Getting To Marfa Texas
For us, we opted to fly into El Paso and then do a 3 hour drive to Marfa. The flight on American airlines was quite pricey for such a short distance. The cheapest we saw flights were $270 with tax non-stop roundtrip and it went up from there. We were expecting under $200. Basically our plan was this. El Paso is the closet airport to get to both Marfa & White Sands, New Mexico. We stayed one night in Marfa and one night in El Paso and drove an hour and half to White Sands.
We felt that it was best to fly because it would have been a 4.5 hour drive to get to White Sands, NM from Marfa. If we drove from Dallas to Marfa and then to NM in two days, we would be so exhausted.
This was our itinerary for our trip and as you continue to read, you will understand more why we did it this way.
- Saturday: Took a 7am flight to El Paso
- Drove to Marfa & stayed one night
- Sunday: Breakfast in Marfa and then drove to White Sands, NM
- Same night checked into our hotel in El Paso
- Monday: Different side trip option possibilities such as exploring El Paso, a 2nd visit to White Sands, or an 2 drive to Cloudcroft, NM
- Took a 6:30pm flight back to Dallas
Appreciate Nature At The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Gardens
The life that supports Marfa began long before you and the first visitors traveled through this area. Desert plants and critters around Marfa owe their natural heritage to indigenous species that lived here thousands of years ago. Visit the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Gardens, 26 miles north of town, to boost your knowledge and appreciation.
Before heading to one of the many beautiful nature and interpretation trails that surround the center, take time to visit the hands-on exhibits and displays about desert life. Staff and educated volunteers advise you about what to see, and answer questions.
The center is operated by the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, established by botanists and researchers at Sul Ross State University in nearby Alpine. By visiting the center and purchasing items in its well-stocked gift shop, you support the institute’s important work in desert studies and conservation.
What Are Some Things To Do In Bryan
This section could be endless, so rather than trying tosuggest every local activity or attraction, we’ll leave itopen-ended.
Of course, Trippy is the perfect place to ask questionsbecause there’s an entire community of travelers talkingto each other and sharing tips and advice. Trippy is whereyou can get answers personalized for your tastes, budgets,trip dates & more!
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Explore State And National Parks
For those who want to explore the great outdoors, there is a variety of state and national parks worth exploring in and around Marfa.
For example, Big Bend National Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park, and Davis Mountains State Park are all fun and fascinating destinations full of activity options, including hiking, biking, horseback riding, and camping.
When visiting Big Bend, theres also an opportunity to easily cross the border in a rowboat and explore the rural Boquillas, Mexico. Boquillas offers more opportunities for exploration, shopping, dining, and more. Proper documentation is required for entry and exit.
Coolest Things To Do In Marfa Tx
We ended our West Texas Road Trip in Marfa. Before visiting, we knew very little of the area other than hearing about the artsy community and seeing Prada Marfa and El Cosmico on instagram.
We found it hard to describe, and it almost felt like the twilight zone. We expected to find eclectic desert art and instead found an art scene as sophisticated as NYC. Sometimes it felt like a small town in West Texas, and other times it felt like a neighborhood in Brooklyn.
If youre planning a trip out to Marfa, weve put together a guide to help you plan your trip.
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Tumble Inn Marfa Rv Park
The Tumble Inn is an eclectic RV park on the outskirts of town but still close enough to be able to walk to the town center. This quirky RV park is perfect for those who are looking to pitch their own tent, have their own van, or are swept up in the van life movement.
Complete with all of the bells and whistles you would hope from an RV park, it is the perfect place to stay for those on a budget.
Have A Drink At Marfa Spirit Co
The Marfa Spirit Co. is the local distillery that is actually built in the historic Godbold Feedmill. If you are looking for a night out on the town then this is the place to be! They offer pre-booked tastings of their products as well as a full-service cocktail bar in the evenings. This local distillery has a lot to offer the community and is definitely a hip place to hang out.
The Marfa Spirit Co. is located at 320 W El Paso St, Marfa, TX 79843.
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Spend Time At The Donald Judd Chinati Foundation
Many of Marfas attractions are built around art, and a listicle of things to do cant go ahead with a notable mention of Donald Judds land art.
We had no expectations arriving at Judds site-specific gallery and were impressed by the minimalist 15 hollow concrete blocks which form a line in the Chinati desert.
We walked alongside the blocks and observed how the shadows changed between them.
Judd moved to Marfa in the 70s and wanted to create a space for permanent exhibitions, including his own 15 Untitled Works in Concrete.
The Foundation was set up as a reaction to the harsh and glib environment of the art world where exhibitions were always changing and artists were missing from the process of installation.
The architecture and the 340 acres of land were both considered during the installations.
A visit is not only a visit to see art installations it is also a history lesson.
The museum is built in the former Fort D.A. Russell, which experienced both WWI and II.
German Prisoners of War were housed in these buildings, and you can still see evidence of this on the walls.
Another Knowles sibling, Solange, brought attention to Marfa when they filmed a performance of Scales at this site.
Where Is Marfa Texas
is a city in the high desert and located on a Chihuahuan Desert plateau of the Trans-Pecos in far West Texas, between the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park.
Its unlikely youll ever be passing through Marfa since the closest, larger airport is in El Paso, Texas. Its a destination spot many havent considered because of its more desolate location.
If you drive Southeast down US-90 long enough, youll uncover a stretch of road where traveling at 80 mph is normal and theres likely to be little traffic on the road.
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Sample Wines At Marfa Wine Co
While The World Famous Lost Horse Saloon and Planet Marfa focus on ice-cold beers, if you prefer vino then make a beeline for the Marfa Wine Co. Pop in for a wide selection of wines sourced both locally and from afar. Enjoy the wine there or take it to go, just make sure you dont miss this fantastic wine selection in Marfa!
Things To Do In Marfa: What To Know Before You Go
- Visit on a weekend. The best time to visit Marfa is from Thursday through Sunday. Most restaurants and attractions are closed during the rest of the week .
- Cell service is unreliable. Youre in the middle of nowhere, so of course, cell service is spotty. I recommend downloading a map and anything you need before you leave home just in case. Most of all, relax and enjoy the disconnect.
- Book in advance. West Texas is a popular destination among Texans, especially Marfa. Make your accommodations in advance during busy seasons like summer and school holidays.
- Pack layers. This is the desert. Afternoons can be scorching with temperatures dropping after sundown.
- Stay awhile. Stay for at least two nights, ideally three. On our tight schedule, we only had one night and it was nowhere near enough time to do Marfa and its surroundings justice.
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What & Where To Eat In Marfa
Speaking of food to eat, theres quite a range of food options in Marfa from inexpensive to fancier fare. But if you only have one day, start it off right by stopping at the famed Marfa Burrito. Simple in name, structure, and menu, people from all over, including celebrities, flock to this modest setup.
Theres a communal bowl of homemade hot sauce on the cardboard table and the coffee is a serve-yourself station. The burritos are good-sized and filling, especially the chorizo, but if youre looking for anything fancy, add-ons, or substitutions, thats not what this place is all about. Take cash because they dont accept credit card and dont be afraid to possibly sit at a table with strangers as seating is limited.
Road Trip To Big Bend National Park
If you still need more things to do in Marfa, you wont be disappointed by the breathtaking Big Bend. One of Marfas most scenic landmarks, the Big Bend region is situated right where the Chihuahuan desert and Texas mountains meet. There are endless ways to let yourself unwind and enjoy everything nature has to offer in the Big Bend, whether you decide to go river rafting, hiking, or stargazing.
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Watch The Sunset & Go Stargazing
While there are enough boutiques, art galleries, and bars to fill your weekend with non-stop things to do in Marfa, if Im being completely honest, my favorite activity was doing nothing at all.
We spend our evenings drinking chilled wine outside our trailer watching the sunset turn the desert sky countless shades of pink.
Talking in hushed tones while looking at the horizon for the mystery lights and stargazing at the Milky Way overhead were experiences I will never forget.
Enjoy all that Marfa has to offer but dont forget to slow down while youre there.
Enjoy this piece of West Texas paradise and disconnect.
Davis Mountain State Park
The Davis Mountain State Park is 30 minutes west of Marfa, and is a dont miss spot for gorgeous hikes with the kids. We did the 2.5 mile Indian Lodge Loop trail with our 4 and 6 year old. The trail is rated as challenging and does have rocky steep inclines and declines, but we had no problem completing the trail. The breathtaking mountain views are totally worth the trek. You can also see the McDonald Observatory from the Indian Lodge Loop trail. After the hike, we ordered hamburgers to go from the Black Bear Restaurant and ate at a picnic table at the bottom of the trail head. Currently the restaurant is only open until 2pm for take out. Entry to the park is $6 per person 13 years and older.
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Tuck Away Your Next Read From The Book Barn
Ask the librarian for the key to the barn, turn the key in the padlock, and slide open the door. It’s going to take a while to browse the organized stacks and random piles still in boxes, so bring a mug of fresh coffee with you. For a donation, you can walk away with an armful of reading material for the next leg of your vacation.
Souvenir Shopping In Marfa
Before you leave Marfa be sure to pick up something unique to celebrate your trip to far west Texas.
Buy some cool souvenirs for your friends and family too. Or do what I do, buy a bunch of stuff for family and friends, then keep most of it haha!
Check out these one-of-a-kind local shops in Marfa:
Wrong Store eclectic collection of jewelry, home goods, art
The Marfa Store Marfa memorabilia and jewelry
Texas Rose Marfa vintage clothing boutique
Stop and Read Books books, books books!
Skora Marfa handmade leather goods
Sister Gaiya eclectic collection of clothing, books, jewelry
Raba Marfa must visit vintage shop!
Pronghorn unique collection of art, clothing, jewelry, home decor
Ocotillo Botanica herbal and mystical goods
excellent selection of art supplies
Hotel Paisano Gift Shop lots of cools gifts, clothing, jewelry, accessories
Hey I Like It Here art, books, clothing
Garza Furniture not just furniturealso pillows, blankets, ceramics
Esperanza Vintage and Art cool art
Communitie Marfa great hats and more
Cobra Rock Boots crazy cool boots
Cactus Liquors booze
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Top Things To Do In Marfa Texas
This blog post is sponsored by Mazda. All experiences and opinions are my own.
Marfa this has been on my bucket list for the past ten years and I finally got to go this month! The 8-hour drive from Austin to Marfa to Terlingua has always been daunting but thanks to Mazda we took the new Mazda CX-30 across West Texas on a road trip.
Mazdas all-new CX-30 compact crossover is a car for everyone, with openness of the cabin that encourages conversation and a focus on the interior comfort.
Taking the Mazda CX-30 on an 8-hour road trip was the ultimate test for this car and the trip was so smooth to and from Marfa and Terlingua. Mazda was engineered to preserve the peaceful environment by focusing on the noise, vibration, and harshness . Nearly every aspect of the CX-30, from the tires to the headliner, was engineered to minimize any road noise.
Another cool thing about Mazda was the Mazda Connected Services that works with the MyMazda App . The MyMazda App allowed us to remotely lock the doors, start the engine, or check fuel and tire pressure status all from the convenience of our smartphone!
We actually almost forgot to fuel up during our trip and the app notified that the fuel level was already 4% in addition to letting us know when we forgot to lock the doors.
Visit The Marfa Holocaust And Historic Model Ship Museum
This seemingly random museum is filled with handmade model ships from multiple different time frames. There are more than 144 handmade ships in the museum and even historical artifacts from the Holocaust and Jewish refugees. The museum is relatively new to Marfa, but WWII did affect the local area. Marfa does have a historical significance as a German POW camp during WWII and also as an airforce landing strip location during that time. If you are interested in WWII history or model ships, this cute little museum should definitely be on your list of things to do in Marfa, Texas.
The Marfa Holocaust and Historic Model Ship Museum is located at 901 East Oak St. Marfa, TX 79843
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Marvel At The Permanent Collection Of The Chinati Foundation
The Chinati Foundation began in the 1970s with the arrival of Donald Judd to the small, dusty town of Marfa and has helped put Marfa on the map as an artistic hub.
The Chinati Foundation is a collection of large-scale and permanent works set over 340 acres. The collection includes indoor art galleries and outdoor installations from thirteen artists including founder Donald Judd. The Chinati Foundation Collection seeks to bring art, architecture, and nature together and is something not to be missed on any Marfa itinerary.
Gallery Hop To Explore All The Marfa Art
Not only are there plenty of eclectic art installations throughout Marfa, but Marfa is also home to a handful of phenomenal art galleries. Spend an afternoon wandering the Marfa art galleries. A few of the art galleries in Marfa recommended are:
- New Star Art Museum A small funky art museum featuring local artists.
- Ayn Foundation Marfa A contemporary art museum featuring the works of Andy Warhol and Maria Zerres. The exhibit is open only on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Building 98 A former fort complex, Building 98 now houses a museum and a gallery space for artists in residence to exhibit their work.
- Greasewood Gallery Located in the historic Paisano Hotel, the Greasewood Gallery exhibits a wide array of artistic expressions of the local artists.
- Veldt Gallery The Vledt Gallery showcases the artistic expression of South African-born LéAna Clifton.
For a complete listing of art galleries in Marfa check out Visit Marfa.
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Visit The Giant Marfa Mural On The West Side Of Town
Located at Wyatt Ranch just outside of town on the westside is this odd Mural. Its not really a mural at all, but more of a cardboard stand-looking setup. It reminds me a bit of an old fake Hollywood set that has nothing but the storefronts visible. Either way, this is a nifty place to stop and take a quick picture on your way out of Marfa.
Be Amazed By The Incredibleness Of Space At Mcdonald Observatory
There is nothing better to do in remote locations than to admire the stars and the incredibleness of space. The McDonald Observatory is run by the University of Texas at Austin. The observatory is open to the public Tuesday to Saturday between 12:00 5:00 pm for a self-guided tour of the 10-meter Hobby-Eberly Telescope for $3 per adult.
If this isnt enough you can also book a guided tour that takes you up close and personal with the research conducted at the McDonald Observatory or the star party with open-air constellation and live telescope viewing.
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