Texas June 19, 2018
Take This Quirky Road Trip To Visit Texas’ Most Unique Roadside Attractions
This road trip to some of Texas’ most unique roadside attractions is a tour of our state’s quirky side, full of graffiti-covered cars buried in the sand and giant cowboys. While it would be impossible to plan a single trip to see every single roadside attraction in the Lone Star State, this should serve as a good starting point. With nine different stops, it’ll take you to some of our most famous roadside wonders.
1. Conoco Tower Station (Shamrock)
Built in 1936, this iconic stop on Route 66 was part gas station, part cafe. It shut down in the 1990s after the highway was decommissioned, but all was not lost - it was restored and turned into a museum, visitors' center, gift shop, and chamber of commerce for Shamrock. One of the "most impressive" pieces of architecture along the route, Conoco Tower Station even inspired a building in the movie "Cars." Pretty neat for a tiny town that hardly anyone has heard of!
2. Phillips 66 (McLean)
This adorable gas station was the first one built by Phillips Petroleum Company outside of Oklahoma. From the time it opened in 1928 to shutdown many decades later, it's become the most photographed place along the highway. A renovation in 1992 kept it looking just like the original in an effort to match the rest of the town's buildings and keep the spirit of Route 66 alive.
3. Devil's Rope Museum (McLean)
No, this isn't the worship place of a Satanic cult - it's a tribute to one of the most important tools in our state's history: barbed wire! Unbeknownst to most people, there are over 1,000 different varieties, some of which are worth hundreds of dollars for just a few inches. You'll even see barbed wire art pieces like a life-sized jackrabbit, cowboy hat, and armadillo. Be careful...some types are so sharp, they can shred human skin with just one touch.
4. Slug Bug Ranch (Panhandle)
Located about 35 miles east of the famous Cadillac Ranch, Slug Bug Ranch was created in 2002 as a parody of sorts. Its intent was to draw attention and keep travelers coming to the Longhorn Trading Post and Rattlesnake Ranch after a giant truck stop was built nearby. Judging by the many layers of graffiti covering the vehicles, I think it's safe to say the project was a success. Feel free to bring whatever art tools you have lying around and leave your mark!
5. Cadillac Ranch (Amarillo)
The aforementioned Cadillac Ranch was constructed in 1974 by an art group determined to change the idea of how architecture was "supposed" to look. The cars represent a timeline of how Cadillacs evolved over the years, and are deliberately placed at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza. Like the Slug Bug Ranch, these cars are also covered in graffiti and waiting to be signed.
6. Midpoint Cafe (Adrian)
Precisely located halfway between Los Angeles and Chicago on Route 66, Midpoint Cafe was an essential stop for travelers in the highway's heyday. The owner was even the basis for a character in "Cars," and Pixar visited the restaurant during filming to get inspiration. Unfortunately closed now, it was most well-known for fresh, homemade pies that can only be found in small-town Texas. The building still stands, however, and is an obligatory photo op on the trip.
7. Ozymandias (Amarillo)
Inspired by a similar structure in Egypt paying homage to the king, this giant pair of legs was commissioned by millionaire Stanley Marsh 3, who is also responsible for Cadillac Ranch and several other peculiar attractions in Amarillo. The socks were not originally part of the sculpture but instead an act of vandalism that somehow keep reappearing no matter how many times they're removed. A running joke states that the remainder of the body was destroyed by a Lubbock football team after suffering a loss to Amarillo.
8. Tex Randall (Canyon)
This 47 foot-tall cowboy has been guarding the town of Canyon since 1959. He was built as an advertisement for Wheeler's Western Store. Although the store is now out of business, there are no plans to tear Tex down - he's simply an icon.
9. Dino Bob (Abilene)
This giant dinosaur nibbling on an old VW Beetle in downtown Abilene was built by artist Bob Wade as a tribute to the 1988 children's book "Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures With the Family Lazardo." How adorable is he? Definitely the least-threatening dinosaur I've ever seen.
Since we know there are tons of other roadside attractions in Texas, we’d love for you to list some of your favorites in the comments! And if you love seeing the more unique side of our state, check out
These 10 Unique Places To Stay In Texas Will Give You An Unforgettable Experience.