It’s been called “Texas’s Largest Beach Without an Ocean.” That’s true, but it’s also a rugged West Texas town that sits atop a massive dune field that reaches deep into New Mexico. Yet, those that travel here will find much more than sand.
Monahans Sandhills State Park
Let’s start with the main event. By far the most popular thing to do in town is visit Monahans Sandhills State Park. It’s just east of town, but feels like it’s east of the Atlantic Ocean somewhere in the middle of the Sahara Desert. You can hike over the wind-swept dunes or checkout a sled from the front office and ride them to your heart’s delight.
Million Barrel Museum
If you’re looking for a history lesson on Monahans and Ward County, head to the Million Barrel Museum (or Ward County Museum). This collection of historic buildings and artifacts is built around a concrete pit that could once hold a MILLION barrels of oil.
Pyote Rattlesnake Bomber Base Museum
Also in the Million Barrel Museum is the Rattlesnake Bomber Base Museum that’ s all about the World War 2 era training facility that used to be in nearby Pyote, TX teaching B-17 and B-29 pilots to fly in the 1940’s.
Another museum not to be missed is the Roy Orbison Museum in Wink, TX. The famed rock-and-roll musician called this town home before he hit the big time with hits like “Pretty Woman” and “Only the Lonely.” You can see relics of Roy’s childhood and even touch his last pair of prescription sunglasses.
Pappys Bar B-Q
The town and surrounding area are full of country cafes and awesome Tex-Mex establishments. One of my favorites is Pappy’s Bar B-Q. This place is smoking tasty meats over mesquite and has even made it to the Texas Monthly Top 50. While I’m not usually one to recommend it – don’t miss the chicken.
For a culinary oasis in the desert, head to the the Jazz Cafe. Sitting inside of a renovated theater, this place offers big city class and flavor at small town prices. Steaks are hand cut, pasta plates are delicious, and you won’t go wrong ordering any of their daily specials.