Summer is right around the corner, and you know what that means, right? It’s time to hit the open road and explore places you’ve never been to before. Any seasoned traveler will tell you that the best part about a road trip isn’t the destination itself. The journey to getting there is what stays with you forever.
The ever-changing landscapes as you drive by, those cute little roadside diners that make you feel like you’re back in the 90s, and the quirky pit-stops that make some of the most memorable moments. That’s what becomes ingrained in your mind.
If you plan to travel any of the 200+ miles on I-45 spanning from Dallas to Galveston, you’re in for quite the adventure. Here’s an overview of the top must-visit pit stops on I-45 in Texas.
1. Ennis Bluebonnet Trails
Spring in the Lone Star State is one of the most beautiful times of the year. You’ll find all sorts of yellow and orange flowers popping up all over the Texas hill country. The most majestic of them all, is no doubt, the bluebonnet.
In 1997, the Texas legislature designated Ennis as the official Bluebonnet city in Texas. People travel far and wide to see the famous state flower. These beauties start blooming around mid-March, so the best time to visit Ennis is usually in April, when the flowers are in full blossom.
While you’re there, you might want to stop by the annual Ennis Bluebonnet Festival, which takes place for three days in April.
Admission is usually free for children and adults alike. You’ll enjoy state fair rides, live performances, wine sampling, wildflower walks, scenic country rides, and a host of other fun activities you might like. You can even take some beautiful bluebonnet souvenirs with you as you head out.
If you’re interested in seeing the Ennis bluebonnets, you can visit the official trail that runs throughout April. You can opt to go on a guided tour that costs around $50 or simply enjoy the trail at your own pace.
The West Trail, in particular, has some of the most scenic spots if you’re looking for the perfect place to take pictures. You’ll also see bluebonnets throughout the city and even on the side of the roads.
2. Woody’s Smokehouse
If you’re crazy about beef jerky, you’ll want to stop by Woody’s Smokehouse in Centerville, TX. It’s the perfect pit stop to top up your gas tank, get in a little leg-stretching time, and, more importantly, get a taste of their world-famous smoked hickory-peppered beef jerky. The hickory smoked pork ribs, grilled chicken, and sliced brisket are quite popular as well.
If you want to try something different, there’s a wide range of exotic meats available. It’s worth checking out if you’re ever on I-45 in Texas.
3. Texas Pit Stop BBQ
While we’re still on the meat subject, the Texas Pit Stop BBQ in Seawall Boulevard, Galveston, TX, is another must-visit pit stop on I-45. We recommend trying the pulled pork, sliced brisket, and barbecue pork ribs. They’re packed with a surprising amount of mouthwatering flavor. The baked beans and mac & cheese sides will also blow your mind.
When you get there, we recommend sitting on the patio outside. You’ll enjoy the cool breeze as you devour some of the best-tasting barbecue meats you’ll ever have in your life.
4. Buc-ee’s Gas Station
If you’re driving along the interstate and need to top-up on gas or snacks, Buc Ee’s on 45 is a great pit stop along your trip.
The one thing that’s synonymous with all Buc Ee’s gas stations – whether you’re at Buc Ee’s on 45 North, Buc Ee’s on 45 South, Buc Ee’s in Madisonville, or Buc Ee’s Baytown – is the abundance of super clean restrooms in all their stations.
Not to mention the fact that no road trip would be complete without grabbing a couple of bags of delicious beaver nuggets available at their convenience stores. Those little golden kernels are seriously addictive.
While you’re at it, you might want to grab some Buc-ee’s jellies and jams. We recommend getting the Muscadine Grape and Peach Jalapeno flavors. They taste good on everything.
Don’t leave without getting some Buc-ee’s Candied Jalapeno Cream Cheese spread. It tastes remarkably delicious on club crackers. These sell out fast, so if you come across a Buc-ee’s that stocks them, you might want to grab a couple.
5. I 45 Diner
The I-45 Diner, located off interstate 45, is the perfect place to enjoy delicious, authentic, homemade American food. We’re talking hamburgers, fries, sandwiches, chicken fried steak, smoked sausages, grilled pork chops … the works.
The diner even offers breakfast all day long, so if you’re craving bacon, ham, eggs, hash browns, or fluffy pancakes, you can have them at any time of day. The diner is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., which is great if you have an early start or late finish to your day on the road.
6. Collin Street Bakery
If you’re craving something sweet and decadent, you’ll want to make a quick stop at Collin Street Bakery, located at Corsicana along I-45.
The one thing you’ll want to try is their world-famous DeLuxe Fruitcake. It’s been featured on the Travel Channel, The Food Network, The History Channel, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. It’s that good. Their range of Texas Pecan Cakes is to die for as well. It’s definitely worth the stop.
7. Truck Stops on I 45 in Texas
Truck stops on I-45 have served highway drivers for more than six decades, providing food, fuel, and accommodation to weary travelers. Top truck stops on interstate 45 include:
- Flying J Travel Center in Houston, TX
- Hitchin’ Post Truck Terminal in Huntsville, TX
- I-45 Truck Stop in Fairfield, TX
- Love’s Travel Stop in Ennis, TX, Hutchins, TX, Fairfield, TX, Houston, TX, and Willis, TX
- Pilot Travel Center in Huntsville, TX and Buffalo, TX
- Sunmart in Spring, TX
- Valero’s Travel Center in Teague, TX
8. Live, Explore, Discover
Your road trip doesn’t have to be boring and stuffy, especially if you’ll be on I-45. Try new things, visit new places, and meet new people along your travels. While you do, be sure to visit the pit stops we’ve highlighted in this guide. You won’t regret it.
In the meantime, check out our blog for some Dallas to Houston travel options.