Having grown up in Texas and having lived a good portion of my adult life in Austin, it comes as a frequent surprise to people to hear that I had never taken a West Texa road trip and explored all that our state has to offer, and in particular, Big Bend National Park. To be honest, it’s because Texas is BIG. It’s so big that going west is often more time intensive than visiting our neighbors to the east, like my favorite city in the world, New Orleans.
Now that I’ve made the effort to explore the area with a West Texas road trip, I can say for certain that I’ve been missing out. Marfa, Alpine and the Big Bend region of West Texas have a huge amount to offer for anyone who is looking for a languid pace, an artsy affect, and a cold beer on a porch in the Texas twilight.
The Texas mountains are singing your name: here’s my suggestions on where to stop, what to eat, and what to do while on your West Texas road trip.
Located in the high desert of the Trans-Pecos in far West Texas, Marfa offers the perfect location to explore all that West Texas has to offer. It’s located in between the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park – both worthy excursions. This sleepy town in West Texas operates as it feels like. Businesses open and close based on a whim, with no regard to the days of the week or customers. Art litters the empty streets that radiate heat in the middle of the day. There’s a feeling that everyone lives on their own desert version of island time.
The self professed town mantra is “Mañana.” It can mean maybe in a little while, or maybe tomorrow, or maybe not at all. It’s a belief that time allotted to doing nothing is time well spent.
It is pervasive while you’re there and I recommend at least 2 nights in the town so that you really buy into the idea of Mañana. There’s no reason to rush in the desert, y’all. That being said, on your way too or from Marfa, make sure that you stop in Alpine for a hot dog from Cow Dog. I’d also recommend a stop in Marathon, TX and a night at the Gage Hotel.