Things to do in Marfa and Big Bend National Park with a Baby

I recently went on a trip Marfa, Texas with my baby and parents. It is honestly one of the most unique places I’ve been. I think the best way to describe Marfa is as a wonderful artist community. It is a little bit cosmopolitan, a little bit hipster and a lot bit in the middle of nowhere the desert in Texas. We had a truly lovely trip.

Sunrise over downtown Marfa

Sunrise over downtown Marfa

There are a few things to keep in mind about Marfa:

  • Regardless of where you fly into, you will have to drive quite a distance to get there. We flew into Austin and drove about 6 hours to Marfa. I believe that El Paso is the closest airport at 3 hours away.

  • Many businesses in Marfa are only open on the weekends, at the very least Wednesday - Sunday. That being said, we were there Monday through Wednesday and had enough to do if you include our drive to Big Bend National Park.

  • With the baby - we didn’t do any baby specific activities, but we had plenty to do. Porter’s grocery store has everything you might need in terms of diapers, baby food etc.

Things to do in Marfa

To stay:

We stayed at the Hotel Paisano, which is a lovely, centrally located hotel. The staff was incredibly friendly and inviting to the baby. They have an outdoor pool (which we didn’t use because it was too cold) and a nice gym that has honestly my favorite treadmill I’ve ever used (a Nordic Track, not sure of the model).

To see:

a visit to the art galleries is the thing to do in Marfa. We visited, and loved, Ballroom, Chinati Foundation, Photo Marfa and the Prada store exhibit (which is a 30 minute drive north of town). Many of the other galleries were closed on the Wednesday we were visiting. Here is a guide to the art galleries of Marfa.

Gracie enjoying the multimedia exhibits at Ballroom

Gracie enjoying the multimedia exhibits at Ballroom

Elmgreen and Dragset, Prada Marfa, 2005

Elmgreen and Dragset, Prada Marfa, 2005

Donald Judd, 15 untitled works in concrete, 1980-1984 at The Chinati Foundation. Donald Judd is the artist who is attributed to creating Marfa as it is today. He founded the Chinati Foundation.

Donald Judd, 15 untitled works in concrete, 1980-1984 at The Chinati Foundation. Donald Judd is the artist who is attributed to creating Marfa as it is today. He founded the Chinati Foundation.

To eat:

We definitely missed out on a few things because we were not there on the weekend, but our meal at Stellina was one of the best meals that I’ve had in awhile. Here’s where we ate:

Frama - this coffee shop is open every day and also serves fresh pressed juice.

Jett’s Grill - this restaurant located in the Hotel Paisano has delicious food and is open 7 days a week. Their $5 breakfast tacos are stellar.

Stellina - you must eat here, the food is absolutely exquisite.

Hotel St. George - this sleek hotel offers a lovely happy hour from 3-6pm in their bar area. Even though it sounds drink oriented, we enjoyed a nice meal and were kindly offered a high chair, children’s menu. There were several other children there as well.

Brussels Sprouts at Stellina

Brussels Sprouts at Stellina

Burrata with Nopales at Stellina

Burrata with Nopales at Stellina

You all know  how much I love juice . This fresh pressed carrot, ginger, lemon juice from Frama was divine.

You all know how much I love juice. This fresh pressed carrot, ginger, lemon juice from Frama was divine.

To shop:

I picked up some beautiful crystals and a handcrafted Rebozo at Communitie and loved the unique curation of Marfa Book Company.

To workout:

Before you go:

Check out Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown (Season 12, Episode 5) episode about his visit to Far West Texas

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park is about a 2 hour drive (depending on where you go in the park) from Marfa. It is a beautiful and well maintained desert scape on the Mexican border. We were planning on doing the Lost Mine Trail, but then learned we were not allowed to take dogs on any of the trails in the park and we had my dad’s dog with us. So, we drove around the park and to the Santa Elena Overlook instead.

A few tips:

  • Make sure to map out your trip before you go as we lost access to cell service pretty early on in the drive.

  • Bring lots of snacks. We stopped in Alpine to get snacks and water before we headed out.

  • Bring sunscreen, a hat and a backpack (we have, and love, this backpack) for your baby. Most of the park is out in the open without shade. We visited in February and were quite hot.

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park

Santa Elena Canyon Overlook

Santa Elena Canyon Overlook

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