You may be asking yourself why you would ever want (or need) to venture north of I-20 into the Panhandle. There are no beaches, bustling big cities, grand lakes or rivers, or swimming holes. There’s nothing but a colossal expansion of flat land, you may think. But, if you ever decide you are brave enough to explore the semi-developed flatlands of Texas, make sure to check out these attractions. You just might be surprised at how charming Lubbock and the surrounding area can be.
Palo Duro Canyon
11450 Park Rd. 5, Canyon, TX 79015
Known as “The Grand Canyon of Texas,” Palo Duro Canyon has been inhabited for nearly 12,000 years and expands 120 miles long and 20 miles wide. The Pioneer Theater opens Tuesdays through Sundays in the summer for the musical drama, TEXAS. As if the colorful, historic canyon wasn’t entertaining enough! Make plans to hike up the famous Lighthouse Trail or take a guided horseback tour to Timber Creek Canyon.
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
2503 4th Ave., Canyon, Texas 79015
The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, conveniently located near Palo Duro Canyon, takes visitors through 14,000 years of history in the Panhandle. Exhibits portray various eras including those with dinosaurs, conquistadors, pioneers, Indians, farmers and more. Described as “the Smithsonian with a Texas accent,” visitors at the museum can expect to spend at least two hours exploring and learning about Texas Panhandle history.
Lake Meredith National Recreation Area
419 E. Broadway St., Fritch, TX 79036
Lake Meredith was formed by the Canadian River and is an area where humans have roamed for nearly 13,000 years. Hiking, camping and boating are all made possible for Panhandlers on this oasis on the high plains. With an amphitheater and the Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument nearby, there is something for every visitor to enjoy.
12601 W. I-40, Amarillo, TX
Cadillac Ranch isn’t quite what you’d think. This public art installation along historic Route 66 is a popular attraction for visitors from near and far. Built by Texas millionaire Stanley Marsh, the display is simply ten Cadillacs buried nose first in the ground. The car models range in year from 1948 to 1963 and are covered in thick layers of paint. Make sure you bring your own can of spray paint to leave your mark on this unique Texas landmark.
Bayer Museum of Agriculture
1121 Canyon Lake Dr., Lubbock, TX 79408
Whether you are an agricultural enthusiast or history buff, the Bayer Museum of Agriculture is sure to impress. With exhibits like the 1930s Hurst tractor repair shop, historic 1938 Ropesville farmhouse, cotton ginning exhibit, and the 1958 Ag Cat spray plane, visitors are in for a historic treat. There is plenty to explore on the sprawling 24 acre property which also includes a newly renovated outdoor patio. Make sure to visit this unique agricultural museum, open Tuesday-Saturday 10:00 am- 5:00 pm.
–By Kristen Schniederjan