It doesn’t matter how many times you do it. Road trips never get old. Something about hitting the open road, singing along to your favorite jams, and exploring new places, feels new every single time. The memories you make will last a lifetime. The kind of memories you look back on in your sunset years.
*Cue epic music montage*
From a logistical standpoint, road trips just make sense. All you have to do is pack your bags, fill up the gas tank, stop by the grocery store for snacks, and you’re good to go. There’s no need to break the bank to explore what the world has to offer.
If you’re wondering where to go for a road trip in Texas, we’ve got some amazing ideas that will blow your mind without blowing your budget. Here are our top 10 places to visit on your next trip.
What to Pack for a Trip to Texas
Before we jump straight into the places you need to visit, let’s talk about what you need to pack. Learning how to plan a road trip properly is one of the main secrets to having a great time on the road.
First, we’ve got to warn you – everything’s bigger in Texas, and we don’t mean figuratively either. The Lone Star State is second only to Alaska in terms of geographical area. This means there’s a whole lot of ground to cover and a whole lot to see.
Here are a couple of pointers to help you pack for your Texas trip:
- A swimsuit. Trust us on this. The best way to truly enjoy your summer in Central Texas is to indulge in a spur-of-the-moment swimming adventure. You’ll know it when you see it, so always be prepared.
- Quality sunscreen and cheap sunglasses – in that order. The sunscreen bit is pretty straightforward because you know just how high summer temperatures in Texas can get. As for the cheap sunglasses, you definitely want to leave the designer shades at home. Instead, carry a pair you don’t mind losing during your adventures or getting battered due to the higher-than-usual amount of wear and tear.
- Water. Again, it gets pretty hot out here, and you don’t want to be “that guy,” particularly if you enjoy partaking in a bit of libation during your adventures. Sip water frequently throughout your trip to stay cool and well-hydrated.
- Hiking gear – because what’s a road trip without actually walking around to explore new places. We recommend packing several bandanas, a wide brim hat, and appropriate hiking shoes, and socks and pants if you intend to venture into the bush. Throw in a bottle of sulfur powder while you’re at it. Thank us later.
- Tasty treats. Part of the thrill of road trips in Texas is to stop by BBQ joints and taco stands to sample some of the best cuisines the state has to offer. Nonetheless, given that you’re going to spend a significant amount of time in the car, fill your cooler with a bunch of wholesome, decadent snacks that you can munch on. We’re talking – granola bars, chips and guac, cookies, cheese sticks, sandwiches, you name it. Don’t forget a few fizzy drinks as well.
Where to Go For a Road Trip in Texas
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to the fun part. Here are the top 10 places you have to visit on your Texas road trip.
1. Austin to San Antonio
If you’re looking for somewhere exciting to go to over the weekend, might we suggest taking the 80-mile, one-and-a-half-hour drive between two of the most vibrant cities in Texas? The route is packed with historic sites, rolling hills, and some of the most delicious cuisines the Lone Star State has to offer.
2. Big Bend National Park
This breathtaking historical park has some of the best hiking trails you’ll ever come across. The meticulously preserved archaeological sites will transport you 10,000 years back in time. You’ll get an intimate glimpse of the rugged terrain and the Santa Elena Canyon in all its majesty.
3. Dallas Loop
If you have a bit of time on your hands, drive along the Belt Line Road that will take you on a 92-mile drive through 15 cities. Some of the top stops along this loop include the Cedar Mountain Nature Preserve for the hikers in the house. You should also check out Grand Prairie, Carrollton, and Garland if you enjoy dining at quaint restaurants, doing a bit of shopping, or exploring the historical architecture the cities have to offer.
4. El Paso
If you’re longing for a true southern cowboy experience (minus the horseback-riding part, of course), El Paso is one of those cities you just have to visit. The magnificent view of Texas’ rolling mountains and desert landscapes is guaranteed to take your breath away. Be sure to stop by Hueco Tanks State Park for a close-up look at the unique granite landscapes.
5. Georgetown to San Antonio
This is by far the most scenic route of all the Texas road trips on our list. Remember the swimsuits we asked you to pack earlier? You’re going to need them here. The Blue Hole Lagoon, Barton Springs, and Comal Springs are three stunning spring holes you have to take a dip in.
6. Mineral Wells to Marble Falls
For those who enjoy exploring spooky sites, the (allegedly haunted) Baker Hotel in Mineral Wells is a must-see. Then, you can head over to Marble Falls to get a taste of all the natural wonders the small town has to offer. We’re talking old-growth forests and limestone caverns.
7. Piney Woods
If you’re looking for a quiet, secluded, rustic place to fish, hike, or camp, take the 2-hour road trip from Dallas to Daingerfield State Park. For the wine lovers in the house, the tasting tours on the Piney Woods Wine trail will not disappoint.
8. Waco to Longview
While there are several routes you can use to get from Waco to Longview, State Highway 31 is by far the most scenic route. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, the waterpark at BSR Cable Park will give you the rush you crave. Be sure to stop and explore the rustic roadside towns on your way there.
9. West Columbia to Corpus Christi
If you’ve been dreaming of sunny beaches, the coastal view on the drive from West Columbia to Corpus Christi along State Highway 35 will leave you breathless. Check out Rockport and Palacios on your way. They are two of the most scenic stretches on the route.
10. Texas Hill Country
For anyone who enjoys their glass of vino, the picturesque wine trails of Texas Hill Country are hard to beat. It’s roughly a 45-minute drive out of Austin, which makes it perfect for anyone who’s looking for a short but fun adventure. Once you’re done exploring, head west to Fredericksburg for a romantic getaway.
How Long Does It Take to Drive Across Texas – Final Thoughts
The shortest route is along highway 1-10, which connects Houston and El Paso. It takes about 10 hours total. If you prefer more scenic options, the Blue Water Highway or Route 66 takes about 13-14 hours each.
Are you planning a trip to Texas wine country? Check out our blog for everything you need to know.