Glamping Big Bend National Park: 15 Best Family Spots

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Is your family ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in the heart of Big Bend National Park? While its wild and rugged Texan terrain is a hiker’s paradise, there’s a new and luxurious way for your family to experience its breathtaking beauty.

Welcome to the world of glamping (glamorous camping), where a mom can earn street-cred for “camping” while sleeping on a real mattress and enjoying the benefits of indoor plumbing.

Glamping Big Bend National Park can be overwhelming because there are many beautiful options. But don’t worry. This article will help you narrow down your choices.

In this article, I’ll share the 15 best glamping destinations near Big Bend National Park to help you decide on the perfect lodging situation for your family trip to Big Bend. Whether you’re a seasoned glamper, or new to the concept, there’s something for you in this captivating corner of West Texas.

three kids posing by Big Bend National Park sign in TexasPin
NPM kiddos at the Big Bend National Park sign in Texas

Big Bend National Park: Overview

Big Bend National Park is nestled into the remote border of Texas and Mexico, in the southwest corner of Texas. The park has over 800,000 acres of rugged terrain, including many landscapes ranging from lush riverbanks to dramatic mount peaks. It’s one of the top 10 largest national parks in the lower 48!

This Texas gem got its name from the bend in the Rio Grande River, which forms the park’s southern boundary and separates the United States from Mexico.

The park is known for its breathtaking landscape, which includes the spiraling Rio Grande River, dramatic desert vistas, and towering canyons. Most people go to Big Bend for hiking and exploring. But you don’t have to be an expert hiker to enjoy the park. The Ross Maxwell Scene Drive is an incredible 30-mile road through Big Bend with some of the best views.

Big Bend National Park sometimes has a harsh climate, especially in the hot summer months. It’s essential to check the National Park Service website for any weather advisories or heat warnings.

kids sitting on rocks in the Rio Grande at the end of the Santa Elena Canyon Trail hikePin
View at the end of the Santa Elena Canyon Trail, Big Bend NP

Big Bend Lodging Options

Within the park boundaries, there are two options for lodging:

  1. Camping – the NPS maintains 3 campgrounds, and reservations are required for each
  2. Chisos Mountain Lodge

The rest of your lodging opportunities, including ALL of the glamping options recommended here are outside the park!

Pro Tip

I always recommend breaking up trips to large parks like Big Bend by staying at multiple places…this cuts down on lengthy car travel and allows your family to experience all the park has to offer from north, south, east, and west!

Whenever there are lodging options inside the park, I highly recommend booking at least a night (or more, depending on the length of your trip) in the park’s own accommodations.

That said, Big Bend only has one lodge, so if you’re going to score a night at Chisos Mountain Lodge, you’ve got to book early!

For anyone else (I’m sheepishly raising my own hand 🙋‍♀️), get excited because the glamping opportunities around this park are insane!

Chisos Mountain Lodge, Big Bend NPPin
View of Chisos Mountain Lodge from afar – Yinan Chen, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

What Is Glamping?

There are so many different styles of accommodation around Big Bend, but glamping Big Bend National Park is one of the best ways to go.

The Oxford Dictionary defines glamping as “a form of camping involving accommodation and facilities more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping.” Isn’t it awesome that this term is so “official”?

Glamping is short for “glamorous camping,” and it’s precisely that.

Personally, I’d call it “mom-approved camping”.

glamping tent with beautiful pink and yellow sky at Under Canvas outside of Yellowstone NPPin
Typical glamping tent in one of our favorite glamp-sites, in West Yellowstone – Under Canvas

Glamping is like camping, but often with a comfortable mattress, lights, sometimes outlets, a nice bathroom, and other higher-end amenities.

The relatively high level of comfort makes it perfect for those who like the feel of camping but want more luxury…or just a toilet that flushes.

There are also many different types of glamping accommodation. Some popular glamping style options include:

  • Traditional tents
  • Tipis
  • Huts
  • Yurts
  • Domes
  • Caravans
  • Tree Houses
  • And More

Not every one of these can be found near Big Bend, but most can. So depending on your preferences, you can find something just right for glamping Big Bend National Park.

15 Best Family-Friendly Glamping Big Bend National Park Spots

Here they are! 15 memorable spaces and places to try out glamping for the first time, or some cool, unique opportunities for even the most savvy and experienced of glamping families.

These have been ordered in terms of distance to Big Bend National Park, starting with those that are closest to one of the Big Bend entrances.

1. Space Cowboys “Space Pods”

Location: Terlingua, Texas (approx 10 miles from west Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 4 guests

Space Cowboys Glamping offers a variety of glamping accommodations, including their “space pods” which are conveniently located around Terlingua, right on the edge of Big Bend National Park.

This property is one of the best locations for proximity to the park, and boasts incredible views. The campus has undergone some major construction recently, and they currently have 5 space domes that can accommodate up to 4 people.

space cowboys space pod glamping near big bend national park texasPin
Space Cowboys “Space Pod”

Each pod has a large memory foam mattress, a fan, space heater, and a small sitting area. Space pods even have Starlink satellite internet, power outlets, fridge with freezer and A/C…yeah! Showers and bathrooms are shared.

If you plan to camp in Big Bend National Park, forget about it and head to Space Cowboys instead. You won’t have to bring your tent, and you’ll have just as good of a time…nah, better.

space cowboys glamping campus near big bend national park texasPin
Space Cowboys Campus

2. Spirit House in the Terlingua Ghost Town

Location: Terlingua, Texas (approx 10 miles from west Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 4 guests

Spirit House in the Terlingua Ghost Town is a unique, custom-built strawbale house right in the historic Terlingua Ghost Town.

It’s only a short walk from all the best attractions in the ghost town, including authentic mining-era ruins, the Starlight Theater, local cafes, and the Terlingua Trading Post.

The Spirit House itself is designed for two people, but it can sleep up to four people comfortably. It has one queen-size bed and a living room futon which would be comfortable for younger kids.

Even though this isn’t your traditional glamping tent, it has an authentic feel to it and all the convenience in the world, being right in Terlingua town and a short drive from the west entrance of Big Bend National Park.

Terlingua Ghost Town Spirit House Glamping exteriorPin
Spirit House, Terlingua

3. Boulder Ridge Ranch

Location: Terlingua, Texas (approx 15 miles from west Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 6 guests

This Boulder Ridge Ranch is not “glamping” per se but more of a higher-end cabin option that will feel like the most comfortable camping you’ve ever had.

The ranch is about 25 minutes from the west entrance of Big Bend National Park, but there are plenty of fun things to do around the property, as well. The cabin is on 80 acres of private land, giving it a secluded feeling.

It also has three bedrooms, with a total of four beds between them. There are two private bathrooms in the cabin, a large dining area, a kitchen, and an outside area.

Because of the size, this is the perfect glamping spot near Big Bend National Park for larger families. It’s not a tent, like other glamping accommodations, but it’s more than enough room for everyone.

Boulder Ridge Terlingua TX Big Bend glamping optionPin
Boulder Ridge Ranch at night

4. Casa de Creosote Off-Grid Camping Experience

Location: Terlingua, Texas (approx 15 miles from west Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 4+ guests

Casa de Creosote is an off-grid glamping experience. It’s a small cabin with a lofted bedroom on the top of the A-Frame. The cabin itself is straightforward, with just the necessities. However, the cabin does have running water collected from the infrequent desert rains, a two-burner propane stove, free WiFi, and other small luxuries.

While you won’t find five-star service, this is an excellent taste of “off-grid” living for the entire family. The small cabin has a lofted queen size bed and two other mattresses. The host will also allow tent pitching just outside the property at an extra charge if you need more space and have more guests.

The bed is designed for two, but you can request additional mattresses if traveling with little ones. The host only provides bedding for the main bed, however. So, if you request mattresses, bring an extra sleeping bag or two.

Overall, this is a unique experience and a great way to explore Big Bend National Park and the surrounding area.

Casa De Creosote a-frame-tiny house/cabin as glamping option near big bend NPPin
Casa de Creosote off-grid glamping

5. Summit at Big Bend

Location: between Lajitas and Terlinqua Texas (approx 17 miles from west Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 4 guests

The Summit at Big Bend has a variety of unique accommodations that fit neatly into the glamping category. That said, the only accommodations that will fit a family of four on this campus are the Summit Domes…which are awesome!

If your kids are older though and you want to try another unique type of lodging, take a look at their luxury caves (but they only hold two people, so you’d need more than one room for a family of four).

Each Summit Dome includes a large king bed as well as a sleeper sofa. The geodesic domes have AC, heat, wifi…even a coffee maker and mini-fridge. They each have their own outdoor fire pit, too.

The domes have shared bathroom facilities that are stocked with all the necessary accoutrements you’ll need for showering and (not) roughing it ;).

This is the perfect place for a family getaway and peaceful tranquility. Bonus: you’ll have a stunning view of the Milky Way and twinkling stars (as long as the weather cooperates, of course).

summit big bend summit dome at night for glamping near big bend npPin
Summit at Big Bend dome

6. Big Bend Glamping at Santa Elena Campground and Chisos Campground

Location: Terlingua, Texas (22-25 miles from west Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 4-7 guests

Big Bend Glamping, run by owners and operators Lee and Melanie Hoy, boasts a plethora of canvas tents, dome tents, tipis, trailers, hammocks, and even a truck bed that can be rented out as lodging options.

This is a primitive, off-grid campground in the heart of the Chihuahuan Desert. Primitive and off-grid meaning no electricity OR running water…so know before you go!

If this is your first glamping rodeo, an off-grid option may NOT be the best choice for you. But if your family already loves to camp, then this will be luxurious and definitely not altogether outside your zone of comfort.

Their facilities are split between two campgrounds in the Terlingua area. The Chisos campground being 22.8 miles from the west Big Bend NP entrance, while the sister campgound, Santa Elena is a couple miles further.

Full service bathrooms and showers are a 10-mile drive up to Terlingua Ranch Lodge where a shower can be purchased for $2 per person, and the swimming pool can be used for $8.50 per person/day.

While many of the accommodations at Big Bend glamping will be too tight for a family, there are several that are more than adequately sized.

Campsites that can handle a bigger group include:

  • Colmina Campsite (hosts 4)
  • Paisano Palace (holds 4)
  • Mule Deer Dorm (holds 4)
  • Rattler Retreat (two tents which each hold two, for a total of 4 people)
  • Mescalero Motel (two tents which each hold two people for a total of four)
  • Jackrabbit Junction (4 people)
  • Cosmic Campsite (up to 7 guests)
  • Black Bear Bunkhouse (7 people)

7. Soul of the Desert

Location: Alpine, Texas (approx 25miles from north Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 4 guests

Soul of the Desert is a unique camper located in Alpine, Texas. It’s an easy and beautiful short drive away from the entrance of Big Bend National Park.

While the location is pretty convenient, you can’t beat the tranquil isolation of this cabin. It’s one of the best areas to camp overnight in because you have an unobstructed view of the stars and Milky Way. It’s a perfect place to unwind after a long day of traveling.

The cabin has two large bedrooms with two beds. It’s also fully stocked with a kitchen, living space, bathroom, and outdoor deck area.

Tents are much harder for an entire family, so this is the second-best option for families who want to hike together while making unforgettable memories.

Soul of the Desert, Alpine TX glampingPin
Soul of the Desert

8. Casa Mariposa

Location: Terlingua, Texas (approx 25 miles from west Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 4 guests

Casa Mariposa is located right in Terlingua Ghost Town and is one of the most interesting rentals in the entire town.

Casa Mariposa is actually a restored limestone ruin from the mining days. The house was remade in the 1970s using the original footprint and now serves as a little piece of history for the town. You’ll also be a short walk away from all other main attractions in Terlingua.

The restored ruin has two full bedrooms, a large kitchen, a living space, and a lovely outdoor area. The outdoor area has both shady and sunny seating, depending on your mood and the weather.

And even though it’s right in town, it’s far enough away to enjoy some good stargazing too!

Your kids are sure to love this unique accommodation in Terlingua. After all, who can say they’ve slept in an old mine before?

Casa Mariposa mine glamping option near Big Bend, TXPin
Casa Mariposa

9. Big Bend Bunkroom

Location: Terlingua, Texas (approx 25 miles from north Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 3 guests

Big Bend Bunkroom is the perfect, affordable alternative housing right outside of Big Bend National Park.

This accommodation is one simple room, with bunk beds and one day bed. The bathroom and showers are detached, in a shared space. There are several outdoor patio areas for guests to enjoy the outdoors and stargaze from.

The bunkroom itself is nothing to write home about, but it’s a great budget option in an excellent location. You won’t find many other glamping Big Bend National Park options so close to the park entrance.

If you’re just planning to be out all day, and sleeping at the glamping spot, then this is perfect for any small family.

Big Bend Bunkroom glampingPin
Big Bend Bunkroom Terlingua, TX

10. Off-Grid Modern Cliff House

Location: Terlingua, Texas (approx 10 miles from west Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 8 guests

Last but not least, we have this Off-Grid Modern Cliff House in Terlingua, Texas. It’s about 15 minutes from Big Bend National Park and nestled in 20 acres of pristine Chihuahuan Desert. You can enjoy one-of-a-kind views overlooking the historic Terlingua Ghost Town and Chisos Mountains.

This cliff house is a little more elaborate than other glamping Big Bend National Park options, which makes it perfect for larger families.

The cabin sleeps up to eight people, with three bedrooms and four beds. There’s also a private bathroom, full kitchen, and beautiful outdoor seating area perfect to sit under the dark sky and enjoy the evening twinkling stars.

This is the perfect place for the family during your trip to Big Bend National Park, and it’s a great introduction to glamping.

Cliff House at night - glamping near big bend NP optionPin
Off-Grid Modern Cliff House, Terlingua

11. The Courthouse At Ten Bits Ranch

Location: Terlingua, Texas (approx 40 miles from west Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 4 guests

Ten Bits Ranch is not precisely a glamping spot, but it’s a unique way to experience Big Bend National Park. This lodging park is set as an “Old West Town” theme, so each cabin is designed after a central point of an old Western town. For example, this lodging is the Courthouse.

The Courthouse at Ten Bits Ranch is one of the best options, especially if traveling with your family. The lodge has two large king-size beds, a living room, and a kitchen.

Ten Bits Ranch is only 20 minutes from the entrance of Big Bend National Park and 20 minutes from Terlingua Ghost Town, so you can quickly get around from here.

But if you have the time, you can also explore the 400+ acres of private land surrounding the ranch. There are private hiking trails and other fun regions for adventure without all the crowds and hype that sometimes surround Big Bend itself.

Ten Bits Ranch - Old West Town where each building is a different lodging accommodation near Big Bend NP Pin
Courthouse at Ten Bits Ranch

12. “Southwest” Shipping Container

Location: Alpine, Texas (approx 75 miles from west Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 4 guests

Shipping container homes are just as described: small homes built inside a shipping container.

As property and real estate become more expensive, shipping container homes are becoming more trendy. And while it sounds like a relatively simple and unimpressive property, you’d be surprised by how cute and manageable some shipping container homes are.

This “Southwest” Shipping Container unit in Alpine, Texas, is a perfect example. It’s a large rectangular shipping container, finely decorated with high-end “Western” decor to make you feel right at home. The container has one large queen-size bed and an inflatable floor mattress.

This specific shipping container campground in West Texas has two bedrooms, a living room with a comfortable couch, a small kitchen, and a rooftop deck.

The rooftop deck is one of the best features of this Big Bend glamping choice, as you can stargaze and enjoy cool nights with few distractions.

shipping container glamping near big bend np texasPin
Southwest Shipping Container Tiny House

13. Casa Estrella Heated Yurt

Location: Alpine, Texas (approx 75 miles from north Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 4 guests

Casa Estrella Heated Yurt is another fantastic glamping option in Alpine, Texas. Yes, you are over an hour from the north entrance of Big Bend, so keep that in mind…but you can still enjoy the tranquility of this off-grid glamping experience.

Casa Estrella is a large yurt with a queen bed, a loft with additional full-size bed (+ a stashed air mattress for extra sleeping room), a full kitchen, two bathrooms, a living room, air conditioning, and a sizable western-style clawfoot tub. The yurt is also uniquely decorated with West Texas decor, giving it a unique and vibrant vibe.

This is one of the best options because it’s considered a very high-end glamping experience. Very few Big Bend area glamping options can offer a private bathroom, air-conditioned rooms, and a full kitchen. You’ll feel like you’re roughing it with style and comfort.

Casa Estrella Yurt Big Bend area glamping optionPin
Casa Estrella Yurt

14. Dark Sky Tipi Glamping

Location: Alpine, Texas (approx. 75 miles from the north park entrance) | Accommodates: 4 guests

Dark Sky Tipi Glamping in Alpine, Texas, is the perfect spot for first-time Big Bend glamping.

Alpine is about a one-hour drive from Big Bend National Park and a 16-minute drive from the Museum of the Big Bend. It’s a small town in West Texas with a very quintessential feel.

Dark Sky Tipi Glamping offers one large room inside the tipi, equipped with a queen mattress, 2 futon couches (these become the 2nd and 3rd beds), coffee maker, mini fridge, microwave, two standing fans, and other amenities.

The bathroom is separate, about 50 feet from the rental space. You’ll have everything you need in the bathroom, from towels to soaps.

The best part about this property is the 30 acres of private land at your disposal. Dark Sky Tipi Glamping is on private land, with several walking trails running through the desert. If you have the time, you can stroll through the property and enjoy some peace and quiet on the trails, basically all to yourself.

This is also an excellent place for stargazing. The glamping spot is far enough away from society to enjoy an uninterrupted view of the beautiful sky.

Dark Sky Tipi Glamping about 1 hour outside of Big Bend NP in TexasPin
Dark Sky Tipi Glamping

15. “Endless Sunsets” Container Home

Location: Alpine, Texas (approx 75 miles from west Big Bend entrance) | Accommodates: 4 guests

“Endless Sunsets” is another container home in Alpine, Texas, worth checking out.

Alpine, Texas, is not the most convenient home base for glamping Big Bend National Park as it’s about an hour from the park’s main entrance. It’s a peaceful area with little noise and fewer tourists.

So, if you’re looking for the best off-grid glamping experience in West Texas, this is the place to be.

“Endless Sunsets” Container Home is a lovely spot for families or younger children. Tent camping cannot be super comfortable. Whereas container home camping feels authentic but with all the luxuries. The container home features a bedroom with a queen-size bed and another queen-size bed in the living room.

This container home is completely stocked, with a large queen-size bed, couch, living space, and kitchen. And you can relax on the roof with a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate while stargazing.

Endless Sunsets container home exterior shot glamping option outside of Big Bend NP, TexasPin
Endless Sunsets Container Home

What To Pack For Big Bend National Park Glamping?

If you’re glamping by Big Bend National Park, you’ll want to come packed a bit differently than if you were staying in a hotel or deluxe lodge.

riverbed near the beginning of the Santa Elena Canyon Trail in Big Bend NP, TexasPin
Wading in Terlingua Creek near the start of the Santa Elena Canyon Trail in Big Bend NP

While comfortable and luxurious for nature lovers, many glamping options don’t come with everything.

Here are a few things to pack for your glamping Big Bend National Park trip:

  • Sleeping Masks: not excited about waking up with the sunrise? I hear you. That’s why I ALWAYS packs these sleep masks for family glamping trips! Trust me…these are a life saver. I’ve tried multiple brands/styles and landed on the one linked after much trial and error.
  • Lightweight, Packable Blanket: Glamping facilities typically have bedding, so no need for sleeping bags in most situations. But the higher elevation in West Texas means it can get pretty cold at night…these quick dry, super light, stuffable blankets are the BEST…plus they’re great for road trips and plane rides, too!
  • Portable Power Bank: Almost all the cabins and glamping options have electricity, but some run on solar power. It’s a good idea to have your own power bank to keep your phone charged, just in case.
  • Flashlight with External Batteries: If you’re going to be in an isolated area of the park, make sure to have a flashlight for dark evenings or if the power goes out at your camp.
  • Headlamp (in lieu of flashlight): my kids prefer headlamps to flashlights. Bonus: these double as reading lights at night. Make sure to get the rechargeable type so you don’t have to pack heavy batteries!
  • Filtered Water Bottle: Most of the sites have running water and purified drinking water. However, it’s always a good idea to have your own filtered water bottle while camping or hiking.
  • Mosquito/Tick Repellant: DEET works the best, but when I can avoid that, I love this brand, and this type because it’s super portable, and a stick rather than a spray (so no messy, smelly spills in your luggage)!
  • Travel-Sized Hand Sanitizer: No one wants to miss out on family vacation time because of illness. This is my fave “non-chemically” brand that goes everywhere my family goes.
  • Family games: the old-fashioned kind without batteries, screens, or anything that requires wi-fi!

Closing Thoughts: Family Glamping Near Big Bend National Park

There are so many great options for experiencing the beauty of the Big Bend region through glamping. This type of lodging provides an incredible experience. And in our family’s own experience, it’s one of the best ways to fully enjoy the areas surrounding many of our beloved national parks.

While glamping, you can relax in almost total isolation. This means more peace, quiet…the opportunity to stargaze, soak in the beautiful night sky, and spend quality, device-free time with your family.

In this mom’s opinion, glamping is like camping with only the “pros” and none of the “cons”. More luxuries than traditional camping, but a more nature-ful way to experience a national park trip than the typical ho-hum hotel.

So, instead of going back after a long day of hiking to a hot and sticky tent, you can return to your comfortable and cool glamping destination. You may even score some fancy slippers and robes!

ahhh...the joys of "glamping" - kids wearing robes at the end of a day of hiking in Big Bend NPPin
My kids in their glamping gear after a long day of hiking Big Bend

No matter which glamping option you go with, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience while glamping Big Bend National Park!

Digging Deeper

Looking for more information about Big Bend NP, travel tips, or lodging options in more amazing US national parks? Be sure to check out these articles, too:

Pin these Big Bend glamping ideas for later. And if you try one of these spots, leave a comment on the pin! That helps others decide whether they’d like to try one of these places, too!

15 BEST Big Bend National Park Glamping Spots for Families: Headed to Texas? Here are the BEST places for unique lodging with your family around this incredible US national park!Pin
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About Heather Thibodeau

Heather Thibodeau is the founder and mom behind nationalparksmom.com.

She and her husband Dave (AKA Tib) are on a mission to travel to as many US national parks with their three kids in tow as they possibly can, doing their best to keep the little ones out in nature and off of screens in an increasingly digital world.

Heather has earned degrees in biology & chemistry from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies), and holds master's and doctorate degrees in physical therapy from Duke University (Go Blue Devils).

Heather is also the creative force behind The Heathered Nest where she shares her love of all things DIY and home decor.

Her work has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, This Old House, Today.com, The Washington Post, Boston Globe, and more.

2 thoughts on “Glamping Big Bend National Park: 15 Best Family Spots”

  1. What a beautiful place! I wouldn’t mind spending some time in one of those luxurieus tents. Sadly it is a bit far from where I live (belgium, europe).

    Reply
    • It is beautiful, indeed! So many wonderful places to see all over the world, right?! I have a long list of places to explore in Europe, too 🙂

      Reply

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