We did an overnight stop in Amarillo, TX on our annual National Parks trip. We are headed to the Grand Canyon as our first National Park stop and then onto Zion, Bryce, Great Bassin, Lassen Volcanic, Redwoods, Crater Lake, Olympic, Mount Rainer, and North Cascades. Amarillo is just one of many stops along the route we are traveling to visit these 10 parks.
We made the most of our stop in Amarillo, even though we were there less than 24 hours. My husband Justin and I looked into the things that we could do in Amarillo. He was most drawn to The Big Texan.
1. THE BIG TEXAN
The Big Texan is a famous steakhouse. If you are interested in breaking a world record, then you can step up to the challenge at this location. They have the world record holder for fastest consumption of a 72 ounce steak being achieved at this restaurant. If you want to try it for yourself, you will be seated at a dining table that is on a slightly raised stage (so that other diners can watch). There are timers on the wall for each diner who is entering the challenge. Even if they don’t break the world record, if they eat the whole meal (including sides) in under an hour, then the meal is free. We watched five people try the challenge while we dined. None were successful in eating the entire meal. It is a lot of food.
The Big Texan has a fun, festive, authentic Texan atmosphere. They don’t take reservations. We arrived at 5pm on a Friday night and our wait was an hour long. They do have an ice cream shop, some shooting games, a bar, a large gift shop and more connected to the restaurant. We had no problem filling that hour. Our kids had chore dollars to burn. They have been saving for months to spend the money on this trip. The gift shop did not disappoint!
The meal itself was amazing! If you love steak, then The Big Texan is basically heaven for steak lovers. If you are a vegetarian…. you will want to skip this place. Just saying.
Justin and I ordered the 48-56 ounce tomahawk steak to share. It was really good. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. It was that good. The kids ordered the 5 ounce steak meal from the kids menu. Their meals came with cute cowboy hats too! So fun!
2. CADILLAC RANCH
We stopped at the famous Cadillac Ranch. Thank you to my friend Melissa Miller for telling me we would be so close to this place, so we must go! We did and it was pretty amazing. It is an interactive art instillation. It is also free. The exhibit is a row of 10 Cadillac cars half buried in the ground, standing on end. You can bring your own spray paint and create your own artwork on the cars. My kids had a blast. There is a gift shop nearby where you can buy spray-paint, but it is definitely cheaper if you can find some half used cans in your garage or make a stop at Walmart.
The Cadillac Ranch is in Amarillo, off of 1-40. You access the location via the service road that runs parallel to 1-40. I was able to pull up the location on my Waze App. We camped at the Fort Amarillo RV Park, which was only 2 miles from Cadillac Ranch.
3. PALO DURO
Palo Duro is a state park just outside of Amarillo. From our campsite in Amarillo it was only a thirty minute drive. There is a 16 mile scenic drive through the park that will take you to the bottom of the 800 foot canyon. There are also plenty of trails to hike in the park.
Some people call Palo Duro the Grand Canyon of Texas. You may not know this, but Palo Duro is the second largest canyon in the United States. The largest being the Grand Canyon.
I suggest purchasing a day pass for Palo Duro to reserve your day at this park. Texas state parks can reach capacity and on other occasions they will only allow admission if you have reserved a day pass in advance because of flooding or other things happening in the park. Ordering a day pass will ensure that you can actually get into the park on the day you want to visit. Below is the link to reserve your day pass: