Destination Texas: Things to Do Near Big Bend… That Aren’t Hiking
For the nature enthusiast, Big Bend National Park in far West Texas is a dream come true. Visitors flock to their amazing expanse of the high Chihuahuan desert to enjoy solitude, natural wonder, and some of the best stargazing in the Lone Star State.
And for the less athletic or camping-inclined, the Big Bend area (we'll say Marfa, Terlingua, Alpine, and Marathon in this case) can seem desolate and devoid of both humanity and anything interesting to see. Here's a list of interesting things to see and do in the Big Bend area that aren't hiking or camping:
Destination Texas: What to do in Big Bend Without Hiking
Despite its desolate location and sparse landscape, the Big Bend area has gained quite a bit of notoriety for its more offbeat cultural offerings, Towns like Marfa and Alpine have boomed with a selection of art galleries, but it's thought-provoking pieces like the Chinati Foundation that make visitors examine the environment just as closely as the artwork.
History buffs can appreciate stops like the Fort Davis National Historic Site and Hotel Paisano.
African-American buffalo soldiers in the U.S. cavalry played a critical role in the expansion of the U.S. westward across the continent, and you can explore the existing structures and ruins to understand how the Big Bend area was settled.
If you want your history a little more modern, bunk up or just stop through to marvel at Hote Paisano. It served as the unofficial headquarters for the cast and crew filming the epic film Giant in 1955. While the main stars like James Dean, Elizabeth Taylor, and Rock Hudson eventually moved into private residences, the six weeks of filming in Marfa permanently put Hotel Paisano on the map. (The Hotel's onsite restaurant, Jett's Grill, is named in honor of James Dean's infamous last film role.)