Big Bend is a large park and getting around takes a lot of time. Accommodation options within the park are limited to three major campgrounds, a backcountry campground, or the motel-style Chisos Mountain Lodge. Most visitors base themselves in one of the nearby towns, although choices outside the park are still very limited, especially when it comes to quality accommodation. The best options can be found in the quaint town marathon or the seaside resort of Lajitas. Both places offer wonderful accommodations that can really make your vacation an unforgettable journey. Marathon is about 40 miles north of the park on the east side. Lajitas is about 20 miles from the west entrance of the park. While this may seem like quite a distance for a day trip to the park, the drive is easy and it’s worth the trip to stay in some of the wonderful accommodations in these towns.
Other towns in the area are the two side by side communities of Explore Butte and Terlingua, including the nearby Ghost Town of Terlingua, about three to ten miles from the park on the west side. These cities together have a little more than 300 inhabitants and the quality of the accommodations is limited.
Where you stay may simply depend on which direction you are coming from. Marathon is the main gateway for visitors from the east and northincluding Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. Lajitas and Terlingua are the main choices for visitors from the west. Below are our top listings from the best hotels and resorts in the Big Bend National Park area:
Read also:Best campings in Big Bend National Park
1 The Gage Hotel, Marathon
Marathon is by far the most charming town near the park, and one of the main reasons to visit Marathon is to stay at the historic Gage Hotel. This luxury property, with a beautiful pool and quaint rooms, does not have TVs in the suites. Instead, they offer enticing common areas for socializing, from the grand lobby with a huge fireplace, to a TV room for those who just can’t miss an important game, and a huge fire ring in the courtyard, where guests are invited to gather fireside every night. This is a great place to meet people and enjoy inspired conversation. The Gage Hotel is also known for its fantastic dining options on the 12 Gage Restaurantwhere you can find some of the best food in the entire region.
The accommodation consists of the main house, with beautiful hotel rooms with wooden ceilings and open beams, and bungalow-style suites set around a quiet courtyard. The Gage Spa is located in a separate building and offers a full range of treatments from massage therapy to facials. The hotel also has a fun itinerary up to 14 days to help guests plan their time in and around the park. If you can’t get into the Gage Hotel, ask for the Captain Albion E Shepard House, which is also operated through the Gage. This is a small but grand looking two storey white building with balconies, on a street behind the Gage Hotel.
Accommodation: Gage Hotel
2 Lajitas Golf Resort, Lajitas
On the west side of Big Bend National Park, about 20 miles from the park gate, is the Lajitas Golf Resort. Like a true oasis in the desert, you can see the green trees and grass of the golf course at the foot of the mountains as you approach. This large complex is the place to relax and pamper yourself. It features a 18-hole golf course designed by Lanny Wadkins, a beautiful swimming pool, a glass-walled restaurant overlooking the scenic hills and a variety of recreational options.
The main lobby and connecting buildings, including the outdoor sports shops, fitness center and activity center, are designed in an old western style, with canopied wooden walkways and wagon-inspired furnishings. The resort has several buildings with guest rooms, each of which is unique. Some are near the pool, others overlook the golf course, but each offers large suites and elegant furnishings.
If you want to spend a few days here, you’ll have no trouble staying busy. You can go ziplining, take a one-way canoe trip down the nearby Rio Grande River with a shuttle back to the resort, or go horseback riding. An activity coordinator will be happy to help you.
Accommodation: Lajitas Golf Resort
3 Eve’s Garden Bed and Breakfast, Marathon
For eco-friendly and nature-loving types who still want a high level of comfort and atmosphere, Eve’s Garden B&B is the place to stay. They call themselves an “Organic Bed & Breakfast and Ecology Resource Center” in the city of Marathon and offer a unique concept when it comes to housing. This colorful inn, with romantic arches and sprawling adobe-esque architecture, is an oasis of calm on a quiet street. The indoor organic gardens offer year-round blossoms, and the central courtyard, complete with a pond and tea room, are wonderful spaces to relax and mingle with other guests. The rooms are all individually decorated in different colors and feature an interesting and elegant décor. Just like the Gage Hotel, guests here can disconnect from the television and read a book comfortably on a reading chair. This place is a real gem in the high desert.
Accommodation: Eve’s Garden Bed & Breakfast
4Terlingua Ranch Lodge
If you really want to get away from it all and park up at a cabin in the mountains, the Terlingua Ranch Lodge is perfect. Make your own way, 16 miles off the main road and about 45 minutes from Big Bend National Park, this is a beautiful place to see the night sky and enjoy the tranquility of the desert. Rooms are very basic, with no TVs or telephones. Wireless internet is available, but there is no mobile coverage. However, you can count on a spotlessly clean room, a comfortable bed and a terrace to sit on and watch the stars. The lodge has a swimming pool; a small airstrip; and the Bad Rabbit Café, a restaurant serving home-cooked meals in a stone and masonry building also known as the Whitehouse. On weekends and sometimes on weekdays during peak season, the cafe offers live entertainment with local musicians.
Accommodation: Terlingua Ranch Lodge
5 Posada Milagro
Located in the ghost town of Terlingua, Posada Milagro offers a small number of rooms, located behind the Posada Milagro Restaurant. Options range from multi-bed rooms with shared bathroom and shower to rooms with private baths. This can be a good option for small groups looking to save money on accommodation. The rooms are rustic in style but tastefully decorated. The front restaurant serves tasty breakfasts and lunches until 2pm, with an ‘order-at-the-window’ approach and a very pleasant covered outdoor seating area with a central fountain and wood burning stove. It makes a wonderful stop for lunch.