The Big Bend region isn’t just an empty expanse of striking scenery. There are several small towns in the area that offer something unique. Explore the famous Terlingua Ghost Town, shop for Mexican antiques in Alpine, or play a round at one of the best golf courses in Texas in Lajitas. If that’s not enough for you, catch one of the many fun events held in Brewster County throughout the year, such as the Chihuahuan Desert Dirt Fest and Viva Big Bend. Even the simple act of traveling through the Big Bend region is astounding. The stunning landscapes and winding highways offer much to love if you enjoy going for a scenic drive, which is why the Big Bend region is one of the best places to go motorcycling in Texas.
Continue reading to discover what each community in the Big Bend region has to offer.
You name it, you can probably find it in the city of Alpine, the Big Bend region’s urban heart and the seat of Brewster County. Alpine is home to a major college (Sul Ross State University), 400 hotel rooms, and just about every kind of cuisine you can put on your plate. For late-night libations, check out the town’s selection of desert dive bars and live music venues, like Railroad Blues, where you can savor an ice-cold beer and sit a spell. One-of-a-kind gift and clothing shops, antique and furniture stores, art galleries, and museums provide plenty to see and do if you’re looking to escape the desert heat.
Lajitas is a rural village nestled between the Chisos and Bofecillos Mountain ranges just a stone’s throw away from the Rio Grande. The scenic environs have made this sleepy hamlet an exceedingly popular place to visit for travelers for a variety of reasons. For starters, Lajitas is home to the 18-hole Black Jack’s Crossing Golf Course, one of the top public golf courses in Texas according to the Dallas Morning News. The course is part of the luxurious Lajita’s Golf Resort, which offers comfortable guest rooms, an equestrian center, a museum, mountain biking, and a rifle range. Along with the resort, Lajitas has an RV park, two inns, and a general store that’s full of all sorts of goodies.
At first glance, Marathon looks like any other dusty desert hamlet. An old windmill churns in a light breeze. Adobe-walled one-story buildings line the two-lane main street. Yet Marathon is no ordinary town. Explore the city and you’ll discover some of the best shopping and dining in Brewster County, as well as one of the Big Bend region’s most iconic inns: the Gage Hotel. Marathon is surrounded by scenic roads ideal for walking, running, and biking, and its location just 40 miles north of Big Bend National Park makes it a great staging area for exploring the area.
If you’re looking for a guided tour of Big Bend, or you need to rent a canoe or a jeep, find your way to Study Butte. This quaint village, located just a few miles outside of Big Bend National Park, has several tour providers that offer hiking, off-roading, and canoeing excursions in the Big Bend area. Several hotels and unique restaurants, like the dinosaur-themed La Kiva Restaurant and Bar, are within the confines of Study Butte as well. The town’s location, and set of amenities, makes it a great staging area for exploring all that Big Bend has to offer.
In its heyday, Terlingua was a thriving cinnabar mining town that hit hard times when the demand for mercury dried up. Over the years, many of the unused homes and buildings decayed, becoming what is today known as the Historic Terlingua Ghost Town. Terlingua’s ruins include an authentic boot hill cemetery, mine shafts, and other structures. Once you’re done, stop by the Starlight Theatre for delicious Mexican food and something cool to drink, then shop until you drop at the Terlingua Trading Company. All of this is just a few miles west of Study Butte, so you don’t have to go far to see one of the most unique sites in the Big Bend region.
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