I decided for Thanksgiving weekend to go check out The Big Bend National Park. I waited until last minute to go, so the accommodation was packed. The cheapest place to stay was about $200 a night and I wasn’t trying to spend that much, so I decided to do what any crazy person would do: Find somewhere safe and sleep in my car.
I did some research and found out there is a website where you can see all the different campsites around the US to park your car/RV for free (click here to check it out). It turns out that the Marfa Lights Viewing Area is on the list of places you can camp out at. So my best choice was to spend the night in Marfa and get up extremely early to drive to the national park.
The only thing I knew about Marfa was that it was home of the well known Prada Marfa “store.” It’s not really a store. You can’t go inside or buy anything. It’s actually just a sculpture that was designed by artists Elmgreen and Dragset. Prada lovers from all over come to take pictures with it. That sculpture was enough to get me excited to stop by Marfa for a night.
Prada Marfa is about 30-45 minutes away from Marfa on an extremely dead road with hardly any buildings around it. You know those things that roll across the screen during a western movie? In my head those things were just made for cartoons but apparently they’re called “tumblweed” and they are REAL. This was the first time I had ever seen them. I literally almost ran into one with my car. If that doesn’t tell you how unoccupied the road was, I don’t know what does. Therefore, I could tell immediately whenever I arrived because there were a bunch of cars pulled off on the road in the middle of nowhere.
I was actually extremely surprised to see how many people were out there to check this out. Especially since I was there on Thanksgiving (like, shouldn’t they have all been eating turkey or something??). When I pulled up, there were about 5 other cars and people just standing around in the street trying to get the best picture of the building.
This was my first trip since I bought my new tripod for my iPhone 8 plus, so I was at the Prada Marfa for awhile trying to learn how to get the perfect shot (and to learn how to pose – still not really sure how girls get themselves to look so cute??). Once I was done pretending to be a photographer, I didn’t know where to go next. That was the only touristy thing I knew around the area. That just meant it was time to explore.
The best part about exploring Marfa was that I was literally just going with the flow. I have Sprint for my phone but I had NO signal anywhere in West Texas. I couldn’t google where to eat, attractions or anything. I just drove up and down the streets in my little bug looking suspiciously lost to any cop that saw me.
Since I went there on Thanksgiving, most shops and restaurants were closed. People were still walking around admiring the cuteness of the town though. I decided to join them.
What really caught my eye while walking around the town was the town’s courthouse. It was GORGEOUS. The courthouse was a pastel pink and it was in the perfect spot right in the middle of everything. Once again it made me whip out my tripod and pretend to be a photographer again.
What was really humorous during my little “photoshoot” was that there was a family and their dog playing frisbee off to the side and the dog kept running in my shots. Since I was using my tripod, I had to use a self timer and run to get in the picture before my phone went off. Every time I went running for the picture, the dog thought I was running to play. The poor thing got told to sit for 10 seconds while I got my Instagram worthy picture. I’m not a huge fan of dogs (I know, I’m crazy) but you better believe that dog definitely deserved to be pet.
The family that owned the dog were extremely nice so I didn’t hesitate to ask them a good place to eat. Usually I would just stop by the first place that looked decent but with everything being closed, it was hard to find good food. The dad suggested going to Hotel Saint George. He told me “Trust me, it won’t be dead. You’ll walk in and think you’re in New York City.”
He wasn’t wrong. I walked in and realized immediately it was somewhere that required reservations. Luckily, since I was solo, I was able to grab a spot at the bar and just eat there.
The Hotel Saint George is very fancy. It’s definitely a nice spot to take your significant other for a date if you’re in the area. Or someone to go for drinks, they had a full bar!
Once I got done eating, the sun was starting to go down and the sky started wow-ing me. I knew I had to get to the viewing area to get a perfect view of the sunset. I’d say the viewing area was about 10 minutes from the Hotel Saint George and I couldn’t wait that long. I ended up pulling off on the side of the road to get out and view the sunset.
As of today, the Marfa Texas sunset is the best sunset I’ve seen to date.
I swear it had every shade of pink, orange, blue and purple mixed in together. Every minute that went by the sky changed and just left me more and more mesmerized.
Once the sunset ended, I hopped in my car and went the rest of the way to the viewing area.
Apparently whenever you’re at the Marfa Lights Viewing Area, you can see lights in the sky that are unexplainable. People say it’s one of the top reasons to even step food in Marfa. I knew I had to see them.
But sadly… I didn’t see them.
That just gives me an excuse to go back though! If any of you have seen the lights, please be sure to let me know how they were. I’m a huge fan of the stars, moon, sun and sky so the thought of seeing those lights sounds like a must-happen lifetime experience.
But to wrap it all up, Marfa is adorable – but really small. It’s a really good day trip to check out Prada Marfa, check out downtown, eat and then see the Marfa lights. I wouldn’t go JUST to see Marfa. I would suggest making it a day trip while on the road to a bigger destination.
And most importantly: if you go to Marfa, make sure you stay for the sunset!