Set in the wide-open spaces of West Texas, at the entrance of Big Bend Country, sits the small town of Fort Stockton, TX. Packed with a historic fort, a beloved roadside attraction, and plenty of frontier history, you’ll find lots of fun things to do in Fort Stockton whether you stay for an afternoon or for longer.
Passing through town on a road trip and wondering what to do in Fort Stockton? Here’s where to look!
Best Things to Do in Fort Stockton, Texas
Snap a photo with Paisano Pete.
Standing at 11-feet tall, Paisano Pete is the world’s second-largest roadrunner.
In true Texas form, Paisano Pete was the world’s largest roadrunner at the time of his installation in 1980–but 13 years later, a statue in New Mexico beat him out for the title.
Pete remains one of the most popular roadside attractions in Texas, though, and is a must-see when passing through Fort Stockton!
Tour Historic Fort Stockton.
While you can technically trace the history of the military fort that the town of Fort Stockton derives its name from to 1858, little is left of the pre-Civil War fort–today, visitors can tour parts of the Historic Fort Stockton that was established in 1867.
The fort’s main purpose was to protect the new settlers on the frontier from the Native Americans who call the region home.
It’s particularly notable for the presence of “Buffalo Soldiers” from the 9th cavalry, Black men who enlisted in the US Army after the conclusion of the Civil War.
Step inside the Annie Riggs Museum.
Beautiful inside and out, the Annie Riggs Museum is housed in a former frontier hotel and boarding house from the early 20th century that was run by none other than Annie Riggs herself.
The museum includes not only the history of the boarding house, but of Fort Stockton and Pecos County as a whole, and it’s undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Fort Stockton.
Grab a drink at the Grey Mule Saloon.
Once a classic Wild West saloon populated with everyone from cowboys to a local sheriff who met an untimely demise in the courthouse (true story, and no, the person responsible was never identified–head to the Annie Riggs Museum for more details), the Grey Mule Saloon of today operates as a tasting room for Texas’ own Mesa Vineyards.
Today, you can walk across the street from the Annie Riggs Museum and sit down in the Grey Mule with a glass of wine and a cheese plate in the same room where gangsters once gambled late into the night.
Visit the oldest house in Ft Stockton, TX.
The original, pre-Civil-War Fort Stockton has largely disappeared today–but the Oldest House, estimated to date to the 1860s, is the town’s last remaining link to the era.
The adobe structure is simply a ruin these days, but it’s a quick and easy stop to add to your Fort Stockton sightseeing.
Head over to the Old Pecos County Jail.
Located on the south side of Fort Stockton’s courthouse square, today’s version of the historic jail holds a small museum to local law enforcement, including an original 19th-century holding cell.
If you happen to be visiting from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM, Wednesday through Friday, add this small museum to your list of things to do in Fort Stockton!
Pay a visit to the Fort Stockton Visitor Center.
Located in the town’s historic railroad depot, this isn’t your average visitor’s center!
Whether you want to check out the historic railroad cars, art, peruse the informational signs that tell the history of Fort Stockton, or go see the oil rigs out front, it’s worth stopping by the Fort Stockton Visitor Center during your trip to town.
Check out the Pecos County Courthouse.
Originally constructed in 1838, the Pecos County Courthouse looks a bit different than it did in the 19th century. The courthouse was once topped by a dome, similar to what you can see in Granbury today, but it now has a flat roof.
The courthouse grounds are also home to the Zero Stone, which once acted as the starting place for all land surveys in West Texas.
Stretch your legs at James Rooney Memorial Park.
This large, shady town park is the perfect place to stretch your legs during a road trip!
Consider taking a stroll over to the edge of the park to see the remains of Comanche Springs–more on that below.
Learn the history of Comanche Springs.
Today, Comanche Springs looks more or less like a pile of rocks located next door to the community pool that was named for it–but once upon a time, this was the home of the largest freshwater spring in the area, and was largely responsible for why Fort Stockton (both the fort itself and the town) came to be in the first place.
Naturally occurring freshwater, after all, is truly worth more than gold in the Chihuahuan Desert!
There’s a chance that the water may flow again in the future–but for now, Comanche Springs is mostly a piece of Fort Stockton’s history.
Admire the beautiful St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.
This beautiful church is well worth a quick peek while visiting Fort Stockton–though it dates to the late 19th century, it was originally constructed in the town of Pecos and didn’t move to Fort Stockton until the 1950s!
Where is Fort Stockton, TX?
Fort Stockton is located in West Texas at the intersection of I-10 and Highway 385.
It’s roughly 5 hours (340 miles) west of Austin, 55 minutes (60 miles) north of Marathon, and 3.5 hours (240 miles) east of El Paso.
Exploring some of the fun things to do in Fort Stockton, Texas is easily combined with a road trip to Big Bend from Austin or central Texas in general–you’ll pass right through town on the way, and Fort Stockton is a great place to stretch your legs during a long trip!