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Ten Fun Things to See & Do in Big Bend, Terlingua, and Lajitas

If you like outdoor activities, then the Big Bend area is the place to spend a few days or more. Here are some of our favorite things to do when we visit the area.

  • Visit Big Bend National Park - Big Bend National Park is magnificent with towering majestic mountains, desert fauna, camping, 4 wheel drive trials, biking, and lots of excellent hiking trails. You can backpack in to primitive campsites or camp in your RV in a couple different areas - Rio Grande Village has RV hook ups and some nice sites. If you don't want to camp, stay in the Chisos Mountains Lodge. There are numerous hiking trials in the Park - see our list of favorites under "Go Hiking" below. If you're not into hiking or biking, a drive through the Park is well worth the trip - scenic vistas, towering mountains, informative plaques, desert plans, the Rio Grande River, and more.
  • Go Rafting/Canoeing/Kayaking - the Rio Grande River is perfect for half-day to multi-day river trips and offers spectacular scenery, wildlife, some rapids, and canyons and area areas to explore. Head out on your own (check with the Park Rangers or one of the local outfitters first) or take a guided trip with Big Bend River Tours. If you have a chance, go through Santa Elena Canyon which has sheer cliffs extending up to 1500 feet above the water, canyons to explore, and a Class IV rapid (depending on river flow). Click here to learn about our rafting trip through Santa Elena Canyon.
  • Enjoy Lajitas Resort - if you like good food, unique and comfortable accommodations, lots of activities (ATV tours, horse back riding, hunting, clay shooting, etc.), a refreshing pool, fun and lively bar, a fantastic golf courses, and a good massage or facial, then you need to spend a day or more at Lajitas Resort. Read our to learn more.
Camping in Big BendMountains in Big BendRafting through Santa Elena CanyonLajatis Resort Lodging
  • Go Hiking - if you like to hike, it doesn't get much better than in the Big Bend area. You have tons of choices from strenuous to easy, river bed to mountain trails, desert or mountainous terrain, elevations from 1800' to over 7800', or short interpretive trails to multi day backpacking trails. Some of our favorites are the Window Trail, Lost Mine Trail, and Santa Elena Canyon - one to three hour hikes ranging from easy to a little strenuous plus majestic views, a variety of fauna, wildlife, and unique formations. Here is a link to Hiking in Big Bend National Park. Big Bend Ranch State Park has over 66 miles of interconnected rugged trials just waiting for you.
  • Hit the Links - you can't leave this area without playing a round of golf on one of the best courses in Texas, at Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa - they have some great stay and play deals.
  • Take in the Nightlife & Munch On Some Good Food - Lajitas Resort has a very nice bar and occasionally has music; La Kiva is truly unique (a cave type atmosphere) and locals play music there on Wednesdays; and the Boathouse is a fun and lively locals bar. The area isn't really known for gourmet restaurants, but Lajitas Resort is excellent; Starlight Theater is very good; the Chisos Mountains Lodge restaurant is ok;, and there are several others that range from very funky (Kosmic Kowgirl Kafe) to traditional.
End of the Windows TrailOne of the Ambush Golf Course HolesDrinks at La KivaDining at Chisos Mtn Lodge
  • Attend the Terlingua Chili Cookoff - Terlingua is famous for it's annual Chili Cookoff, which is now two entirely different cookoffs in two locations. You can have a great time at either one sampling the food, listening to good music, watching the teams compete for Best Showmanship, or just people watching - lots of unique, friendly, funny, and fun loving people!
  • Visit Big Bend Ranch State Park - Big Bend Ranch State Park is the largest state park in Texas, over 300,000 acres of Chihuahuan Desert wilderness in a remarkably rugged, remote and unpopulated setting. The Park encompasses some of the most remote and rugged terrain in the Southwest which includes two mountain ranges with ancient extinct volcanoes, precipitous canyons, and waterfalls. You'll find a variety of trails for biking, four wheeling, hiking, or horseback riding. Sauceda Lodge Bunkhouse offers overnight lodging or there are several primitive campsites (no hookups) available.
  • Explore the Area - within 100 miles of Terlingua there is a surprising amount of things to see and do, some of which include: take the very scenic road from Lajitas to Presidio as it winds up and down the mountains and along the Rio Grande River; cross the border at Presidio and spend some time in Mexico; check out the artists in Marfa and Alpine - make sure you visit the really cool Gage Hotel in Alpine and the Hotel Piasano (a National Historic Landmark and headquarters for the crew and cast that filmed "Giant"; drive to Ft Davis and explore Davis Mountains State Park, take a tour of McDonald Observatory, or visit the Ft Davis National Historic Site
  • Visit Terlingua Ghosttown - once an abandoned mining village, the Ghostown is now the center of a charming desert community, a good restaurant, gift and souvenir shop, a self guided walking tour, and an old cemetery.
Scenic drive from Lajitas to PresidoParty at the Chili CookoffMcDonald ObservatoryGhost Town Lodging

To find some of the spots mentioned above, here is a link to our Clickable Big Bend, Terlingua, & Lajitas map which links to lots of good stuff to see and do in the area.