5 Cool Towns Near Big Bend National Park (+ Where to Stay!)

Planning a road trip to Big Bend Country but not sure what towns near Big Bend National Park are best to stay in?

You’re not alone!

Big Bend National Park is an enormous, remote place–and that’s without even getting into other regional attractions like Big Bend Ranch State Park and the Davis Mountains.

If you’re looking for the best places to stay near Big Bend NP, these towns are the best options for non-campers–but fair warning, you’re still going to be doing a lot of driving.

We’ve also included a hotel recommendation in each town, as well as (where applicable) linked to our more detailed guides on each destination.

Here are the best towns near Big Bend National Park!

small storefront in lajitas texas things to do

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A Note on Driving Distances in Big Bend Country

Wild, rugged, and remote, Big Bend National Park is located in an exceptionally rural area–and as a result, rounding up the best towns near Big Bend requires stretching the definition of “near”.

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Each of these towns is located within 2.5 hours of the Chisos Basin Visitor Center that is (roughly speaking) in the middle of the national park.

While online map estimates may suggest shorter drive times, many of them calculate the distance to the nearest entrance to the park, rather than the center of it.

santa elena canyon in big bend np texas

And, given the size of Big Bend NP, driving to the entrance can easily still leave you 30-60 minutes or more away from the trail you’re looking for!

We’ve included a rough estimate of the driving distance from each town below to give you a better idea of what to expect when deciding where to stay near Big Bend National Park.

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Because of these long drive times, we’ve opted not to include towns like Fort Davis in this guide.

However, if you’re planning a full Big Bend Country road trip, we highly recommend visiting (just consider changing hotels and focusing on different aspects of the region in each place).

two lane road in west texas, as seen when driving from austin to big bend national park road trip

The Best Towns Near Big Bend National Park

Terlingua

Texas’ most famous ghost town also happens to be one of the towns closest to Big Bend National Park!

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While Terlingua isn’t a ghost town in the strictest sense these days (population: about 200, down from over 1,000 at its peak a century ago), it certainly feels like one!

While you’re there, visit the charming Starlight Theatre, stop by the historic Terlingua Cemetery, and–if you happen to arrive on the right weekend–check out the famous chili cook-off.

Where to Stay

There are a handful of small properties offering boutique stays or glamping experiences in Terlingua itself.

Outside of those experiences, though, Terlingua lends itself more to campers. For a traditional hotel, heading to nearby Lajitas is often the easiest option.

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The Lajitas Golf Resort is about 10 miles away and is a beautiful, remote property–more on that in a minute!

Driving Distance from the Chisos Basin Visitor Center

4 minutes (33 miles).

abandoned car parked in front of historic terlingua jail, one of the most famous ghost towns in texas

Alpine

Part artsy college town and part historic railroad city, the delightful town of Alpine, Texas is one of our personal favorite towns in Big Bend Country.

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Here, you can find plenty of street art, the interesting Museum of the Big Bend, memorable hikes like the desk on Hancock Hill, and some beautiful historic buildings.

Alpine is also the second-biggest town on this Big Bend towns guide, making it an easy and comfortable place to stay (Marfa is the largest, but it’s further away from the park).

mural of sul ross flag and greetings from alpine postcard in food truck park, one of the best things to do in alpine tx

Where to Stay

Gorgeous and potentially haunted, we stumbled across the Holland Hotel on a whim when researching where to stay in Alpine, and absolutely fell in love with the hotel while we were there!

Built by local rancher JR Holland in 1928, the Holland Hotel boasts a bit of glitz and glamour that you frankly don’t expect when coming to Big Bend Country.

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We would absolutely check in again on a return trip to Alpine!

Check rates & book your stay at the Holland Hotel!

Driving Distance from the Chisos Basin Visitor Center

2 hours (106 miles).

historic interior lobby of holland hotel with wood beams in the ceiling and a dining table in the center, best places to stay in alpine texas

Lajitas

Lajitas, Texas is a strange but compelling place.

Located just barely to the east of Big Bend Ranch State Park, practically on the banks of the Rio Grande, this once-ghost town was bought–yes, the whole town–by a Houston corporation that rebuilt the remains of the once-bustling town into an expansive golf resort.

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The result is a widely celebrated resort that incorporates many of the historic buildings of the town of Lajitas, and exists peacefully alongside some others, like the small cemetery.

We greatly enjoyed a night here, but fair warning: wifi is not a guarantee!

view of lajitas golf course from above, one of the best things to do in lajitas tx

Where to Stay

At the popular Lajitas Golf Resort, you’ll find everything from the award-winning golf course to the unassuming general store, from several restaurants to heaps of excursions!

Whether you want to go horseback riding, golfing, hiking, or rafting on the Rio Grande, Lajitas Resort can put something together for you.

And, though it’s called a resort, you’ll find all kinds of accommodation here: a stay in a historic hotel, a swanky villa, or even the resort’s Maverick RV Park are all options.

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With a prime location just outside of Big Bend Ranch State Park, this also happens to be one of the most convenient places to stay near Big Bend National Park.

Check rates & book your stay at Lajitas Golf Resort!

Driving Distance from the Chisos Basin Visitor Center

1 hour (44 miles).

interior of historic hotel lobby in lajitas texas

Marfa

We’re really pushing the definition of “near” Big Bend National Park with Marfa, but no Big Bend guide could be complete without this famous, artistic desert town!

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Marfa is known for being an artistic haven, for being a popular filming location, and for the mysterious Marfa Lights that appear in the desert sky.

You also may recognize Marfa from the iconic Prada Marfa art installation–but that’s actually located a bit further west in Valentine, Texas.

street in marfa texas dead ending in the courthouse

Where to Stay in Marfa, TX

Located in the center of Marfa, Hotel Saint George is a crisp, modern hotel with excellent reviews.

In addition to spacious rooms and an on-site coffee bar, Hotel Saint George is known for its outdoor pool and accompanying pool bar–the perfect place to cool off after a long day in Big Bend National Park.

Check rates & book your stay at Hotel Saint George!

Driving Distance from the Chisos Basin Visitor Center

2 hours, 20 minutes (132 miles).

pink central fire station in marfa texas

Marathon

Famous art galleries and European-inspired formal gardens are not exactly the kinds of attractions you’d expect to find in blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Marathon, but they are a few of the things you’ll find in this unexpected Big Bend Country town!

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Nicknamed the Gateway to Big Bend, Marfa is, for many visitors, the last town with a gas station and (admittedly very small) grocery store that they’ll pass before heading down to the national park.

Smaller but more convenient for reaching the park than Alpine or Marfa, Marathon is a great option when choosing where to stay near Big Bend National Park.

front facade of the peach colored evans gallery, one of the best places to visit in marathon texas

Where to Stay

Open since 1927, the Gage Hotel is the absolute best place to stay in Marathon if you’re looking for a beautiful, historic property.

Offering multiple kinds of lodging from traditional rooms to casitas, the Gage Hotel has been welcoming visitors to Marfa for nearly 100 years.

Check rates & book your stay at the Gage Hotel!

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Driving Distance from the Chisos Basin Visitor Center

1 hour, 30 minutes (78 miles).

front facade of gage hotel, one of the best places to stay marathon tx

Map of Where to Stay Near Big Bend National Park

2 photos of big bend towns, marfa and alpine. black and red text reads "5 best towns near big bend national park"

2 thoughts on “5 Cool Towns Near Big Bend National Park (+ Where to Stay!)”

  1. Hi Kate, Thanks for the news letters, especially the ones concerning the west Texas area. I grew up in that area and I spent many a day in the Big Bend. Seeing the pictures makes me home sick. I especially like Ft Davis and if I won the lottery that’s where I would build a home. I am unable to get out that way much as I live a good 8 hours from there but it is fun to see the new additions and activities and changes you put in your news, please keep the info coming.

    Reply

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