Cruising I-40 through Texas? We have you covered with the best tourist attractions and restaurants- several along Route 66. All plotted on a map route of Texas I-40.
We understand you can’t take the backroads all the time. Sometimes you just have to haul it down the highway. That doesn’t mean your road trip across I-40 in Texas has to be a total dud. There are plenty of great spots right off the highway you can check out without derailing your schedule. (Oh, and most of them are on Route 66! How cool is that?)
OK border to Amarillo:
Exit 163: Shamrock, TX
See: Tower Conoco/U-Drop Inn
A Route 66 icon, this filling station/cafe-turned-visitor center is one of the most incredible restored spots on the Mother Road. Just a hop off I-40, you’d be making a huge mistake to pass this place by. If you’re traveling I-40 at night, you’re in for a real treat as the place is remarkable with its neons on. (You may also recognize it as “Ramone’s” form the movie Cars)
See: Downtown Shamrock (Blarney Stone, water tower)
You might as well take a quick trip into town before returning to the highway. Here you’ll find a real Blarney Stone. As the legend goes, if you kiss it you’ll be given the gift of gab.
Exit 143: McLean, TX
See: Devil’s Rope Barbed Wire Museum
This may be one of the most unexpectedly wonderful museums we’ve ever stumbled across. You’re imagining a small shack of barb wire, but you’re wrong. The Devil’s Rope Barbed Wire Museum is a massive place that’ll leave you pretty amazed at the sheer number of types of barbed wire. (Note: closes for the winter)
Eat: Red River Steakhouse
Tucked off Route 66 in the tiny town of McLean, Red River Steakhouse is everything you could want in a Texas roadhouse… Big Texas-sized quantities, authentic Black Angus steaks, and even secret recipe catfish, all served up in an authentic atmosphere.
The largest city along the Texas stretch of I-40, Amarillo offers plenty to see and do, but if you’re just passing through, there are a couple great stops right off the interstate.
Exit 72A: The Big Texan Steak Ranch
Famous for its 72 oz steak challenge, The Big Texan Steak Ranch has become sort of a road tripping icon right up there with Wall Drug and other “must-visits” of touristy awesomeness. These days, the Big Texan isn’t just serving up steaks… There’s a brewery, hotel, and even a gift shop.
Right off the highway, you can’t miss a chance to grab a beer or big ol’ Texas dinner at the Big Texan Steak Ranch.
Exit 72A: American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum
Are we massive horse enthusiasts? No. Aside from what we learned in a horseback riding class in college, can’t say we’ve spent a lot of time around horses. That being said, we still thoroughly enjoy the American Quarter Horse Museum. For starters, you’ll get plenty of cool photos of the huge bronze horse statues, and once inside, you’ll find all sorts of exhibits showcasing the importance of the American Quarter Horse. Whether you’re a horse lover or just love learning about history, the American Quarter Horse Museum is worth a visit.
Exit 62A: Cadillac Ranch
Ten Cadillacs… All partially buried with their noses down and fins in the air. It’s such an iconic art installation it’s been featured in all sorts of pop culture including the mountains in the movie Cars. Without going into the whole story of how and why, we’ll just tell you Cadillac Ranch is right off I-40, and there’s typically plenty of half-full spray cans for you to leave your mark on the Caddies (This is allowed, by the way)
Have a little more time to explore Amarillo? Hop over to Visit Amarillo for more attractions, restaurants, and lodging info.
Amarillo to NM border:
Exit 22: Adrian, TX
Want a cool Route 66 photo op? Jump off I-40 at Adrian, TX and cruise over to the MidPoint Cafe. Outside you’ll find the pavement marked and a big sign announcing the spot as being halfway between Chicago and LA (if you were to take Old Route 66 the whole way). After a couple pictures, head inside the MidPoint Cafe. The nostalgic little diner currently just serves up drinks and a limited selection of baked goods, but it’s still a wonderful place to stop.
Hopefully this little guide can add some spice to your next long haul across I-40 in Texas.