Small roads, vast skies, and endless open spaces are just a few of the interesting things to see in the Texas Panhandle Plains!
This often-overlooked region of Texas, located in northwest Texas, is distinctively Texas, with the endless plains that many non-Texans associates with our state.
However, if you’re passing through, it’s worth pausing to take in some of the Texas Panhandle attractions that make this part of the state so interesting.
Here are some of the most exciting things to do in the Texas Panhandle!
Activities In Texas Panhandle
Drive Route 66
Although Texas’ section of Route 66 is only 179 miles long, it delivers quite a punch!
Driving Route 66 is one of the top Texas Panhandle activities, with intriguing ghost towns, odd roadside attractions, and even the Midpoint of the whole Route 66 trip (in Adrian, Texas).
While the trip may be driven in a single day, it’s far more fun to make a weekend of it and stay in Amarillo along the way.
In San Angelo, You Must Visit The International Waterlily Collection
Did you know that the Texas Panhandle Plains are home to one of the world’s most stunning waterlily collections?
This serene park, which is located along the Concho River, is a hidden gem among the typically dusty plains and is well worth a visit!
Palo Duro Canyon State Park Is A Great Place For Hiking
Palo Duro Canyon, sometimes known as the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” is the second-largest canyon in the United States and one of the best sites to visit in the Panhandle!
While there are other treks and vistas to select from, make sure you don’t miss the hike to the iconic (and stunning) lighthouse formation.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park is conveniently located just off Route 66 and close to Amarillo, making it a convenient addition to most Panhandle vacations.
At Cadillac Ranch, Snap Photographs
Many odd roadside attractions can be found along Texas’ section of Route 66, but none is more famous than Cadillac Ranch!
Cadillac Ranch is one of those sites that you simply have to see to believe, with ten Cadillacs lined up in the desert with their front ends buried in the sand and hundreds of coats of spray paint decorating every inch of them.
You may even buy a can of spray paint to add your personal touch to the art–just remember to document your work, as it will probably certainly be painted over again within a day or two.
The American Windmill Museum Is A Must-See
If there’s one man-made structure that comes to mind when you think of the Panhandle, it’s probably windmills.
More than 160 windmills may be seen in this unique museum in Lubbock, and the collection is very impressive!
Hike The Tunnel Trail
Have you ever longed to go underground to investigate an abandoned train tunnel?
You can include the renowned Tunnel Trail on your list of things to do in the Texas Panhandle.
Clarity Tunnel, near Caprock Canyons State Park, is a unique hiking experience.
The tunnel is home to roughly 500,000 Mexican free-tailed bats from April to October each year, in addition to the history and views.
Visit The Wichita Falls Waterfall
Waterfalls are certainly not the first thing that springs to mind when you think of visiting the Panhandle Plains, yet Wichita Falls is home to one of Texas’ most iconic waterfalls!
The multi-level waterfall, which stands 54 feet tall, is certainly worth a visit if you’re in the region.
Is this something that happens naturally?
In a way, yes… but no.
The city’s name comes from the natural Wichita Falls, which were wiped away in a flood in the 19th century.
Today’s man-made waterfall is a tribute to them, as well as a pleasant road trip stop!
At Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument, You Can Learn About A Unique Landscape
The flint found in Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument has been sought for by mankind for over 13,000 years and was previously crucial to the survival of many people.
This is one of the most interesting spots to visit in the Texas Panhandle, and it’s a terrific way to learn about the region’s history.
Join a Ranger-led hike to learn about the area’s history or simply to take in the scenery!
In Caprock Canyons State Park, See The Official Texas Bison Herd
Caprock Canyons State Park has long been a favorite among Texas hikers, with approximately 90 miles of trails and plenty of stunning, rocky terrain.
In this park, you’ll also discover the official Texas Bison Herd–and you might be stuck in a bison traffic jam if they choose to cross the road in front of you.
The Buddy Holly Center Is Worth A Visit
Buddy Holly, a Lubbock native who had a great rock n’ roll music career that included opening for Elvis Presley on several occasions, brought pride to his city in the 1950s.
Unfortunately, the budding musician’s life was cruelly cut short by a plane crash in 1959.
At the Buddy Holly Center in downtown Lubbock, you may learn more about Buddy Holly’s life, as well as the greater story of music in Lubbock and beyond.
Take Part In A Steak-Eating Competition
Do you consider yourself to be a voracious eater?
If that’s the case, check out the Big Texan Steak Ranch’s 72-ounce steak challenge, which is one of the most famous things to do in the Texas Panhandle!
If you accept the challenge, you’ll have to sit on a small stage-like table near the front of the restaurant and (try to) finish a 72-ounce steak with all the toppings in under an hour.
The supper is free if you succeed.
If you don’t, you’ll have to pay $72.
Even if food challenges aren’t your thing, this instantly recognizable and out-of-this-world restaurant/roadside attraction is well worth a visit if you’re in the vicinity.
Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge Is A Great Place To See Native Wildlife
Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge is Texas’ oldest wildlife refuge, spanning 6,440 acres of grassland prairie. It’s a great site to explore in the Panhandle!
It’s an excellent place to see wildlife, particularly migratory birds (it is particularly known for its population of lesser sandhill cranes when they pass through during migration).
The park has two relatively short paths, however, it is more renowned for its wildlife rather than for hiking.
The sanctuary is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and entry is free.