Ask around Big Bend Country, and you’ll find different people visit for different reasons. Some are hiking and biking enthusiasts, looking to conquer the mighty canyons. Others want to swap their rental cars for real horsepower and ride along the canyon like the famous cowboys of the silver screen. Then there are handfuls of tourists hoping to witness the mysterious and, as some would swear by, extraterrestrial Marfa lights. That’s the beauty of Big Bend – it’s the perfect blend of amazing landscapes, Old West nostalgia and more than a few Texas originals you’ll simply have to see to believe.

Wild Frontier

“Getting away from it all” isn’t much of a challenge in Big Bend Country. Ruggedly beautiful mountains, valleys and plains stretch as far as the eye can see. If roadrunners dashing across your path send you to a whole other place and time, this would be its capital. And the variety of exciting outdoor activities, as well as indoor opportunities, are pretty stellar here, too.

National Parks

While you’re here, be sure to hit Big Bend National Park. Seeing as it’s roughly the size of Rhode Island, it’s virtually impossible not to. Make your way to the highest point for a jaw-dropping panoramic view. Other views not to be missed: the gorgeous dunes of the Monahans Sandhills State Park (especially interesting on a camel-back tour) and the dramatic terrain while canoeing the sparkling rapids of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. When you’re ready to kick back and relax, Balmorhea State Park invites you to go for a dip in one of the largest man-made swimming holes.

Nearby

The Old (& New) West

The Old West never dies, thanks to places like Fort Bliss, Fort Davis and Fort Stockton that boasted their share of gunfights and cavalries. Explore the grounds and surrounding monuments, then follow up with a visit to one of several museums further preserving life on the frontier. For a modern view of West Texas life, head to cities like El Paso and Midland-Odessa. Need to spark a conversation? Just ask about the local high school football team or the price of oil. That should do it.

Remarkable Experiences

Without question, the Marfa lights top the bizarre to-do list. But there are other remarkable attractions throughout Big Bend you shouldn’t miss. For example, catch a Shakespeare production at a theatre modeled after the original Globe Theatre – where you might least expect it. Or celebrate the heavenly union of meat and spices in the granddaddy of chili cook-offs, the Terlingua International Chili Championship. Sorry, no beans in this spectacle.

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