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25 Best Things to do in West Texas

West Texas is one of the most beautiful and remote landscapes in Southwest USA.

Natural wonders such as Big Bend National Park and the Guadalupe Mountains draw thousands of visitors to this part of the Lone Star State every year.

There are many interesting and exciting things to do in West Texas.

Hike and camp in the beautiful desert landscapes. Marvel at the stunning scenery.

Glamping in West Texas near Big Bend
Glamping in West Texas near Big Bend

Kayak through the canyons carved out by rushing rivers.

Camp under the incredibly dark skies. Stargaze and contemplate the vast universe.

Enjoy art and culture in the heart of the desert. Experience unique cultures.

Enjoy some of the world-famous Tex-Mex cuisines. Visit microbreweries and shop for Western gear.

Take a scenic road trip and visit the many quirky small towns and cities in the area.

If you love adventure, West Texas is the perfect destination for you!

A replica of an Aztec calendar in El Pasos Aztec Calendar Park
A replica of an Aztec calendar in El Pasos Aztec Calendar Park

Best Things to do in West Texas

There is no shortage of things to do in West Texas.

From hiking and camping in the dramatic landscapes of Big Bend National Park…

…to exploring the bustling cities and historic small towns that dot the region!

Some of the best activities in West Texas include stargazing at some of the country’s best observatories,

horseback riding through tranquil desert vistas or canyons,

and taking part in the many cultural festivals and events iconic to the region.

Here are the best things to do in West Texas.

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is one of the most beautiful and diverse destinations in Texas.

Located along the Rio Grande River in southwest Texas, the park is popular for its rugged canyons, towering mountain vistas, and remote desert landscapes.

The most iconic feature of Big Bend is Santa Elena Canyon.

This vast gorge was carved into the rock by millions of years of erosion from the Rio Grande River.

In addition to its natural beauty, Big Bend also offers visitors many recreational opportunities, including hiking, camping, bird watching, and even stargazing. 

Fossil Discovery Exhibit, Big Bend National Park

No trip to Big Bend National Park is complete without a visit to the Fossil Discovery Exhibit.

This fascinating museum features a treasure trove of fossils and artifacts from some of the region’s oldest inhabitants…

….including dinosaurs that lived here during the Cretaceous period.

You can see fossils of giant dinosaurs including T-Rex, alamosaurus, ancient sharks, pterosaurs, and Deinosuchus, an ancient crocodile.

The exhibit also includes interactive displays that explain how these fossils were formed and what they can tell us about the history of life on Earth. 

The Texas dinosaur museum also offers replica fossils that kids can touch and explore.

Marfa

Marfa is an amazing city with a rich history and a vibrant artistic community.

It is known for its amazing contemporary art pieces and unique sculptures.

From the Marfa Prada and Marfa Target desert installations that existed several years ago to the latest Marfa Bucees – you are sure to find something Instagram worthy in this city.

In addition to its amazing art scene, Marfa is also known for its mysterious lights that have captivated locals and travelers.

Many different theories have been put forth to try and explain these strange phenomena, from astronomical occurrences to military experiments.

Downtown Marfa is home to several historic buildings, including the Presidio County Courthouse, Hotel Paisano, and the Central Fire Station.

El Paso

El Paso is a great place to visit for its rich history, diverse culture, and beautiful scenery.

It is known as Sun City for its long, sunny days and expansive desert landscape.

There are plenty of things to see and do in this vibrant city.

For history buffs, the El Paso Museum of History is a must-see.

The museum offers a comprehensive look at the region’s past, from its Native American roots to its days as a Spanish colony.

For those interested in art and architecture, the Mission Trail is a must-see.

This trail features a number of well-preserved Spanish missions, as well as other notable buildings from El Paso’s architectural history.

Chamizal National Monument

Chamizal National Monument is located in the city of El Paso, Texas.

The monument commemorates the peaceful resolution of a 100-year border dispute between the United States and Mexico.

The Chamizal National Monument also offers visitors scenic views, hiking trails, picnicking areas, and a museum.

Franklin Mountains State Park

Located in the city of El Paso, the urban state park offers visitors spectacular vistas over the downtown, Chihuahuan Desert, and Mexico.

The sprawling wilderness area has plenty of hiking trails and scenic drives.

In addition to its beautiful scenery, the park is also home to a number of animal and bird species.

Cordova International Bridge

The Cordova International Bridge is a beautiful bridge that crosses the Rio Grande and connects the United States and Mexico.

It is also known as the Bridge of the Americas.

The bridge is a popular spot for visitors, as it offers spectacular views of both countries.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a hidden gem of West Texas.

Located in the remote desert regions between El Paso and Carlsbad, this national park offers visitors some of the most spectacular scenery in the country.

The Guadalupe Mountains are home to the tallest mountain in Texas, Guadalupe Peak.

The 8.4 mile Guadulupe Peak trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Texas.

In addition to its amazing landscape, the park is a popular destination for camping, hiking, birdwatching, horse riding, and biking.

Terlingua Ghost Town

Terlingua Ghost Town is a former mining town in southwest Texas near Big Bend National Park.

It was founded in the early 1900s and soon became a booming community for mining mercury.

However, the mines were abandoned by the late 1940s due to falling prices and demand.

Today, Terlingua Ghost Town is a popular tourist destination.

Visitors can explore the abandoned buildings, visit the local cemetery, or take a scenic drive through the nearby Chisos Mountains.

Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site

Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site is a stunning park in far west Texas.

Located near the famous Rio Grande River, the park features some of the oldest rock art in Texas.

There are several hiking trails to explore within the park, allowing visitors to see this incredible natural landscape up close.

Visitors can also take a tour of the historic Seminole Indian dwellings that are located within the park.

In addition to its amazing scenery and historical significance, Seminole Canyon State Park is also home to a number of animal and plant species.

The park is a popular destination for birdwatchers and wildlife photographers.

Langtry

Langtry is a small town in west Texas that was once home to Judge Roy Bean.

Judge Bean was a colorful character who held court in his saloon and dispensed his own brand of justice.

Today, Langtry is home to the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center, which tells the story of this larger-than-life figure.

Visitors can also explore the town’s historic buildings, including the courthouse and jail.

In addition, Langtry is located in a beautiful setting near the Guadalupe Mountains and Big Bend National Park.

Historic Fort Stockton

Fort Stockton is a small town in West Texas with a rich history and beautiful scenery.

One of the best ways to experience the town is to take a walking tour of the historic downtown area.

Here you will see some of the original buildings from the town’s founding, including the old courthouse and jail.

Fort Stockton is also home to a number of museums, including the Annie Riggs Memorial Museum.

Amistad National Recreation Area

Amistad National Recreation Area is a National Recreation Area located on the Rio Grande in Texas.

It is operated by the National Park Service.

The recreation area consists of the reservoirs of Lake Amistad and neighboring Devil’s River, as well as the surrounding land.

This vast and rugged park covers several acres of desert land and craggy canyons, making it an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure.

The recreation area offers opportunities for boating, fishing, hiking, and camping. 

Kayaking the Devil’s River rapids is very popular – in fact, its the best kayaking destinations in Texas.

The area is also home to a variety of wildlife, including bald eagles, ospreys, and white-tailed deer.

Alpine

Alpine is a small town in the Big Bend region.

It quickly grew into a thriving community due to its location on the Southern Pacific Railroad line.

Today, Alpine is known for its vibrant downtown full of historic buildings, boutiques, cafes, murals, and art galleries.

Visitors can explore the many museums, including The Museum of The Big Bend.

Del Rio

Del Rio is a popular town located on the banks of the Rio Grande River.

It has become a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to Lake Amistad and Devils River.

There are plenty of things to see and do in Del Rio, from exploring historic sites, Laughlin Heritage Foundation military museum, art galleries, and more.

Marathon

Marathon is the gateway to Big Bend National Park.

The town is home to a number of shops, restaurants, and hotels.

The Gage Hotel is also a popular attraction, offering guests a chance to stay in a historic building that has played host to numerous celebrities and politicians over the years.

Other attractions in Marthon include Gage botanical gardens and art galleries.

It also offers a variety of outdoor activities, from hiking and camping to fishing and bird watching.

Fort Davis

Fort Davis is a small town located in the Davis Mountains of West Texas.

Founded as a military fort, it served as an important outpost during the Indian Wars.

Today, Fort Davis is home to a National Historic Site, which includes the restored fort buildings as well as a museum and Visitor Center.

The town itself is a charming mix of Victorian and Western architecture, with tree-lined streets and a quaint downtown area.

Fort Davis Drug Store is known for its old-fashioned soda fountain, which still serves up delicious ice cream and milkshakes.

Pioneer Cemtery is also a must for history buffs.

The Davis Mountains are a popular destination for hiking, camping, and stargazing, and Fort Davis is the perfect basecamp for exploring this beautiful corner of Texas.

Davis Mountains State Park

Davis Mountains State Park is a beautiful state park located near Fort Davis.

This isolated mountain range offers stunning views of surrounding desert and Fort Davis historical site from the scenic loop.

The park offers visitors plenty of things to do, including hiking, camping, birdwatching, and stargazing.

McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis

The McDonald Observatory is located near Fort Davis, Texas.

It is an astronomical research facility that is operated by the University of Texas at Austin.

The observatory houses a number of world-class telescopes, including the Hobby-Eberly Telescope.

The McDonald Observatory is open to the public from Tuesdays to Saturdays.

Visitors can enjoy stargazing and solar viewing through one of the largest telescopes in the world…

….or take a guided tour of the facilities to learn about the cutting-edge research being conducted there.

Big Bend Ranch State Park

Located near the southern border, Big Bend Ranch State Park is a rugged wilderness area famous for its stunning canyons and desert landscape.

The park has several miles of hiking trails that allow visitors to explore the diverse terrain.

Big Bend Ranch also offers visitors horseback riding, mountain biking, camping, and wildlife viewing opportunities.

Hueco Tanks State Park

Hueco Tanks State Park is a truly unique natural landscape.

Located near El Paso, this expansive park is home to rock formations, pools of water, and hiking trails that take visitors through stunning desert scenery.

The park also has a rich history; it was inhabited by many indigenous tribes throughout the region.

On a visit, you can see petroglyphs and pictographs etched into the rocks thousands of years ago.

These offer insights into the lives and traditions of the native people.

Pecos

Pecos, Texas is a charming Western town.

Some of the top attractions in Pecos include its dramatic mountain ranges, which are perfect for hiking, camping, or simply enjoying the spectacular views.

Other popular activities include visiting the Balmorhea State Park and soaking up some culture at the West of The Pecos museum.

The gigantic boots sculptures throughout downtown Pecos are popular attractions.

Balmorhea State Park

Balmorhea State Park is a stunning natural oasis located near Pecos, Texas.

It has crystal clear spring-fed pools that are perfect for swimming or scuba diving.

The park also offers hiking trails and opportunities for wildlife viewing, including birdwatching and stargazing in the desert night sky.

Monahans Sandhills State Park

Monahans Sandhills State Park is a spectacular natural landmark.

Located near Pecos, the park has rolling sand dunes that stretch for miles across the desert landscape.

Visitors can hike the dunes or rent sand discs to slide down the dunes.

The park also offers camping.

Lubbock

Lubbock is a vibrant and exciting city, full of interesting attractions.

One of the city’s most popular attractions is its dynamic art scene, which features several world-class museums and galleries.

The National Ranching Heritage Center, which traces the ranching history of the region, is also popular to visit.

The Museum of Texas Tech University is great for families with kids.

Best Time to Plan West Texas trip

The best time to plan a West Texas trip is in the spring or fall.

During these seasons, the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds.

If you’re looking for outdoor adventure, the heat is mild enough for longer hikes.

Also, the desert blooms with wildflowers throughout spring and early summer.

If you’re interested in stargazing, the best time to visit is during the winter months.

The clear night skies offer prime conditions for viewing the stars.

Summer is extreme in West Texas.

The heat can be unbearable, and the desert landscape is often covered in a layer of dust.

If you plan to visit during the summer, be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and water.

Explore other regions of Texas
Best Things to do in the Texas Hill Country
Amazing Things to do in East Texas
Best North Texas attractions
Family friendly beaches on the Gulf Coast of Texas

This region is well worth exploring: West Texas offers incredible opportunities for travelers of all kinds.

….whether you are looking to experience the fascinating desert landscape or

….bustling cities located off the beaten path!

West Texas truly is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an exhilarating outdoor experience.

Plan the ultimate West Texas Road Trip Itinerary using our guide today!