We’re back from our summer family vacation to Terlingua, Texas and it was an experience for sure! I’m more of a beach and hotel kinda gal, so when my husband mentioned the desert, I didn’t know what to expect.
The trip to Terlingua exceeded my expectations and I’m so happy to bring home the amazing memories. Terlingua is a few miles from Big Bend National Park and is definitely worth the trip out.
And don’t forget to check out our family vlog below!!
We left mid-week around 5 am to beat the morning traffic out of the city. It was a great idea because it was still dark so the girls were able to sleep for a few hours until we made our first stop. We stopped in San Antonio which is about 3 hours away from Houston.
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We found a cute breakfast spot called CommonWealth Coffeehouse & Bakery Hemisfair. The food was really good and there was a city park a few feet away. This park was so cute and the girls loved getting to play with hardly anyone around.
Once we let them get some energy out, we headed back on the road. We finally arrived at our destination at about 5 pm but had to wait for the owner of the VRBO rental to take us to the house.
That should have been my first indication of how secluded this property was. I knew it was in the middle of nowhere, but I was in for a surprise.
When we called the owner to see where his house was located, he mentioned that he doesn’t have an address. He mentioned if we followed a certain road we’d see a red pegasus sign and that it was the entrance to his house.
When someone doesn’t take the time to get a formal address, you know it must be secluded. The properties on this road were miles apart. We finally found it and then proceeded to the property.
It was about another 15 miles to the base of the mountain where the house was located. That’s right, I said mountain. The owner took us up a winding road full of rock up a mountain. I’ve never been so scared in my life.
Although there wasn’t a sharp drop off, I couldn’t shake the image of the truck rolling on its side down the mountain — morbid, I know. If you ever decide to book Boca de la Roca, it is suggested that you have a truck or SUV with 4-wheel drive. It’s a super bumpy ride.
Boca de la Roca
Once we arrived at the property on top of the mountain basin, I understood why someone would go to such lengths to stay at this house. Given the name, Boca de la Roca (mouth of the rock) it all made sense.
The owner, Ross, gave us a tour and some tips when living in a house powered by solar energy and rain as a water source (us city folks need all the tips we can get ?.) He emphasized the 5-minute sand timers in the bathrooms to limit shower time. I may or may not have exceeded his recommendations.??
The house stood on steel stilts and overlooked a gorgeous mountain landscape. It had two bedrooms and a living area that housed the kitchen and living room.
I loved the living/kitchen area. A ton of natural light flooded the room thrououht the day. Tall windows from floor to ceiling allowed for some spectacular views while we ate at the 15-foot wood counter.
I absolutely loved watching the sunrise and set beyond the mountains. The view was the ultimate ‘golden hour’ in my book.
Family Activities to do with Kids
The mom in me definitely was a little apprehensive being out in the wild. Being miles aways from another soul made me a little nervous. I kept thinking ‘what if something happens to the girls? how will they find us?’ I did mention there was no address, right?
The first full day on our trip, we decided to climb the mountain directly facing the house. While it was not full-on mountain climbing, it did take some effort.
It was a great learning experience for the girls to have to watch where they stepped. They also had to navigat around the endless landscape of thorny cactus bushes.
They did great! I was especially proud of Ava, only 4 years old, going ahead of the pack like a little troop leader. She thoroughly enjoyed it! Olivia is like me and a little more cautious.
On the second day, we decided to take a hike down the other side of the mountain. There was trail already layed out, which eventually ended. We decided to keep going until we found a gorge overlooking — you guessed it — more rocks.
What to Bring to Terlingua
For a family that doesn’t travel much, I felt we were almost (almost) fully prepared. Josh took care of packing all the meals for the trip. We made veggie hot dogs two days in a row and took a couple of salads. We also had snacks and drinks.
I made sure to pack a ton of sunscreen because I knew we’d be out most of the time. I even brought medicine like Tylenol and cough medicine for the girls. The ONE thing I didn’t bring caused us to have to race down the mountain to the nearest general store. To find out what happened, be sure to check out our family vlog here.
- Allergy medicine and Tylenol
- First Aid kit – The cabin also had one available but always good when you’re on the road.
- Food to last during your stay.
- Flashlight – It’s pitch black at night and the bedrooms were on opposite sides of the cabin. You had to walk outside to get to the other rooms.
- Sweaters – Although day temps reached near 100 degrees; the rain at night would drop the temparature about 20 degrees in an instant.
- Bug spray – There were not many mosquitos, but there were a ton of horse flies.
- Hats and Sunglasses
- Hiking boots or comfortable sneakers
- Camera – To capture the beauty.
- Water bottle – You’ll need to drink a lot of water on your hikes.
- Extra change of clothes – Hiking makes you work up a sweat!
Big Bend National Park
I feel like we kind of dropped the ball on planning for a park visit. Big Bend is about 30 miles from the cabin. On the trip into the town, Josh mentioned he at least wanted to see the entrance to the park.
We drove down one day, took our pictures, and went back to the cabin. On the second day, we decided to trek in a little further.
We were pressed for time as we wanted to make it back up the mountain before afternoon rains made the road even more treacherous. There are so many different directions to go inside the park and it is MASSIVE. Just to get from one visitor center to the next took a 30-minute drive.
The vast landscape made it impossible to see everything in one visit. The cost to enter the park is $30 per vehicle but the fee is good for 7 days. If you’re planning on visiting, make sure you allow a couple of days to see different areas of the park.
Josh was really hoping to see the Rio Grande River. We were not able to see a clearing and while glancing at the map, I noticed the ‘hot spots’ were clear across the park. There was no way we could make it.
I have a friend who wrote more extensively on the desirable part of the park. You can read her Big Bend National Park Travel Journal here.
If you’re a nature lover, planning a visit to Big Bend should definitely be on your next Terlingua family vacation list.