Route 66 – Texas attractions that you shouldn’t miss!

Our first full day on historic route 66 saw us take in all the sights that the road had to offer.  Most people, of course, take the route all the way from Chicago but we had to be content with starting in the Lone Star State.  There are loads of Route 66 Texas attractions to enjoy in this state so it was a really great introduction for us.

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As I said, Texas has some really great stops with some of the most iconic sites that are so quintessentially Route 66 that you’d be crazy to miss it.  In fact if you can only do one state then Texas would actually be quite a good choice.  Route 66 spans around 178 miles in this state so lots to see!

Route 66 Texas attractions – what to see

It’s hard to fit everything in when heading along these routes however here’s our favourite spots we stopped at and a few we managed to miss out on and kick ourselves daily about:


Shamrock museum in Texas

Shamrock was a highlight of a town – and it was a perfect introduction to the Route 66 for us  The town has a few places of note in it:

The U Drop Inn

The U Drop Inn is an old cafe and gas station and it’s the most striking building as you go through the town.  If your kids are fans of Disney, or let’s face it if you as an adult is a fan of Disney (me!) then you’ll recognise the building as Ramone’s garage.  It was built in 1936 and is a great example of art deco architecture.

Nowadays it hosts a small gift shop and some artefacts from the route and you can still get a drink from there and sit and enjoy the vibe.  At night it’s lit up with neon and is really spectacular so if you manage to stay in Shamrock overnight do head out to see that.

u drop inn shamrock texas route 66


Old car lot

Ok, there are a lot of these along the mother road, but it was our first one so you’ll have to bear with us.  James and Marcus love old cars so seeing this lot with loads of rusty cars all sat there was a real treat for them.  It’s on the east side of the town just as you enter.

old cars in shamrock texas route 66

Shamrock Pioneer West Museum

We had a lovely little visit to Shamrock Pioneer West Museum before heading away from Shamrock.  It was a cute little place with lots of exhibits about the history of the area. The volunteer who was there was also really helpful and showed us round the museum personally as we were the only ones there at that time.

Unfortunately the upstairs was really hot and muggy – I don’t think they had air conditioning and we just caught Alex as she was about to faint! She had done it a few times before, both times when it was really warm, I think she just doesn’t do well in heat. I can’t say enough nice things about the lovely lady who volunteered there – she looked after her, gave her a can of cola and looked after her downstairs where it was a little cooler while we finished looking round the museum.  But if it’s a really hot day when you visit just be sure to have some water.

Shamrock tx museum  museum in Shamrock texas on route 66

Outside the museum is some more photo opportunities with an old garage and fire truck.  It all looks so well maintained that you’d think they were all brand new!


Shamrock water tower

There are lots of these water towers along the route and Shamrock has one as well – this one dates back to around 1915 and is actually thought to be the tallest structure of its class in the state.

shamrock texas water tower


McLean is a small town that we didn’t pass through ourselves although we’d heard great things about.  I think if Alex was feeling more perky we’d have explored but as it was we headed on by.

Devil’s Rope museum

If you’re looking for a quirky stop you’ll not find much quirkier than this!  This is a museum dedicated to barbed wire and fencing tools.  The museum details the history of how barbed wire came to be and the patented designs that were out there.  I had no idea!  You can see more about the museum here.

There’s also the Mclean-Alanreed museum in the same town too which contains exhibits about the history of the area and also some info on an old prisoner of war camp from world war 2.


Service area on I-40

Just out of McLean and along the interstate there’s a pretty cool service area.  There are two so depending on which side you travel on will depend on which you can visit.

So what’s so great about an interstate service stop?  Well this one has lots of exhibitions about the road and is just generally a really pretty place – even the toilets were photogenic and had some cool route 66 mosaics!

texas service station on route 66
This was in the ladies restroom!


Leaning Tower of Texas

Leaving the service station and heading west we stopped at Groom which is the next small town.  Here you’ll find the leaning tower of Texas which is another water tower that probably doesn’t hold as much as it could!  Route 66 is full of these quirky attractions just designed to slow you down and take a break in the town.

leaning watertower on route 66 in texas


Cross of our Lord

When going to Groom you also can’t really miss the ginormous cross there which is part of the Cross of our Lord church there.  It was built in 1995 so doesn’t quite have the history of lots of other spots but fits in quite nicely.  Alex and I got out to have an explore at the cross – there’s a gift shop and a church there as well as some sculptures.  A lady came up to us while we were wandering around and gave us some bracelets for no reason except kindness.

giant cross in Groom TX
Giant cross in Groom with statues around


Conway – Bug Ranch

Between Groom and Amarillo is a small town called Conway which houses a new site – Bug Ranch.  It’s very similar to the cadillac ranch on the other side of Amarillo.  Sadly I didn’t know about this one otherwise we might have had a chance to stop there.


When headed to Amarillo you have to sing the song ‘Is this the way to Amarillo?’ don’t you?  Well that was fun for about 2 mins!

Big Texan Steak Ranch

Just before getting in to Amarillo we came across signs for the Big Texan Steak Ranch which I’d heard of lots when researching places to go along route 66. It’s a restaurant with a gift shop attached and also some motels as well if you’re looking for a place to lay your head.

Apparantly if you can eat the 72oz steak there you’ll get it for free – we didn’t give it a go!

The restaurant is just on the outskirts of Amarillo.  If you keep driving you’ll find yourself in the middle of the city as Route 66 drives right through.

big texan steak ranch on route 66 in texas

route 66 texas big texan motel
Big Texan motel – colourful ‘wild west’ type buildings. I think it might have been a motel?

big texan steak ranch

big texan steak ranch route 66 texas
Plenty of photo opportunities outside the Big Texan!


Amarillo Shops

There’s a nice stretch of shops on the route 66 portion of Amarillo with lots to look at from Antiques to souvenir shops.  It’s not as good as some other towns on the road but worth a stop and a look round if you’re in the area.

Cadillac Ranch

cadillac ranch in amarillo texas

So yeah, we completely failed to find the Cadillac Ranch – my map reading skills maybe?  Or maybe our sat nav wasn’t that great – yeah, probably that.  Let’s not blame me!  I was gutted to miss it – even though it possibly doesn’t sound so exciting.  It’s an installation of old Cadillacs, put there in the 70s, that have been half buried in the ground and look quite spectacular.  You can add your mark to it with spray paint so it means they are always changing their look – just remember to clean up after yourself as I’ve heard lots of people leave litter there.

You can get there just off I-40 after you pass through Amarillo on the west side.  Don’t ask me for directions though.



Route 66 mid-point

We had planned to have an early evening meal at the cafe at the mid point of the road. Unfortunately we arrived too late and it was closed when we got there – it would be perfect for lunch, but it’s not open after 4pm. We stopped for a bit of a photo opportunity, even though we’d only done about 165 miles on the road.

old car at midpoint cafe on route 66

flags at the midpoint of route 66 in texas

halfway point of route 66 in adrian texas
We made it halfway! Ok, we cheated by only starting 165 miles earlier!


From Adrian you’re not too far from New Mexico – the next state on the road.  We headed over the border in to New Mexico for dinner that night (if I remember rightly it was Taco Tuesday!) and I think we were all really sad to leave Texas behind.  We’d had such a great introduction to the USA here.




Interested in Route 66?  Check out my other posts:

Finding the Mother Road and our journey on Route 66 begins!

Arizona Route 66 Attractions

New Mexico on Route 66

Visiting the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert

Route 66 on a budget – how we kept costs down

Route 66 to Grand Canyon

Best Route 66 Guides

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What not to miss when on a road trip and exploring Route 66 through Texas. All the quirky attractions, small towns and sights to see. #route66 #roadtrip #usa #texas

What not to miss when on a road trip and exploring Route 66 through Texas. All the quirky attractions, diners, neon, small towns and sights to see. #route66 #roadtrip #usa #texas

What not to miss when on a road trip and exploring Route 66 through Texas. All the quirky attractions, diners, neon, small towns and sights to see. #route66 #roadtrip #usa #texas


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