Dallas to Albuquerque Road Trip

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This Dallas to Albuquerque drive offers ten hours of reveling in the desert’s best attractions. From modern art installations to vintage Route 66 monuments, this trip is a definite treat for the eyes.
If you prefer real treats, don’t worry. Texas knows how to satisfy your sweet tooth!
As for New Mexico, get ready to experience some of the world’s best natural beauty.
But, New Mexico also happens to have one of the highest percentages of uninsured drivers in the nation. Check your car insurance to make sure you have enough protection. Roadside assistance is another smart way to keep your road trip stress-free and safe.
Okay, ready to hit the road? Jerry has compiled the best stops for your Dallas to Albuquerque road trip.

Day 1—Dallas to Amarillo

Travel time: Five and a half hours nonstop
This leg of your route is a lovely drive along the Oklahoma border on US-287N. You’ll pass through homey small towns and odd roadside attractions that are well worth a quick stopover.
Where to stop: Decatur, Wichita Falls, Chillicothe
Where to eat: The most special stop along your route is the nondescript Pecan Valley in Chillicothe. If you need a strong cup of coffee, go to Turquoise Coffee Shop and enjoy your cup of Joe near the enormous Rubik’s cube mounted outside. In Amarillo, you can enjoy a touristy but enjoyable meal at Big Texan Steak Ranch, or head to Abuelo’s Mexican Restaurant for something a little more low-key.
What to do: In Decatur, check out the Texaco Petrified Wood Gas Station. You can’t fill your tank here as it’s no longer operating, but it’s a hell of a photo opp. In Wichita Falls you can see the World’s Littlest Skyscraper and stretch your legs at Lucy Park. Once you reach Amarillo, head to the Cadillac Ranch art installation (BYO spray paint!).
Dallas skyscrapers, seen from above, reflect a yellow glow from the sunset.
Dallas, Texas

Pro tips

  • You can sleep over at the Big Texan Motel in Amarillo, too (and it has a pool).
  • Try to keep your tank full and pack extra water for emergencies. Driving in the desert is no joke!
Key Takeaway It’s only five and a half hours to Amarillo but there’s a lot to see!
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Day 2—Amarillo to Albuquerque

Travel time: Four hours
From Amarillo onward, you’ll be traveling the old Mother Road (historic Route 66). It’s now known as I-40, but keep your eyes peeled for vintage gas stations and quaint vistas along the way.
Where to stop: Tucumcari, Santa Rosa
Where to eat: Before you leave Amarillo, hit Ye Olde Pancake Station for breakfast. In Tucumcari, try Kix on 66 for a diner-style meal with memorabilia everywhere. In Santa Rosa, go to Biig Rasscals for Mexican food. Once you reach Albuquerque, indigenous and Spanish flavors fuse into incredibly delicious eats! Try The Jealous Fork or Artichoke Cafe, for a slightly classier option.
What to do: Just outside Amarillo is Palo Duro Canyon State Park for hiking if you have some time (the Lighthouse Trail is iconic). It’s great for a morning hike before you hop in the car.
Stop in Santa Rosa to experience the Route 66 Auto Museum and grab a few postcards and souvenirs. No American road trip would be complete without a dinosaur-themed attraction, right? In Tucumcari, you can meet the brief at the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum.
Before you leave town, drive by the ruins of the Old St. Rose of Lima Church & Cemetery and then visit the Blue Hole for a quick dip or a photo opp.
In Albuquerque, it’s all about the relationship between humans and the landscape. Check out the Petroglyph National Monument and then take the Sandia Peak tramway to get another perspective. Stroll the old town and check out an authentic panaderia before visiting art galleries. You could easily spend weeks exploring this part of New Mexico, so don’t be afraid to plan another trip!
A hiker takes a photo of a geological formation along the Lighthouse Trail.
Lighthouse Trail, Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Pro tips

  • Vintage road trip memorabilia can be hidden in plain sight. Follow your instincts!
  • Don’t sleep on the food scene in New Mexico—the incredible fusion cuisine will blow your mind.
Key Takeaway Keep an open mind and don’t be afraid to follow your gut if you see an interesting stop on the side of the road.
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Why you need roadside assistance

No matter how safely you drive, desert roads can be hazardous. Potholes, windstorms, or freak tumbleweeds—you’re at risk whenever you get behind the wheel.
Luckily, you can protect yourself from the unexpected with the roadside assistance program with Jerry. For $6.99, you get access to towing help, flat tire replacement, fuel delivery, lockout assistance, and more.
Even if you fancy yourself a Jack Kerouac type, there’s no need to let adventure get the best of you. Get the best of both worlds with roadside assistance, so you can adventure boldly knowing that help is just a phone call away.

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When is the best time of year to road trip in Texas?

It depends on what you plan to do and see on your trip. Texas typically has mild, warm weather year-round, although the summer can be a bit more extreme. However, recent extreme weather patterns are changing everything we know about the climate in Texas. Our best advice is to pay attention to the weather reports, plan your trip for the off-season, and drive carefully no matter when you go.

Does Route 66 still exist?

No. Unfortunately, the road was decommissioned in the 1980s as the new U.S. highway system was built. The good news is that the new roads retrace the original Route 66 in many places. So while you can’t drive the full original route, you can definitely spend some time on the Mother Road.
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