What to see and do on I-40 in towns between Amarillo and OKC
I couldn’t believe the number of people I met when I moved here who go to Oklahoma City for the weekend. Having lived on this stretch of I-40 most of my life, I’ve decided to help you put together a list of things to do in the towns between Amarillo and OKC.
Most of us know Groom. Groom houses the massive cross that dominates the high plains from I-40. If you’ve never stopped to check it out, they have a little “museum” that had a replica of the Shroud of Turin the last time I stopped. They also have the Stations of the Cross as part of the whole experience.
Worth a visit if you are religious, and just so you can say you’ve been there. It gets even more “interesting” if you go grab a bite to eat at Groom while you’re there. I am thinking of one restaurant in particular. If he’s still there, you’ll know when you see him. Stop and grab the enchiladas.
Texas Rest Stops on I-40
There are two very nice rest areas on I-40 between Amarillo and the Oklahoma line. It’s worth stopping by for the moderately clean bathrooms and the views that stretch for miles and miles.
Shamrock should be familiar to most of us. It is home to Tower Station and the U-Drop Inn Cafe. Also, if you are making your trip around St. Paddy’s Day, you need to be sure and plan a stop there for the festivities.
Once you cross the Texas-Oklahoma line and are in Sooner State, you will pass a weigh station before joining Erick. Just to let you know, there is less than nothing in this tiny little town. The main redeeming factor and tourist attraction was the Roger Miller Museum.
Yes, this tiny little town is the birthplace of “King of the Road” Roger Miller. Stop by to check it out and get your selfies. Be careful though, after doing some research I found out that the museum was scheduled to close permanently in 2017 due to funding issues. Always go for the selfie, but don’t be shocked if no museum is waiting for you.
Other than a jail and a small branch of Southwestern Oklahoma State University, there isn’t much in this town other than McDonald’s just off I-40 which stops serving too much breakfast. early. This is fine, however. It’s in front of a Flying J which has a Denny’s in it.
Check out and mate burger-clown.
Elk City, alright
Depending on how you arrive in town, you are either greeted by old hotels that have seen better days or by pottery shops. The place has a lot of weed shops these days.
Go beyond that and you will see the charm of this small oil town. Ackley Park is the perfect place to take a break and stretch your legs; especially if you have children. There is also the museum complex.
This is very impressive for a town that has just had a Little Cesar’s Pizza. The Old Town Museum is worth a visit, and you have the opera house in which someone is more than likely to get married. They also have the old railroad car so the kids can climb everywhere.
It also happens to be part of the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City with several outdoor exhibits. You can not miss it. There is an obscurely large sign on Route 66 at the front.
When it comes to dining, there are several local places that offer everything from barbecue to an Okie version of Tex-Mex. There is also a Wendy’s next to Walmart that everyone is always very proud of. It’s right off I-40 too. You will see it from the road.
There’s not much to say about that drop of saliva on the road. About forty people live there. I honestly think Fritch is bigger. There is a mechanic right next to the exit which is great in case you have any unexpected issues.
Once upon a time there was a men’s club just on the outskirts of town. I don’t know if it’s still there. Also, there is supposedly gold buried somewhere. It belonged to a conquistador, according to legend.
As we continue our tour to the east, we come across this gem. Clinton has two major attractions. Their branch of the Lucky Star Casino and Water-Zoo family tree.
The Water-Zoo is a water park adjacent to a hotel. They have a few attractions inside, so if you have kids who aren’t quite the size of Hurricane Harbor, you’ll want to check this one out. As it is next to a hotel, if you stay overnight you get a discount.
The Lucky Star Casino in Clinton is actually not that bad. When I lived there, I loved going there once or twice a month with my friends to play blackjack all night. If you plan your trip well, you might arrive in time for a poker tournament. Other than that, they’re all slot machines.
Headquarters of Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU), there isn’t much in Weatherford to warrant a stop on I-40 these days. The city became relatively quiet once real academics started showing up to study things like computer science and engineering, as well as the pharmacy program.
Keep driving east to OKC, but take the time to notice the huge herd of windmills on the way to town. It’s your signal OKC isn’t that far away, and it just so happens to mark the final resting place of what was once one of the best honky-tonks I’ve ever loved.
There is a travel stop here which is a must stop on every road trip I have ever taken to OKC. He has / had a Sonic inside. You will see it. Other than that, and the RV dealership across the road, there is Sugar Creek Casino.
I haven’t been to Sugar Creek Casino for a long time. Last time I was there it took a bit of getting used to. They were mainly slot machines. The interesting part is you could usually catch a concert there on the weekends, and they would bring up some pretty legendary names.
El Reno, alright
I have never spent time in El Reno. At this point, you’re close enough to the Yukon to shop for Chick-Fil-A (if you like it) on Garth Brooks Blvd, and OKC is just around the corner.
The Yukon, or as I call it “Not OKC”, is your last stop. There’s actually a lot going on in the Yukon. There are several places to listen to live music, some of which I have fond memories of. There is also the Czech festival in October which is worth a visit just for the food.
Also keep an eye out for the water tower as you enter the city. You will see it. There’s Garth Brooks written on it big enough to see from space. Near the bottom of this water tower is a patch that has obviously been painted a few times. This is where people used to go and spray paint “Cross Canadian Ragweed”. Guess they ended it after the boys broke up the band.
You also have the Walmart just off I-40 on Garth Brooks Blvd in case you forgot something for your trip and need to pull over before entering OKC.
Hope this helps you choose some fun stops on your trip. If nothing else, these are all great conversation starters to help pass the time after that long white line.
See the must-see routes in each state
LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving
Read on to explore the cost of gasoline over time and rediscover how bad a gallon was when you first started driving.