bugsy running on lone rock beach with the airstream and f-150 in the background

One day in Abilene, TX–Big Bend Loop

We visited Abilene in January 2018 as part of our Big Bend Loop trip.

Bugsy on cow skull at Frontier Texas

When plotting the route for this trip, we had some definite destinations that needed to be connected by unknown intermediate points. Abilene was one such point, chosen because it has a few breweries and a campground not too far from town. We were pleasantly surprised by the history, architecture, and street art in the downtown area, and we enjoyed our short stay in Abilene.


We stayed at the Abilene KOA, a nice park whose manager is from Central Virginia, like us. Small world!


Abilene architecture

Abilene was a bustling train town in the 1920s, and the downtown is full of impressive architecture built up to support the railroad-related businesses. The Visitors Center has a fantastic walking tour of downtown that we recommend you begin your visit with.

Dr Seuss statues in Abilene
Bugsy and a flamingo in Abilene
Bugsy on a buffalo in Abilene

As you walk around town, you’ll come upon all sorts of street art, including murals and sculptures and our favorite, the giant saddled wooden buffalo. Bugsy was inspired by Maddie of Maddie On Things to climb up on that buffalo.

Drinking and Eating

Bugsy at Sockdolager Brewery


Here’s J’s take on Abilene’s brewery scene:

There are three breweries in Abilene and we managed to visit all three. We didn’t particularly love the beer at any of them, but really did enjoy the atmosphere at our second stop, Pappy Slokum. It was pretty bustling–in a good way–in the low-ceilinged, fairly small, and dog-friendly main tasting room of Pappy Slokum when we visited on an NFL playoff Saturday. We were a little bummed to find that they only had two IPAs on tap, a Red and a Session. The session was tasty enough and we enjoyed a few of them while we watched the game.

Abilene retro signs

(Lauren here: above is a building that caught my eye near Pappy Slokum and Sockdolager)

A couple of blocks down the road from Pappy Slokum is the year-old Sockdolager Brewing Co. We sat on the patio with Bugsy and sipped at their American IPA and their Double IPA, and then also took home a double New England IPA that was only available in a 22 ounce bottle. None of the three did too much for us.

Finally, we visited Brick & Forge, a confusing little place in the suburbs. It turns out to be a brewery that operates out of a brightly-lit pizza restaurant with a different name. Said brightly-lit restaurant only had a five-seat bar, one seat of which was occupied by a 9-year-old. Adding insult to the buzz-killing atmosphere was the fact that they were out of their IPA (they only brew four beers there). And yet, their Pale Ale was surprisingly good. Anyway, we might consider filling a growler there someday if we are ever back in Abilene, but the atmosphere just won’t do for enjoying on site.


Our Lyft driver recommended Taylor County Taphouse for dinner, and we sat at the bar with football on TV, good food on our plates, and a wide beer selection to choose from.


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