WEST TEXAS IS INCREDIBLE. GO.

I recently spent a week in West Texas. I started in Midland/Odessa, drove down to Big Bend National Park, back up through Terlingua to Marfa and Fort Davis. It's an amazing, expansive, beautiful and desolate part of the country. 100% worth the trip. Highlights include the following.
  1. Ratliff Stadium, Odessa
    AKA Friday Night Lights IRL. P.S. This was one of my favorite books I read I 2015. Highly recommend it.
  2. Roy Orbison Museum, Wink
    This museum is TINY but packed with memorabilia. I had to call in advance and a woman named Betty came to open up the storefront for us. The bar next door has Roy Orbison karaoke once a week.
  3. Big Bend National Park
    Big Bend is one of the least visited national parks, so there's plenty of space to explore the seemingly endless trails in canyons, desert and mountain climates. Stay in the park lodge. It's worth the time you save to not have to dive in and out every day. Santa Elena Canyon hike was by far my favorite. Big Bend is also one of the darkest skies in the region. ALL THE STARS.
  4. Food Shark, Marfa
    There's a menu item called the Marfalafel and you can eat in a refurbished school bus. Need I say more?
  5. Prada Store, Valentine
    This art installation is touristy, but you gotta do it. Beyoncé did it!
  6. Fort Davis National Historic Site
    Come for the history, stay because the introductory video is narrated by KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR!
  7. McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis
    The observatory, part of UT Austin (although far, far away) has some of the largest telescopes in the world. And this area of TX is one of the darkest places in North America. I've never seen so many stars in my life. If you go, stay in the Indian Lodge. Run by the TX Parks and Wildlife Department, its a beautiful, modern place in a natural setting.
  8. Alpine, TX
    Downtown Alpine is small town America at its best. And Sul Ross University dominates the landscape on a hill above the town.
  9. Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center, Langtry
    Worthwhile because 1) Roy Bean was a badass judge with a fascinating life 2) You're in the middle of nowhere and there's a great information desk and clean bathrooms.