Looking for somewhere unique for a staycation this year? Marfa is the place for you! This small town is packed with creativity and off-beat attractions that will give you a truly unforgettable experience. It is also surrounded by gorgeous scenery and is only a short drive from Big Bend National Park.
The problem with Marfa still being a little off-the-beaten-path is that it’s hard to find reliable guides online for where to stay. It’s seemingly in the middle of nowhere, so gathering your bearings before you arrive is a good idea. But how?
Well, thankfully we’re here to help you! We’ve combined our personal travel experience with hints and tips from locals and tourism experts to bring you this guide to the four best places to stay in and around Marfa, Texas. Whether you’re here for the art, the mysterious lights, or an adventurous desert vacation, we’ve got you covered.
So let’s jump right in!
Unique Container Home in Marfa – Hermosa
Marfa is known for its unique vacation accommodations, and this quirky home made out of shipping containers is the perfect example! It’s located right on the highest part of town, so you’ll get to enjoy stunning views of the region. It’s a little bit secluded, but this makes it the perfect spot for stargazing in the evenings. As a one-bedroom, it’s great for couples looking for a romantic getaway.
Rustic Hideaway near Marfa – Sierra Vista
This gorgeous home is just outside Alpine and has spectacular views of the surrounding scenery! What really makes this house stand out is the large hot tub, where you can admire views of the night sky from its secluded location. The intimate size makes this great for couples, but there are extra beds in the living room to accommodate families on a budget.
Traditional Hotel near Marfa – The Holland Hotel
Sometimes you just need the added convenience of a hotel! This four-star gem in the heart of Alpine is a great way to enjoy luxury add-ons without breaking the bank. It can get scorching in the Southwest, so guests are given complimentary access to a nearby swimming pool to cool off. The train station is only a short walk away, so super convenient for those planning to travel around the region.
The town that this guide is all about, Marfa is an excellent choice for creative travellers! We also think it’s a good choice for first-time visitors to this part of the country. Big Bend can feel very remote, but the artistic spirit of Marfa helps take the edge off.
Fort Davis is about a 20-30 minute drive north of Marfa. While the town doesn’t have much in the way of tourist attractions, this is often part of its charm. If you want to experience an authentic side to local life, you can’t beat Fort Davis.
As the only city, Alpine is technically the capital of Big Bend County – the largest county in Texas! For families, this makes it the most accessible destination to find things to keep the kids occupied and well-fed.
Big Bend National Park is a truly awe-inspiring destination! It’s one of the least visited national parks in the country, making it a great choice for adventurous travellers. The stunning scenery reflects three different ecosystems.
Top 4 Places to Stay in Marfa
Marfa is located in Big Bend County – the largest and most sparsely populated county in Texas! This region has long been considered a major attraction thanks to Big Bend Park, but some of the towns closer to Marfa also have their benefits.
Marfa itself is known as a creative hub in rural Texas. The town centre is packed with galleries and museums showcasing talents from across the globe. The famous Marfa lights are a popular stopover point for people taking a road trip, so make sure to bring a car. It’s a small town, so we’ve included it as an entire neighbourhood in its own right.
You might instead opt to stay in a different location nearby, and head into Marfa for a day trip. Fort Davis and Alpine are only a few minutes away by car. Fort Davis is a great choice for those on a budget – it doesn’t have as many tourist attractions, so accommodation and restaurants tend to be cheaper. It’s also got an interesting history that’s worth checking out.
Marfa is a super safe destination, and is great for families! Alpine is an excellent choice for family-friendly accommodation. It’s the only city in the area and the largest settlement, so you’ll get to feel a little bit closer to civilisation. Families are more likely to find restaurants that their kids will enjoy – and, of course, Marfa itself is only about 20-30 away minutes by car.
Finally, you might want to visit Marfa and Big Bend National Park! For this, we recommend staying in Presidio. There isn’t much in the town itself, but Big Bend is a fantastic destination for adventure travellers. It’s also only about 50 minutes from Marfa, so you can tick off two destinations at once.
Still undecided? Don’t worry; we’ve got some more in-depth guides for you below. We’ve also included our top accommodation picks and things to do in each!
1. Marfa – Best Place to Stay in Marfa for Your First Time
Marfa is an excellent choice for creative travellers! We also think it’s a good choice for first-time visitors to this part of the country. Big Bend can feel very remote, but the artistic spirit of Marfa helps take the edge off. It’s also where you’ll find some of the most unique vacation rentals.
Marfa is most active from Wednesday to Sunday, so we recommend visiting around these times. Restaurants have been known to randomly close during quieter periods here, so this is one time where you’ll be much better off visiting during the peak season. If you’re still worried about turning up to a closed eatery, you should call in advance to check their plans.
Unmatched views of the stars, bright interiors and quirky architecture make this our top pick for couples heading to Marfa! It’s just outside of town, so you get some peace and quiet – but you can still hit up the main attractions within a couple of minutes by car. Guests have access to two bikes and a hammock – and you might even catch the local wildlife in the morning.
Creative Getaway in Marfa: Art-Filled Adobe
Marfa is famed for its creative homes, and this artsy boutique fits in with the neighbourhood perfectly! Beautifully decorated with art from local creatives, you’ll feel like you’re living in your own personal gallery space. We also love the courtyard with a hot tub outside. What better way to relax after a day of exploring than a soak, some wine, and stunning mountain views?
Trendy Hotel in Marfa: The Lincoln
Sometimes you just need the added convenience of a hotel; the Lincoln Marfa lets you enjoy that without compromising on the creativity of local accommodations. Rooms are designed to reflect the off-beat style of the town, with sturdy furniture and locally created artwork. It’s pretty central – only a short walk from the main attractions in the town.
Things to See and Do in Marfa:
- The Marfa Lights Viewing Platform is about a ten-minute drive outside of the town – these mysterious lights appear on the horizon and have sparked numerous theories.
- The Chinati Foundation is the most popular art gallery featuring outdoor exhibits and the now-famous Donald Judd concrete sculptures.
- Gallery 111 West is a worthwhile exhibition for photography enthusiasts, while the Inde/Jacobs Gallery is a must-visit for minimalists.
- During the weekend, Marfa has a vibrant dining scene inspired by hipster culture – although we prefer the unpretentious Tacos del Norte for outstanding cuisine.
2. Fort Davis – Where to Stay Near Marfa on a Budget
Fort Davis is about a 20-30 minute drive north of Marfa. While the town doesn’t have much in the way of tourist attractions, this is often part of its charm. If you want to experience an authentic side to local life, you can’t beat Fort Davis. This off-the-beaten-path vibe also means the accommodation and dining costs are noticeably lower here.
That being said, Fort Davis was once an important historical site. The fort in the heart of the town was originally built to protect stagecoach services between San Antonio and El Paso. You can still visit the site today, and learn about its turbulent past.
This unique lodge perched on a mountain above Fort Davis is housed with a traditional adobe-style building. It’s a little bit pricier than our other picks in this selection, but it sleeps up to four guests, making it a great choice for families and small groups. What really helps this property stand out are the mesmerising views of the local scenery.
Charming Cabin in Fort Davis: La Cabaña Escondida
This is the perfect choice for budget travellers looking for their own private space! There’s a rock formation right behind the house, so you’ll get to enjoy the local scenery from the garden. It’s also located right next to a major hiking trail in the area. The interiors are somewhat basic but have a rustic charm that creates an inviting atmosphere.
Cheap Hotel in Fort Davis: Veranda Historic Inn
If you want to stay right in the heart of town, Veranda Historic Inn is an affordable choice. The façade maintains a historic charm, while the rooms are well equipped with traditional furnishings. The two most popular hiking trails around Fort Davis are only a short walk away from the property. We also love their rustic veranda, perfect for mingling with other guests.
Things to See and Do in Fort Davis:
- Fort Davis was originally built to protect local stagecoach services from Apache and Comanche attacks – learn more about its history at the National Historic Site.
- Keen to try out some horse riding? Head out to Lajitas Stables where you can hire your own steed for a few hours – or even try out a taster session for beginners.
- Big Bend’s remoteness makes it the perfect spot for stargazing – check out the constellations with a professional telescope at McDonald Observatory.
- Cueva de Leon is the biggest restaurant in town, offering a great menu of Mexican delicacies at surprisingly affordable prices.
3. Alpine – Best Town Near Marfa for Families
As the only city, Alpine is technically the capital of Big Bend County – the largest county in Texas! For families, this makes it the most accessible destination to find things to keep the kids occupied and well-fed. The population is still quite small (just over 6000), though, so you don’t miss out on the small-town charm.
Built in the late 19th Century, the Downtown area of Alpine is packed with historic architecture. This gives it a Wild West charm that’s great for teaching the kids about America’s history. Many of the restaurants have also kept their rustic interiors, providing an ambient location in the evenings.
An adobe is a traditional style of home in the Southwest, and this gorgeous house is perfect for experiencing Alpine in style! Sleeping up to five people across two bedrooms, it’s a great choice for slightly larger families. Downtown Alpine is within walking distance, so you’ll never be too far from the best restaurants and attractions. We also love the private patio with views of nature.
Modern Bungalow in Alpine: Sierra Vista
This bungalow is a little bit smaller than the property above, but is great for a family on a budget! Parents can enjoy their own room, while the living room has two sofas that can be converted into twin beds. Even though it’s totally affordable, the property benefits from a private hot tub with stunning views of the mountains. Larger family? You can also rent out the property next door.
Cozy Hotel in Alpine: The Holland Hotel
If you want to stay right in the heart of town, you can’t go wrong with the Holland Hotel! Their on-site restaurant is popular with locals and guests alike, serving up some of the best Southwest cuisines in the town. There’s an on-site spa and beauty salon if you need to pamper yourself, and you also have complimentary access to a nearby swimming pool.
Things to See and Do in Alpine:
- If you take a trip down to the information centre on weekdays, you can take part in a free walking tour of the historic city centre.
- Museum of the Big Bend is dedicated to the entire region, with artefacts from American, Mexican and colonial Spanish history.
- Woodward Agate Ranch is a great pick if you have older kids – you can go searching for precious minerals or take a ride through the ranch on horseback.
- Edelweiss Brewery and Restaurant is family-friendly, with live music most evenings and an extensive American menu.
One of the best investments you can make is a worldwide travel adapter that will work anywhere! The one featured here is tough, reliable and a solid buy – Don’t leave home without one.
Buy your travel adapter on Amazon now.
4. Presidio – Adventurous Town Near Marfa and Big Bend
Big Bend National Park is a truly awe-inspiring destination! It’s one of the least visited national parks in the country, making it a great choice for adventurous travellers. The stunning scenery reflects three different ecosystems and makes a great road trip destination, which you can learn all about in our road trip guide to Texas.
So, where should you stay near Big Bend National Park? Presidio is a great in-between option – it’s only around 50 minutes from Marfa, and 30 minutes from the national park. This gives you the best of both worlds. You can also cross the border into Mexico, with neighbouring Ojinaga considered one of the most authentic border towns.
If you fancy staying a bit closer to Big Bend, check out these places to stay in Big Bend National Park!
Looking for a real adventure? Camping is a great way to connect with nature when travelling – especially to somewhere as remote as Presidio! Contained within a private ranch, this campsite benefits from a few additional facilities that you wouldn’t get if you were camping out on your own. There’s a cooking ring and some shaded spots so you can feel more comfortable in the heat.
Rustic House in Presidio: La Baeza Casita
This secluded adobe style home is the perfect getaway for those that need some time alone! The stone walls and low structure mean it keeps itself cool throughout the year. It was built in 1890, and the owners can trace the heritage of the building to this day. This gives it a historic charm you might not find elsewhere in Presidio.
Affordable Hotel in Presidio: Riata Inn
Riata Inn are a local chain with a number of budget-friendly hotels across the region – their Presidio offering is our favourite! It has a small outdoor pool where you can cool off under the beating desert sun. It’s a motel, so it’s a great choice for those travelling by car – especially if you want to continue further on a road trip.
Things to See and Do in Presidio:
- Head into Big Bend National Park where you can paddle down the Rio Grande on a kayak in this epic experience.
- Not ready for kayaking? You can also drive through Big Bend National Park – there are plenty of photo stops along the way.
- Ojinaga is right next to Presidio, and if you’re able to cross the border easily, it’s a worthwhile trip for an authentic insight into life in Chihuahua.
- Not able to cross the border? El Patio is an excellent Mexican restaurant with cuisine just as good as what you’ll find a few meters away.
Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Marfa
Marfa is a truly unique destination that you’ll definitely never forget! The unique art exhibits and creative attractions make this a surprisingly hip destination in the middle of nowhere. The mysterious Marfa lights draw visitors from across the state, and many of them opt to stay for the scenery.
Obviously, the town of Marfa itself is your best choice for getting to know the area, but we still recommend bringing a car so you can travel around the place. You’ll need one to see the lights anyway, but if you can, you should plan trips to Big Bend National Park and the surrounding towns.
We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options for your upcoming trip to Marfa. It might not be the first place on your hitlist, but it’s well worth the visit for anyone travelling in the USA. You won’t regret it!
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!
And don’t forget to take out Travel Insurance for your trip! I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email [email protected] to find out how.
Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going.