A road trip should include multiple stops along the way to your final destination. When you’re traveling around the region, there are some great towns that deserve your attention. If you are eager to explore, El Paso is geographically located perfectly to head out somewhere for adventure.
To the west of El Paso, there are a couple of stops and options for you to take a quick drive to. For something extremely close by, Las Cruces, New Mexico is just 45 minutes away and is home to a lot of good restaurants plus a handful of breweries to indulge in. If you’re up for some adventure, the Organ Mountains offer abundant hiking and beautiful views. Old Mesilla is also in the area and a must-stop for your day. Eat at the famous La Posta restaurant and say hi to the birds inside and enjoy the shops in the historic square. For anyone looking for some outdoor camping adventures, head north for two and half hours to Ruidoso, New Mexico. With newly re-opened campsites, you can become one with nature and take a nice break in the quiet, beautiful wilderness. If you’re not down to “rough it,” then staying at Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort is a great option. With beautiful views, golfing and gambling, it’s a nice place for relaxation. You can also add some adventure during skiing season (November-March) and hit the slopes at Ski Apache. Looking to just do a day trip? Ruidoso offers great barbeque joints, cute boutiques and is also home to The Hubbard Museum of the American West and the Snowy River Caverns.
Speaking of caverns, if you’ve never been to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, now is your time to go. It features over 100 caves and is a great experience for anyone. Take the elevator down 750 feet to explore the Big Room and tour the other caves, then spend some time at the surface hiking around the area. Stick around for the sunset when the bats take flight and leave the cave. It’s under three hours away and is definitely worth the drive.
If you’re looking for some relaxation time, then Truth or Consequences is the answer. Take I-10 west and then I-25 northbound and get there in just under two hours. With tons of natural hot springs, you can enjoy your time and get your mind at peace again. With views of the Rio Grande river, this jaunt is for anyone looking for some solitude and nothing else for a quick trip. If you’re heading east from El Paso, do the four-hour drive to Marfa. Marfa is like Austin’s weird long-lost second cousin—it’s got art, music, good food but it’s much closer to drive to. On your way there, you will want to stop to take your Instagram photo in front of the Prada store art installation. Though the town is small, there’s a lot to do to fill your day. Make sure to visit the Chinati Foundation, where you can walk through multiple art exhibits. A noteworthy place to eat is the Hotel Saint George, where you can also shop their eclectic gift shop and pick up some great souvenirs. If you happen to be there at night, you might also be able to get a look at the Marfa Lights, also referred to as the paranormal phenomena seen along US Route 67. 45 minutes north of Marfa, on the outskirts of Fort Davis, sits the McDonald Observatory. Named after its establisher, William Johnson McDonald, the facility has been operated by the University of Texas since opening in 1933. Current research projects encompass a range of topics, from star spectroscopy to theoretical astronomy. Visitors are welcome to tour the site, watch educational film screenings, eat at a campus cafe and, most importantly, look through a number of the telescopes. This is your chance to get a rare, intimate look at our solar system.
Just 30 minutes east of Marfa is the town of Alpine, a great spot for anyone that enjoys good beer and has a go-with-the-flow kind of personality. If you’re there at night and love live music, Railyard Blues is the perfect place to stop. Traveling bands are always stopping by, so you never know who you’ll see. If you head 30 minutes East of Alpine, you’ll hit Marathon, TX. The Gage Hotel offers laid back luxury filled with history, while the 12 Gage Restaurant provides dining with Texas specialties. A hop and a skip away are Brick Vault Brewery & BBQ, perfectly pairing craft beer and smoked meats. Over at the Klepper Gallery, you can indulge in fine art photography and afterward, you can head to Gage Gardens, which is 27 acres of gardens, ponds, vineyards, fountains and foliage. Venture south 40 minutes and you’ll arrive at the magical Big Bend National Park. Encompassing over 800,000 acres, Big Bend is a “geological marvel evidenced in sea fossils and dinosaur bones to volcanic dikes that mar the desert landscape.” The park brags over 1,200 species of plants, 75 species of mammals and over 400 species of birds. The busy season runs from November through April, and advance reservations for lodging are highly recommended. They also offer suggested itineraries based on the length of your stay— the possibilities are endless!