You can find many exciting things to do west of Dallas on the way to El Paso. Therefore, a Dallas to El Paso road trip would be a great choice for a good old-fashioned Texas vacation. You may want to stop at Guadalupe and Big Bend national parks. You will undoubtedly want to visit many of the beautiful state parks along the way, like Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway with its excellent bike path, Lake Brownwood State Park with its outstanding fishing, and Monahans Sandhill State Park where you can play on the sand. While you will not travel through any big metropolitan areas once leaving the Metroplex, many smaller towns, like Abilene, Midland, Odessa, and Fort Stockton, offer fascinating things to see and do in them. Take your RV or rent one so that you can incorporate many stops into your road trip itinerary from Dallas to El Paso.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park
Guadalupe Mountains National Park near Salt Flat offers many places that you will want to see. Many visitors choose to visit the secluded Dog Canyon Campground at the north end of the park. This canyon is the perfect place to go on hikes along paths lined with alligator juniper, ponderosa pine, chinquapin oak, and bigtooth maple trees. Especially in late October and early November, McKittrick Canyon offers breathtaking fall scenery. Check out the key from the park’s headquarters to visit the Williams Ranch if you can access a four-wheel-drive vehicle. After following the meandering road to the farmhouse, park your vehicle and head to the canyon behind it to see the oldest rocks in this park. They were formed over 320 million years ago, and they contain many fossils. Stop at the Frijole Ranch Museum to see how the first people farmed on this land and how they made things grow by conserving water. Be sure to check out the Salt Basin Dunes for a fascinating study in contrast.
Big Bend National Park
You can find an incredible number of things to do at Big Bend National Park. A great way to be introduced to all that this park has to offer is on a scenic drive. Big Bend contains over 290 miles of paved and unpaved roads. These roads are also open for biking. The diverse ecosystems found at this location make it a great place to go on mountain, desert, and river hikes. The Rio Grande and its tributaries make great places to go fishing, and you can get a permit at the park’s headquarters. This park is also a fantastic place to start a paddling adventure with trips available that range from a few hours to a few days.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway
Rent a boat at this park or bring your own to explore the 64-acre lake at Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway near Mineral Wells. Six fishing piers scattered around the lake make this a favorite place for anglers who often catch catfish and largemouth bass. Head to Penitentiary Hollow to go rock climbing on the sandstone conglomerate bluffs. Hike, bike, or ride your horse along the 20-mile scenic trailway.
Abilene State Park
Beat the summer heat at Abilene State Park in Abilene by going swimming in the historic pool that first opened in the early 1930s. Many kids enjoy fishing in Buffalo Wallow Pond while more serious anglers will enjoy fishing in Lake Abilene. Rent a canoe or kayak to head out on the lake.
Lake Brownwood State Park
Play on the 7,300-surface-acre lake at Lake Brownwood State Park near Grosvenor. You can go swimming, fishing, and boating on this lake. Many come here to water ski. The 2.89-mile Nopales Trail is an excellent spot for a hike. This park often hosts special events throughout the year, or you can plan your own in the historic buildings constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps.
Monahans Sandhill State Park
If you love to play in the sand, a stop at Monahans Sandhill State Park near Monahans is a must. Rent a sand disc from the park’s headquarters and slide down the enormous dunes at this state park. You can go hiking anywhere in this park because the wind will cover up your footsteps almost immediately with sand. The dedicated 600-acre equestrian area is a fantastic place to go for a trail ride. Try to arrive at this park early in the morning so that you can see the glorious sunrise across this sandy oasis.
Balmorhea State Park
The world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool is at Balmorhea State Park near Balmorhea. This high-desert pool is a great place to go scuba diving and snorkeling. This pool remains about 74 degrees throughout the year. After playing in this 1.3-acre pool holding 25 million gallons of water, head to the Fish Pup Café to get a bite to eat or a frozen treat.
Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District
Longhorn cattle are driven through the streets in the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District twice daily. Watch a rodeo every Friday and Saturday night. Wild West shows, live music events, and other shows frequently happen in this district in Fort Worth that boasts 35 restaurants and 17 bars. See if you can find your way out of the cattle pen maze and go for a horseback ride. There are plenty of museums to explore, including the Stockyards Museum and the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
Explore the Wild West during a stop at Frontier Texas! in Abilene. Gain an understanding of the peoples who lived in this region over the course of 13,000 years. See many old guns used to tame the frontier and a chuck wagon. Immerse yourself into a life on the Texas frontier during the show in the Frontier Experience Theater.
Permian Basin Petroleum Museum
Grasp a better understanding of the Permian Basin's oil and gas industry by stopping at the Permian Basin Petroleum Museum in Midland. Start by watching a film exploring common petroleum myths. Exit the theater to explore interactive exhibits based on the Permian Reef. Then, play the interactive game to grasp some of the industry's challenges better. Finally, learn about various types of alternative energies.
Presidential Museum and Leadership Museum
The Presidential Museum and Leadership Museum on the University of Texas Permian Basin campus focuses on the presidency and the people who achieved this office. See a collection of antique dolls dressed in replica gowns from the nation’s First Ladies. You will be amazed at how a woodcarver assembled more than 16 million wood chips from 17 species of trees to make presidential mosaics. View an oil painting of each president in a scene that was important to them personally or that happened during their time in office. View another series of U.S. presidential artwork created by Japanese artists.
West of the Pecos Museum
The three floors of the West of the Pecos Museum in Pecos contain more than 50 rooms with displays related to West Texas' history. The building housing this museum was built by a Texas Ranger in 1896. The first floor contains the lobby of the Orient Hotel, which operated at this location for many years, along with furnishings from the saloon that first opened in 1896. The second floor contains exhibits about Pecos Bill and the cowgirls and cowboys who worked on ranches in the area. Find displays related to community life, including a general store, old firefighting equipment, and the oil industry on the top floor. The outside area showcases a replica of Judge Roy Bean’s courtroom, farming equipment, and the oldest house in Pecos.
You can find numerous campgrounds in Midland. Some of these campgrounds are designed for oil workers while others like Palms of Paradise and Lucky Star RV Park typically serve people in the area only a day or two. You can find many Midland RV dump stations, including Midland RV Campground and Midessa Oil Patch RV Park.
As you roll along the interstate on your Dallas to El Paso RV road trip, you will come to Fort Stockton. Consider staying in a Fort Stockton campground, like Road Runner RV Park, Hilltop RV Park, or other top Texas campgrounds. Fort Stockton RV dump stations are available at Fort Stockton RV Park and the Flying J Travel Plaza.