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  • Writer's pictureChristina Trotter

The Big Texan Motel: A Wild West Oasis in Amarillo

Updated: Oct 5, 2023

I like a little bit of quirkiness thrown in with my travel, so staying at The Big Texan Motel in Amarillo was high on my list of places to stay.

We love road trips and we drive through Amarillo almost every time we travel west. It's five hours from Dallas, so we usually stay the night there to break up the trip.

About the Big Texan Motel

We were headed to New Mexico, so I booked a stay at The Big Texan Motel, an iconic presence on Interstate 40 and a vibrant testament to the spirit of the Wild West.

The Big Texan Motel and Steak Ranch sign
The Big Texan Motel is next to the Big Texan Steakhouse just off of I-40

Our five hours of travel turned into seven hours after stops for gas, bathrooms, and beef jerky. The kids were restless by the time we pulled into the motel lot. Bill pulled up near the door and got out.

As the minutes turned into more minutes, the kids' volume kept going up. I was losing my patience. Finally, Bill got into the car. "What took so long?" I asked, exasperated.

Bill looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, "The man checking in in front of me had a horse."

Those are words that I never expected him to say. "That's actually the only excuse that I would accept right now," I said.

A sign on The Big Texan Motel lobby door that says "no more motel rooms available tonight. Plenty of Horse stalls available."
Fortunately, we had a reservation

With that, we parked the car just down the row and lugged our overnight bags up the outside stairs to the 2nd floor.

The outside of the hotel is designed to look like an Old West town from the 1800s. That is except for the bright colors they've chosen for each building. I don't recall seeing any pink saloons in Old West photos, but perhaps they were concealed in the black and white photos.

The rooms are what you would expect. They are Western-themed and the rooms are clean, but also dated. I've stayed in many motels in my life and they've all had a few of the same features: outside stairs, doors lead to the room from the outside and the sinks are in the main room outside of the toilet and tub area. The Big Texan Motel is no exception.

Behind the motel is, in fact, an area to pen your horse(s). There's also an RV park just beyond the restaurant.

Big Texan Motel History

The Big Texan Motel's history dates back to the early 1960s when it was established as part of the larger Big Texan Steak Ranch complex. The steakhouse, famous for its legendary 72-ounce steak challenge, quickly became a Texan landmark. The motel, built adjacent to the steakhouse, extends the spirit of hospitality to travelers who want to soak in the atmosphere of the West.

Yes, the Big Texan Motel in Amarillo is Animal Friendly...

One of the most endearing aspects of the Big Texan Motel is its welcoming attitude towards animals. Travelers with pets can rest easy knowing that the motel is pet-friendly, allowing them to bring their furry companions along on their journey. Amarillo's wide-open spaces and nearby parks provide the perfect backdrop for long walks and outdoor playtime.

Really Animal Friendly...Your Equine (Horses) are Welcome

Interestingly, the Big Texan Motel goes a step further in its animal-friendly policy by extending its hospitality to horses. If you're traveling with your horse, the motel offers designated horse-friendly accommodations, making it a fantastic choice for equestrians exploring the Texas plains. I can also attest that it may prolong your check-in wait time.

The Big Texan Steakhouse Ranch

Next door to The Big Texan Motel is the Big Texan Steakhouse Ranch. We like to eat dinner there because even though it's touristy, they also have surprisingly great food. And if you are feeling particularly hungry, you can attempt to get a free meal by eating a 72-oz steak and sides in under an hour.

A plate with a large steak, grilled to perfection and a baked potato wrapped in aluminum foil. To the side is a small bowl of fried okra.
Steak and a baked potato

The Big Texan Brewery

The restaurant also has the Big Texan brewery and the beers are good. It's nice to enjoy one if you have to wait. You can hang out in the front room and play a shooting game or we like to go out back and listen to music or whatever entertainment that they have.

Big Texan Cabins and RV Ranch

For those seeking a more rustic experience, the Big Texan Motel offers quaint cabins with a genuine Western ambiance.

You also have access to the Big Texan Limo - a big ole Caddy with longhorns on the front!

There's also the RV Ranch for those traveling in a recreational vehicle or pulling a camper.

Final Thoughts

Friends have asked me if I would stay here again. The truth is, probably not. The motel completely met my expectations, but I feel like I scratched that itch.

It is a quick easy on and easy off of I-40, so it gets major bonus points for that. I think on future trips though, I will focus on something quieter and perhaps further off the road. Or perhaps even a larger hotel that's off the highway but can mask the noise a bit better.

But would I dissuade anyone from staying there? If there intent was to recapture a piece of Americana and Historic Route 66, absolutely not. It's worth a one and done.

Happy Travels,



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