Lone Star State Gems: Texas on Route 66

A sign with a windmill in the middle of a field in The Lone Star State.

Texas, the second-largest state in the United States, has always been an iconic symbol of the nation with its multifaceted past, diverse scenery and unique blend of Mexican and American cultures. One of the things that makes Texas truly special is its section of historic Route 66. 

Route 66, also known as the “Main Street of America” or the “Mother Road,” is one of the most famous highways in the United States. Established in 1926, it served as a major path for those who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. This route stretches over 2,400 miles and passes through eight states. 

Texas on Route 66 

Although Texas has the second smallest portion of Route 66, covering only about 186 miles, its stretch is packed with memorable landmarks and attractions. The Route 66 journey in Texas begins in Shamrock, a small town known for its historic Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Cafe. This art deco building, constructed in 1936, was once a gas station and restaurant but now serves as a visitor center and museum. 

From Shamrock, the route heads west through McLean, home to the first Phillips 66 gas station in Texas and the Devil’s Rope Museum, dedicated to the history of barbed wire. The next stop is Alanreed, which has a restored 1930s 66 Super Service Station. 

Amarillo, the largest city on Route 66 in Texas, offers a mix of old and new attractions. The famous Cadillac Ranch, an art installation featuring ten graffiti-covered Cadillacs buried nose-down in a field, is a must-visit landmark. The Big Texan Steak Ranch, home to the 72-ounce steak challenge, is another popular stop for both locals and tourists. 

The journey through Texas ends in the small town of Glenrio, which straddles the Texas-New Mexico border. Glenrio was once a bustling stopover with motels, gas stations and restaurants, but is now a ghost town, providing a small glimpse into the past of Route 66. 

Beyond Route 66 

Texas is a state of immense diversity, both in its landscapes and cultures. From the bustling metropolis of Houston to the serene natural beauty of Big Bend National Park, there is something for everyone in the Lone Star State. The vibrant cities of Austin and Dallas offer world-class dining, entertainment and cultural attractions, while the coastal areas along the Gulf of Mexico provide beautiful beaches and water activities. Texas’ history and culture have been influenced by Native American, Spanish, Mexican and American traditions, which can be explored throughout the state.