The northernmost region of Texas got its name for the way it looks like the handle of a frying pan. Wish there was a glory story behind the moniker, but it’s really that simple. Simple, however, is far from what you’ll experience during your stay in the Panhandle Plains. Let’s start with the sky and work our way down.
This is the place to watch the stars come out. We’re not talking the red carpet, A-list Hollywood types, but the twinkling gems that inspired the lyrics “The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas.” Close your eyes for a moment. Actually, read this first – imagine if someone accidentally knocked over a giant bottle of glitter that spilled across the night sky. Now close your eyes and picture it. Then come and see the real thing. As a bonus, visit the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra to add a dramatic soundtrack to the visual experience.Dramatic Canyons
Just south of Amarillo lies one of the Panhandle Plains’ most spectacular natural attractions: Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Like a fine artist meticulously working their sculpting tools, the Red River carved the incredible spires and pinnacles of Palo Duro Canyon. Walls plunge nearly 1,000 feet to the floor below, exposing brilliant, multi-colored layers of sediment. Another dazzling site is Caprock Canyons State Park, with ideal trails for hiking, biking or horseback riding and even a fascinating 742-foot abandoned railroad tunnel to check out.
America’s most famous highway winds its way through the Panhandle Plains. Go for a drive, put the top down and let the nostalgia blow through your hair. Pull over and “get your kicks” at one of the restaurants, shops and roadside attractions (Cadillac Ranch will boggle and amaze you) that keep the Mother Road grooving along.Rock n’ Roll Pioneer
Music legend Buddy Holly grew up in these parts. Fans can pay tribute to the shy kid in glasses turned rock n’ roll hero at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock. His music influenced a generation of artists that followed. Stop by while you’re in the Depot Entertainment District to catch some of today’s talented Texas musicians.