Daytrips don't just have to be in one town -- sometimes you need to hop on the open road and just see where it takes you. Up in the Texas Panhandle, the historic roadside attractions along Route 66 will take you back in time as you travel from the Oklahoma border to the New Mexico border.
Your first stop on Route 66 is Shamrock, TX, which is home to the tallest water tower in Texas and fittingly, a huge St. Patrick’s Day festival!
And it’s also where you’ll find the iconic fill-up station featured on the Pixar movie, Cars “Ramone’s House of Body Art.” The historic station has been turned into a Visitor Center and museum where you see relics of the “good ol’ days” and Elvis Presley’s favorite booth!
At this truly unique roadside attraction down the road in McLean, TX you can learn about the 2000 type of barbed wire — did you even know there were that many? Learn about the different functions and its *sharp* history. You’ll also find an entire collection of antiques from famed roadside stops like the original giant cow from the Big Texan Steakhouse in Amarillo.
In Groom, TX, this huge white cross made of 2.5 million pounds of steel can be seen for miles and miles across the flat land surrounding the highway. Yet, it’s more than just a roadside oddity. Head to the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ Ministries to see dozens of statues telling the story of Jesus, from birth in the manger to the empty tomb.
Leaning Tower of Texas
No, you’re not crooked…this Water Tower in Groom,TX is! Rumor has it that the tower was built with a 10-degree tilt on purpose to attract visitors!
Slug Bug Ranch
This art installation on the side of the highway in Conway, TX is almost exactly like the more-famous Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX — except it’s all slug bugs and, well, they’ve seen better days… However, it’s still cool to stop by and leave your mark!
When you’re trippin’ the iconic Route 66, you’ve gotta check out some classic cars! And that’s where Bill’s comes in. He and his family have collected over 150 classic cars that’ll have you feeling all sorts of nostalgic from pink Cadillacs to little GTO’s.
In Vega, TX, this museum is a hodge-podge of very, very many Route 66 antiques shoved inside two small sheds. And if this random assortment of things reminds you of the Cars character Tin Lizzy, well the character was based off of Dot! Don’t forget a photo with the famous Cowboy Boot tree outside the museum. Just knock on Miss Betty’s door and she’ll be happy to give you a tour of her mother’s extensive collection!
Glenrio Ghost Town
This ghost town straddling the Texas-New Mexico border is the end of the line for the Texas portion of Route 66 — and it’s literally EXIT 0 on the highway. Stop in to check out this deserted town and see if you can find any actual ghosts lurking in the dilapidated buildings.
Start your day in McLean, TX off right at this tiny cafe that’s always full with locals. If you’re hoping for a breakfast big enough to fuel your entire trip, I suggest the Texas scramble: four fluffy biscuits piled high with scrambled eggs, sausage, gravy and cheese. YUM. If you want a sweet treat, order the French Toast topped with Peanut Butter, Bacon and Maple Syrup (the breakfast trifecta!) off of the secret menu.
This Cantina on historic Route 66 in Amarillo is as tasty as it is iconic. Located in the oldest building in Amarillo, it’s been an icon since it opened in 1946 and serves up some seriously delicious burgers with double cheese and lots of jalapenos!
Right in the middle of the entire Route 66 in Adrian, TX is this old-fashioned diner serving up some “ugly pie” — but I assure you it’s only ugly because the homemade crust has its own flair. Your stomach, however, will find these pies truly beautiful! There’s also an awesome Route 66 souvenir shop in the cafe.