Traverse through the diverse landscapes from Atlanta, Georgia to Big Bend National Park located in west Texas along the southern border with this ten-stop cabin-to-cabin ~3,250-mile road trip. Along the way, experience the wonders of four national parks: Hot Springs, Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains, and Big Bend, and the beauty of seven states: Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Louisiana.
This journey captures a little bit of everything from dense woods, forests, waterfalls, rivers, and creeks, to mountains, deserts, caves, and bayous. At each stop, soak in the natural surroundings by relaxing in comfortable private cabins that emanate the enchantment of the area. The trip ends with a deep dive into history at the USS Alabama.
Of course, pick up this loop wherever suits you best. Winetraveler picked Atlanta as the starting point based on the ease of Winetravelers arriving to/from Atlanta. If a long road trip doesn’t fit your travel style presently, any of the stops along the way would be perfect for a long weekend.
Big Bend National Park Road Trip Itinerary
Along your road trip, you’ll be making a total of 10 stops at unique cabins in various states along the way. Read through this travel guide or click below to skip to each stop and see why each is special.
- Stop 1: Alabama
- Stop 2: Mississippi
- Stop 3; Arkansas
- Stop 4: Oklahoma
- Stop 5: Texas
- Stop 6: Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe National Parks
- Stop 7: Ranch near Big Bend National Park
- Stop 8: Tipi by the Guadalupe River
- Stop 9: Cabin on Bayou Petite Anse – Louisiana
- Stop 10: Mobile, Alabama
- …and more
Unwind in a quaint 1-bedroom (plus a loft with a queen-sized bed)/1 bathroom rustic log cabin (Vrbo 1544990) nestled in the woods in Mentone, Alabama just over a mile from DeSoto State Park. The ~104 ft. Desoto Falls, named after the Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto, cascading off a cliff is a highlight. The must-see Little River Canyon National Preserve with the ~45-ft. Little River Falls is nearby.
After a day exploring the woods and nearby waterfalls, lounge in the cozy living room by the fire complete with natural wood floors and walls with an antler chandelier. Soak in the hot tub on the covered back porch in the evening and make memories by the fire pit.
Cabins at Midway offers three wooden cabins along the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway overlooking the Midway Marina in Fulton, Mississippi. Its scenic remote location makes it the perfect spot to base a romantic getaway in northeast Mississippi, and for those visiting nearby Tupelo. Rustic charm and luxury are blended emanating a feeling of warmth and tranquility. Cuddle up by the wood-burning fireplace inside the cabin or by the outdoor shared fireplace that is shaped like a stand-alone brick chimney with water views. Venture out of the cabin and explore Tupelo, visit Elvis Presley’s birth home, trace parts of the historic Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail and the Underground Railroad, and listen to music while following parts of the blues and country music trails. Winetraveler previously created a more thorough travel guide for this region: Mississippi Itinerary: Private Cabin Retreat in the Hills Region.
Listen to the flow of the Caddo River from the River Ridge Cabin in Glenwood, Arkansas (Vrbo 772692) that is located just south of the Ouachita National Forest. This beautifully decorated two-story cabin has two bedrooms (plus a loft with a queen-size bed)/2 bathrooms, vaulted ceilings, and two-level porches that overlook the Caddo River. The cabin is a peaceful place to disconnect while sipping on your favorite wine from the porch rocking chairs and soaking in the natural surroundings. Secure a fishing license and fish right from the backyard and spend the afternoon canoeing down the river. Another nearby cabin option complete with a Jacuzzi tub along a creek is the Lost Cabin at the Creek (Vrbo 9456313).
Hot Springs National Park is on the way to Glenwood from Fulton, Mississippi. Either stop by on the way or make it a day trip. The national park is located right in the middle of town in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Thermal hot springs, hikes through thick forestry to mountain views, creeks, and mountains await. Touch the thermal water from two different outdoor spots: Hot Water Cascade, and the Display Spring. Soak in the water at historic bathhouses, such as Buckstaff Bathhouse and Quapaw Bathhouse. Drink the water from thermal spring fountains and/or cold spring landscape fountains. Garavan Woodland Gardens is located nearby and is acclaimed for its floral
Retreat to an ultra-luxury honeymoon-styled cabin in Broken Bow/Hochatown, Oklahoma with a sunken hot tub adjacent to the fireplace on the outdoor porch. The essence of this 1 bedroom/1.5 bathroom Kiss Me on the Creek cabin (Vrbo 9158511) is deliberately tailored for romantic getaways. It is located against a seasonal creek in a thick forest, which can be relished from the outdoor sunken hot tub that shares the fireplace from the bedroom. There is an outdoor fire pit, perfect for roasting marshmallows.
Beavers Bend Resort Park, Broken Bow Lake, and Hochatown State Park are all located nearby and provide beautiful scenery. Outdoor adventurous activities include hunting, fishing, horseback riding, canoeing, hiking, and ATV-riding.
Taste local at wineries and breweries nearby (some even walking distance from the cabin): Fish Tales Winery, Girls Gone Wine, Vojai’s Winery, Knotted Rope Winery, Mountain Fork Brewery, and Beavers Bend Brewery.
Feel secluded at the cozy 2-bedroom/1 bathroom Cabina Mariposa (Airbnb 42987484) in Dublin, Texas surrounded by openness and oak and cedar trees while still being close to Stephenville, known as the Cowboy Capital of the World. From the cabin, you may hear cows mooing, horses whinnying, birds chirping, roosters crowing, coyotes howling, and the chirping of crickets. Unwind by the firepit at night and listen to the animal noises.
Underground and aboveground beauty abound at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, which is located in the Guadalupe Mountains and the Chihuahuan Desert in southeast New Mexico. Rugged mountainous terrain with cacti is visible above the surface. Drive the 9.5-mile scenic loop through the park to admire the expansive barren landscape and select hikes to traverse the desert environment. Numerous mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects make this area their home. Barbary sheep blend in with the terrain.
Reserve your entry to the cave in advance as reservations are required. Take an elevator down 750 ft. below the surface to explore the extensive cave network at your own pace. The Big Room Trail is the most popular route. As stated on the NPS website, the Big Room “is the largest single cave chamber by volume in North America. . . . Actor and comedian Will Rogers called the cavern, ‘The Grand Canyon with a roof over it.’”
The Brazilian free-tailed bats migrate back to the cave around mid-to-late April and the Bat Flight Program runs late May through October. From the Bat Flight Amphitheater, watch the bats fly out of the cave around sunset.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a backpackers paradise. To truly experience the beauty of the park, hiking is a must as there are no paved roads into the interior of the park. For those passing through or unable to hike, the main highway along the exterior does provide scenic glimpses. There are overlook spots, such as El Capitan that rises 8,085 ft. The landscape is a mixture of mountains, canyons, dunes, and the desert. Many trails are on the lengthier side, but there are over 80 miles of trails for day hikes. One of the most popular trails takes hikers to the top of Guadalupe Peak. The trail is ~8.5-miles roundtrip with 3,000 ft. elevation gain. Another favorite is the McKittrick Canyon Trail.
Stay in a cottage in Carlsbad, New Mexico at the Bungalow on Blodgett (Airbnb 39157417).
Escape to the secluded Sunset Ranch (Airbnb 17878714) that exudes the quintessential Texas-ranch atmosphere while being only 40-minutes from the park entrance of Big Bend National Park. The 1 bedroom/1 bathroom ranch is located on an acre of cleared land that makes for enjoyable sunrise and sunset views on the porch and excellent star-gazing. Other nearby options to consider include Cottonwood Creek Cabin (Airbnb 17341100) and Mountain View Guest House (Airbnb 37849682).
Big Bend National Park, located in west Texas along the border of Mexico, is a prime spot for stargazing and soaking in this desert-mountain paradise. Around 80% of the park is in the Chihuahuan Desert. Springtime or fall is an optimal time to visit the park to escape the extreme desert temperatures common in the summer or winter. The park offers more than 100 miles of paved roads for visitors to admire the expansiveness and beauty of this wilderness, along with more than 150 miles of hiking trails. The various hiking trails traverse through your choice of desert trails, the Chisos Mountains, or along the banks of the Rio Grande. Float down miles of canyons along the Rio Grande. Learn more about river trips from the NPS website here.
San Antonio is only about an hour west of the next stop. Tour the city, have dinner by the River Walk, and tour the Alamo. The Alamo is free of charge, but reserve your spot in advance.
Experience a unique glamping getaway in a tipi by the Guadalupe River with access to the river in New Braunfels, Texas. Each tipi has a small kitchenette with comfortable sleeping for up to 6 guests along with an outdoor charcoal grill and firepit. Each tipi also has a private detached bathroom. Boating, tubing, fly-fishing are excellent nearby outdoorsy river activities. You can also stay in a luxurious cabin treehouse at River Road Cabins.
Top Texas Hill Country Wineries, such as Pedernales Cellars, Becker Vineyards, Sister Creek Vineyards, Grape Creek Vineyards, William Chris Vineyards, and Duchman Family Winery are located between 1-1.5 hours from here. Learn more about these wineries here.
Live the Louisiana bayou experience at the Cabin on Bayou Petite Anse (Airbnb 27014871) in New Iberia, Louisiana. This 2 bedroom/1 bathroom cabin has kayaks for guests to enjoy. This cabin seems to have been curated with Winetravelers in mind. Their “guestbook” (as of April 2021) welcomed their guests with a bottle of bubbly with a marker to be signed and then displayed above the kitchen cabinets along with the bottles consumed by their past guests.
Be mindful of littles (and yourself) as an alligator could be sunning himself. Bird lovers will have their work cut out for them as this area is home to more than 200 species of birds. After an adventurous day, relax on the balcony overlooking the Bayou Petite Anse, by the firepit, or in the living room by the fireplace.
Indulging in Cajun cuisine is part of the Louisiana experience. R&M’s Boiling Point is a great place for those craving seafood, crawfish, frog legs, alligator bites, etouffee, and other great local dishes. Tour the history and production of the world-famous Tabasco sauce at the Tabasco Museum, which is located only a few minutes from the cabin. The more adventurous can navigate there by kayak directly from the cabin.
Dive into history by touring the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park. The retired USS Alabama that was launched in 1942 was the home to 2,500 brave Americans during WWII. It has nine 16” guns, twenty 5” guns, forty-eight 40mm guns, and fifty-two 20mm guns. In addition to the USS Alabama, the park contains a submarine, the USS Drum, an aircraft pavilion, tanks and artillery, and a memorial park honoring all veterans of all wars. For those unable to visit soon, tour the battleship from the comfort of your living room here, read the history, and/or watch a documentary.
Stay nearby at the Admiral Hotel, or search through the several cottage options across Mobile Bay on Vrbo. Beer lovers staying at the Admiral Hotel can walk to the Loda Bier Garten for a lengthy selection of beer options.