Midland has two public golf courses: the 27-hole Hogan Park Golf Course, 3600 N. Fairground Rd. (tel. 432/685-7360; www.hoganparkgolf.com), with greens fees for 18 holes of $12 to $20, and carts for $18; and the 18-hole Nueva Vista Golf Club, 6101 W. Wadley Ave. (tel. 432/520-0500; www.nuevavistagolf.com), with greens fees of $16 to $28 and carts for $12 per rider. In Odessa, Sunset Country Club, 9301 Andrews Hwy. (tel. 432/366-1061), is an 18-hole course open to the public year-round. Greens fees are $14 to $19, and carts are $11.
Baseball fans can get their fix in the form of the Midland RockHounds (tel. 432/520-2255; www.midlandrockhounds.org), the AA Texas League affiliate of the Oakland Athletics. The RockHounds play 70 home dates from April to August at the First American Bank Ballpark, 5514 Champions Dr. Tickets cost $5 to $10. The Central Hockey League's Odessa Jackalopes (tel. 432/552-7825; www.jackalopes.org) play an October-to-March schedule at the Ector County Coliseum, 42nd Street and Andrews Highway. Tickets run $9 to $25. But it's high-school football that is the sport of choice in Midland-Odessa, which provides the backdrop to the best-selling book Friday Night Lights.
Dune Sledding in Monahans Sandhills State Park
30 miles W of Odessa
When Spanish explorers first stumbled upon these sandhills in the mid-16th century, they labeled them "perfect miniature Alps of sand." Perpetually changing geologic and geometric wonders, the 3,840 acres of dunes at Monahans Sandhills State Park, I-20 exit 86 (tel. 432/943-2092; www.tpwd.state.tx.us), represent the only public access to a 200-mile range of dunes that stretches from eastern New Mexico into the Permian Basin of West Texas.
Start at the visitor center, where you can watch a short orientation video, check out exhibits on all things sandy, and trek through the dunes on a .25-mile interpretive trail. The center rents plastic disks and toboggans for West Texas-style sledding, down dune slopes that top out at 70 feet in height. Besides sledding them, you can explore the dunes on foot or horseback. (You'll need to bring your own horse to the 600-acre equestrian area; no stables are on-site.)
The dunes are far from barren. Many plants thrive here, including the shin oak, an unusually small oak with unusually large acorns that creates a "Lilliputian Jungle" in the park. Other native inhabitants are deer, coyote, possum, and bobcats. For the human guests, there are 24 back-in campsites with water and electricity for $14 a night; the day-use fee is $2 (free for children 12 and under). The park is open daily from 8am to 10pm.
If you're a Coca-Cola fanatic, stop in at Big Burger and Coca-Cola Museum, 1016 Stockton St. in Monahans, off of I-20 exit 80 (tel. 432/943-5655), an all-American burger joint plastered with every imaginable piece of Coke memorabilia. Most menu items range from $4 to $8; the fried catfish dinners merit a detour.