John and I went scouting this week for RV parks near Big Bend National Park. With the International Chili Cookoff happening in Terlingua on November 1, we’re down here to enjoy the cookoff and visit the amazing and beautiful state and national parks in the area.
All of the parks listed are on Highway 170, except the one inside the national park. The entire region is still recovering from the Rio Grande flooding in September, so you can expect great river rafting available, but several roads and activities are still closed near the river. The road to Presidio, Texas is still closed to through traffic.
The parks are comparably priced, with most of them costing$25-35 per night.
BJ’s RV Park
It’s a dry patch of parking lot with full hookups. “It is what it is,” and what it is is close to Big Bend National Park. There is Not Much Here, to be honest, but it’s (hot, dry) walking distance into the town of Terlingua, which is something. It does have 50 amp service and the spaces are large enough for big rigs, but I had a sense of the sites being a little bit narrow.
Big Bend Motor Inn RV Campground
Even closer to Big Bend National Park, this one’s been called overpriced by some. It is as close as you can get to the national park without being inside it, which means it’s only 20 miles to the nearest visitor’s center and park HQ. We only drove past this one, but know it has full hookups and no shade trees.
Lajitas Resort Maverick Ranch RV Park
This is where we’re staying. It accommodates very large RVs with many pull-through sites and lots of wide open spaces. Sites are quite wide. There are trees and some shade– Lajitas used to be an upscale resort, but has since gone under new management and is now more affordable for everyone. There’s a nice conference center and lounge, and there’s a pool and WiFi, something the other parks don’t have. Lajitas also has TV hookups, but other campers report the service wasn’t working very well.
Rio Grande Village RV Park
Inside Big Bend National Park
432-477-2293 information (call first to find out if it’s open!)
It’s on the far side of the park from Terlingua, which means about a 35 mile drive from Terlingua to the RV park. It’s also right next to the river, and when we visited, it was still closed from the flooding, but due to open any day. Fees are $26/night,
It has full hookups and 50 amp service, but the sites are on the small side. There are a lot of trees and shade, which is unusual in this part of the country. There’s room for about 1 really large motorhome here, parked diagonally. If you’re 32′ or shorter, you should have no problem. All sites are back-in, and there’s a general store within walking distance of the park.
There is also a campground in Chisos Basin for dry camping, and these sites are $14/night. However, this campground is not recommended for RVs over 24′ long. The road that’s open to Chisos Basin has a number of tight switchbacks, and you’ll find it difficult, if not dangerous. That said, we did see a long yellow school bus successfully maneuver the road, but buses handle differently from RVs.
There’s another dry campground at Cottonwood which is still closed due to the flooding, with little chance of reopening soon.
Big Bend Ranch State Park
Next to Lajitas, and about 20 miles from Big Bend National Park, is Big Bend Ranch State Park. This is a beautiful and less-visited park with plenty of hiking and off-highway trails to explore. There are 5 full-hookup sites in the park which, while reserved for staff members, are available for campers on a “come in and ask” basis (tip: this season, they expect no more than 3 sites to be occupied by staff!) The sites are full hookup and a little bit narrow, but even a 40′er can fit. The sites are $18/night, plus $3/person/day (but you can reduce that with an annual pass).
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