Inspiration Your Next Family Road Trip
Discover El Paso
For generations, these two words have promised adventure.
Today, the allure is much the same as it would have been 100 years ago. The West has larger than life landscapes that combine natural beauty and a window into the way the first Americans lived – and the way they live today.
In this edition, we are heading to the far edge of Texas – El Paso! El Paso not only borders another state (New Mexico), it also borders another country (Mexico).
Inspiration for Families Visiting El Paso
Activities and Entertainment in El Paso
El Paso has a wide range of activities for your family to enjoy. This issue our focus is on ones that get you in touch with the region’s natural beauty and history.
People need water. Our nomadic Native Americans knew where to find it. At Hueco Tanks, rainwater pools in rock basins. For hundreds of years, the area has been important to Native Americans and more recent arrivals.
It is an accessible place to see 1000 year old Native American cliff drawings (pictographs / rock art).
The area is also popular with climbers, hikers, stargazers, and bird watchers.
6900 Hueco Tanks Rd, El Paso,
Hueco Tank Guided tour: You must book tours a minimum of one week in advance by calling (915) 849-6684.
Hueco Tank Self-guided visit: There are only permits for 70 people to access the North Mountain area each day. To make sure you get in, reserve permits up to 90 days before your visit by calling (512) 389-8911
Only a limited number of entries are available each day. Call ahead before you drive out.
Did you know? “Hueco” is the Spanish word for “hollow” describing the rock cisterns that provided critical water storage for Native Americans, birds, and animals.
The local Tigua Indians continue to hold prayer and cultural ceremonies at Hueco Tanks.
Franklin Mountains State Park
Don’t miss the Apache Cave Trail.
This is the desert – bring plenty of water.
Would you like to stay overnight? The stargazing is amazing. There are fourteen tent sites and five RV sites with hookups. Reservations recommended.
Southeast Texas Family Magazine Tip: Great views abound throughout the park, don’t miss the Wyler Aerial Tramway. tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/wyler-aerial-tramway. You’ll enjoy views of the mountains and desert from your cable car.
Franklin Mountains State Park
2900 Tom Mays Access Road
El Paso Scenic Drive and Overlook
This drive is special. On one side of the road you’ll see historic homes built by El Paso’s original elite decades ago. On the other side, you have a tremendous view through El Paso all the way into Juarez, Mexico.
Follow Rim Road until it becomes Scenic Drive. The road runs along the edge of the David Mountains. Gorgeous.
Tigua Indian Cultural Center
You have probably heard a couple of towns claim to be the Oldest in Texas. Since this community predates the Spanish, French, and other early explorers, residents are pretty sure they deserve the title.
The federal government recognizes the Tigua as the oldest tribe in Texas.
The Tigua Indian Cultural Center is a smaller facility providing an impressively well rounded introduction to the history and culture of the Tigua, a tribe many Texans don’t know very much about. The museum features pottery, photographs, and historical artifacts.
Savvy visitors come to the Tigua Indian Cultural Center on weekends when the tribe provides dances to help give you more insight into their culture. Tigua dances are held Saturdays and Sundays at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm. Tigua dance performances typically last forty-five minutes and visitors are encouraged to participate in the final dance.
On Saturdays, your family will also enjoy a traditional Tigua bread making presentation. Tribal members will use the same techniques and equipment their ancestors used over three hundred years ago. Bread will be available for purchase after the Tigua bread baking presentation after 11 am on Saturdays.
Tigua Indian Cultural Center
Wednesday through Sunday 10am – 4pm
The Ysleta Mission was built by the Tigua Indians in 1682, almost 100 years before the American Revolution. It is the oldest continuously operated Parish in Texas.
The Ysleta Mission is believed to have the longest continuously cultivated plot of land in the United States.
If you can, time your visit for June 13th for the Tigua Feast Day of San Antonio (Saint Anthony). The Tigua celebrate with a morning mass followed by Tigua drumming, dancing, and chanting.
131 South Zaragoza Road
El Paso, TX
The Tigua are the Southernmost of the Pueblo tribes.
El Paso Restaurant Recommendations
Village Inn Breakfast so good, it is served all day
- Half pound chicken fried steak and eggs
- Biscuits and Gravy with Eggs
- Three Egg Omelettes
- Buttermilk Pancake Combo
Lunch or Weekend Brunch in El Paso
- Mole Enchiladas
- Chile Relleno Plate
3622 East Missouri Avenue
El Paso TX
Evening Dining in El Paso
State Line Restaurant. Barbecue
- Brisket and Beef Rib Plate
- Sides – better than most BBQ restaurants.
County Line Restaurant
1222 Sunland Park in El Paso
Unique El Paso Lodging: Gleatherland
Whenever possible, we look for immersive experiences where the lodging is tucked into the attraction.
We hope Hueco Tanks will be part of your El Paso experience. If it is, consider staying at Gleatherland. In a way, it brings together and celebrates different nomadic cultures.
Gleatherland does offer tent camping and RV hook ups, but what I like best is their unique rentals. My favorite are the yurts, contemporary takes on the lodging used by nomads in Mongolia. These are based on primitive shelters, but they have a lot of conveniences demanded by today’s vacationers including WiFi, electricity, heat, kitchen facilities, refrigerator, pots, pans, dishes, coffee maker, and a sink with running water. Sheets, pillows, and towels are provided. Additional bedding can be provided for a small fee.
The flip side is that you’ll be right in the nature of the West Texas deserts and mountains. You’ll be able to see Hueco Tanks from your yurt, travel trailer, or tent.
If you are ready to trade a couple of modern conveniences for natural beauty, Gleatherland is a great way to experience the natural beauty around Hueco Tanks and El Paso.
Gleatherland – Yurts and Vintage Travel Trailers
17201 Michael Avenue in El Paso Texas
- Daryl Fant, Publisher. Southeast Texas Family Magazine
- (512) 567-8068
We enjoy providing information about family friendly entertainment, festivals, and resources for the Golden Triangle and East Texas.
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