Big Bend National Park in Southwest Texas is known for its scenic vistas and diverse wildlife. The fascinating park, named after the shape of Rio Grande, appealingly extends along the Mexican border. But where to stay near Big Bend National Park for the best experience?
The Big Bend lodging inside the park and the towns Terlingua/Lajitas offer the best park access. Further away, other options for where to stay when visiting Big Bend National Park are Marathon, Alpine and Marfa.
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Big Bend National Park
A convenient option for where to stay when visiting Big Bend National Park is to base yourself inside the Texas park. You can do so at Chisos Mountains Lodge. It’s the only place to stay inside Big Bend National Park.
When you stay at Chisos Mountains Lodge, you begin your days with the Big Bend adventure on your doorstep. No other option for where to stay near Big Bend National Park gives you as good access to the breathtaking Texas park.
So if you base yourself inside Big Bend National Park, you can put all your effort into park exploration. Exhausting drives to and from the park is nothing you have to worry about when you stay at Chisos Mountains Lodge.
But the lodge in Big Bend National Park doesn’t offer luxurious amenities. It’s a more low-key Big Bend place to stay.
Yet with exclusive location comes higher nighly rates. The rates at Chisos Mountain Lodge tend to be higher than at Big Bend accommodations outside the park. So for Big Bend on a budget, you should look into the other options for where to stay in Big Bend and vicinity.
It’s also important to have in mind that the only in-park lodging in Big Bend National Park tends to book up early in advance. Therefore make sure to reserve your room as early as possible if you plan to stay at Chisos Mountains Lodge.
In short, Chisos Mountains Lodge offers the only lodging inside Big Bend National Park. It’s the best place to stay when visiting the Big Bend area if you want the ultimate park access. But for a bigger selection of lodging, you should look towards the towns near Big Bend National Park.
- Pick Big Bend NP for: Best possible access to Big Bend National Park.
Terlingua & Lajitas
Sitting on the western side of Big Bend, Terlingua and Lajitas are two conveniently positioned small towns. Both these options for where to stay near Big Bend National Park offer great park access.
From Big Bend accommodations in Downtown Terlingua, where you find the Terlingua Ghost Town area, it’s only 9 miles (14 km) to the park’s western entrance station at Maverick Junction. And if you stay at the eastern end of the Study Butte-Terlingua community, it’s even shorter.
The town Lajitas is located slightly further west and away from Big Bend National Park. Still it’s just 21 miles (34 km) from Big Bend lodging in Lajitas to the same entrance station.
Consequently when you stay at hotels near Big Bend in Terlingua or Lajitas, you with very little effort can travel to the park. In Terlingua and Lajitas you comfortably stay at Big Bend hotels and motels with great national park access.
But it gets even better. Big Bend Ranch State Park expands adjacent to Big Bend National Park and is easy to reach from Terlingua and Lajitas too.
This means that Terlingua and Lajitas are great for both Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park lodging. What’s better than two for one?
As a result of the attractive location, Terlingua and Lajitas are popular places to stay near Big Bend National Park. So make sure to book your Big Bend National Park hotel as early as possible if you plan to stay here.
All in all, Terlingua and Lajitas are superb places to stay near Big Bend National Park. The two small towns near the Mexican border offer easy access to the park. From the hotels near Big Bend National Park in Terlingua and Lajitas you effortlessly get to the jaw-dropping park adventure that you came for.
- Pick Terlingua/Lajitas for: Hotels near Big Bend National Park and the neighboring state park.
Favorite location. Terlingua and Lajitas are options for where to stay near Big Bend National Park that most visitors love. The remote towns are nicely situated for both Big Bend National Park and the neighboring Big Bend State Park.
Best hotels in Terlingua & Lajitas
Lajitas Golf Resort
Offering spectacular views, convenient location and top facilities, Lajitas Golf Resort ticks all the boxes for a great Big Bend place to stay. Surrounded by desert, it feels like the Big Bend resort is located within the park itself. It’s not, but in less than 30 minutes you get from the luxurious Lajitas Resort to the Big Bend entrance. The icing on the cake? This appreciated place to stay near Big Bend National Park boasts a refreshing swimming pool, best enjoyed after a long day of hiking.
Another alternative for where to stay when visiting Big Bend National Park is Marathon. The Texas town is located north of Big Bend and southeast of Alpine. Marathon is known as the eastern gateway as it’s the last town before Big Bend if you travel from the east.
From Big Bend hotels in Marathon it’s just 42 miles (68 km) to Persimmon Gap Visitor Center at the northern park entrance. But Big Bend National Park is a huge park, and to Chisos Basin in the heart of the park it’s 77 miles (124 km).
So from a point of convenience Big Bend National Park hotels closer to the park action are preferable.
But if you don’t mind a longer drive to get to the sights, Marathon is a great option for where to stay near Big Bend National Park. And if you travel from cities in the east like San Antonio, Austin and Houston to Big Bend National Park, the city is right on the way.
In short, Big Bend hotels in Marathon doesn’t offer as great park access as the places to stay closer to the park. Yet you find few Big Bend National Park lodging options in the remote Southwest Texas area that are more convenient.
- Pick Marathon for: Big Bend accommodation at the eastern gateway.
Big Bend National Park places to stay close to the adventure tend to book up quickly. An alternative to the gateway towns that is located further north on Texas State Highway 118 is Alpine.
Although Alpine is a small city, it’s still a much bigger town than the tiny towns Terlingua and Lajitas. In Alpine you find a few of the big hotel chains and a bigger selection of places to eat.
But from Big Bend hotels in Alpine to Chisos Basin, the heart of the park, it’s as much as 106 miles (171 km), which takes about 2 hours to drive. Because of the long distance Alpine is not the most convenient option for where to stay when visiting Big Bend National Park.
Still if you travel from cities in the west, such as Los Angeles, Phoenix or El Paso, Alpine is located along the route to Big Bend National Park. Therefore Alpine could be a good choice as you travel to or from Big Bend.
To sum up, Alpine is a bigger town in the Big Bend area. But Alpine is located further away and not as conveniently as the places to stay closer to Big Bend National Park. Nevertheless, Alpine is a good choice when you travel to or from Big Bend National Park.
- Pick Alpine for: A bigger town in the Big Bend area.
The town Marfa is located further away than all the other options for where to stay when visiting Big Bend National Park. Situated west of Alpine, it’s 132 miles (212 km) and 2.5 hours to drive from Marfa to Chisos Basin.
Because of the long distance, Marfa isn’t the best place to stay when visiting Big Bend National Park. The other options for where to stay in Big Bend National Park and vicinity are much more convenient.
But Marfa just like Alpine is right on the way if you travel to Big Bend National Park from Los Angeles, Phoenix or El Paso. Therefore Marfa could be a good alternative to Alpine on your way to and from Big Bend National Park.
In conclusion, Marfa is not the best base for exploring Big Bend. For that it’s much more convenient with Big Bend National Park lodging closer to the park. Marfa is rather an alternative as you travel to or from Big Bend National Park.
- Pick Marfa for: An alternative as you travel to or from Big Bend.
Tips for your Big Bend stay
Are you ready to go to Big Bend National Park? That’s awesome, but these tips can make your Big Bend stay even more successful.
- Respect the distances – From Rio Grande, tracing the Mexican border, to Emory Peak, shooting up 7,825 feet (2,385 m) towards the sky, Big Bend is a massive corner of the United States. Offering more than 800 000 acres, this is one of those American national parks where the distances are long.
- Book in advance – With a limited selection of Big Bend National Park accommodations, the best places to stay tend to book out in advance. So if you find a Big Bend hotel you like, secure it before someone else does.
- Dodge the heat – Down where Mexico and Texas meet, temperatures get scorching hot. Not only in summer but throughout the year, make sure to protect yourself from that intense midday heat.
- Water, water – You can’t really have too much water with you when exploring Big Bend. Hiking in the dry desert climate of Big Bend is a recipe for dehydration. Therefore always bring more water than you think is needed.
- Pick the season – Flexible travelers ask themselves: When is the best time to visit Big Bend National Park? Because of the unforgiving heat, outdoor activities in the Texas park are best enjoyed from late fall to early spring.
Final words about where to stay near Big Bend
Big Bend is one of the most unique national parks in America. Not only is the nature breathtaking, the park is also located in one of the most remote corners of the USA, which makes finding Big Bend lodging tricky.
However, you can stay at the only hotel within the park — Chisos Mountain Lodge. For a higher hotel standard, look towards Big Bend National Park hotels in the nearby towns Terlingua and Lajitas.
Just have in mind that if you find a Big Bend hotel that you’re happy with, book it right away. If the Big Bend hotels near the park sell out, the closest place to stay could be hours away.
Where to stay near Big Bend National Park FAQ
Here you find the answers to some frequently asked questions about where to stay near Big Bend National Park, Texas.
Chisos Mountains Lodge is the only lodging within Big Bend National Park. But just a short drive from the park the towns Terlingua and Lajitas offer more Big Bend hotels.
Terlingua and Lajitas are the towns closest to Big Bend National Park. Located in the very front row, it’s just a few miles from Terlingua to Big Bend’s western park entrance at Maverick Junction. Slightly further away, but still convenient, it’s 21 miles (34 km) from Lajitas to the same entrance station.
In a remote Texas area the classic Lajitas Golf Resort is an oasis that year after year surprises guests with its high standard. If you look for a luxury resort near Big Bend National Park, you don’t need to look further.
Big Bend National Park is a huge park that sits in an isolated corner of Texas. To make the most of a visit, it’s recommended to have at least three full days for exploring the awe-inspiring park.
Destinations near Big Bend
North America’s largest desert, the Chihuahuan Desert, expands across West Texas and southern New Mexico. In addition to Big Bend National Park, three other remarkable national parks call this isolated area home.
- Guadalupe Mountains, TX – It’s 5 hours to Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the top of Texas. Bed down one hour south of the park at the iconic Hotel El Capitan in Van Horn to arrive full of energy.
- Carlsbad Caverns, NM – Under an hour northeast of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Carlsbad Caverns welcomes you to the eye-popping Big Room, the continent’s biggest cave chamber.
- White Sands, NM – Completing the experience, White Sands National Park is the most glistening member of USA’s national park system. Hike or, even better, sled these seemingly endless sand dunes.
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