We love our National Park System. We really do. But they can be crowded. If a nearby National Park doesn’t offer a one of a kind feature like, let’s say, the Grand Canyon, try out the nearby state parks. Texas has some amazing state parks that are every bit as good as Big Bend. We have stayed at Garner, Seminole, and Big Bend Ranch. All of them are worth visiting and the camping fees are very reasonable.
We also swam in the largest spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park (thanks, Dad, for the suggestion). The rest of the park wasn’t open and we didn’t take pictures, but it was a perfect way to say goodbye to Texas.