There are a few things to know about road tripping through West Texas. First of all, the distances between towns will be LONG. From El Paso on the western edge of Texas to Austin near the heart of the state, the drive clocks in at nearly 9 hours. And that’s not even counting the detours you will want to include or the numerous gasoline and meal breaks you will need to take.

But just as certain as the long distances you’ll face is the assurance that you will have plenty of delightful little towns along the way to break up the drive. From the hip town of Marfa that is known worldwide for its art scene, to the tiny Interstate 10 outpost of Ozona that is the center of a county named for Davy Crockett, West Texas is a treasure trove of fascinating culture.

Everywhere you stop, it seems, you will be met with intriguing stories, historic hotels, ruggedly beautiful hikes, and friendly people. And as you drive from town to town, count on passing over long ribbons of pavement with views of distant jagged mountains.

After taking several road trips in southwestern Texas during the past two years, I have a few favorites. Here are 7 towns that are worth a pause on your waltz across West Texas.

Read More

Even though the big in Big Bend National Park refers to a giant curve in the Rio Grande, it could just as easily refer to the park itself (bigger than the state of Rhode Island), the views (immense and sweeping), or the river (definitely grande!).

Big Bend National Park was the main reason for my recent Texas road trip, but the other park that I added along the way – Guadalupe Mountains National Park – turned out to be wonderful too in its own way.

Big Bend had been on a my travel radar for a while – ever since I watched the 2014 Richard Linklater and Ethan Hawke movie Boyhood. For some reason, the movie scene of a sunset hike along the Rio Grande stuck with me through the years. It turns out the scene was actually shot at the nearby Big Bend Ranch State Park, not the national park, but the effect was the same. I just had to visit the area.

Early in the summer of 2021, I finally began planning a trip to Big Bend. Since I was going to be in West Texas, I decided to check out the state’s other big national park, Guadalupe Mountains, as well.

Before I knew it, I had the makings of an epic national park road trip. From my base in the west-Texas city of El Paso, I headed first to Guadalupe, then to Big Bend. (I also ended up adding New Mexico’s lovely White Sands National Park to the trip, but that’s the topic of another story!)

Here’s how my 2-parks-in-4-days road trip went:

Read More