best airports near big bend national park

Best Airports Near Big Bend National Park

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Figuring out the best airport to fly into when visiting Big Bend National Park isn’t easy.  There are few National Parks in the lower 48 that are as challenging to get to as Big Bend.  And while you will have to do some driving after you fly into a “nearby” airport, finally getting to Big Bend National Park will feel amazing, as it’s a beautiful and secluded location that will leave you more than satisfied that you made the journey!

best airports near big bend national park

We hope this guide will help you as you plan your trip to Big Bend National Park and try to figure out the right airport for you and your travel party!


There are only a few realistic options for airports to fly into when visiting Big Bend National Park, and this guide is going to highlight the three best options.  It’s also important to know what entrance you want to use.  Big Bend National Park has two entrances: The Persimmon Gap entrance (to the north) and the Maverick Junction Entrance (to the northeast).  While after you enter each entrance you will still have a bit of a drive to the central part of the park (Chisos Basin area) either entrance will serve you well.

Each airport and entrance option will require a lot of driving.  Since we all know that air travel delays are commonplace, you may want to fly into the area a full day ahead of when you want to be arriving in Big Bend National Park.  Otherwise you may find that you’ll be driving late into the night to get into the park, which can be dangerous with the animals that frequent the area, such as javelina.  A chance meeting between a javelina and your rental car will get you (and the javelina) off to a rough beginning of your trip!

To help assist you with your travel choices, we have this visual graphic that shows the nearby airports, driving distances and approximate times you can expect.  We also include the entrance that you will want to drive into for each airport selection.

closest airports to big bend national park
big bend national park itinerary

Don’t forget to download a copy of our itinerary for Big Bend National Park ahead of your trip!  We cover the best hikes (and hiking maps), what to see and do in the park, nearby places to visit, what to pack, where to stay and more!


Midland International Air & Space Port:

  • Symbol: MAF
  • Location: Midland-Odessa, TX
  • Closest Park Entrance: Persimmon Gap Entrance (195 miles)
  • Operating Season: Year-round
  • Notes: While the closest airport to the park, it also has variability in what flights go to and from based on the season. It is a relatively small airport, and is smallest airport on this list.  That means that it’ll be easier to get in and out of the airport, but expect it to be harder to make changes should your flights coming in get delayed.

El Paso International Airport:

  • Symbol: ELP
  • Location: El Paso, TX
  • Closest Park Entrance: Maverick Junction Entrance (297 miles)
  • Operating Season: Year-round
  • Notes: El Paso is quite a bit larger than Midland International Air & Space Port, as it handles three times the number of passengers. Be prepared for a long drive, though!  However, if you are coming here, you might as well couple it with a visit to White Sands National Park, just over the border in New Mexico.
white sands national park

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (and Dallas Love Field Airport)

  • Symbol: DFW (DAL)
  • Location: Dallas, TX
  • Closest Park Entrance: Persimmon Gap Entrance (536 miles)
  • Operating Season: Year-round
  • Notes: Dallas is not even close to Big Bend National Park, but Dallas is a major hub and thus direct flights to here are available from most of the United States. Plan on the drive from here taking a bit over 8 hours, without stops!


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About Just Go Travel Studios

We are Amy & Pete Brahan. Very simply, we are passionate about our National Parks and Public Lands and explore them with our three kids whenever we can.

As much as we enjoy traveling, we also love sharing our knowledge and helping others create everlasting memories through our custom-made travel posters, downloadable travel itineraries and detailed blog articles.

10% of all after-tax profits are donated to the National Park Foundation.

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