Of all the weird and wacky roadside attractions, perhaps Cadillac Ranch wins weirdest and wackiest of them all!
This odd landscape consists of 10 cars partially buried in an old cow pasture. The landmark sits adjacent to Interstate 40 just west of Amarillo, Texas. It is also one of the most well-known stops along Historic Route 66.
After writing my post about traveling Route 66, several people reached out and specifically asked about visiting Cadillac Ranch. So I decided to write this post with some tips about visiting.
My first big tip has to be: DO IT!
I honestly can’t stress this enough. During the planning for our cross-country trip last summer Cadillac Ranch became a little source of contention. Although the ranch wasn’t out of our way, it threw off the rhythm of our drive. Not wanting to pass by the area after dark, we ended up having to make an early overnight stop in Amarillo.
With all the grumbling my husband did, I half expected the landmark to be a letdown. But it turned out to be one of the major highlights of our whole trip!
My children were vaguely familiar with Cadillac Ranch from the Pixar Movie Cars. But I’m not sure anything could prepare us for standing on the ranch next to the giant cars in the ground!
Here are a few tips you should know before you go:
- Dress in Layers: This area of Texas is know for extreme temperatures- low and high. And sometimes both extremes might even occur on the same day. Although it was a sweltering 80+ degree evening when we went to bed, we woke up to temperatures in the low 50’s. When we arrived at Cadillac Ranch it was SUPER windy and we were freezing. Make sure you bring a light jacket- even in the summer.
- Arrive Early: This place gets super crowded! And although there is plenty space in the area for everyone, it’s very difficult to get good picture without lots of people included. There is no curtesy line for pictures or even awareness of photographers.
- Be Patient: Along those lines, even if you arrive early you may have to wait for the perfect moment to take your pictures. I basically told my kiddos to just stand and smile at the camera. It took a couple minutes, but I finally got an unobstructed shot.
- Bring Spray Paint: One of the oddities at this landmark is that it’s constantly changing. People use spray paint to graffiti the cars. While we had nothing in particular in mind, my kids were super disappointed that we didn’t arrive with a can or two. I had no idea this was a “thing” but I told them we’d know for next time.
- Clean Up: One disappointing thing about this area was the amount of trash on the ground. Many people just throw their spray cans down when they are out. Always be sure to leave a place better than you found it!
- Stay Safe: I don’t know why you would, but I just want to point out that I wouldn’t visit at night or so early in the morning that there weren’t at least a few other tourists around. Also, you will have to park along the side of the road and walk a few blocks from where you park your car to the landmark. Be sure to lock your car.
A few final things to note:
- Cadillac Ranch is a free attraction that’s open 24 hours a day.
- It’s somewhat handicap accessible. The land between your car and the cars is flat, but not paved. You will be walking on packed dirt. And it’s a pretty good distance.
- Keep your eyes out- it’s easy to miss. You’ll take I-40 exit 60. Then follow Frontage Road on the south side of I-40 (old Route 66) east for one mile. Cadillac Ranch will be on the right (south) side.
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