AA Learn more about in-home care options for your loved ones

Given the choice, most of us want to stay in our homes. Sometimes, people need help to remain at home. That's where Always Best Care Senior Services comes in.

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“I work for this team and it's a wonderful team , great communication and support for our clients, their family members and our caring team of staff .”

Antoinette G.

“Ken and Bonnie are wonderful people to help care for your loved ones. their staff was so caring to my mother and so nice to my family I highly recommend them to take care of your loved ones. I think there ought to be more than just five stars to give them”

Mark A.

“Ken and Bonnie were wonderful to work with. They were able to provide my mother with care and a very short notice. Their staff was some of the most caring people that I've ever met. Not only were they wonderful to my mother but also to my family. I would highly recommend using them.”

Mark A.

“Very professional and welcoming people so I would definitely recommend my friends and family to Always Best Care in Boerne.”

Laurie K.

“The owner is so understanding and supportive of how I want my loved ones cared for. He and his staff actually listen to what I would like done for my parents. Very thoughtful, very professional and very caring. It’s such a relief to have help in caring for my loved ones”

Kristen B.

“ALWAYS BEST CARE is certainly a warm & caring business owned & operated by Ken Thomas. I certainly would recommend them for you or your loved ones excellent care.”

Shirley S.

“Kenneth is kind, patient, experienced and knowledgeable. We are thankful to him for all his efforts and for going above and beyond.”

Chae S.

“For those who are searching for qualified caregivers for their loved ones, contact Ken Thomas at Always Best Care Senior Services. Mr. Thomas provides an authentic and professional guiding hand when discussing available services for your precious senior family members. When it is time for a beloved senior to receive assistance, Mr. Thomas understands the importance of providing trustworthy and quality support.”

Melissa C.

“Ken leads his Always Best Care Senior Services Agency with compassion for his clients and their families. He is a local senior care expert and leader in his community. If you are need of assistance in navigating your local senior care options, then do not hesitate to give Ken a call!”

Kelly B.

“Kenneth is knowledgeable and trustworthy. I can’t recommend him enough. You’re in good hands with Kenneth.”

Chae S.

“I will be forever grateful for the love you showered upon us and my grandmother”

Jill &.
 In-Home Care Bend, TX

How does In-home Senior Care in Bend, TX work?

Home is where the heart is. While that saying can sound a tad cliche, it's especially true for many seniors living in America. When given a choice, older adults most often prefer to grow older at home. An AARP study found that three out of four adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes and communities as they age. When you begin to think about why, it makes sense. Home offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity.

The truth is, as we age, we begin to rely on others for help. When a family is too busy or lives too far away to fulfill this role, in-home senior care is often the best solution. Home care services allow seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

At Always Best Care, we offer a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they get the help they need to remain independent. As your senior loved one ages, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even if you live far away.

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 Senior Care Bend, TX

Aging in Place: The Preferred Choice for Most Seniors

While it's true that some seniors have complicated medical needs that prevent them from staying at home, aging in place is often the best arrangement for seniors and their families. With a trusted caregiver, seniors have the opportunity to live with a sense of dignity and do so as they see fit.

In-home care makes it possible for millions of seniors to age in place every year. Rather than moving to a unfamiliar assisted living community, seniors have the chance to stay at home where they feel the happiest and most comfortable.

Here are just a few of the reasons why older men and women prefer to age at home:


How much does a senior's home truly mean to them? A study published by the American Society on Aging found that more than half of seniors say their home's emotional value means more than how much their home is worth in monetary value. It stands to reason, that a senior's home is where they want to grow old. With the help of elderly care in Bend, TX, seniors don't have to age in a sterilized care facility. Instead, they can age gracefully in the place they want to be most: their home. In contrast, seniors who move to a long-term care facility must adapt to new environments, new people, and new systems that the facility implements. At this stage in life, this kind of drastic change can be more harmful than helpful.

Healthy Living
Healthy Living

Institutional care facilities like nursing homes often put large groups of people together to live in one location. On any given day, dozens of staff members and caregivers run in and out of these facilities. Being around so many new people in a relatively small living environment can be dangerous for a seniors' health and wellbeing. When you consider that thousands of seniors passed away in nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, opting for in-home care is often a safer, healthier choice for seniors. Aging in place has been shown to improve seniors' quality of life, which helps boost physical health and also helps insulate them from viral and bacterial risks found in elderly living facilities.


For many seniors, the ability to live independently with assistance from a caregiver is a priceless option. With in-home care, seniors experience a higher level of independence and freedom - much more so than in other settings like an assisted living community. When a senior has the chance to age in place, they get to live life on their own terms, inside the house that they helped make into a home. More independence means more control over their personal lives, too, which leads to increased levels of fulfillment, happiness, and personal gratification. Over time, these positive feelings can manifest into a healthier, longer life.

Cost and Convenience
Cost and Convenience

More independence, a healthier life, and increased comfort are only a few benefits of aging in place. You have to take into consideration the role of cost and convenience. Simply put, it's usually easier to help seniors age in place than it is to move them into an institutional care facility. In-home care services from Always Best Care, for instance, can be less expensive than long-term solutions, which can cost upwards of six figures per year. To make matters worse, many residential care facilities are reluctant to accept long-term care insurance and other types of payment assistance.

With Always Best Care's home care services, seniors and their families have a greater level of control over their care plans. In-home care in Bend, TX gives seniors the chance to form a bond with a trusted caregiver and also receive unmatched care that is catered to their needs. In long-term care facilities, seniors and their loved ones have much less control over their care plan and have less of a say in who provides their care.

Empowers Seniors

Affordable Care Plans

In-home care is a valuable resource that empowers seniors to age in place on their own terms. However, a big concern for many families and their loved ones is how much in-home care costs. If you're worried that in-home care is too expensive, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that it is one of the most affordable senior care arrangements available.

Typically, hiring an Always Best Care in-home caregiver for a few hours a week is more affordable than sending your loved one to a long-term care facility. This is true even for seniors with more complex care needs.

At Always Best Care, we will work closely with you and your family to develop a Care Plan that not only meets your care needs, but your budget requirements, too. Once we discover the level of care that you or your senior need, we develop an in-home care plan that you can afford.

In addition to our flexible care options, families should also consider the following resources to help offset potential home care costs:

Veteran's Benefits
Veteran's Benefits

Aid and Attendance benefits through military service can cover a portion of the costs associated with in-home care for veterans and their spouses.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-Term Care Insurance

Many senior care services like in-home care are included in long-term care insurance options. Research different long-term care solutions to find a plan that provides coverage for senior care.

Private Insurance
Private Insurance

Home care can be included as part of a senior's private insurance plan. Read over your loved one's insurance policy carefully or speak with their insurance provider to determine if in-home care is covered.

Life Insurance
Life Insurance

Depending on the life insurance plan, you may be able to apply your policy toward long-term care. You may be able to use long-term-care coverage to help pay for in-home elderly care.

Respite Care Bend, TX

During your Care Plan consultation with Always Best Care, your Care Coordinator will speak with you about in-home care costs and what options there may be to help meet your budget needs.

Compassionate Care. Trusted Caregivers

When you or your senior loved one needs assistance managing daily tasks at home, finding a qualified caregiver can be challenging. It takes a special kind of person to provide reliable care for your senior loved one. However, a caregiver's role involves more than meal preparation and medication reminders. Many seniors rely on their caregivers for companionship, too.

Our companion care services give seniors the chance to socialize in a safe environment and engage in activities at home. These important efforts boost morale and provide much-needed relief from repetitive daily routines. A one-on-one, engaging conversation can sharpen seniors' minds and give them something in which to be excited.

At Always Best Care, we only hire care providers that we would trust to care for our own loved ones. Our senior caregivers in Bend,TX understand how important it is to listen and communicate with their seniors. A seemingly small interaction, like a short hug goodbye, can make a major difference in a senior's day. Instead of battling against feelings of isolation, seniors begin to look forward to seeing their caregiver each week.

Understanding the nuances of senior care is just one of the reasons why our care providers are so great at their job.

Unlike some senior care companies, our caregivers must undergo extensive training before they work for Always Best Care. In addition, our caregivers receive ongoing training throughout the year. This training ensures that their standard of care matches up to the high standards we've come to expect. During this training, they will brush up on their communication skills, safety awareness, and symptom spotting. That way, your loved one receives the highest level of non-medical home care from day one.

 Caregivers Bend, TX

Taking the First Step with Always Best Care

The first step in getting quality in-home care starts with a personal consultation with an experienced Care Coordinator. This initial consultation is crucial for our team to learn more about you or your elderly loved one to discover the level of care required. Topics of this consultation typically include:

An assessment of your senior loved one


An in-depth discussion of the needs of your senior loved one to remain in their own home


Reviewing a detailed Care Plan that will meet your senior loved one's needs


Our caregivers are trained to spot changes that clients exhibit, like mental and physical decline. As your trusted senior care company, we will constantly assess and update your Care Plan to meet any new emotional, intellectual, physical, and emotional needs.

If you have never considered in-home care before, we understand that you and your family may have concerns about your Care Plan and its Care Coordinator. To help give you peace of mind, know that every team member and caregiver must undergo comprehensive training before being assigned to a Care Plan.

When you're ready, we encourage you to contact your local Always Best Care representative to set up a Care Consultation. Our Care Coordinators would be happy to meet with you in person to get to know you better, discuss your needs, and help put together a personalized Care Plan specific to your needs.

Latest News in Bend, TX

The Signorelli Company Commences Phase One of Austin Point, the Next Great Texas Town

Developer begins phase one of 4,700-acre regionally transformative master-planned town in Fort Bend County that will meet the needs of one of the nation's fastest-growing, most diverse countiesTHE WOODLANDS, TX / ACCESSWIRE / September 21, 2023 / The Signorelli Company, one of Texas' largest and most innovative real estate developer...

Developer begins phase one of 4,700-acre regionally transformative master-planned town in Fort Bend County that will meet the needs of one of the nation's fastest-growing, most diverse counties

THE WOODLANDS, TX / ACCESSWIRE / September 21, 2023 / The Signorelli Company, one of Texas' largest and most innovative real estate developers, today announced the start of phase one of Austin Point, a regionally transformative 4,700-acre master-planned town in Fort Bend County, TX., that will evolve to fulfill the residential and lifestyle needs of people in one of America's fastest-growing, most diverse counties.

On track to be the largest master-planned development in Fort Bend County announced in 40 years, The Signorelli Company envisions Austin Point as a series of flexible, interconnected districts that create a vibrant and complementary mix of uses supporting the residential, commercial, healthcare, educational, entertainment, and civic needs of town residents and surrounding communities.

With the population of Fort Bend County projected to double by 2040, Austin Point will be a focal point for future growth. Planned extensions of the Fort Bend Parkway and the Grand Parkway will provide convenient connection of 25 to 30 minutes to Texas Medical Center, The Galleria and Downtown Houston. The short commute will allow Austin Point to be the epicenter of opportunity.

"In honoring the rich history and extraordinary assets of the Austin Point land and location, our vision goes well beyond a master-planned community," said Danny Signorelli, president and CEO of The Signorelli Company. "Our vision is to create the next great town in Texas."

Upon completion, the town of Austin Point will encompass more than 14,000 residences and a planned 15 million square feet of muti-family, office, medical, retail and hospitality space. The town will be an economic growth engine, attracting innovative, knowledge-based businesses and providing healthy solutions for the burgeoning demand for all types of housing. Austin Point will be home to more than 50,000 residents, making it larger than the nearby city of Rosenberg.

With Austin Point's first phase of development now underway, the projected start of home sales is Spring, 2025. For more information and to follow the progress of Austin Point, visit

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Cherri Carbonara Carbonara Group713.524.8170

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Fort Bend County package thief dressed up like Amazon delivery driver, authorities say

With Amazon offering discounts and other specials Tuesday and Wednesday as part of the company's annual "Prime Day" for members of its subscription service, online shoppers in the Houston area could receive more home deliveries than usual during the coming days. That means there likely will be more opportunities for "porch pirates" who steal dropped-off packages before they reach their intended recipients.In a neighborhood southwest of the city, it might be difficult for residents to recognize the difference betwee...

With Amazon offering discounts and other specials Tuesday and Wednesday as part of the company's annual "Prime Day" for members of its subscription service, online shoppers in the Houston area could receive more home deliveries than usual during the coming days. That means there likely will be more opportunities for "porch pirates" who steal dropped-off packages before they reach their intended recipients.

In a neighborhood southwest of the city, it might be difficult for residents to recognize the difference between a delivery driver and a delivery swiper.

The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office is investigating a string of package thefts last week in the Pecan Grove subdivision in Richmond, according to department spokesperson Michelle Domengoni. She said surveillance video of one of the thefts shows a man stealing packages while dressed as a delivery driver for Amazon, the popular e-commerce company.

"We don't know if they're connected," Domengoni said Tuesday. "We don't know if it's the same person going to each residence. We don't know if it's a team of people. It's still an ongoing investigation we're trying to get to the bottom of."

There were a total of three front-porch package thefts in Pecan Grove last Thursday and Friday, according to Domengoni, who said no injuries or other damage were reported by impacted residents. As of Tuesday, investigators with the sheriff's office had obtained and reviewed surveillance footage from only one of the residences, she said.

The video showed one man "disguised in a delivery driver uniform," specifically an Amazon uniform, Domengoni said. Carriers for the company typically where uniforms with color schemes that include light blue and dark blue or black with gray or white trim.

"We are working with local law enforcement to assist with their investigation and help identify the individual(s) involved,” said Montana MacLachlan, a spokesperson for Amazon. “We encourage customers to contact Amazon's customer service with any matters related to their package delivery."

Domengoni said she did not know the value of the packages stolen from homes in Pecan Grove.

She also said the sheriff's office did not know how many people were involved in the thefts beyond the one man in the surveillance video. The man's age and ethnicity are unclear based on the quality of the video, she said.

"We have received reports in that area to hopefully capture whoever's doing it," Domengoni said.

Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens: Where Texas history, art shine in Houston

Nestled in Houston's historic River Oaks neighborhood just east of Memorial Park, Houston's Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens houses one of the world's finest showcases of American furnishings, silver, ceramics and decor. It's surrounded by 14 acres of lush, organically mai...

Nestled in Houston's historic River Oaks neighborhood just east of Memorial Park, Houston's Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens houses one of the world's finest showcases of American furnishings, silver, ceramics and decor. It's surrounded by 14 acres of lush, organically maintained gardens that add to the idyllic setting.

To reach this enchanting destination, savor the stroll across the swinging footbridge over Buffalo Bayou. Be glad for the preamble ramble: It transitions you to a charming and civilized house museum where you can glide from one beautiful setting to the next, beholding incredible works of art from ages past.

If you haven't visited Bayou Bend before or it's been a while, here's why it's time to treat yourself to a visit.

Who created this wonderful escape of an estate?

Civic leader and philanthropist Ima Hogg (1882-1975) spent her life enhancing Houston's cultural and educational institutions. As a child, she lived in the Governor's Mansion in Austin when her father, James Hogg, served as governor from 1891 to 1895. In the early 1920s, her brothers established Houston's tree-filled River Oaks neighborhood, where she had Bayou Bend built for $217,000 between 1926 and 1928.

Designed by Houston architects John F. Staub and Birdsall P. Briscoe, the estate combines 18th-century Georgian architecture with Southern and Spanish Creole elements. The mansion's tile block construction is clad in pink stucco and topped with a raised-seam copper roof.

Additionally, as an accomplished pianist, Ima Hogg founded the Houston Symphony in 1913. She donated her Steinway grand piano to the symphony, but left her exquisite Gibson & Davis Square Piano in Bayou Bend's Music Room, an expansive chamber wrapped with a French reproduction of exotic 1806 Hindustan scenic wallpaper.

How a home became a museum

In 1957, Hogg donated her home and collections of American furnishings dating from 1620 to 1870 to The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH). Hogg continued living in her home until 1965, overseeing its transformation into a public museum that opened in 1966. Staub helped Hogg reconfigure rooms to display the objects. To keep visitors from disturbing neighbors near the original Lazy Lane entrance, Hogg built a pedestrian suspension bridge over the bayou on the property's secluded west side.

Bayou Bend quickly earned fame as a Houston cultural gem, received a Texas Historical Commission marker in 1973 and entered the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Bayou Bend's upkeep is a team effort. Community organizations help MFAH maintain the house and gardens, believed to be the nation's largest public garden that's exclusively organic. The Bayou Bend Docent Organization's 200 volunteers lead tours; several have earned 50-year pins. The Kitty King Powell Library and Study Center, located in the Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center at Bayou Bend, houses over 9,000 volumes on 17th- to 19th-century American decorative arts.

How to best explore Bayou Bend

Start at the Lora Jean Kilroy Visitor and Education Center, Bayou Bend's gateway that opened in 2010. Here you can watch videos and request a docent-guided tour or cell phone audio tour. Next, stroll through a bird sanctuary and across the swinging Buffalo Bayou footbridge to Buffalo Bayou's gardens and hilltop estate. Meet your guide and store any belongings in lockers in the gift shop.

Upon entering the magnificent home, say hello to Ima Hogg's portrait in the central hall. Gracefully coiffed hair, a demure dress and chunky jewelry encircle a face radiating thoughtful resolve. Her keen appreciation of period objects resonates throughout the home's 28 rooms.

What you'll find inside Bayou Bend

Nearly 2,600 furnishings, paintings, silver, ceramics, glass and musical instruments showcase the evolution of American taste.

Here, you'll time-travel from the Colonial through the Victorian eras, starting with treasures from the Late Renaissance (1620-1690) and Early Baroque (1690-1730) periods. The vast Drawing Room displays furniture designed in the Rococo style (1755-1790) and portraits painted by iconic early American artists including John Singleton Copley and Charles Willson Peale. The hand-painted peonies on the dining room wallpaper glow like a sunny Texas day.

Jaws drop at the sight of the Chillman Suite's spectacular carpet, vivid greens and golds and classical objects from the harp to the fireplace. The kerosene lamps signal an important advance in entertaining—guests no longer had to depart before dark. The Belter Parlor hijacks the eyes with Rococo Revival (1845-1870) objects.

Upstairs, the Federal Parlor, reflecting the Neoclassical period (1790-1810), is where family and friends drank tea, played cards and danced. The cedar-paneled Texas Room features objects made by Germans in Central Texas during the mid-1800s, as well as English ceramics commemorating the Texas War of Independence and the Mexican-American War.

Vividly colored wallpapers, bedding and chairs grab the spotlight. The huge breeze-cooled sleeping porch overlooks precisely landscaped gardens. An adorable painting of children includes a future mayor of Galveston and a hefty punch bowl reveals that strong spirits were served in 1758. Conversation pieces include a splendid women's writing desk, the needlepoint on Hogg's Queen Anne chair and a spectacular seat made of cattle longhorns and jaguar-print fabric.

The impressive and expansive Bayou Bend Gardens

Stroll through the woodlands and relax in the gardens. Preserving the existing trees, Hogg turned gnarly thickets into formal gardens reflecting American landscape design's Country Place era. The garden is also home to figures from Greek mythology sculpted of white Carrara marble in the late 1930s by the legendary Antonio Frilli Studio in Florence, Italy.

Boxwoods and azaleas frame the goddess Diana sculpture fronted by arcing fountains and graceful grass steps. Euterpe, muse of music, peeks at a fairytale expanse edged with pine and oak woodlands.

In contrast, Clio faces a manicured geometric garden of low plantings. Native magnolias and sprawling live oaks embrace the grounds; a rustic arched footbridge crosses a creek.

The audio tour matches the gardens with musical selections; Claude Debussy's 1903 "Pagodas" piano composition plays for Euterpe's garden.

What events and activities take place at Bayou Bend?

Visit Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens for fun events from jazz concerts to the Christmas Village at Bayou Bend. Each December, a bridge leads to a winter wonderland of lights dazzling the estate's 14 acres, and actors, theatrical effects and holiday decorations enliven the home's first floor. Hear carolers, play games and zip down a faux-snow slide. Check the calendar for holiday events, summer history camps and family days.

Plan your visit to Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

Find it: Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens, 6003 Memorial Drive, Houston, TX 77007; 713-639-7750

This story was edited by Hearst Newspapers Managing Editor Kristina Moy; you can contact her at [email protected].

A First-Timers Guide to Big Bend National Park in West Texas

Texans love the prickly wilds of Big Bend National Park, where a sky island of mountains rises from a vast desert floor, and everything looks straight out of a John Wayne Western.But if you’ve never visited, it can feel intimidating.“It’s wild, it’s rugged, and we’re far from a lot of services that people are super accustomed to,” says Tom VandenBerg, chief of interpretation and visitor services at the park. “That’s what makes it special.”According to ...

Texans love the prickly wilds of Big Bend National Park, where a sky island of mountains rises from a vast desert floor, and everything looks straight out of a John Wayne Western.

But if you’ve never visited, it can feel intimidating.

“It’s wild, it’s rugged, and we’re far from a lot of services that people are super accustomed to,” says Tom VandenBerg, chief of interpretation and visitor services at the park. “That’s what makes it special.”

According to report released in May, the number of first-time visitors to Big Bend National Park jumped in 2022, with 56% of the 1,000 people surveyed saying they made their inaugural trip there last year. For a newcomer, the vastness seems almost unreal.

The park sprawls over 801,163 acres in far West Texas—making it bigger than Yosemite National Park in California. At first glance, it’s a remote, bristly expanse populated by things determined to scratch, poke, or bite you.

Don’t freak out.

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Yes, cacti are everywhere. Steer clear. Venomous snakes sometimes slither among the rock and cactus; watch where you place your hands. Black bears reside in the park. Give them a wide berth and consider yourself lucky if you glimpse one. And keep an eye out for scorpions, tarantulas, and javelinas, too.

Most of all, plan ahead and know what to expect when you get there.

Peak visitation at Big Bend National Park is October through April. In summer months temperatures can reach 110 degrees along the Rio Grande and on the desert floor.

Get ready for a road trip. Most folks drive to the park. Major highways to the region include Interstate 10 (if traveling from Houston, San Antonio, or Austin), Interstate 20 (if coming from Dallas and Midland-Odessa), and State Highway 90 (via Del Rio). See map. The nearest commercial airport is in Midland-Odessa, about 235 miles from park headquarters.

The Chisos Mountains Lodge in the Chisos Mountain Basin offers basic hotel rooms and five stone cottages. Book ahead, but also keep in mind the lodge’s headquarters building is scheduled for demolition and reconstruction starting in 2024. Even though lodge rooms won’t be torn down, they will likely close temporarily—as will the restaurant. Camping is a great option, either in one of the park’s three developed campgrounds or in the backcountry. (Permit required.)

Hotels, private campgrounds, and an eclectic mix of rental properties that includes yurts and clear domes are also available in nearby Terlingua or Study Butte, or in Marathon.

Admission to the park is $30 for a private vehicle or $25 for a motorcycle for seven days.

You won’t need anything fancy, but you will need good hiking shoes; lightweight, loose-fitting clothing; a hat with a wide brim; sunscreen’ insect repellent; snacks; and lots of water. If you plan to go off trail in the backcountry, bring a compass.

It’s all about hiking at Big Bend National Park, and you’ll find more than 150 miles of trails in the mountains, along the desert floor, and near the Rio Grande.

The challenging 12-mile South Rim Trail climbs 2,000 feet to the top of a ridge, where the desert floor ripples away like gray-green elephant hide into the distance. Hardy hikers can scramble to the top of Emory Peak, the highest point in the park at 7,825 feet.

For a shorter but equally spectacular hike, opt for the Window Trail, a 5.5-mile round trip to a notch in the rock where water pours over the lip, framing a perfect, wedge-shaped view of the Chihuahuan Desert. The Lost Mines Trail offers a lot of bang for the buck, in the form of big views of surrounding mountains.

Don’t miss Santa Elena Canyon, where the Rio Grande cuts through a narrow high-walled canyon, and a trip to the historic hot springs, where you can dip a toe (or more) in an old stone-lined pool at the edge of the river.

Not all the coolest attractions are located inside park boundaries.

Terlingua, a 20-minute drive to the west, is an old ghost town with an eclectic mix of mining ruins, lodging options that include tipis and clear domes, outfitters that offer guided rafting and cycling trips, the Terlingua Trading Company & Bookstore, and a handful of restaurants, including the Starlight Theatre Restaurant & Saloon (with a front porch, where musicians often gather and entertain visitors) and the newly reopened La Kiva.

Even farther west you’ll find the resort of Lajitas, which offers lodging, a golf course, a small store, and a pen that houses the town’s mayor, a goat named Clay Henry. From Lajitas, you can access the even wilder terrain of Big Bend Ranch State Park, known for its mountain biking and remote camping opportunities.

Before you head out, remember where you’re going, says park ranger VandenBerg.

“Don’t be surprised when you get here that it’s a desert and it’s very, very hot,” he says. Check the official park website for the latest information regarding park closures and conditions (such as heat advisories) and remember that reservations are needed for all campgrounds and lodging within the park.

Bring all the essentials you’ll need during your stay. Nearby Marathon and Terlingua offer a few staples, and there’s a camp store in the park, but the nearest full-service shopping is in Fort Stockton, a two-hour drive from Panther Junction.

“There’s not a Walmart right down the street,” VandenBerg says. “It’s very limited so come with what you need.”

Next, slow down.

“Parks are a national treasure, and you shouldn’t rush,” VandenBerg says. Some park roads are paved, but others are gravel and rugged enough that you’ll need four-wheel drive. “Our roads are designed for a leisurely 40 mph and anything faster is dangerous.”

Know your capabilities. “Hiking many miles in a desert isn’t for everybody and that’s OK. Don’t overestimate your abilities and do not underestimate the desert.”

Park officials recommend carrying a gallon of water per person a day, or two liters per half day. “Even in winter, [Big Bend] can be very hot and heat illness can be a concern any time of the year,” VandenBerg says.

Fourth, consider leaving Fido home. Dogs are allowed in the park but not on trails, and they must be on a leash at all times.

Cellphone service is spotty, but you can usually get reception at Panther Junction Visitors Center. Beyond that, don’t count on it.

Most important of all, have fun. “Enjoy the park for what it is, be open to it and curious about it,” Vandenberg says. “It’s a dramatic, wild place filled with wildlife and big open places, but realize it is a desert and you do need to respect it.”

Your Guide to Camping

Explore our map of campgrounds across the state and read more about how to have a successful trip.

Go to the Camping Guide

Here's where you can catch July 4th fireworks across the Coastal Bend

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — If you're looking to celebrate Independence Day with a big firework show, several areas in the Coastal Bend will be lighting up the sky.Freedom Fest in Mathis kicks off this weekend! Friday, the annual Fourth of July Parade will start at 7 p.m. ...

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — If you're looking to celebrate Independence Day with a big firework show, several areas in the Coastal Bend will be lighting up the sky.

Freedom Fest in Mathis kicks off this weekend! Friday, the annual Fourth of July Parade will start at 7 p.m. Road closures begin Friday at noon.

On Saturday morning, there will be a 5K Walk-Run that will start at City Hall. Then, Saturday night will be a huge celebration with live music and a firework show.

Click here for more information.

On July 4, the Wendell Family Annual Firework Show will light up the sky.

This show is a tradition started by the late Jerry and Jan Wendell back in 1965.

The Wendell family keeps the tradition going every year. This year, the show will start at 9 p.m. at Rockport Beach.

On Saturday, July 1, Aransas Pass residents can enjoy a show starting at 9:15 p.m. at the Conn Brown Harbor. There will be front seat viewing from the flatlands across the Dale Miller Bridge if you don't make it to the harbor.

If you can carpool, that may be best, as parking will be limited.

There will be a whole days worth of fun to enjoy Saturday, July 1 in Beeville! The event is free and will be held at Veterans Memorial Park.

For more information, click here.

NAS Kingsville will host their Firework Show and Concert on July 3 starting at 6 p.m. Base access is required for some of the events.

Kiewitt Offshore Services is once again holding a big firework show for the Ingleside community.

The show will be Sunday, July 2 at 9 p.m. There will be a designated parking area for residents. The yard will only be open to employees.

The 10th annual Island Blast Firework Display will begin at dusk on July 4 on Padre Island.

For information on where you can see the show and park your boat, click here.

The 46th Annual Big Bang Fourth of July Firework Show, by presenting sponsor H-E-B, is set for 9:30 p.m. on July 4 along the Corpus Christi Bayfront.

Leading up to the big show, family-friendly activities will take place at The Water's Edge, along with a patriotic ceremony at Sherrill Veterans Memorial Park.


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