A road trip from Houston-TX to Big Bend National Park offers an unforgettable experience for nature lovers, history enthusiasts, and adventurers seeking an off-the-beaten-path getaway. The itineraries in this travel guide will allow you to explore:
- A high-altitude desert with magnificent views of splendid rugged mountains hugged by infinite blue skies and the mighty Rio Grande
- Desert and mountain hikes for all skill levels
- A ghost town that looks straight out of an Old Western movie
- Jaw-dropping underground caves
- Star-studded dark sky sites
- Historical battlegrounds
- Engaging museums
- Quirky art galleries
- Charming Americana-style lodges and splurgy resorts
- Delicious food in the middle of the nowhere
- An afternoon riding a donkey, eating tacos and drinking cold cervezas in Mexico’s Big Bend side
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- I. Recommended Road Trip Itineraries from Houston-TX to Big Bend National Park
- II. What To Know Before Your Trip
- III. Places and Experiences in Your Houston-TX to Big Bend National Park Road Trip
- Stop 1: San Antonio – Overnight Stay and Things To Do
- Stop 2: Caverns of Sonora
- Stop 3: Ozona – Overnight Stay (Totally Skippable)
- Stop 4: Fort Stockton – Historic Fort Stockton Museum
- Stop 5: Marathon – Overnight Stay
- Stop 6: Alpine – Museum of the Big Bend
- Stop 7: Marfa – Overnight Stay and Top Things to Do
- Stop 8: Presidio – Meet Pancho Villa at Fort Leaton and Drive on the Scenic River Road
- Stop 9: Lajitas – Overnight Stay at Lajitas Golf Resort
- Stop 10: Terlingua – Overnight Stay and Top Things to Do
- IV. Big Bend National Park
- Stop 1: San Antonio – Overnight Stay and Things To Do
Recommended Road Trip Itineraries from Houston-TX to Big Bend National Park
You can drive straight from Houston to Big Bend in 9-12 hours (approximately 600 miles / 965 km), but I highly recommend you split this trip into a full week. You can customize these itineraries based on how long you’re willing to drive, how much time you have, and your interests.
Itinerary 1: The Ultimate Houston-TX to Big Bend Road Trip
- If you have time to spare, this road trip is great for those interested in history, art, and natural wonders
- Distance: 800 miles (1,287 km)
- Overnight stays in San Antonio – Ozona (highly optional) – Marathon – Marfa – Lajitas – Terlingua, with sightseeing stops in Sonora (Caverns of Sonora), Fort Stockton (Historic Fort Stockton Museum), Alpine (Museum of the Big Bend), Fort Davis (McDonald Observatory), Presidio (Fort Leaton), and Big Bend National Park
Itinerary 2: West Texas Redux
- This road trip is perfect for those seeking a balance between comfortable stops and a quicker arrival at the park
- Distance: 662 miles (1,065 km)
- Overnight stays in San Antonio – Marathon – Lajitas – Terlingua. You can skip Lajitas if you’re really pressed for time, but I highly recommend you consider its fabulous golf resort, even if you don’t golf
What To Know Before Your Trip
Flying from Houston-TX to Big Bend National Park
One of the greatest appeals of Big Bend National Park is its remoteness. Getting there from Houston by car is what I recommend – because it’s fun! However, if you really want to fly and rent a car once you land, the closest airport, Midland/Odessa (MAF), is more than three hours away, while El Paso (ELP) is even farther, requiring four hours or more of travel. If you’re fortunate enough to own an airplane or can charter one, the privately-owned Lajitas International Airport for guests of the Lajitas Golf Resort is only 20 miles from the park.
Where To Stay to Experience Big Bend National Park
- Inside the park: the park has campsites and the Chisos Mountain Lodge, but you must book them in advance
- Terlingua: the closest town to the park entrance, located 8 miles (13 km) away. That’s where I always stayed – scroll down for info
- Lajitas: the fabulous Lajitas Golf Resort is 20 miles (32 km) from the park entrance – scroll down for info
- Marathon: located 42 miles (67 km) from the park entrance – scroll down for info
Best Time to Travel
The park’s main visitor season is October through April. Most visitors go on Thanksgiving, Christmas-New Year, Spring Break, and holiday weekends. I strongly recommend you avoid summer and warmer months: the Chihuahuan desert’s scorching heat is treacherous, and hikers have died of heat exhaustion.
My trips have always occurred between Christmas and New Year, but even in the winter you must be aware of sharp weather variations: temperatures can drop from 100s° F to 30s° F very fast. During a hike, I suffered from a heat exhaustion episode in 100°F+ weather, and 24 hours later, my car was stuck in a snowstorm. Snow is rare and occurs once or twice each winter (if that!), but be prepared. Visit the park’s website for information about the weather, operating hours, fees, pet policy, and more.
Plan Ahead for Fuel, Food and Poor or Inexistent Wi-Fi and Cellular Reception
Fuel: this part of the country is remote. Once you pass through Sonora, make sure to refuel at the nearest gas station, even if you only need to top up a quarter of your tank. You never know when the next gas station will come along.
Food: if you travel around the holidays, make hotel and dinner reservations well ahead of your trip. Most restaurants and grocery stores shut down on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day.
Wi-Fi and cellular reception: yep, remote. For the road trip, don’t rely on a GPS connection. Consider downloading Google Maps and bringing a printed Texas map. All towns and lodgings listed in this travel guide offer Wi-Fi and cellular reception but expect spotty service. Inside Big Bend National Park, expect highly spotty or inexistent service.
I’ve been to dozens of countries and can attest that Big Bend National Park is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary places I’ve ever visited. I decided to publish this travel guide because of my affection for the region and in response to friends seeking travel advice. And yet, as a Houston-based Latina, Brazilian-born and raised, I felt conflicted about publishing this post at this particular time when the chaotic immigration issues at the Texas-Mexico border brought a surge of toxic, derogatory rhetoric towards immigrants, Mexicans, and Latinos at large.
But here we are, and the more I think about it, the more I come to realize that travel is – can be – a political statement. It’s a space of discovery, wonder, and abandonment of normalcy. Travel enables us to experience the remarkable diversity of the human species through connection with people who live very different lives from ours. It helps us see and share humanity with those we usually see as ‘other.’ Travel is a dimension filled with the power of creation – the ability to create memories, ditch pre-conceived ideas and elevate ourselves in worldly experiences. A pathway for self-love and love for humanity.
So yes, I’m publishing this travel guide because love is a political party that knows no borders.
Will I See Immigration Chaos in the Big Bend Region?
As of January 2024, if you’re concerned about witnessing thousands of migrants crossing the Rio Grande, you won’t directly experience it at the sites listed in this guide. However, as with any other travel, plan ahead and stay up-to-date on the latest news.
Places and Experiences in Your Houston-TX to Big Bend National Park Road Trip
Again, you can easily customize this itinerary to how long you’re willing to drive, how much time you have and your interests.
Stop 1: San Antonio – Overnight Stay
The drive from Houston to San Antonio takes approximately three hours (197 miles via I-10). Top attractions in San Antonio include:
- The Alamo, an 18th century Catholic mission and the site of the 1836 battle between Texas revolutionary forces and the Mexican army
- San Antonio River Walk, beaming with restaurants and charming river cruises
- San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves Spanish frontier missions
- Briscoe Western Art Museum, showcasing the Native American, Spanish, Mexican and cowboy cultures that shaped the region, an excellent complement to a West Texas road trip
I recommend two full days to see all of these sites.
Where to Stay in San Antonio
San Antonio offers accommodations for all preferences and budgets. I normally splurge at the upscale Westin Riverwalk on the Riverwalk’s quiet end. I love the beautiful Spanish colonial-style facilities, the ultra-comfortable bed, and the fact that it’s within walking distance of restaurants, museums, shops, and The Alamo.
Stop 2: Caverns of Sonora
- San Antonio – Sonora: 172 miles (277 km) or ~ 2h40m drive via I-10
The town where the Texas Hill Country meets the Chihuahuan Desert, Sonora is the halfway point between San Antonio and Big Bend National Park. Stop for a couple of hours to stretch and tour the spectacular Caverns of Sonora, located 155 ft (47 m) below ground. The huge chambers filled with stalactites and stalagmites are fascinating—more information on the Caverns of Sonora website.
Stop 3: Ozona – Overnight Stay (Totally Skippable)
- Sonora – Ozona: 36 miles (58 km) or ~35m drive via I-10
When planning my first trip to West Texas, I read somewhere that I should spend the night in Ozona. Frankly, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re really tired. We stayed at a humble Motel 6 / truck stop off the highway. It was clean and a walking distance from a mom-and-pop Tex-Mex restaurant that closes early in the evening (again, plan ahead!).
Stop 4: Fort Stockton – Historic Fort Stockton Museum
- Ozona to Fort Stockton: 108 miles (174 km) or ~ 1h30m drive via I-10
If history lightens you up, spend a couple of hours here. Active from 1867 to 1886, Fort Stockton was home to the 9th and 10th Calvary Buffalo Soldiers. Its purpose was to protect the area from Native American raids. Today, the structure houses a museum and visitor center with four of the original buildings still standing, including officers’ quarters. More information on the Historic Fort Stockton website.
Stop 5: Marathon – Overnight Stay
- Fort Stockton to Marathon: 58 miles (93 km) or ~ 1h drive
Marathon and the Gage Hotel are must-stops on your way to Big Bend. In fact, many visitors choose Marathon as their base for day trips into Big Bend National Park, situated 42 miles (67 km) away. Here you get a sense of the remoteness and mysteries of West Texas and still indulge your senses in civilization delights, like a fancy dinner out. The elevation is 4,000 ft (1,210 m), and less than 400 people call Marathon their home.
The Gage Hotel and its White Buffalo Bar are a real treat after a long drive and my number one reason to visit Marathon. I never spent a night there, but had a refreshing prickly pear margarita at the bar followed by dinner at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant. The locally sourced food was delicious. I was intrigued by a massive photograph of Pancho Villa and other Mexican revolutionaries and learned from a waitress that his descendants lived in the area. I can’t confirm the accuracy of this information, but it certainly added more flavor to my dinner.
Night sky enthusiasts will love to look up to the heavens above: Brewster County, where Marathon is located, is part of a 3-county Dark Sky Reserve.
Next to the hotel, you’ll find cute souvenir shops and the French Co Grocer, a general store, deli and coffee shop all in one.
Where to stay in Marathon
The Marathon Motel and RV Park was perfect for our needs and conveniently located a 5-10 minute walking distance from the Gage Hotel. With its adobe structures and charming Americana style, the motel resembles a site from a vintage postcard. Our room was small and simple, but provided a clean, quiet, and welcoming space with a warm shower. True, on our very first stay the laundry room had an issue with the pipes and we woke up to a light scent of sewage…but that’s what you get for saving a couple of hundreds a night in accommodations! I understood this was a one-off incident.
I stumbled upon a pack of javelinas roaming just outside the motel.
Stop 6: Alpine – Museum of the Big Bend
- Marathon to Alpine: 31 miles (50 km) or ~ 30m drive via US-90
We made a brief stop in Alpine, another small and cute town surrounded by picturesque drives, to enjoy lunch at Alicia’s Mexican Restaurant and explore the Museum of the Big Bend. Housed at Sul Ross University, the museum offers a comprehensive overview of the historical, geographical, and cultural aspects of the Big Bend region spanning Texas and Mexico. It’s an excellent way to familiarize yourself with the park and the area. For instance, did you know that the legendary Spanish conquistador Cabeza de Vaca was in Bend Bend in the 1500s? For more information, visit the Museum of the Big Bend website.
Stop 7: Marfa – Overnight Stay
- Alpine to Marfa: 25 miles (40 km) or ~ 25m drive via US-67 S/US-90 W
At 6,000 ft high (1,829 m) and with only 1,750 inhabitants (2021), Marfa has both altitude and attitude. To me, it feels as if Manhattan, Los Angeles, and West Texas had a baby. On the fancy Hotel Saint George, I saw an artist wearing a jumpsuit, Ray-Bans, a cowboy hat, and cowboy boots – he looked insanely cool and straight out of a Quentin Tarantino film. A former training area for World War II pilots, the town gained recognition as an arts destination and houses art galleries, cute souvenir shops, and trendy restaurants alongside its desert landscapes.
Unless you visit Marfa for one of its many arts and cinema festivals, you don’t need more than one day and one night there.
Top Things to Experience in Marfa
Galleries, Shops, Restaurants and Coffee Houses
My visit to Marfa happened right before Christmas, so many businesses were closed. We enjoyed talking to the artists at the Wrong Store, a gallery and shop built in a former church.
Built in 1929, it was considered “the most elegant hotel between El Paso and San Antonio,” and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1955, it was the headquarters for the movie “Giant” featuring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, and James Dean. You’ll find lots of movie memorabilia both at the hotel and in Marfa. With 40 rooms, the hotel is still in operation. Visit the Hotel Paisano website for more information.
Built in 2018 by artist John Cerney, this is a sculptural tribute to the 1956 James Dean/Liz Taylor film “Giant,” with country music playing in the background. Move scenes were filmed at this spot.
A very Instagrammable spot on a stretch of US-90 in the middle of nowhere, Prada Marfa is an art installation by artists Elmgreen & Dragset, inaugurated in 2005. It was designed to resemble a Prada storefront.
Funny fact: “The night Prada Marfa formally opened, the building was broken into, its contents (six handbags and 14 right-footed shoes) stolen, and the words ‘Dumb’ and ‘Dum Dum’ spray-painted on the building side walls. The sculpture was quickly repaired. The replacement contents conceal a security system to alert authorities if they are moved.” Source: Wikipedia
A weather mystery? A portal into another dimension? Aliens? No one knows for sure, but the city even built a viewing deck for it. The Marfa Lights phenomenon is an unexplained occurrence where mysterious lights appear on the horizon. My husband and I waited in our car for a couple of hours listening to Bruce Springsteen’s Western Stars Album, the perfect soundtrack for our West Texas trip. The truth was out there somewhere, but we weren’t the chosen ones to have it revealed to us.
Star Party: Evening Trip to McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis
Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the captivating West Texas night sky in the company of astronomers. If you can arrange for an early dinner in Marfa or have an extra night to spare, consider a 45-minute drive to attend a Sky Party at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis. Over a two-hour session, astronomers from the University of Texas will guide you through the stars and constellations in an outdoor amphitheater. Be sure to bundle up, as temperatures can drop to the 30s°F.
Where to Stay in Marfa
There are nice hotels in town, such as Hotel Paisano or the trendy Hotel Saint George. My husband and I stayed at Casa Lincoln, a minimalist, zero-fancy AirBnB home just a couple of blocks from the main downtown area.
Stop 8: Presidio – Meet Pancho Villa at Fort Leaton
- Marfa to Presidio: 50 miles (80 km) or ~ 1h drive via US-67
History enthusiasts will enjoy a stop at Fort Leaton State Historic Site, a very well-preserved trading post that gives you a glimpse of local life in the 1800s. You can do a self-guided tour of the living quarters of Ben Leaton and his family. To me, the highlight was watching a video about Pancho Villa and the Battle of Ojinaga fought during the 1914 Mexican Revolution. Located in Chihuahua, Mexico, Oginaga is just on the other side of the border. Visit the Fort Leaton State Historic Site website for more information.
Take the River Road (FM-170) from Presidio to Lajitas and Terligua
This is a must-do: the 50-mile highway from Presidio to Lajitas is considered the most scenic route in Texas. It features gorgeous mountains and rugged desert landscapes, punctuated by the green views of the Rio Grande. The River Road also passes through Big Bend Ranch State Park, another gem with incredible vistas, mountains and hoodoos, unique naturally carved rocks that look like pillars. Get your cowboy hat on because it’s the stuff Old Western movies are made of.
Stop 9: Lajitas – Overnight Stay
The oasis-like Lajitas Golf Resort will pamper your senses with the luxuries and comforts of civilization, a casual vibe, and that enchanting West Texas landscape. The restaurant offers excellent steaks, refreshing cocktails, and a great Christmas dinner menu if you’re there for the occasion. The 18-hole golf course is considered the best in the state. This is Texas, so many guests go there for the shooting range and horseback riding excursions into the mountains and desert. There are incredible vistas and a cozy outdoor fire pit that feels spellbinding under the moonlight.
On an early morning walk, while exploring the resort grounds, I stumbled upon the restored Santa Maria y Jose Mission from 1899.
I recommend spending at least a couple of nights at the resort. You can also use it as a base for day trips into Big Bend National Park, only 20 miles away. For more information, visit the Lajitas Golf Resort website.
Stop 10: Terlingua – Overnight Stay
- Lajitas to Terlingua: 12 miles (19 km) or ~15m drive via FM-170
Terlingua, population 110 (2020), is a quirky and intriguing little town that prospered during the quick-silver mining boom of the mid-1880s, but it went bust after World War II. In the 1960s, tourism revived the area and Terlingua became known as the “Chili Capitol of the World” for its annual chili cook-off. Locals take this event very seriously.
Terlingua is the nearest base to Big Bend National Park. The atmosphere is ultra casual and low key, and businesses are mainly targeted to tourists. There isn’t a Walmart or a single chain restaurant: everything is local and feels a bit dusty and rough at the edges, but that’s precisely the charm.
Top Things To Do in Terlingua
Visit Terlingua Ghost Town
When the quick-silver mining operations shut down in the 1940s, Terlingua became a ghost town. It’s free to walk in the ruins of the old cemetery, jailhouse, and a few other buildings from the era.
Starlight Theatre and Saloon
Located in the Ghost Town, it’s meant to be one of Terlingua’s top restaurant and nightlife attractions, but for one reason or another I never made it there. There’s always next time for me!
Shop at Terlingua Trading Company
A good stop for trinkets, books, jewelry, and souvenirs. Located next to the Starlight Theatre and Ghost Town.
Float in the Rio Grande
Discover the rich beauty of the surrounding wilderness with a guided river float. My half-day canoe trip in the mighty Rio Grande, also called Rio Bravo on the Mexican side, was an unforgettable adventure. Some of the top outfitters in town are Big Bend River Tours and Far Flung Outdoor Center.
Eat Breakfast Tacos at La Posada Milagro Espresso y Poco Mas
I live in Texas and can confidently say that their breakfast tacos are top. Lines can be long, so arrive early before they open at 7:30 am. The day-breaking view of the Chisos Mountains on the horizon is a treasure.
Meatlovers, Rejoice at DB’s Rustic Iron BBQ
It was one of the best barbecues I’ve ever had and a life-saving New Year’s Eve meal, when everything in town was closed. Made with pride in a trailer truck. More info on the DB Rustic Iron BBQ website.
Have a Drink and Listen to Live Music
High Sierra Bar and Grill
From their website: “ Quaint watering hole in a historic ghost town hotel offering Tex-Mex eats, a patio & live music.”
La Kiva Bar and Restaurant
From their website: “Semi-subterranean hideaway with dinosaur decor & rock walls, plus comfort food & music.” Around since the 1980s, La Kiva proudly displays the skeleton of a Penisaurus Erectus 😉
Have a quiet night by the fire in your casita, bed and breakfast or campsite
The outdoors is a perfect spectacle.
Where to Stay in Terlingua
There are no chain hotels in Terlingua, but many bed and breakfasts and camping sites. Keep in mind that this is the desert and water is a precious resource. In many accommodations, water is only available through a septic tank (in other words, the pipes are not connected to a sewerage system). Do what you can to conserve water.
My husband and I stayed at two AirBnBs that worked perfectly for our needs:
Tiny Terlingua: a cute and cozy tiny home with a bed in the loft area and inspiring sunrise views of the Chisos Mountains. The downside is the outdoor bathroom (the building on the left of the picture). Waking up in the middle of the night to venture outside in the cold was brutal—still, rustic charm for the adventure-minded.
Santa Vaca Casita: also tiny with 225 sq ft, but with an indoor bathroom and magnificent mountain views.
At the casita, from summer to winter in 24h
And Finally, You’ve Arrived at the Almighty Big Bend National Park!
Big Bend feels like big love to me. I fell hard for it, head over heels for its colossal beauty and enigmatic aura: rugged alpine mountains, stunning desert vistas, impressive canyons, massive and unique rock formations, the iconic Rio Grande, and sunsets and sunrises infused with might, poetry, and beauty. The landscape is so dramatic that you sometimes feel like you’re on a different planet.
The park is also home to an enormous variety of wildlife: black bears, cougars, white tail deer, javelinas, an infinity of birds, cacti and vegetation. In the most deliciously lazy fashion, a big furry spider came to greet me on my trail.
Big Bend National Park is not only majestic and awe-inducing, but it feels quite remote. That’s precisely one of its many charms. GPS and Internet services are spotty or unavailable. In our modern world, the opportunity to explore a marvelously secluded and almost untouched place beaming with wildlife feels like a rare privilege, away from the constant urban whirlwind.
True, park visitation has increased over the years, and 500,000 people visited Big Bend in 2023. In comparison, more than 13 million people visited the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee and 4.2 million people went to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.
Trails and Hikes
There are many hikes for all skill levels. The Hiking Big Bend National Park Guide is an excellent resource to help you plan your adventure, including how to find trailheads and what to expect in each hike. I recommend at least three full days to experience the park and its various landscapes, mainly these three groups:
- The alpine lined Chisos Mountains
- The Chihuahuan Desert
- The wet areas near the Rio Grande
Plan your hikes in advance and take safety precautions seriously: hats, sunscreens, plenty of water, electrolytes and food. Internet or GPS won’t work in most places. Though I’ve never spotted them, black bear and cougar sightings occur, so make sure you know what to do if they cross your path.
Below is a compilation of some of the trails and hikes I experienced. My top recommendations for communing with mesmerizing beauty and unique desert landscapes are the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, Santa Elena Canyon, Lost Mine, Window, and Grapevine Hills.
Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
I recommend this drive to be your first experience inside the park. The 30-mile stretch of mountain and desert landscapes is grand and showcases many of the region’s historic and geologic attractions. Some highlights include Panther Junction Visitor Center, Castolon Visitor Center, Homer Wilson Ranch, Sotol Vista Overlook, Mule Ears Viewpoint, among others.
Santa Elena Canyon
An easy 30 – 45 minute hike in a breathtaking canyon by the Rio Grande. Hiker traffic is heavy.
- Hike to the top of the Chisos Mountains for some of the best views of the park
- Distance: 2.4 miles one way (approximately 3.5h – 4.5h round trip)
- Difficulty: Moderately strenuous
- At the end of this trail, find a jaw-dropping desert vista.
- Distance: 2.8 miles one way (approximately 3h round trip)
- Difficulty: Moderate
- This desert trail ends at Balanced Rock, a stone window formed by a unique boulder formation that looks like an ode to man! Mother Nature has a great sense of humor.
- Distance: 1 mile one way (approximately 1h round trip)
- Difficulty: Easy
Burro Mesa Pour-Off
- A short hike to a peculiar geological structure that houses a waterfall in the rainy season
- Distance: 0.5 mile each way (approximately 1h roundtrip)
- Difficulty: Easy
Mule Ears Peaks
- This hike showcases the natural beauty of the Chihuahuan Desert. In my opinion, from a sightseeing perspective it’s not the most impressive hike in the park.
- Distance: 3.5 miles one way (approximately 2-3 hours round trip)
- Difficulty: Moderate
Hiking Mule Ears stood out as one of the most frightening and humbling experiences in my life. In contrast to the tree-covered trails in the Chisos Mountains, this hike doesn’t offer the embracing canopy of tall trees. Despite being in excellent physical shape, the intense late December heat drained my strength. We ended up getting lost, with not a soul in sight to provide guidance, and no cell phone reception. Over time, my mood shifted from joyful hiking to scared. I was battling cold sweats, struggling to catch my breath, feeling lightheaded and seeing spotty lights – all signs of heat exhaustion.
I managed to avoid passing out entirely by discovering a small sliver of shade in the ruins of a century-old cattle pen. Fortunately, my husband had brought some Gatorade with him. This experience reminded me of how deceptively fragile our physical bodies can be when facing Mother Nature’s formidable strength.
- Boquillas Canyon is the longest and deepest canyon in the park. In this short hike you’ll see the Rio Grande cutting through Sierra del Carmen.
- Distance: 0.7 mile each way (approximately 1h round trip)
- Difficulty: Easy
Visit Boquillas del Carmen in Mexico
One of my most memorable day trips in Big Bend was crossing into Mexico on a canoe in the Rio Grande, then riding a donkey into Boquillas. It’s a touristy and yet unique experience that will happily feed your wild inner child.
Boquillas del Carmen is a tiny, sleepy Mexican village catered to American tourists crossing from inside Big Bend National Park. You must have a passport to go through the Boquillas Crossing Port of Entry. Visit the Big Bend National Park website and the Boquillas website for more information.
Once you arrive in the Mexican village, grab some tacos and a cold cerveza in one of the only two restaurants available. You’ve earned it: relax overlooking the beautiful desert and mountainous landscape. Bring cash – US dollars are accepted.
Is Boquilas del Carmen safe?
Unless you’re smuggling something into Mexico, you shouldn’t fear this adventure. Population is less than 300, and most visitors go to Boquillas for only a couple of hours. The nearest town on the Mexican side is 50 miles away. My husband and I felt safe the entire time we were there.
Ready for Your Road Trip from Houston-TX to Big Bend National Park?
Pin this Houston-TX to Big Bend National Park Travel Guide to help you plan your next adventure!
Interested in other places to visit in Texas?
I love the Texas Hill Country. Learn more about my experiences in Wimberley, Texas in Transmutation: Connecting with Nature to Reach the Spirit