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Old 03-01-2009, 04:26 PM
 
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We are thinking of going to Big Bend for Spring Break. We are a family of five - my husband and myself with three kids (ages 6, 4, and 11 months). Would this be a worthwhile trip for us? We will be driving from Dallas (we will probably stop in Midland on the way there and stay the night). Where are some good places to stay? It would be nice to rent a cabin in an area where our girls could just run around and play outside. What is there to visit/do in the area? I see the weather varies wildly depending on whether you are in the mountains or near the Rio Grand. Are there places to stay up in the cooler mountain area? I'm a little overwhelmed by the information on the 'net, so I thought I would seek advice from people who have been there.

Thanks!
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Old 03-01-2009, 07:01 PM
 
Location: SW France
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There are many lovely places and towns outside the Park, but for lodging in the National Park itself here are the details of the only place there is.

It's fine but slightly basic. I had no complaints at all, but I was on my own and not with children.

The Chisos Mountains Lodge | Big Bend National Park | National Park Reservations

Needless to say it's a long drive and even once you are south of the I10 there is still a way to go.
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Old 03-02-2009, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Plano, TX
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We went to Big Bend last summer, we didn't stay in the Chisos Mountain Lodge, but it looks nice, it is central to the park, and the restaurant there that we ate at was very good. We stayed in Terlingua at the Big Bend Motor Inn. It was basic, but inexepensive.

If you want to, you can stay at the Lajitas Resort too (outside the park), which is more upscale and a little more $$. A buddy of mine and his wife stayed there a couple years ago and loved it. I have heard that the owners did reduce the rates to try to get more of us "common folk" there.

We also spend a few days staying in Alpine, and from there you can go to Marfa, Ft. Davis (near observatory), and Marathon.
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Old 03-02-2009, 08:54 AM
 
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I doubt if you can get a reservation in the park for Spring Break at this point. They were probably all booked a year ago. But you may be able to find someplace outside the park. But keep in mind that "outside the park" could mean a 45 min.+ drive to wherever you're hoping to spend the day.

Also, the main attraction is hiking and walking in the area. If you can do that with your small children--and I've seen people do it--it will be fun. But if the thought of walking a couple of miles with your 11-month-old in a back pack sounds like too much, you should probably wait a couple of years. March is a great month in the area, but really anytime is nice.
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:32 AM
 
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frankly I think it is too far to drive when your children are so young and not able to do the activities to really experience the park
if you want to take them to the outdoors you could try the area around Kerrville/Hunt in the Hill Country or Fredericksberg or Austin--
great state park at Canyon of the Eagles

or even Possum Kingdom Lake
do you just want to be in cabin situation with some nature around--Big Bend is awfully far to drive just to look at the scenery...
and agree that might be tough to get reservation
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Old 03-02-2009, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
8,604 posts, read 14,885,270 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loves2read View Post
frankly I think it is too far to drive when your children are so young and not able to do the activities to really experience the park
if you want to take them to the outdoors you could try the area around Kerrville/Hunt in the Hill Country or Fredericksberg or Austin--
great state park at Canyon of the Eagles

or even Possum Kingdom Lake
do you just want to be in cabin situation with some nature around--Big Bend is awfully far to drive just to look at the scenery...
and agree that might be tough to get reservation
Yeah I tend to agree here. We, too, have 3 kiddos (8, 5, and 3). I took the 8 year old through Custer State Park and Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota back in 2007. He dug the view from the top of Mt. Coolidge but when we got to Mount Rushmore it only took about 20 minutes before he started bugging me about having dinner at McDonalds.

Personally I think it's great that you and your husband are both on board for it. I try to bring these ideas up to my wife and she's usually cool to them.

As for an alternative they might even enjoy something like Turner Falls or Beavers Bend in Oklahoma more.
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:00 PM
 
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Once about 15 years ago I was with friends at Big Bend and we were hiking down to the Window. It's a gentle downhill getting there and, obviously, uphill coming back. IIRC it's about 5 miles round trip. Starting out we talked to a young couple who had a baby in a back pack and a toddler. I remember them saying that they'd determined when they had kids that they wouldn't ever let them hold them back from doing fun activities.

Well, long story short, on the way back up we all handed those sweaty little kids around. Their parents were huffing and puffing and were more than willing to pass their kids off to friendly strangers for a few minutes. We were trustworthy and all walking together, but my point is only that it was a lot more work than they had anticipated.

OTOH, on another trip I saw a couple with toddler twins in backpacks heading to the South Rim and it's a much steeper hike. I'm not sure how far they were able to go but they were almost up the first steep switchback section when we saw them. So....it just depends on how good of shape you're in and how much you want to make the trip.
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Old 03-02-2009, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Metromess
11,798 posts, read 25,183,065 times
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turnbun: I think your kids are awfully young to tackle Big Bend. I love it out there, but it's a long way and it's HUGE. It's a splendid place to go for adults and older kids that like roughing it. I've stayed at Chisos Lodge before, and it's great, although there were javelina wandering around that would come into the back yard and make a run at me...they're mean little critters! If you go, look out for them.
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Old 03-02-2009, 06:07 PM
 
Location: Where I live.
9,191 posts, read 21,873,335 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catman View Post
turnbun: I think your kids are awfully young to tackle Big Bend. I love it out there, but it's a long way and it's HUGE. It's a splendid place to go for adults and older kids that like roughing it. I've stayed at Chisos Lodge before, and it's great, although there were javelina wandering around that would come into the back yard and make a run at me...they're mean little critters! If you go, look out for them.
I very much agree......not really the place for babies and very young children.

I'm headed out that way in April, and I can't wait.....Ft. Davis/Alpine/Big Bend, here I come.

Best part of Texas!! I'm sure you'll agree!

But early April is the limit for visiting Big Bend, as it starts getting REALLY hot then.
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Old 03-02-2009, 10:46 PM
 
Location: Metromess
11,798 posts, read 25,183,065 times
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Default Hot it is!

You're right about the summer there. The last time I was there, it was May and already 103 degrees. And down near the Rio Grande, it's humid too.

I envy you! I'd love to make it to Ft Davis again. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind being in Alamogordo either, so I could take the ride up to Cloudcroft and check out Timberon. Oops, wrong forum.
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