Big Bend National Park is larger than Rhode Island – a whopping 1,252 square miles stretching from the Mexican border and encompassing a section of the Rio Grande, the Chihuahuan Desert, the Chisos Mountains, Boquillas Canyon, and more. There’s so much to see; you’ll find yourself planning your next visit to experience it all.
Whether visiting Big Bend for the first time or a repeat time, we have one recommendation: Use Midland, Texas to your advantage. Think of it as your home base for everything surrounding your Big Bend trip, from getting supplies (and insider tips from locals) to where to grab a beer along the way.
Who knows, Big Bend might not be the only place you want to return to.
Forgot to pack something? Check out the Midland Micro Market – it’s an entirely locally owned and operated shopping destination. Honestly, go browse the market even if you don’t need something and see what the unique boutiques offer
If you’re lucky enough to be in town on Saturday morning, the Midland Downtown Farmers Market is a must. Pick up Big Bend scenic drive-approved snacks, such as fresh produce grown nearby, homemade cookies and pastries, and even some holiday presents for yourself or a loved one back home.
The anticipation may build on the three-hour drive to Big Bend, but your exhaustion won’t. On the morning of your trip to Big Bend, grab coffee from a Midland roaster. Savor the handcrafted lattes made at Far West Coffee or the slushy frozen coffees at Cpl. Ray’s Coffee. Watch the clock if you visit Higher Grounds Coffee Shop – the ambiance will make you want to linger.
Whether you’re fueling up to canoe into Mexico at the Boquillas Crossing Port of Entry or refueling after a hike to The Window, restaurants in Midland have stick-to-your-bones meals.
The appetizers at Opal’s Table nearly outshine the main courses. Try not to fill up on the crispy sweet potatoes, topped with goat cheese and walnuts (although we can’t blame you if you do), or the fried green tomatoes with white chili sauce. The pear extraordinaire cocktail – made with gin, pear, ginger, honey, and lemon – is extraordinary.
There are about a dozen martini variations at Wall Street Bar & Grill, but the meal combination is a classic. Steak cooked to your liking, and a sour cream-topped baked potato is the preferred entree at every table, but don’t overlook the seafood.
Fajitas, margaritas and tacos, oh my! Cancun Grill brings the flavors of central Mexico to west Texas in the form of nachos, enchiladas, and more.
Garlic Press has a handful of flavored butters, including garlic-herb butter, toasted blue cheese butter with applewood smoked bacon, and cowboy butter (lemon, garlic, shallot, horseradish, dijon, spices, and herbs) to complement the black Angus steaks on the menu.
Celebrate your adventure with an evening out.
Flagship beers at Tall City Brewing Co. range from blonde ales to hickory-colored stouts. But check out their rotating, seasonal beers to keep things interesting.
Drop into The Basement at Opal’s Table and get cozy. Seating nooks, stylish design, and a ventilated cigar lounge make it easy. One-of-a-kind cocktails and a small plates menu from Opal’s Table above make it even easier.
Pretend it’s the Texas State Fair year-round at Fair To Midland. You don’t need dizzying carnival rides to enjoy fried specialties such as chicken-fried pickles, Frito pie, waffle fry nachos, and a chicken and waffle cone served with green chili gravy and hot honey.
If you have time to spare or kids to entertain, check out the Museum of the Southwest. Wander the outdoor sculpture garden, get lost among the stars at the Blakemore Planetarium, or learn more about Midland and an equestrian connection to the Kentucky Derby at the Turner Mansion. The Children’s Museum portion of the Museum of the Southwest is fun for adults, too – colorful, engaging exhibits and interactive play will have your little ones learning without even trying.
A visit to the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum, Library and Hall of Fame goes way beyond the stuff you get at the gas station. Explore more than 230 million years of history across 40,000 square feet of interactive education to see how petroleum has impacted humanity.
Who says you only have to see the stars in Big Bend? The impressive Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center hosts chart-toppers, comedians, Broadway shows, and more. Check the event calendar to grab tickets for an unforgettable evening.
No matter how you slice it, it takes a while to get to Big Bend. Shave a few hours off the journey by flying into Midland International Air & Space Port.
It’s the closest commercial airport to Big Bend, and it’s serviced by American, Southwest, and United Express – with nonstop flights from seven major airports. Depending on when you land, you can either check into a Midland hotel and rest up for the adventure ahead or stock up on supplies before you hit the road.
Extend your trip to Big Bend National Park to include Midland, TX. By the end of your journey, you’ll be thinking: Now, this is the way to do it