Texas Travel

Hit These Classic Texas Roadside Stops

By Peter Simek 5.31.18

Texas roads are more than just a means by which we get from one place to another. Out on the road, you can feel the vastness of the state and the freedom and possibility conjured by the wide-open sky.

There are few more uplifting feelings than the sight of an endless stretch of straight asphalt. Non-Texans may not understand why we would drive for hours just to try a new barbecue stand, catch the Marfa lights, or stick our feet in a cool spring creek. But the truth is, half the fun of a Texas road trip are the stops along the way. From farm stands to urban taquerias, Texas road trips aren’t complete without a few detours into the heart of Texas road culture. Here’s our bucket list of must-hit roadside stops.

Quirky Country Market, Columbus

If you keep an eye out, you’ll find amazing farm stands dotted all over Texas’ highways and backroads. But there’s nowhere in the state quite like the Quirky Country Market in Columbus. The off-the-grid flea market is a supersize version of a roadside truck stop, with plenty of quirky Texas-themed souvenirs, handmade crafts, and curious bites. While you’re there, check out the solar-powered electrical generator room.

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo

Ant Farm’s Cadillac Ranch is nothing less than Texas’ Stonehenge — a widely popular pilgrimage site that stands as an enigmatic totem to Texas culture. Don’t forget to bring a can of spray paint and add your own mark to the legendary public sculpture along Route 66. 

Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo, New Braunfels

What better way to break up a few hours of driving than browsing an extensive snake and reptile collection (that’s safely indoors)? Started in 1967 as a home for hundreds of species, it has been a popular roadside attraction for decades. New ownership has expanded Animal World to include better facilities for the animals, while still providing an up-close experience.

Fuel City, Dallas

Where else but Texas could a gas-up along a major interstate also offer an opportunity to picnic next to a small herd of longhorns, zebras, donkeys, and other animals that graze along the Trinity River levees at Fuel City? While you’re refueling, don’t pass up a cup of elotes or the tacos that were once ranked the best in the state.

The Big Texan Steak Ranch, Amarillo

Ignore the Yelp reviews — you don’t stop at the Big Texan to experience fine dining. You visit the legendary Route 66 joint to see if you can beat the famous 72-ounce steak. Finish it in an hour (along with all the fixin’s) and it’s free. 

Slovacek’s West, West

Stopping off in West for a bag of kolaches is a time-honored tradition for frequent travelers between Dallas and Austin. And while there are many great Czech markets to choose from in the tiny Texas town of West, Slovacek’s is a local classic that will fill you up for the next leg of your trip.

Hitting the road? You’ll need the right tunes and the right insurance

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