Have you ever wanted to get out on the open road and explore beautiful destinations? A West Texas road trip allows you to see remarkable scenery in isolated places! You’ll often feel as if you’re alone while you roam through the towns and walk along the stunning trails!
I have been on countless road trips and I currently live in a van where we travel around the US. This is seriously one of the best trips I have ever been on! You will definitely want to put Big Bend National Park and Marfa on your bucket list! Read below to find out everything you need to know about taking a road trip through West Texas.
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West Texas Road Trip Details
Best Time to Go
The best times to go to West Texas are in the spring and the fall. Then, the weather is mild and the trails are beautiful. If you go in the summer, the heat can be insufferable with temperatures over 100 degrees. On the other hand, you can go in the winter, you just need to layer up and prepare for some snow. We just went in January and the days were very pleasant, but during the nights we had to wear hats and jackets.
3 Day Road Trip Itinerary
If you only have one long weekend to explore, then you should definitely use this itinerary! We did the exact same thing and it is still one of my favorite road trips, after driving thousands of miles around the country. If you leave from Austin, then the drive is 6 1/2 hours. Note that gas stations can be far apart, so make sure to fuel up before you go!
First, start your journey exploring Big Bend National Park. This park is known for it’s beautiful natural landscape and its cultural history. The park has varying landscapes that will blow you away. I have been to over half of the National Parks and this one is in my top five!
You can read a more in depth itinerary to visiting Big Bend here, but here are some things you shouldn’t miss on your trip:
- Boquillas Canyon
- Lost Mine Trail
- Santa Elena Canyon
- Windows Section
- Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
- Boquillas Hot Springs
Today, spend the morning doing a sunrise hike in Big Bend National Park and seeing any of the sights you missed. We chose to do the Santa Elena Canyon, which was so beautiful. If you’d prefer to spend more time in the park, you can go on a longer hike like the South Rim.
After you see the last few sights, you can head to Terlingua Ghost Town. There, you can explore the remnants of the mining town that used to exist. It’s always eerie to explore ghost towns, but I personally think they’re incredibly unique and fun to explore!
Spend your last day exploring the adorable town of Marfa. It’s one of the funkiest towns I have ever been in my life. This town is well known for the art installations and art collections around town. It’s one of those small towns that is worth going out of the way for!
Things to see in Marfa:
Where to Stay Near Big Bend
There are many adorable places to stay in West Texas and you can find plenty of unique airbnbs and hotels! Along our drive we saw teepees, small tiny cabins, and glamping tents. If you want to be close to Big Bend, but be in a town then you should stay in Marathon, Alpine, Terlingua, and Marfa.
Marathon, Texas provides easy access to Big Bend National Park, because the park is only a 40 minute drive from there. But the town is pretty small, with few options for food or stays. We stayed in La Loma del Chivo, which I highly recommend. It had tons of character, the hosts were amazing, and the roof has seats to stargaze.
Similar to Marathon, Terlingua is a small town outside of Big Bend. It’s known for being a ghost town, because back in the day there were many miners. After World War II, they started to lose money and so they left the town. You can still see those homes today. Terlingua has plenty of unique stays to choose from including bubbles and small tipis.
This is yet another small town located in West Texas. Stay here if you want to stop in cute shops, drink local drinks, and go on short hikes nearby. It’s right near Marfa, but it will take you 2 hours to get to Big Bend from here.
Marfa has a great arts scene and is well known for many of its art installations. When you go, you can stop into small shops, art galleries, view the stars, and explore the outdoor sculpture gardens. El Cosmico is the place to stay in Marfa. It’s a unique hotel with funky options like painted trailers, yurts, tipis, and campgrounds.
Where to Eat
There are very few places to choose from on this trip, but every single time we went out to eat we were impressed! We had delicious barbecue, great coffee, and delectable burritos. So, read below to find the best places in the towns.
- V6 Coffee Bar – A great stop for unique coffee drinks and breakfast foods.
- Brick Vault Barbecue– We ordered here for takeout and they had amazing food. I highly recommend the Mac and Cheese and the Turkey.
- Espresso y Poco Mas– Another great stop for coffee! When we went, we saw lots of locals stopping for their daily brew.
- Marfa Burrito– You know it’s good when it’s Matthew McConaughey’s favorite spot. Here, you’ll find amazing homemade burritos. Note that they are only open for breakfast and lunch and are cash only.
- Do Your Thing– This coffee shop was adorable and had plenty of unique drinks and toasts. We loved everything we got and they have a nice outdoor area to enjoy your drinks.
- Hotel Saint George– We got amazing pizzas at the Hotel Saint George. You can get a variety of flavors from street corn pizza to duck confit.
- Convenience West BBQ– This is another fantastic BBQ spot, but you may need to order ahead of time to get the meats you want.
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