Big Bend Texas - The Last Frontier
Photo: Jeremy T. Walls

Mount up! Pack your bags and plan a trip to the Big Bend Region. It’s Texas’ last frontier with over 1 million acres of combined public land for you to explore.

With two International Dark Sky Parks, you’re sure to be star struck. Wake up to scenic vistas, wildlife, and your renewed sense of adventure.

History of the Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is large and in charge spanning 801,163 acres! It offers 150 miles of hiking trails in the mountains and along the desert low lands.

The Rio Grande flows for 118 miles along the southern boundary of the park through beautiful Santa Elena, Mariscal and Boquillas Canyon. With so much sightseeing a trained eye can spot specific geological processes such as deformation, sedimentation, and volcanism.

Only just scratching the surface, it’s what’s beneath that excites some. Big Bend National Park is a paleontological paradise displaying dinosaur relics from the last 35 million years of the dinosaurs’ existence.

Visit the Fossil Discovery Exhibit at the North entrance of the park to learn more about the cousin of the T.rex, Bravoceratops, and a giant pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus found just recently.

Big Bend Texas Lady Bird Johnson
Lady Bird Johnson

When First Lady Mrs. Lyndon Johnson visited Big Bend National Park in April of 1966 she was impressed with the landscape and said “This looks like the very edge of the world.” Many visitors today feel the same way.

You’re instantly transported to another dimension where space becomes so vast and mountain views keep grabbing your attention. At the end of the first day Mrs. Johnson concluded that the Big Bend was indeed “wild country, completely untamed by man, but a good place to come to get your troubles in perspective.” We couldn’t agree with her more!

Whether you are looking for an adventure, or need to relax and unplug Big Bend has a surprising way of giving each person exactly what they need to feel nourished and recharged.

Since February 6, 2012 Big Bend National Park was designated an International Dark Sky Park. 

Making it land that possesses an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment. Check out the Ranger Programs for the occasional night hike.

This year marks a momentous occasion for Big Bend National Park as it turns 75!

The park was officially established on June 12, 1944. The land tells the story of past inhabitants, dinosaurs and a time when it was fully submerged in a huge sea. Get out and celebrate this amazing corner of the world by planning a trip this year.

Arts & Culture

From the moment you arrive in the Big Bend region not only will you notice a change in landscape, but a change in culture as well.

The culture of West Texas is strikingly different than the rest of the Lone Star State. Travelers from around the world are instantly greeted by welcoming and friendly locals. 

It’s easy to strike up a good conversation, join a music circle or get helpful advice. Big Bend is a beautiful desert paradise with genuinely happy people who enjoy sharing a moment of serenity.   

Terlingua, Study Butte, Lajitas and Marathon offer wonderfully curated art galleries for various budgets and tastes. When you’re here it’s easy to understand why songs, paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs and more have been inspired by the raw beauty of the area. Make sure to stop by some of the galleries to see that inspiration brought to life in a multitude of mediums.

Local Tip: The Galleria Chisos located in Terlingua features art from over a dozen artist with the majority of whom are local. This wonderful gallery has a great selection of crystals, rocks, minerals and fossils. It’s conveniently located next to the Cotton Wood General Store and is definitely worth the stop.

Hotels & Hospitality

No matter the occasion or budget the surrounding communities of Terlingua, Study Butte, Lajitas and Marathon have plenty of accommodations to offer. From camping on private land to luxury hotels and everything between there’s a great accommodation waiting for you.

Photo: Shop Across Texas

Insiders Tip:  When planning your itinerary remember that the Big Bend region is vast and simply driving from one location to another may take up more time than expected.

Keep your gas tank half full and begin your trip at the North entrance of Big Bend National Park and exit out the Southwest. Stay the night in Marathon to the North, then travel down through the park and stay in Terlingua, Study Butte or Lajitas the rest of your trip.

See more of the sights with proper planning. Also, if you plan to visit Boquillas, Mx be sure to pack your passport and cash for the donkey & boat ride.

Eateries & Fine Dining

Fine Dining in Big Bend Texas
Photo: Brick Vault

Treat yourself with some fine dining options. 

* The 12 Gage Restaurant in Marathon creates Texas specialties with a gourmet twist. This award-winning restaurant offers a refined menu that changes seasonally and utilizes high-quality ingredients including locally sourced wild game, beef, fowl and fresh seafood.

*The Candelilla Cafe at Lajitas Golf Resort has savory Tex- Mex cuisine. Make sure to order one their signature margaritas while enjoying the mountain views of the Black Jack Crossing Golf course.

*For the finest dining in Terlingua stop by the Starlight Theatre Restaurant and Saloon.

If you like to combine live music with great food then look no further. Venison, salmon, quail and wild boar are just some of the entrees. Top shelf drinks and a variety of libations are available if you simply want to sit on the porch and watch the sunset in the east! (You’ll just have to see what we mean when you get here).

Big Bend’s local eateries offer delicious food made quick to order.

* Angies in Marathon has some of the best homemade hamburgers in the Big Bend.
* Before you head into the National Park order a  delicious pizza from Big Bend Pizza in Marathon
* Espresso y Poco Mas and Taqueria el Milagro is a perfect choice for breakfast and dinner. Their authentic Mexican cuisine will have you asking for a bit more homemade salsa to go with your Tacos al Pastor.

Excursions in Big Bend

Rafting the Rio Grande can be a relaxing or exciting experience depending on the time of year you plan your trip. Big Bend has a monsoon season in which we receive most of our rainfall making it the optimal time for a river trip. With several friendly outfitters offering half, full or multi-day trips you’re sure to well taken care of.

Big Bend Horseback Riding
Photo: Mark Cunningham

Nothing beats horseback riding in Texas’ last frontier. It’s a fun and calming experience to transverse the beautiful mountain ranges on a horse. Guides are informative and friendly and it’s a sure-fire way to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Additional Activities:

  • Spa Treatments
  • Hiking
  • Air Tours
  • Zip-line
  • Stand Up Paddle Board
  • Vehicle Tours
  • Golfing
  • Birding

Fun excursions and days of reconnecting to the simple pleasures in life are waiting for you in Big Bend. Culture, authenticity and scenic beauty are served up daily.

Pack your bags and we’ll see you when you get here!

Connect with Visit Big Bend and get inside information on everything from accommodations, outfitter information, a complete list of eateries and must-see events.

Go to our website www.visitbigbend.com or make sure to download the Visit Big Bend app.



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