11 Day Trips From Amarillo Worth Going On

Cadillac Ranch, Interstate 40 Frontage Road, Amarillo – Amarillo Texas day trips and excursions

Amarillo is situated in the Texas panhandle and is a well-known stop along Route 66. It’s famous for its Texas BBQ, outdoor activities, and impressive museums. 

However, what makes Amarillo stand out is its array of fantastic day trips nearby, ranging from bustling cities to hidden local gems. I’ve personally visited Amarillo and was pleasantly surprised by the sites surrounding it.

Best Day Trips From Amarillo

Keep reading below as I highlight the best day trips from Amarillo worth checking out.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Just a short drive south of Amarillo, Palo Duro Canyon State Park offers breathtaking views and outdoor adventures. Known as the “Grand Canyon of Texas,” this park boasts hiking trails, scenic overlooks, and opportunities for camping and seeing wildlife. 

If you love being outdoors like I do, this is a fantastic place to visit. It’s just a 30-minute drive from Amarillo and offers beautiful trails and views worth experiencing. Plus, it’s very pet-friendly, so you can bring your pup along too! Just remember to keep them on a leash during your visit.

Lake Meredith

Texas is known for its heat and there’s no better place to cool off near Amarillo than Lake Meredith. It’s about 40 minutes north of Amarillo and is a reservoir perfect for swimming, fishing, boating, and picnicking. The nearby area also offers hiking trails and birdwatching spots, making it a great choice for nature lovers.

Cadillac Ranch

A quirky and iconic roadside attraction, Cadillac Ranch is a must-visit for art and car enthusiasts. Located about 15 minutes west of Amarillo, this public art installation features a row of half-buried Cadillacs, buried nose-deep in the ground. They stick up in the air and are known for their spray-painted exteriors. 

Having been to Cadillac Ranch myself,  I can say it’s a popular spot worth visiting. It’s a unique and fun place for taking photos to commemorate your time in the area.

Lubbock

Venture east of Amarillo about 1 hour and 50 minutes to discover Lubbock, a vibrant city known for its music history, including being the birthplace of Buddy Holly. Explore museums, galleries, and live music venues, or simply enjoy the city’s lively atmosphere and dining scene.

I recommend spending some time at the Buddy Holly Center where you can appreciate different exhibits, art galleries, and learn about Buddy Holly and West Texas. It’s a great way to get to know the city better and its past. 

Once you’re done visiting, don’t miss a chance to dine at the Cast Iron Grill known for its chicken fried steak and delicious pie. 

Buffalo Springs Lake

Buffalo Springs Lake is another excellent place to cool off in the heat of summer. It’s 2 hours south of Amarillo and just 20 minutes from Lubbock. If you’re looking for the perfect day trip from Amarillo, I recommend combining a trip to Lubbock and Buffalo Springs Lake. It’s the best of both worlds when you can experience a different city and a stunning lake in one trip! 

Buffalo Springs Lake offers a refreshing escape with opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing, and camping. The lake’s scenic surroundings make it a popular spot for outdoor recreation in the warm months.

While you can do a day trip to the lake, if you’re like me and enjoy camping in the summer, I recommend coming here for the weekend and camping for a few nights. It’s a great place for some fun in the water and spending time in nature.

Big Spring

If you want to venture a little further from Amarillo, Big Spring is a great city worth exploring. It’s typically known for its two large parks, Big Spring State Park and Comanche Trail Park, each one is great for spending time outside. 

Another awesome feature of Big Spring is its charming downtown area that has many different bars, restaurants, antique shops, and boutiques.

Big Spring offers a smaller, more intimate setting compared to Amarillo, making it a charming escape for those seeking a break from bustling city life to explore a local town.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

A longer but rewarding day trip from Amarillo is Santa Fe, New Mexico’s capital city known for its art galleries, adobe architecture, and cultural heritage. You can explore the historic Plaza, visit art museums, and savor the city’s incredible cuisine.

Santa Fe stands out as one of my favorite cities in the United States, and I can assure you it’s well worth the drive. I’ve personally made the trip, which takes about 4 hours and 5 minutes, and I can attest to its appeal for its cuisine, art scene, and breathtaking scenery.

While visiting Santa Fe is delightful year-round, it’s particularly enticing during winter because it houses one of the nearest ski resorts to Amarillo, Ski Santa Fe. Even if you’re new to skiing, it’s an excellent place to learn how to snowboard and learn how to fall, thanks to its manageable size and welcoming environment for beginners.

All in all, a day trip to Santa Fe from Amarillo is highly recommended. You’ll be charmed by this adorable town and all it has to offer.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Another possibility for a day excursion is Oklahoma City, which boasts attractions like the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the Oklahoma City Zoo, and the Bricktown entertainment district featuring a variety of restaurants and shops.

I’ve personally driven from Amarillo to Oklahoma City and can confirm it makes for a fantastic day trip! The car ride takes about 3 hours and 50 minutes but is well worth it for the lively city ambiance.

One of the pleasant surprises for me was discovering the beautiful lakes within and near the city. I highly recommend visiting Lake Hefner, where you can enjoy water activities and spend time in the sun. Additionally, the lake area offers some fantastic dining options with stunning waterfront views. I recommend trying Hefner Grill for their coconut shrimp! 

Dodge City, Kansas

Another great day trip out of state from Amarillo is to Dodge City, Kansas which takes about 4 hours. It’s known for its Old Western vibe that you can find at the Boot Hill Museum. There are over 200,000 artifacts for visitors to appreciate and learn about America’s rich history. 

If museums aren’t your thing, Dodge City is also home to Boot Hill Distillery where adults can enjoy delicious bourbon from their tasting room. 

Trinidad, Colorado

If you’re considering another out-of-state day trip, I highly recommend heading to my favorite state, Colorado. I suggest brushing up on your snowboarding skills at home before heading to the quaint town of Trinidad, which is just 3 hours and 40 minutes away. It’s an ideal destination for outdoor adventures and exploring a charming town.

Trinidad is fantastic to visit year-round due to its nearby mountains, perfect for hiking. It’s also an excellent spot to bring your snowboard, helmet, and other gear for an unforgettable experience at Cuchara Mountain Park. This small park is renowned for its outdoor recreation opportunities and in the winter, its compact ski and snowboard slopes. While it’s definitely not Aspen or Vail, it’s a great place for Texans looking to learn the sports of snowboarding and skiing. 

Fort Worth

While Fort Worth requires a longer trip than some of my other top recommendations like Santa Fe, Oklahoma City, and Trinidad, it’s still worth considering. As one of Texas’s largest cities, Fort Worth offers numerous attractions, dining options, shopping experiences, and places to stay.

I love spending time in the Fort Worth and Dallas area because of its endless activities and experiences. Although the drive from Amarillo takes about 5 hours and 5 minutes, it’s a great choice for a weekend getaway rather than just a day trip.

Some of the best things to do in Fort Worth include visiting the Fort Worth Zoo, Fort Worth Botanic Garden, and the Fort Worth Water Gardens. These are my top picks, but there are plenty of other exciting activities to enjoy in this lively city!

FAQs About Amarillo Texas

Keep diving in below as I answer a handful of frequently asked questions about visiting Amarillo and its surrounding attractions. 

How far is it from Canyon to Amarillo?

Canyon to Amarillo is about 19 miles or 20 minutes in the car.

What is there to see between San Antonio and Amarillo?

Between San Antonio and Amarillo, you can see the town of Lubbock, Cadillac Ranch, the small town of Snyder, and much more.

What city is close to Amarillo?

Canyon is the closest city to Amarillo. 

Is Amarillo Texas worth visiting?

Amarillo Texas is definitely worth visiting thanks to its great food, awesome day trips nearby, and great tourist attractions.

What’s famous about Amarillo?

Amarillo is famous for its Western heritage, Route 66 attractions, delicious Texas BBQ, rock formations, and vibrant arts and culture scene.

Final Thoughts On Day Trips From Amarillo

Exploring the best day trips from Amarillo opens up a world of experiences. Whether you’re interested in spending time outdoors at Palo Duro Canyon or Lake Meredith or enjoying time in vibrant cities like Lubbock and Santa Fe, each destination offers its unique charm and attractions. 

There’s something for every traveler to enjoy in these nearby gems. So pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on unforgettable adventures from Amarillo to these fantastic destinations.