Sometimes you want to get away from it all after a stressful conference. Far West Texas is just the place. Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains national parks have forested mountain sanctuaries amidst vast, harsh desert. Their world-class scenery is on par with parks like Yosemite or the Smoky Mountains, but without the crowds. But be prepared; both parks are remote. Big Bend is more than five hours southeast of El Paso by car, while Guadalupe Mountains is an hour-and-a-half east of El Paso near New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns. Big Bend has cabins and camping, while the latter is the only lodging option at Guadalupe Mountains.