This Unique Tiny Town Right By Big Bend National Park Is Full Of Funky Cowboy Vibes

There are not many things more American than cowboys. Cowboy stereotypes like big hats and farm living have been staples of American pop culture for generations and have even spread abroad. Multiple states in the United States evoke imagery of cowboys thanks to decades of Western films and country music. If the popular Paramount television show "Yellowstone" is any indication, the cowboy is alive and well.

Among the states known for cowboy culture is Texas. From the Dallas Cowboys football team to the giant 47-foot-tall Tex Randall sculpture in the town of Canyon, the cowboy remains symbolic of the state's past and present economy and a source of pride. Cowboy themes are also prominent in the southern Texas town of Marathon near Big Bend National Park. It may be a small town of nearly 500 residents, but it makes for a unique road trip stop nonetheless. There are themed hotels, restaurants serving classic American cuisine, and information on nearby attractions.

[Featured image by WhisperToMe via Wikimedia Commons | Cropped and scaled | CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication]

Staying overnight in Marathon means excellent stargazing

What looks a bit like The Alamo in Marathon, Texas, is actually the Marathon Motel and RV Park. This desert-dwelling dates back to the 1940s but has all the modern amenities in its cabins and RV campsites. Not only are vast mountains within view here, but also bright stars fill the sky. The motel and RV park invite guests to gather outside each night to enjoy the stars and check out the on-site telescopes.

The Gage Hotel, right on Highway 90, is perfect for stargazing as well. The hotel has been a mainstay in Marathon since the 1920s. Its Southwestern and cowboy décor, complete with deer antler chandeliers, is likely what you would expect from a vintage Texas hotel, but the 27-acre Gage Gardens may come as a surprise. These gardens feature countless native plants, a golf-putting green, birds, and a big sculpture of a steer. Its heated pool is open year-round, as are the gardens. During your stay, take your pick from the hotel's three restaurants and coffee bar.

Marathon is close to Big Bend National Park

For classic Texan cuisine, head to Brick Vault Brewery and Bar close to the Gage Hotel. The restaurant's barbeque or smoked meat selections include ribs, brisket, pork, and turkey. Complement the food with local craft beer. Continue supporting locals by visiting the Evans Gallery. Owner John Evans has lived in southern Texas since the 1980s and displays his Big Bend photographs at this gallery. If possible, call ahead with the information on his website.

Marathon, Texas, is just slightly over 40 miles from Big Bend National Park. What makes this national park famous is its birdwatching. One of the many places to try to spot birds is on the Rio Grande Village Nature Trail. Find beautiful views of the desert on the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive and from a short hike on the Window View Trail in the Chisos Mountains. Marathon has the Big Bend Visitor Information Center near the town's welcome sign. Getting to the park from Marathon is a straight shot from U.S. Route 385, which intersects with Highway 90 in Marathon.