10 Cool Weekend + Day Trips From Amarillo, TX

Amarillo stands as a bastion among a vast and beautiful expanse of the Texas plains–and in many ways, it feels so remote that it seems implausible that there are exciting weekend and day trips from Amarillo that are waiting to be discovered.

From exciting cities to beautiful state parks, though, a quick road trip from Amarillo can deliver you to a wide variety of fun day and weekend getaways.

Whether you’re looking for one of the best day trips from Amarillo or looking for an overnight weekend trip, one of these short road trips from Amarillo is for you!

caprock canyons, one of the texas state parks near amarillo texas, at sunset

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Fun Day Trips from Amarillo, TX (Under 2 Hours Away)

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Just 25 miles south of Amarillo is the stunning Palo Duro Canyon. It is the second-largest canyon in the United States, and bears the nickname “The Grand Canyon of Texas”.

View the breathtaking cliffs and rock formations as you hike, cycle, camp (tent and RV sites), or just drive through this astonishing natural phenomenon.

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Be sure you find the Lighthouse, and if your visit is in the summer, the TEXAS Outdoor Musical offers a great theatrical rendition of the tale of the early settlers in the area, followed by a fantastic firework show on the backdrop of the towering canyon cliffs.

Without a doubt, Palo Duro Canyon is among the best day trips from Amarillo, TX!

Driving Distance From Amarillo

25 minutes.

Kate Storm standing in front of the Lighthouse in Palo Duro Canyon State Park Texas

Lake Meredith

Bodies of water large enough to enjoy watersports on are hard to come by in the western Great Plains, but thanks to the Sanford Dam and the Canadian River, Lake Meredith offers just such an opportunity to visitors looking for fun Amarillo day trips.

The lake is accommodating of speed boats, water skiing, and jet skis, giving travelers a nice break from the summer heat.

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There are also trails, beaches, camping, and fishing at Lake Meredith.

Driving Distance From Amarillo

50 minutes.

lake meredith in the texas panhandle, a texas national park service property

Lubbock, Texas

Lubbock is a city built around ranching, much like Amarillo, and the presence of the lively Texas Tech University keeps this plains city full of energy. 

While you’re there be sure to check out one of Lubbock’s museums. There’s a science museum and a gliding museum.

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Another fun destination is the Joyland Amusement Park, a classically styled park comprised of old-fashioned wooden rides and fair games.

Music lovers should be sure to stop by the Buddy Holly Museum, and theater lovers should check out the historic Cactus Theater.

Driving Distance From Amarillo

1 hour, 45 minutes.

front facade of buddy holly center in downtown lubbock, one of the best day trips from amarillo tx

Ute Lake State Park

Also along the Canadian River is Ute Lake. For those looking to do some serious fishing on a short day trip from Amarillo, this is the place.

Since it’s a state park, best-in-class RV and tent camping spots are available.

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Birdwatching is also a popular activity here, as the natural surroundings create a refuge for a wide array of different species.

Driving Distance From Amarillo

1 hour, 45 minutes.

close up of a fishing rod against water at sunset

Cool Weekend Trips From Amarillo, Texas 

Roswell, New Mexico

The famous home of one of the USA’s earliest UFO sightings, Roswell, New Mexico is a unique place that is one of the coolest weekend trips from Amarillo, TX.

Downtown you’ll find the International UFO Museum where you can scour multitudes of data and evidence and make your own judgment on whether we’re alone in the universe.

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The Downtown Historic District offers at least a day’s worth of interesting things to see and experience. There are beautiful buildings and awesome restaurants, as well as a winery and a number of great shops and boutiques.

There are also other museums in Roswell that range from Art to Aviation.

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, Bottomless Lakes State Park has places to hike, fish, and enjoy the water.

Driving Distance From Amarillo

3 hours, 30 minutes.

model of an alien in a museum in roswell new mexico

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City is essentially a straight shot east of Amarillo, and if you’re looking for a bigger city feel for a weekend, it’s a great option for you.

There’s a myriad of museums and historical attractions, pointing to the state’s history as a Native American dwelling and a frontier for settlers.

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In downtown Oklahoma City, you can visit the Paseo Arts District, and Bricktown, a historical area chock-full of shops, entertainment venues, and a waterway, and be sure to catch an OKC Thunder game if you’re in town between October and July.

Driving Distance From Amarillo

3 hours, 45 minutes.

oklahoma city skyline from above on a sunny day, a fun amarillo getaway idea

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is a quaint mountain town that gives travelers the chance to see the combination of Native American, Mexican and Spanish cultures.

There are several historical sites in the area, one being the Taos Pueblo, an ancient Native American adobe town.

Taos is an established center of art and has a history of artists living there since the late 1800s.

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The highlight of many visitors’ stays will be the Taos Ski Valley, where skiers and snowboarders enjoy arguably the best slopes available in the New Mexican Rockies.

There are many other outdoor attractions available here, such as hiking, mountain biking, hot springs, and a steam-powered railroad that visitors can ride through the mountains.

Driving Distance From Amarillo

5 hours.

adobe villlage in taos new mexico, one of the best weekend trips amarillo tx

Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas

A list of the best Amarillo weekend getaways wouldn’t be complete without including Dallas and Fort Worth.

Dallas and Fort Worth, though distinct cities, operate as one metro area, and a weekend is long enough to get a small taste of each of them.

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In Dallas, be sure to admire the skyline from Reunion Tower, browse the Bishop Art’s District, and explore the many museums.

For great nightlife, check out Billy Bob’s Texas, a huge western-themed complex with numerous attractions in itself. 

Dallas skyline as seen from Reunion Tower at sunset. Dallas is one of the most romantic getaways in Texas for couples

For something family-friendly, visit one of the many professional sports complexes, or venture into Six Flags Over Texas in nearby Arlington for an adrenaline rush.

Over in Fort Worth, be sure to visit the historic Stockyards, the beautiful Water Gardens, and popular Sundance Square.

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Driving Distance From Amarillo

Driving distance from Amarillo: 5 hours.

Longhorn cattle being driven through the ft worth stockyards, one of the best fort worth photo spots

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Colorado seems like it should be far away from anything in Texas, but in just a morning’s drive from Amarillo, you can make it to Colorado Springs.

Colorado Springs is famous for the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Anyone in the area must visit the Royal Gorge, a massive canyon carved out by the Arkansas River.

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Here you can walk out over the Gorge on a bridge or raft down the river through it. Colorado Springs also sits close to several premier ski areas.

The legendary Pikes Peak is close by, where travelers can climb, drive, or ride a train up through several different climates.

The Garden of the Gods is another must-see natural marvel that features towering rocks and ridges. If you love the mountains, you’ll love Colorado Springs.

Driving Distance From Amarillo

5 hours 20 minutes.

garden of the gods in colorado springs,one of the best road trips from amarillo tx

Austin, Texas

The capital city of Texas is full of activity and excitement and is one of the best weekend trips from Amarillo.

As one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, Austin has developed into a bustling and beautiful landmark.

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There are city-wide festivals and events quite often in Austin, celebrating everything from beer to pecans.

A lively music and theater scene add to the cultural landscape.

view of austin skyline across lady bird lake, an essential view during a long weekend in austin tx itinerary

Visit the Texas State Capital in the daylight, and the plethora of bars, breweries, and clubs when the sun goes down.

Making an overnight trip to Austin from Amarillo will absolutely be a memorable trip!

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Driving Distance From Amarillo

7 hours, 30 minutes.

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