The Friday after Thanksgiving we loaded into our borrowed Toyota Sequoia and traveled to Amarillo, TX for a weekend of hiking, food & small town fun. This trip was inspired after realizing that the second largest canyon in the country lies in the heart of the Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon! So let’s head on our family friendly Amarillo, TX travel guide.
How We Got to Amarillo, TX
Road trip! They’ve become a favorite of ours this year (you can even see our 5 road trip tips here) & even though Amarillo was an 8 hour trip, it felt like a quick drive compared to our drive to Big Bend National Forest (12 hours!). Toyota was kind enough to extend us the use of the Toyota Sequoia from our Brazos Bend trip onto our trip to Amarillo. And MAN did it make the ride smooth, with a dvd player for the kids to watch movies, headphones for said dvd player so we didn’t have to hear those movies for the millionth time, navigation, heated/cooling seats (a favorite of mine!) & plenty of space for everyone to be comfortable the whole time!
What We Did in Amarillo, TX
- Hiked Palo Duro Canyon State Park – During the two days we hiked through Palo Duro we hiked the famous Lighthouse trail (~6 miles) & the CCC trail (~3 miles). The Lighthouse was mostly flat with the last leg to get up to the lighthouse is a steep climb up rocks & gravel, has an absolutely magical view. But I will say that the CCC Trail gave us more bang for our hike, I like a trail with heavy altitude change (even if it causes me to cuss a little 😉 ). We began the CCC Trail at the bottom of the canyon floor & climbed up to the canyon rim, it may have been half the mileage of the Lighthouse trail but it felt like much more with the constant elevation changes. And we even added an extra mile onto our CCC trail with exploring the rims of the canyon. Micah even made this video for y’all while we were resting at one of the exceptional spots on the CCC trail with a few hiking tips 😉
- Cadillac Ranch – We visited the famous Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo to spray paint this public art installation that encourages you to be apart of the art, so grab a can or two of spray paint & go to town! There is a Home Depot not too far from here, we stopped in and grabbed a few cans to make our mark, if just for a moment on these Cadillacs.
- Nights of Lights at Enchanted Acres – A drive through light show with music, Texas themes & a whole lot of lights!
Where We Ate in Amarillo, TX
- Blue Sky of Texas – We got in on Friday night starving! So we headed for burgers at the Blue Sky and MAN we were not disappointed! The burgers were made fresh as was everything else & was just plain delicious!
- 575 Pizzeria – After our first day of hiking we stuffed our stuff silly with pizza, 575 Pizzeria had a long list of beers, pizza toppings & pretty much some sort of pizza for whatever you craved! I went with the CEEJ, it was covered in artichoke hearts, mushrooms, spinach & bacon. All things that make my heart happy. Micah played it safe & delicious with pepperoni and J.P. went with a pizza covered in meat.
- The Big Texan Steak Ranch – Amarillo Steak Challenge? That’s the first thing my hubby said..yeah it’s the home of the famous 72 oz steak challenge on Route 66! We opted for much smaller but still filling steaks along with a round of brisket covered fries (OMG!), sides and enough sweet tea to fill a bath tub. The charm & kitchy decor just sang to my heart, they had their Christmas decor up (my kind of people) and it was honestly just the best, most over the top Texas thing I’ve seen all year! The kid’s meals come in cowboy hats the get to keep for crying out loud! Sometimes coloring works for Emily & sometimes we just gotta turn on the Netflix on our phones to get some peace for dinner.
- Ye Old Pancake Station – Yeah as soon as I walked in I thought, Oh my gosh this place is tiny & Emily needs to behave herself. Because well tiny places and a two year old can cause disaster but Emily is always happy if we let her stack the creamers or packages of jelly, so that’s what she did. But MAN was it good, everyone scarfed down their food with mumbling & grunts of how good everything was. I can see why it is so beloved by locals!