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10 Fun Weekend + Day Trips from El Paso, TX

For hundreds of years now, the far West Texas city of El Paso has been a place standing on its own–but even so, there are a number of weekend getaways and fun day trips from El Paso to consider.

Like any other great Texas city, El Paso has plenty of fun things going on in and around it for everyone. 

With so much area to cover in the region, we’ve broken down each of our short road trips from El Paso into categories of under 3-hour distance and longer trips over 3 hours distance from the city center. 

Whether you’re looking for a hike, a museum to explore, or a cultural exchange, there are no doubt a few great places to visit near El Paso that will be perfect for your next getaway.

flat and straight stretch of us highway 180--views like this are very common when road tripping to weekend getaways from el paso texas

The Best Day Trips from El Paso (Under 3 Hours)

For those who live in the El Paso Area,  borders are a bit arbitrary. This is especially true of the state border between Texas and New Mexico.

With El Paso sitting on both a state and international border, day and weekend trips can mean visiting outside of Texas with only a few miles of driving. 

Here are some of the best El Paso day trips that you can tackle within 3 hours of driving or less!

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Las Cruces, New Mexico

One of the most popular places to visit from El Paso is Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Located along the Organ Mountains and in the fertile Rio Grande Valley, Las Cruces has somewhat of a small-town feel, although its size does not suggest it. 

Don’t worry; there are plenty of things to do in this wonderful southern New Mexico city.

From some of the best Mexican food in the world to a fun-filled nightlife, Las Cruces is a must-visit for either a single night or a weekend trip. 

Driving Distance from El Paso

50 minutes.

modest skyline of las crueces new mexico with organ mountains in the background

Carlsbad, New Mexico

Most people have probably heard of the Caverns of Carlsbad, New Mexico, but many may not realize just how close they are to El Paso. 

Spending time exploring underground caves’ natural wonders at the famous Carlsbad Caverns National Park is a must.

However, you should know there is much more to the Carlsbad area than caverns. 

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If you enjoy the outdoors, Carlsbad also offers the fun of visiting one hundred million-year-old waterfalls, a lake for boating and swimming, a zoo and natural area, and a state park to enjoy a hike, plus many more things that are overshadowed by the caverns. 

There is certainly enough to see and do here to make a full weekend getaway from El Paso. 

Plus, of course, there’s Texas’ own Guadalupe Mountains National Park to check out in the area as well!

Driving Distance from El Paso

2 hours, 25 minutes.

Big Room of Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico, a fantastic Dallas road trip idea

Franklin Mountains State Park

There are not many cities in Texas or the U.S. that can boast of having their own state park nestled within the mountains seen from their kitchen windows. 

The Franklin Mountains are a part of El Paso and have helped make the city what it is today. 

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The Franklin Mountains State Park may be the perfect spot for those last-minute day trips from El Paso.

Whether you are looking for a day hike at one of its many hiking trails, a campsite for the weekend, or for a few hours to have a picnic in nature, this state park is the perfect choice

Driving Distance from El Paso

30 minutes.

yellow wildflowers blooming in franklin mountains as seen when hiking near el paso tx

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

The Guadalupe Mountains National Park happens to be the closest National Park to El Paso.

While the Franklin Mountains offer fun in the city’s backyard, the Guadalupe Mountains are perfect for a weekend adventure. 

If getting out and into nature without the safety net that sometimes accompanies state parks is your type of adventure, then these mountains are for you. 

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After entering the park, you’ll find yourself driving for miles away from any semblance of civilization to find the trail or camping spot you are looking for.

With 86,000 acres to explore, this park offers some of the most rugged yet serene atmospheres around.

If you’re up for the challenge, you can even climb the highest peak in Texas!

Driving Distance from El Paso

1 hour, 50 minutes.

view of el capitan as seen along one of the best hikes in guadalupe mountains national park texas

Fort Bliss and Old Ironsides Museums

The shortest road trip from El Paso on our list is still a place to spend an entire day of fun, especially for history and military buffs. 

Fort Bliss has had a long history serving the area of El Paso, dating back to the 19th century. 

With the advent of mechanized warfare, Fort Bliss became even more necessary for training armored divisions. 

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Today, this still active military base lets you enjoy the day browsing through its history in the form of displays of actual military equipment like tanks and missiles. 

The base also offers a park and outside tables to enjoy a picnic during your visit. 

Driving Distance from El Paso

20 minutes.

white and green home at fort bliss, one of the best day trips from el paso texas

Juarez, Mexico

El Paso would not be the city it is without its sister city south of the border.

In fact, without the presence of the border, these two distinct but related cities would have merged long ago. 

Although Juarez has had a checkered past in recent years, and while some still consider it a risky place to visit, it has come a long way to recover its reputation. 

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If a day trip into Juarez is on your bucket list, follow locals’ advice and visit during the daytime, don’t wander off the beaten path, and use common sense, just as you would in any other city. 

Juarez offers a chance to visit the Mexican culture of the Chihuahuan Desert with its historic buildings and museums.

Book a tour and enjoy your day across the border. 

Driving Distance from El Paso

30 minutes.

skyline of juarez mexico with mountains in the background, one of the most memorable el paso day trips

Visit the Pecan Groves.

After the great Dust Bowl era in the United States during the 1930s, states began programs to build windbreaks dividing farmland.

The Rio Grande area near El Paso was one such place where this plan was established. 

Thankfully, the area’s people decided to plant pecan trees instead of any shrubbery that would do the same job. 

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Today this has created several miles of pecan groves and private pecan farms outside of El Paso. 

While visiting El Paso, be sure to take a drive out and enjoy these Texas delicacies.

You’ll find you can purchase pecan products prepared in dozens of different ways. 

Driving Distance from El Paso

25 minutes.

green pecans in texas hanging from a tree

Weekend Getaways + Road Trips from El Paso (3+ Hours)

With wide-open spaces and the fact that even your neighbors may live a few miles away in West Texas, it’s no surprise some of the best spots to visit from El Paso take a bit of driving to reach. 

The following places are certainly worth a few hours of your time and make great weekend trips from El Paso. 

Monahans

Did you know West Texas is home to the Sahara Desert?

Just kidding, but it is home to a place that makes you feel as if you were visiting the great African desert. 

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When you hear the name Monahans, two things come to mind, a traditional West Texas town and Monahans State Park with its enormous sand dunes that appear to go on forever. 

Spend the day gliding down the slick dunes on a plastic tub or bring a picnic and enjoy the outdoors.

Don’t forget to run into town and visit the Roy Orbison Museum for a bit of the legend’s music history. 

Driving Distance from El Paso

3 hours, 40 minutes.

sand dunes at monahans sandhills state park, oneo f the best west texas state parks

The Davis Mountain Triangle

We will admit, we made this name up, although there is no doubt it fits the description of the towns of Alpine, Fort Davis, and Marfa in the Davis Mountains of West Texas. 

Each of these towns has its own character, but taken as a whole, if you experience one, you must also take in the others. 

The scenic drive connecting all of these towns is as good as any in the USA.

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The only way to describe the area is where a big sky country meets the land under it. 

Enjoy a night at the “star party” of the McDonald Observatory outside of Fort Davis, engage with world-class art galleries in the quirky town of Marfa, or fill a full day visiting unique shopping venues in Alpine. 

Driving Distance from El Paso

3 hours, 30 minutes.

fort davis drugstore with pickup truck out front, one of the best things to do in fort davis tx

Tucson, Arizona

The distance between East and West Texas is evident when we consider a visit to Tucson, Arizona, is a much shorter road trip from El Paso to Houston. 

For lovers of the desert, there may be no better short road trip than one from the Chihuahuan Desert to the Sonoran Desert.  

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Tucson is a fun weekend getaway with plenty of shopping, food, and attractions to enjoy, but the best part is undoubtedly the stunning Saguaro National Park, which is packed full of gigantic Saguaro cacti that tower over the humans admiring them.

Be sure to stop in Tombstone, Arizona, during this weekend getaway from El Paso!

Driving Distance from El Paso

4 hours, 30 minutes.

3 photos of places to visit near el paso: us highway 180, monahans state park, las crueces. black and red text on a white background reads "10 fun road trips from el paso"

2 thoughts on “10 Fun Weekend + Day Trips from El Paso, TX”

  1. You failed to mention White Sands national Park in New Mexico and Ruidoso New Mexico with the mascalero Indians., The Gila wilderness. All of these are very close to El Paso

    Reply

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