Glamp In A Luxury Cave Resort Right By A National Park At This Southern Destination

Everyone knows that the stars at night are bright in Texas, but it's hard to see them from the middle of a busy city. However, certain areas of the United States are protected by a Dark Sky policy, which prevents artificial light from interfering with the natural beauty of the night sky. The Greater Big Bend International Dark Sky Reserve spans 9 million acres, representing the world's largest area of protected dark sky. Within this vast expanse of natural wonder, you can find The Summit at Big Bend. At this unique glamping destination, visitors can spend a night of luxury in an actual cave as they experience the magnificence of the Texas stars at night.

The Big Bend region of Texas is named after the curve of the Rio Grande River as it bends along the Mexican border. This part of the state is known for the rugged beauty of its mountains, canyons, and deserts. When Jess and Billy Bartko, owners of The Summit, first visited the area, they saw how special it was. As they drove around the ranch, they soon realized it was "nothing but one spectacular view after another," Billy recalls, per The Texas Bucket List. Before long, he and Jess decided they needed to put in an offer to purchase the land. "This place has been special to me since the minute we got here," he continues. The couple decided to build The Summit so others could also experience the beauty of this region.

Stay in a luxury cave suite

The Summit is located near Terlingua, Texas, about eight hours west of Dallas. Terlingua was originally a mining town and still bears evidence of its past. When Billy and Jess discovered the old mining caves on the property, they knew they wanted to convert them into unique accommodations for guests. The Summit is the only cave hotel in Texas, and it offers two cave suites sculpted into the Tres Cuevas Mountain. Each cave offers a king-sized bed and a private bathroom. 

The bathroom has running water and a double rain-head shower, with natural wood shelves for shower toiletries. A sliding barn door separates the bathroom from the rest of the suite. In the kitchen is a mini-fridge and a coffeemaker, and there's a sitting area just inside the entrance to the cave. Each suite has air conditioning, heating, and even WiFi. Outside the door is a firepit with additional seating where guests can enjoy the sunset after a day of exploring.

In addition to the luxury caves, The Summit offers several other types of accommodations. Across the landscape of the property is a collection of white domes, which also provide a luxurious desert glamping experience. Inside each dome is a comfortable king-sized bed with air conditioning, heat, and WiFi. A coffeemaker, mini-fridge, and a small sink are available, as well as a fire pit with seating outside each dome.

Stargaze from inside a dome

Guests can choose from two different types of domes for their stay. The Summit Dome includes a sleeper sofa and a king-sized bed, which allows these tents to accommodate three adults or a combination of two adults and two children. These domes have clear screen doors that look out onto the desert but have solid tops. However, the Stargazing Domes offer the chance to stargaze inside the tent through clear ceilings. They provide a spectacular view of the stars from the bed as you drift off to sleep. These Stargazer Domes can accommodate two guests with a king-sized bed and include the same amenities offered at the Summit Domes. Linens and pillows are provided in each type of dome, and guests can access restrooms in shared bathhouses nearby.

For a more traditional accommodation, guests may also stay in one of the newly renovated homes at The Summit. Both homes are located on the side of the Tres Cuevas Mountain. Casa Del Sol offers guests a plush king-sized bed with a sleeper sofa, a private indoor bathroom, and a small kitchenette. Casa Grande is slightly larger, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a game area. Each home has a private outdoor patio with a fire pit, which becomes a perfect spot to relax and watch the stars come out in the beautiful Texas night sky.