Texas' Hidden Gems: Big Bend and Midland

Welcome to God's country! Explore the natural beauty of Big Bend National Park, go stargazing at McDonald Observatory and visit Midland, TX, to see the childhood home of US President George W. Bush.

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Rio Grande

In Texas, the majestic, 1,250-mile-long Rio Grande River makes a curve to the northeast to form a “big bend.” The river also marks the boundary between the US and Mexico.

McDonald Observatory

Every year, approximately 60,000 visitors visit the McDonald Observatory, located 140 miles northwest of Big Bend National Park. Attend a fun “star party” at night or take a guided tour during the day for a solar viewing, plus explore the exhibits and see the 362-inch Hobby-Eberly Telescope, the observatory’s largest telescope.

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park holds national significance as the largest protected area of desert, known as the Chihuahuan, in North America. This massive area, larger than Rhode Island, is home to more than 1,200 plant species, more than 450 bird species, 56 species of reptiles and 75 species of mammals. The area is also a hot spot for archeologists, who have discovered Native American artifacts estimated to be 9,000 years old.

Petroleum Museum

Stop by the Petroleum Museum in Midland, TX. Through interactive exhibits, visitors learn about all aspects of the petroleum industry, from geology, the formation of oil, oil exploration, pipelining, marketing and refining to the economic and political impact of the industry.

Lajitas Golf Resort

Enjoy first-class accommodations at Lajitas Golf Resort. Located in Lajitas, TX, this resort has several topnotch amenities, including the Maverick Ranch RV Park and Agave Spa. And there’s not a shortage of fun activities to keep you busy. In addition to golfing, the resort provides visitors the opportunity to go rafting, horseback riding, mountain biking, hunting, hiking and much more!

Annual Mariachi Band Concert

Mariachi bands are big in Texas thanks to the state’s large Mexican population. Midland’s Annual Mariachi Band Concert and Workshop attracts locals and tourists alike eager to learn techniques, style and music from mariachi band members who play the guitar, vihuela, guitarron and trumpet.

Airpower Museum

Take a trip back in time to see historic aircrafts from World War II, on display at the Airpower Museum in Midland, TX. The museum’s exhibits include the Aircraft and Vehicle Display, American Combat Hall of Fame, the Nose Art Gallery and the George Bush Exhibit, chronicling the 41st president’s aviator experiences in World War II.

Horseback Riding

Commune with nature. Take a 2-hour Sunset Horseback trail ride to explore the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Big Bend.

George W. Bush Childhood Home

Visit the childhood home of former President George W. Bush, located in Midland, TX, at 1412 W. Ohio Avenue. The house, unchanged since 1956, celebrates the lives of 2 presidents, 2 governors and 2 first ladies.

Sweet Confections

Get your sweet-tooth fix at Susie’s South Forty Confections in Midland, TX. Every creamy confection is homemade, including the toffee, pralines, caramels and fudge.

Gourmet River Trip

Go adventuring! Take a gourmet river trip through Big Bend National Park. Experience the park’s beauty while you travel along the Rio Grande, enjoying tasty meals that may include marinated shrimp, rack of lamb, quail and beef Wellington -- and that’s just for breakfast!

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