of his healing water and so Mineral Wells was built.
Sadly, all of the wells dried up but one. If you’re hoping for a taste of the crazy, you can find it at the Famous Mineral Water Co. The company bottles the water from the remaining well and sales this liquid vitamin in water bottles and sodas.
While you’re in town, you should also check out the hauntingly beautiful Baker Hotel and Crazy Water Hotel. Both were built during the crazy water hay day to accommodate the massive crowds that flooded into town just for a taste of the healing waters. And both, which are still standing today, were abandoned after all the wells dried up.
Just outside of town, you’ll find the Fort Wolters which was the largest base for helicopter pilots during the Vietnam War. You can learn about this well-known base just a little further down the road at the National Vietnam Museum. In the museum, you can see the iconic UH1 (or “Huey”) Helicopters that pilots learned to fly here or pay your respects at the Vietnam Memorial Garden, a half-scale replica of the memorial in Washington D.C.
For some good, clean fun, head over to the Laumdronat Washing Machine Museum to learn about the evolution of the washing machine. You can also do your laundry because it is a full-functioning laundromat as well.
If you enjoy climbing, then you’ll definitely want to take a shot at the Penitentiary Hollow in the Lake Mineral Wells State Park. This is one of the most unique places to climb in Texas because instead of climbing up it, you top-rope down the towering sandstone into the crevices beneath. It is fragile when wet, so it is closed when it rains. Legend has it that this hollow was named after the jail kept in its crevices. For an amazing bike trail, check out the Lake Mineral Wells Trailway in the state park, a 20-mile path on an old railway line that used to connect downtown Mineral Wells and Weatherford. Plus, Garner, TX, is a nice pit-stop along the way!
You can frolic in flowers at Clark Gardens, a 35-acre botanical garden with every kind of flower and greenery you can imagine. And for all the train-fanatics, there’s a model train set that includes a mini Mineral Wells and Baker Hotel!
You can time-travel back to the dinosaur days by digging for fossils at Mineral Wells Fossil Park. While you have to supply your own shovels, you can take home any dino bones you find.
When the hunger hits, head to Dee’s Hometown Diner in Cool, TX. Dee’s may not be your average small town diner, but it is dee-lish. On the front of the menu, you’ll find the typical cowboy chicken-fried fare, but on the back is a wonderland of Lebanese delights. Dee serves up everything from stuffed grape leaves to falafel.
If you want a meal that’s sure to last you for at least two more, head to Mary’s Café for the biggest chicken fried steak you’ve ever seen. Seriously, this steak is the size of Texas, and you’ll want to be sure to wear some comfy pants to devour this dinner.