At the very top of Texas, the rectangular region known as the Panhandle Plains not only gives Texas its distinctive shape, it also offers visitors a unique vacation experience. The geography of the Panhandle Plains affords visitors the opportunity to partake several great outdoor recreational activities. The region is also home to several of Texas' most iconic towns and landmarks, as well as several popular state parks and numerous festivals.
Located on the southeast corner of the Texas Panhandle Plains region, the small town of Sweetwater has gained national notoriety thanks to its annual Rattlesnake Roundup. The Sweetwater World's Largest Rattlesnake Roundup has been held the second weekend of March each year since 1958. Today more than 30,000 visitors head to Sweetwater each year to either take part or attend this unique event. Beyond the actual snake hunt, the Sweetwater World's Largest Rattlesnake Roundup features a Rattlesnake Parade, Miss Snake Charmer Pageant, Rattlesnake Dance, guided bus tours, guided rattlesnake hunts, a barbecue cookoff and more.
Located on I-40 about 12 miles west of downtown Amarillo (between Exits 60 and 62), Cadillac Ranch is an iconic attraction. Originally placed along Route 66, Cadillac Ranch was moved to its current location in 1997 due to the ever-expanding city limits of Amarillo. The Cadillac Ranch was created by a California-based group of artists known as the Ant Farm at the behest of eccentric Amarillo millionaire and art patron Stanley Marsh 3. Cadillac Ranch consists of 10 Cadillacs planted nose-down into the ground. The 10 cars used were year models 1949, '52, '54, '56, '57, '58, '59, '60, '62, and '64. These models were chosen to represent the evolution of the Cadillac's signature tail fins. Cadillac Ranch gained cult-like status thanks to Bruce Springsteen's ode to this odd attraction
One of Texas' most impressive natural attractions, Palo Duro Canyon, lies right in the heart of the Texas Panhandle region, just north of the town of Canyon. Also known as the "Grand Canyon of Texas," Palo Duro Canyon is 120 miles long, 20 miles wide and 800 feet deep. Palo Duro Canyon stretches from the town of Canyon to the town of Silverton and today is part of the 20,000 acres Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Hiking and camping are among the most popular activities in Palo Duro State Park, but mountain biking and horseback riding are also popular activities, including the guided horseback tours and wagon rides operated by the state park.
Everything is bigger in Texas, right? Well, that's certainly the case at Amarillo's Big Texan Steak Ranch, which has become famous (perhaps infamous) for its 72-ounce steak challenge. Located on historic Route 66, the Big Texan Steak Ranch offers a "free meal" to anyone who can finish a 72 ounce (4 1/2 pound) steak, baked potato, salad, dinner roll, and shrimp cocktail in one hour. Since 1965, tens of thousands have attempted the 72-ounce steak challenge. The list of those who have succeeded is substantially smaller.
Visit Iconic Amarillo
A uniquely "Texas town," Amarillo was founded in the early 1800s and was once the hub of the cattle industry for the entire United States. Later, it became home to some of the nation's most unusual attractions as it was located along the famous Route 66. Amarillo's main attraction today include the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum, American Quarterhorse Hall of Fame, Wonderland Amusement Park, Kwahadi Museum of the American Indian and the renown Cadillac Ranch.