The Best Hidden Places in Texas for Road-Trippin'

Categories: Nature, Travel


Giant Steer Statue at Big Texan Steak Ranch
Amarillo by mornin'...

Eh, it may take you a bit more time than that to get up to Amarillo, but if you happen to make it up to the very distant area, you should swing on by the giant steer statue at the Big Texan Steak Ranch. Oh, and then you should go into the Big Texan Steak Ranch and challenge yourself with that huge 72-ounce steak that the place has become famous for.

Remember when Bobby Hill killed that challenge after being dumped by the vegan chick on King of the Hill? Yeah, that's the place. And you know you want to go.

Distance from Houston: 8 hours 57 minutes

Photo by longhorndave via flickr

Asserting Artistic Expression at Cadillac Ranch
Oh, and if you do make your way up to Amarillo, be sure to stop by the Cadillac Ranch. The enormous public art installation is amazing, with a number of junked-out old Cadillacs half-buried with their noses in the ground. The cars are repainted periodically to provide "fresh canvases" for visitors, who are invited to spray-paint them to their heart's content. So awesome.

Distance from Houston: 8 hours 47 minutes

Photo courtesy of

Cascade Caverns
The caves at Cascade Caverns are simply breathtaking. And at points slightly claustrophobic, but that's besides the point. What is the point, however, is how stunning geologic formations like the ones found at Cascade Caverns can be. Texas sure is awesome, ain't it?

Distance from Houston: 3 hours 19 minutes

Photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

"Texas' Grand Canyon," or Palo Duro Canyon
This canyon, nicknamed the "Grand Canyon of Texas" due to its massive size, dramatic geological attributes and those steep mesa walls, is the second-largest canyon in the United States. There are plenty of trails meant for hikers -- but if you're a novice, start slow -- which lead down to the area's most impressive sights, like the Lighthouse Peak.

The area is rich with history, especially about the Native American tribes who were once its prime inhabitants. If you've never seen the Grand Canyon and are a bit afraid of heights, perhaps this is the place to start. And even if you've seen the Grand Canyon, you should still check out Palo Duro. It's Texas through and through.

Distance from Houston: 9 hours 14 minutes

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Julieta Bosque
Julieta Bosque

Gah, I didn't know about the dinosaur park! My daughter is going to FLIP! Thanks!!


I say make a long weekend of visiting west Texas -- take in the Marfa lights, visit Alpine, the McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis and don't forget to go swimming at Balmorhea State Park. Take the long way home and stop off in the not so hidden Fredricksburg and also visit Luckenbach, TX. I did this trip with a friend several years ago and while it was a lot of driving, we had a blast. 

Brian Daly
Brian Daly

I'm surprised that the Frio River didn't make the list but John Wayne's head in Lubbock did.

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