In 2-3 days
You’ll be hard pressed to see much of Texas in such a short time. The best bet is to choose a city — Houston, El Paso, San Antonio, Dallas or Austin. Spend a couple of days exploring the city and consider a day trip on your last day — perhaps horse riding at a ranch if you’re in Dallas, rafting down the Rio Grande if you’re in El Paso, or nursing a hangover from a raging night on the town if you’re in the musical utopia of Austin.
In a week
Texas is the US’ second largest state and there are infinite ways you could spend a week. However, one highly rated itinerary starts in the Mexican border city of El Paso. Spend a day checking out the city, eating a hearty Tex-Mex meal and horse riding at a ranch on the outskirts of town.
From El Paso, head across to Marfa — the quaint west Texas town is home to loads of colourful locals and the railroad town turned artistic enclave is also famous for the Marfa Lights. They’re unexplained lights which appear on the horizon as night falls. A short drive from Marfa is Cibolo Creek Ranch, a fantastic spot to spend a night and take a jeep safari tour around the 30,000-acre ranch.
Terlingua, a bohemian town three hours south-west of Marfa, is your next port of call and a great place to take a rafting tour on the Rio Grande river. Tour operators also have quad bike safaris into the desert, exploring several disused mercury mines and introducing you to the desert flora.
Ranch Road 170 takes you into the Big Bend National Park and the Chisos Mountains, home to mountain lions, black bear and white-tailed deer. It’s a raw landscape of soaring red peaks, deep canyons, and haphazard geological formations that look like they were formed from fresh volcanic eruptions just days earlier. The ‘lost mine peak trail’ is an uphill haul with a rewarding view across a spectacular valley.
Alpine, two hours north of Big Bend, is a great place to wrap up your week with a final big night out on the town. The Rail Road Blues Bar is the place to be — they even let you bring your own bottle of tequila, and local band The Doodlin’ Hogwallops are often on stage belting out a rollicking good live set.