Planning a road trip from San Antonio to Big Bend this year?
Big Bend National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Texas and includes a variety of unique ecosystems.
The park has over 800 species of animals that include deer, bighorn sheep, coyotes, and mountain lions.
The park also features a variety of desert habitats as well as forests.
Visitors can camp in the park and wake up to amazing views of the Chisos Mountains and Rio Grande River Valley.
The best way to visit Big Bend National Park is to drive from San Antonio, Texas.
Here is our detailed itinerary for the San Antonio to Big Bend National Park Road Trip.
Also Read: Best Free Things to do in San Antonio, Texas
How far is Big Bend National Park from San Antonio?
Big Bend National Park is over 400 miles from San Antonio, Texas.
That doesn’t include the drive time to get to and from the park from the entrance.
You can take two routes: Interstate 10 through the Hill Country or US-90 parallel to the border.
Both the short I-10 route and the long US-90 route offer amazing views and plenty of opportunity to stop for hikes, picnics, or just to enjoy the scenery.
You can also take the I-10 from San Antonio to Big Bend and US-90 on the return trip.
We have highlighted both routes and road trip pit stops in this guide.
Exact Time & Distance:
I-10 – 5 hrs 49 mins, 413 miles
US-90 – 5 hrs 50 mins, 371 miles
Best time to visit Big Bend National Park
The park is open year-round, but the best time to visit Big Bend National Park is from November to April.
While the weather is slightly cooler, visitors will be able to see some of the most beautiful seasonal changes in the desert!
Big Bend is a great winter destination in Texas.
Avoid coming in July or August during the heat of summer.
Fall and spring are popular due to their mild weather, favorable conditions, and spectacular scenery.
Essential Stops on San Antonio to Big Bend National Park Road Trip via US-90
If you are planning a road trip from San Antonio to Big Bend National Park along the southern route, make sure to stop at the following road trip pit stops:
San Antonio is one of the most popular destinations in Texas for tourists.
Whether you want to see great art, historic buildings, eat tacos, or have a fun nightlife, San Antonio has it all!
Visit the Alamo, take a cruise of the San Antonio Riverwalk, see the museums and other city attractions before heading on the road to Big Bend.
Also Read: Best Restaurants in San Antonio, Texas
If you’re looking to stop in a small town before getting onto the highway to go to Big Bend National Park, Castroville is a great stop.
The square in the center of town has always been the heart of the community with a church, visitors center, historic houses as well as shops and restaurants.
There are plenty of things to do while you’re there, including a visit to the Landmark Inn State Historic Site, which was built in the 1850s.
Stop by for lunch or dinner at one of the locally-owned restaurants for delicious food!
Sabinal and Uvalde
Sabinal is a small town on the way to Big Bend National Park.
This area is rich in history and you can still explore a variety of historic buildings, museums, and art galleries.
Uvalde is another great stop that features a variety of attractions including historic buildings, museums, and churches.
Visitors can also enjoy shopping for local crafts or just exploring the historic downtown district.
The rivers in Uvalde County are perfect for river tubing, kayaking, canoeing, and other water recreation.
Del Rio and Lake Amistad
Del Rio is a border town on the Mexico-Texas border.
It features a great nightlife scene, cultural attraction, shopping for goods across the border, as well as some of the best shopping in Texas.
Nearby you will find Lake Amistad, a reservoir on the Rio Grande in Val Verde County, Texas.
Lake Amistad National Recreation Area surrounds the lake and provides camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing, hiking, equestrian use and birding opportunities.
Comstock is a small railroad town with oodles of authentic Texan charm.
Take a walk through forgotten buildings downtown and admire the beautiful Pecos River High Bridge spanning the Pecos River gorge.
Stop by the Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site where you can see indigenous cave paintings and archeological ruins on guided tours.
Visitors can also enjoy hiking and biking in the area.
Marathon is a small town in the Big Bend region of Texas, near the Rio Grande.
It is the perfect base for exploring the park.
In town, visitors will find a post office as well as some shops and restaurants.
Marathon is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts with a variety of recreational opportunities including swimming, fishing, hiking, and biking.
There are also a few motels available to make your stay more comfortable.
Big Bend National Park
Take the time to rest at Marathon before heading to Big Bend National Park the next day.
Explore the park and its diverse natural resources by hiking, scenic drives, and camping.
Check out the visitor center and its many exhibits; pick up a map while you are there.
The park has several easy trails for beginners that start near the Visitors Center including the Window Trail and the Valley View Overlook Trail.
Camping at Big Bend National Park is also an amazing experience; you get to see millions of stars come out at night.
Essential Stops on San Antonio to Big Bend National Park Road Trip via I-10
If you are taking the interstate to Big Bend, you will be traveling through the heart of Texas Hill Country.
Or you can take this route on the return road trip to San Antonio.
Here are our favorite stops along the route:
Kerrville, located in the heart of Texas Hill Country, is a popular tourist destination because of its rich history and natural beauty.
In downtown Kerrville, you will find several historic buildings including the City Hall with its clock tower, Schreiner mansion, and the Guthrie building.
Explore the riverfront trails in Louise Hays Park along the banks of the Guadalupe.
Ingram is a small old country town that has plenty of charm and few iconic attractions including the Texas replica of Stonehenge!
You can explore downtown Ingram and admire the historic buildings, antique shops, murals, and art galleries.
Junction is a small, rural town in western Texas. The area around Junction is known for its picturesque scenery.
Downtown Junction has antique shops and historic buildings. For those who are interested in art, there are also mural paintings and galleries in town
Exploring the scenic landscapes surrounding Junction by hiking, biking, or scenic drives.
As you drive through Sonora, take some time to admire the historic buildings including the striking Sutton County Courthouse.
Take a walk down Main Street where you will find shops, restaurants, and museums.
The Caverns of Sonora are a popular tourist destination because of its many features.
Tour the caves and the limestone formations to see natural stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones, and soda straws.
Characterized by wide-open spaces with few trees, this town has plenty to offer visitors.
A popular attraction in Fort Stockton is the Annie Riggs Memorial Museum.
Located in a historic hotel, the museum features historical exhibits from the pioneer era.
Take a photo with the giant roadrunner statue and explore the Historic Fort Stockton and its buildings.
Another notable stop is at the Fort Stockton Cemetery where you can see grave sites from 1879-1960s.
Marathon & Big Bend National Park
After seeing Fort Stockton, head to Marathon and explore Big Bend National Park.
Explore this scenic landscape by hiking or biking on the many trails in Big Bend National Park.
Enjoy birding and wildlife viewing in Big Bend National Park with plenty of desert creatures like black bears, mountain lions, and javelinas roaming about before checking out nearby attractions.
Also Read: Best Road Trips in Texas
Things to see near Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is a popular destination for tourists and visitors in Texas.
Read on to find out what other attractions there are near Big Bend National Park!
The Terlingua Ghost Town is an abandoned mining settlement with plenty of history to explore.
Visitors can explore the buildings and hear about the Terlingua ghost town era.
Nearby, visitors can also enjoy activities such as camping, hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, and more!
Big Bend Ranch State Park
To explore even more of the dramatic Big Bend scenery including the canyons and rock formations, explore Big Bend Ranch State Park.
Big Bend Ranch State Park is located close to Big Bend National Park on the US-Mexico border.
Spot a variety of wildlife including black bears, mountain lions, and javelinas.
Go hiking or biking in the park to enjoy its panoramic views.
Marfa, a small city near the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas, is considered to be one of the most beautifully remote spots in North America.
The area around Marfa features dramatic limestone cliffs and canyons rising from the flatlands; rugged mountains and rolling hills; lush green valleys and lots of natural diversity; and breathtaking views.
Take a tour of Marfa’s famous art galleries including the Prada desert artwork.
Alpine is a small town in the Big Bend region of Texas.
It attracts plenty of visitors because of its charm and natural beauty.
One of the major attractions in Alpine is the historic downtown.
Here you will find murals, art galleries, souvenir shops, boutiques, and cafes.
History lovers will love the Museum of the Big Bend while hikers will enjoy the views from Hancock Hill.
Fort Davis is a historic town in west Texas on the site of an army post.
It was founded to protect settlers from Comanche and Apache raids.
At Fort Davis, visitors can explore the Fort Davis National Historic Site.
This park interprets the history of the fort and features a courthouse museum.
Davis Mountains State Park
Few miles from the town of Fort Davis is Davis Mountains State Park.
This park features hiking trails, majestic scenery, and plenty of wildlife to go along with it.
The park includes some of Texas’ highest mountains and can be easily explored from the loop drive.
The McDonald Observatory is situated in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, near Fort Davis.
The observatory’s remote location is perfect for studying the night sky.
Visitors can tour the observatory and see the stars and constellations through its telescopes.
Things to remember while planning the San Antonio to Big Bend Drive
Planning for your San Antonio to Big Bend Drive?
There are a few things to remember before you set out.
First, make sure your vehicle is in good working order and that you have enough fuel for the journey.
Plan out the route and the stops that you want to make before you set off so you know what to expect.
Be sure to identify gas stations and food nearby that will be accessible for your stop.
Make sure to pack accordingly with snacks, water, and any other items that might come in handy.
Finally, to avoid driving at night when visibility is low, try to plan your drive in advance and stick to daylight hours.
While planning your Big Bend National Park hiking trip, be sure to pack some snacks and water to last the day, as well as a map of the trails.
It is also recommended that you bring any hiking gear that you might need, as well as items like a small first-aid kit or bug spray.
If you are planning on camping at night in the park, make sure to arrive early enough so that you can set up camp before it gets dark.
We hope you like our post on the San Antonio to Big Bend road trip.