Our Visit to Big Bend with Visit Big Bend

West Texas, known for its expansive deserts, rugged mountains, and vivid sunsets, is a region rich in natural beauty and cultural history. At the heart of this remote area lies Big Bend, one of the most stunning and less-traveled national parks in the United States. Covering over 800,000 acres, Big Bend National Park is a geological wonderland, featuring everything from deep canyons carved by the Rio Grande to the high Chisos Mountains. This diverse landscape provides a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, offering countless opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and stargazing. 

As a tourist destination, Big Bend is cherished for its isolation and tranquility, attracting those who seek an escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life. The park’s remote location means it is less crowded than many other national parks, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural surroundings. In addition to the natural beauty of Big Bend National Park, the surrounding area boasts charming small towns like Terlingua and Marathon, each with its own unique character and history. These towns offer a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural tapestry, with their vibrant art scenes, historic sites, and welcoming communities. 

With this in mind, we set out from Austin on a journey to explore the wonders of Big Bend, organized with the assistance of Visit Big Bend. Our itinerary promised a blend of luxurious accommodations, thrilling outdoor adventures, and the serene beauty of West Texas. Here’s a detailed review of our unforgettable trip. 

Arrival and Day 1: Lajitas Golf Resort and Sunset Trail Ride 

Our journey began with a scenic drive from Austin to the breathtaking Big Bend region. The long drive was a prelude to the stunning landscapes we were about to encounter. Our first stop was the Lajitas Golf Resort, a luxurious oasis nestled amidst the rugged beauty of West Texas. The resort’s rustic charm and top-notch amenities immediately impressed us. The spacious and well-appointed rooms offered a perfect blend of comfort and style, setting the tone for the rest of our stay. 

For dinner, we dined at the Candelilla Café, where the menu was diverse and delectable. The locally-sourced ingredients and expertly crafted dishes provided a memorable culinary experience. The ambiance was cozy, with a hint of sophistication that made our meal even more enjoyable. The café’s reputation for exceptional food and service was evident in every bite, making it a highlight of our first day. 

As the evening approached, we headed to the Lajitas Equestrian Center for a sunset trail ride. This activity was truly magical, allowing us to experience the desert landscape in a unique and intimate way. Riding through the vast, open terrain as the sun set behind the mountains was a breathtaking sight. Our guide was knowledgeable and friendly, sharing interesting tidbits about the area’s history and geology. This trail ride was an unforgettable experience that beautifully capped off our first day. 

Day 2: Golfing and Exploring Terlingua 

We began our second day with a hearty breakfast at the Boardwalk Pizzeria & Bakery. The Bakery, along with the café the General Store, offers a variety of breakfast options that cater to all tastes. The fresh, flavorful dishes provided the perfect start to a day filled with adventure. 

Next, we headed to the Lajitas Golf Course for 18 holes of golf. The course is renowned for its stunning views and challenging layout. It is also consistently rates as the #1 public golf course in Texas. Each hole offered a new perspective on the surrounding landscape, making the game both enjoyable and visually rewarding. Golf enthusiasts frequently rave about this course, and our experience echoed their high praise. The well-maintained greens and fairways, coupled with the awe-inspiring scenery, made for an exceptional golfing experience. 

After our round of golf, we headed into Terlingua and had lunch at DB’s Rustic Iron BBQ. Known for its authentic Texas barbecue, this eatery lived up to its reputation. The smoky, tender meats and flavorful sides were a hit, providing a satisfying and hearty meal. The rustic charm of the place added to the overall experience. Reviews highlight the quality and taste of the barbecue, and we found the positive feedback to be spot on. 

Our afternoon was spent exploring the quirky and historic town of Terlingua. Known for its vibrant art scene and ghost town ambiance, Terlingua offered a fascinating glimpse into the region’s past and present. We wandered through its eclectic shops, each filled with unique local crafts and souvenirs. The town’s historic sites, including the old cemetery and the ruins of the mining era, provided a poignant reminder of its storied history. Terlingua’s charm and character made it a captivating destination that we thoroughly enjoyed. 

For dinner, we opted for Long Draw Pizza, a local favorite known for its delicious pizzas and friendly atmosphere. The casual, relaxed setting was perfect after a day of exploration. The pizzas, with their perfectly crisp crusts and generous toppings, were some of the best we’ve ever had. This is a perfect spot to wind down the day with and catch up on lost time with friends and family.  

Day 3: Jeep Tour and Gage Hotel 

Our third day began with another satisfying breakfast at one of the resort’s excellent dining options. We then checked out and drove to the Far Flung Outdoor Center for a full-day Jeep tour. Departing at 8 AM, this tour was one of the highlights of our trip. The six-hour adventure took us deep into the rugged terrain of Big Bend, where we explored remote areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Our guide was incredibly knowledgeable, providing fascinating insights into the region’s flora, fauna, and geology. 

One of the tour’s highlights was a picnic lunch at a scenic overlook. The views were absolutely breathtaking, with panoramic vistas of the desert and mountains stretching out before us. Enjoying our meal amidst such natural beauty was a truly memorable experience. The Jeep tour was exhilarating, with each turn revealing a new and stunning vista. We traversed rocky paths, crossed dry riverbeds, and climbed steep hills, all while learning about the unique characteristics of the Big Bend area. The tour’s duration was perfect, allowing us to fully immerse ourselves in the landscape without feeling rushed. Reviews online often highlight this tour as a must-do, and we wholeheartedly agree. It’s an unforgettable way to experience the natural beauty of Big Bend. 

In the afternoon, we checked into the historic Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas. Marathon, a small town founded in the late 19th century, serves as a gateway to the Big Bend region. With its historic buildings and serene ambiance, Marathon offers a peaceful retreat for travelers. The Gage Hotel, a landmark in the town, is renowned for its charming architecture and welcoming atmosphere. The hotel’s beautifully decorated rooms combine classic elegance with modern comforts, making us feel right at home. The Gage Hotel is well-known for its exceptional hospitality, and our stay was no exception. 

Dinner at the 12 Gage Restaurant was a culinary delight. The restaurant’s western theme added a unique charm to the dining experience, and the atmosphere was vibrant and busy. Known for its amazing steaks, the 12 Gage did not disappoint. Each steak was cooked to perfection, showcasing the rich flavors of locally sourced beef. The sophisticated menu, featuring a variety of delectable options, provided a memorable dining experience. 

Day 4: Gage Gardens and Departure 

Our final day began with a delicious breakfast at V6 in Marathon. The café offered a variety of tasty options that made for a pleasant start to the day. The relaxed atmosphere and friendly service were the perfect complement to the meal. 

Before checking out, we visited the Gage Gardens, a beautifully maintained space that offered a peaceful retreat. The gardens, with their vibrant flowers and tranquil water features, were a perfect place to unwind and reflect on our trip. The attention to detail and care evident in the garden’s upkeep were impressive. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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As we drove back to Austin, we reflected on our unforgettable journey through Big Bend. The combination of luxurious accommodations, stunning natural beauty, and engaging activities made this trip extraordinary. Our experiences confirm that Big Bend is a destination worth exploring. If you’re planning a trip to West Texas, we highly recommend following our itinerary for an unforgettable adventure. 

Texas Tasty Team

The Texas Tasty Team is a dedicated group of writers and editors who love all things Texas. From food to culture, they share the best of the Lone Star State through engaging articles and captivating stories. Their mission is to inspire readers to explore and embrace the rich heritage and diverse offerings of Texas.