Some say that the Panhandle is the real Texas. Texas like it used to be. Much of it is largely untouched, and gives visitors a glimpse of what it was like when it was home to Native Americans, and when the Spanish first came through here. There are vast prairies and open grasslands. There are rugged, impenetrable canyons. And there are polite but fiercely independent people. Intrigued? If so, fill up your gas tank and head out to explore.
There is no shortage of things to do while in the Panhandle. Palo Duro Canyon State Park is a fine place to camp. Walk over land traversed by people for 12,000 years: first nomadic hunters of mammoth and giant bison, then Apache, Comanche and Kiowa Native Americans until Americans of European descent took over the area in 1874. Enjoy Possum Kingdom Lake at Possum Kingdom State Park. Visit Fort Griffin State Historic Site, where you may walk among one of the earliest frontier settlements, or the many biking and walking paths in Abilene State Park, where visitors can enjoy resting in the shade of native pecan trees and swimming in cool waters. In short, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful outdoors of the Panhandle.
There are other attractions in the region as well. Wonderland Park in Amarillo and Joyland Park in Lubbock are classic amusement parks that are guaranteed to entertain the whole family for at least a day. The rollercoasters will make your spirits soar. Or visit a dude ranch and learn a little bit about that fascinating occupation. Take in a rodeo if you can, and definitely plan to attend a high school football game. There is nothing quite like a Texas high school football game, especially in the Panhandle. Some of schools only have enough students for six-man teams, which makes the games fast and exciting. It’s a good way to experience what life is like in this part of the country.
Of course, there are more sophisticated past-times as well. Lubbock has a population of approximately 200,000, and is home to many fine museums. Buddy Holly came from here, and there is a museum devoted to him. The National Ranching Heritage Center provides an interesting overview of the history of ranching, while the Silent Wings Museums showcases glider planes from the World War II era.
Whether you like museums, rodeos, amusement parks or the great outdoors, you are sure to find something to your taste in the Texas Panhandle. While visiting, consider staying in a Texas bed and breakfast, where you will experience the generous hospitality of Texans.