If you’re looking for picturesque drives with roadside cafés or little villages with a single petrol station, Texas is the place for you.
If you’re a fan of a certain type of landscape, you’re likely to find it here.
Also, because the state is so big, road vacations are a great method of seeing everything that Texas offers. For a day trip in Dallas or an extended vacation, we’ve got you covered.
Texas road trip plans provide options for nature enthusiasts, history aficionados, and everyone in between.
In this article, you’ll learn about the greatest itineraries and most scenic roads to take on your Southern vacation.
Does your base of operations take place in a large city? Several weekend getaways will allow you to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and explore more of Texas during your visit.
Best Road Trips In Texas
“Everything is bigger in Texas,” we’ve all heard, but do you realize how huge Texas actually is?
If the Lone Star State were a country it could contain all of these countries and still have room to spare.
Like in Europe, the best way to see all of Texas’ various landscapes and sights is to get in the vehicle and have a leisurely drive about.
It’s best to hire a car for a time if you don’t possess one. There truly is no better way to accomplish it than a driving holiday in Texas!
- Big Bend National Park
“Texas’ Gift to the Nation” is what this national park in Texas is known as, and one step on these magnificent, historical plains will persuade you of that fact. A little out of the way from the state’s major cities, Big Bend lies five hours south of El Paso and six hours west of San Antonio. However, the distance only adds to its beauty. It’s a weekend retreat in West Texas that’s all about the outdoors. On top of that, there are several hiking paths in Big Bend that are some of the best in Texas. Getting into the Texas wilderness and near the Mexican border allows visitors to get a close-up look at history uniquely. Big Bend has been inhabited by humans for at least 10,000 years, as evidenced by the various Native American cultures that have inhabited the park’s archaeological sites, which have been meticulously conserved.
Parts of the Comanche Trail, a popular route between the U.S. and Mexico, may be driven. Ranches, military installations, and ancient mining sites are also available for interested visitors to explore. There is a 30-mile Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive that takes you through ranches and vistas before dropping you off at the trailhead of Santa Elena Canyon if only you have one day available. Enjoy a quick walk along the river and canyon floor while taking in natural beauty. With more time, you may explore the park on foot, and overnight hiking is permitted with special permission.
- Road Trip from Mineral Wells to Marble Falls
Along the Dallas-Austin highway, this less-traveled route will get you up and personal with small-town Texas. The drive between these two oddball locations takes two hours along the beautiful US Highway 281, with plenty of places to stop along the way. We consider it to be one of the top weekend destinations in Texas. Baker Hotel, an abandoned luxury resort that previously functioned as spring training grounds for several of the country’s best baseball teams, is worth a visit if you’re in the area. The city is called from the mineral springs that stream through it and are responsible for its name. The water is still available in bottles if you’d want to try it out for yourself.
Swing through Hico, a community of fewer than 1,500 people, on the route south for a taste of small-town life! When traveling in the Texas heat, you may want to stop at Hancock Springs Park near Lampasas to take a breather. As the state’s oldest swimming pool, it’s usually cold and refreshing, but it’s much better after a couple of hours in the vehicle. As soon as you arrive at Marble Falls, there is no shortage of natural attractions to discover. Limestone caves, old-growth woods, and miles of famed Texas Hill Country wineries may all be found in this little community. Mountain biking, hang gliding, and zip-lining are popular activities in the city, but it is also home to some of the greatest handmade pies in the state. If you’ve ever had Southern food, you’ll understand the significance of this.
- Dallas Loop Road Trip
Dallas has long been a popular tourist destination in Texas, although most tourists stick to the city’s attractions in the downtown area. Dallas’ Belt Line Road stretches 92 miles and connects 15 cities, allowing visitors to experience a side of the city that few people, not even the locals, get to see. There are a lot of great things to do around Dallas. This isn’t your average Texas road trip, but those who do it will get to experience a mix of urban and rural landscapes, historic neighborhoods, and sumptuous dining places. While the drive takes around two hours, the trip may easily turn into a full-day excursion if you want to see everything along the route. There is a short trek to Cedar Mountain Nature Preserve where you may explore the native flora and wildlife of Texas. After that, you’ll be on the road to industrial Dallas with its old railways and the relics of the cotton industry that characterized this area. History abounds in Garland, Carrollton, and Grand Prairie, where you may visit the farmers market or dine at one of the numerous restaurants that know how to make comfort cuisine perfectly.
- Road Trip from Austin to San Antonio
San Antonio is a great weekend getaway from Austin. Eighty miles of rolling hills and Southern charm line the route between two of Texas’ most vibrant cities, with historic sites and some of the state’s greatest food on each end of the trip. In addition to the Texas State Capitol, where the state’s government convenes, be sure to visit East 6th Street, which is home to Austin’s greatest pubs and eateries. As you drive south, stop at San Marcos for a glass-bottom boat tour of Spring Lake and a Manske roll at Gil’s Broiler, the town’s signature sweet delicacy. New Braunfels is the next city on the list. Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort is located in this tiny town, which offers something for everyone. Walk the world-famous San Antonio RiverWalk when you arrive in Texas’ oldest city. Be sure not to miss the River Walk, where you’ll discover the greatest art, dining, and shopping in the region. A visit to the Alamo and several of the cities’ other 18th century missions is a must for any history enthusiast.
- El Paso Road Trip
It’s a must-do to take an El Paso road trip to feel like a cowboy exploring Texas for the first time (although from the comfort of an air-conditioned automobile rather than on horseback). Located on the border of Mexico and New Mexico, El Paso is a large metropolis surrounded by low-lying Texas Mountains and desert landscapes. There are several state and national parks in the region that are ideal for hiking. Our recommendation is to take the El Paso circle over a long weekend, but you may extend it to five days or a whole week, depending on your timetable. Hueco Tanks State Park, located approximately an hour away, is a tiny park with unique granite landscapes ideal for climbing, as well as historic rock art available through guided tours. In Guadalupe Mountains National Park, you’ll find the world’s biggest fossil reef and Texas’s four tallest mountains, which will take you another one and a half hours.
- Piney Woods Road Trip
Anybody who likes woodland vistas and ethereal lakes will enjoy this East Texas trip. Set aside a weekend to explore places far distant from the state where they live in the South. A two-hour journey east from Dallas will take you to Daingerfield State Park, which is famed for its spectacular fall foliage. When it comes to camping, hiking, fishing, and boating in Texas, Daingerfield is a great place to go year-round. From there, wine lovers may explore Texas’ lesser-known vineyard tour in its whole or in part. Piney Woods Wine Trail offers even more intimate sampling experiences because there aren’t nearly as many tourists as in the Texas Hill Country! Afterward, drive via Jefferson to Caddo Lake State Park, where you may get your nature fix. There are plenty of places to stay in Jefferson for one night if you have the time, especially since it’s the bed and breakfast capital.
A boat ride on the state’s only natural lake, Caddo Lake, will reveal breathtaking scenery, including the world’s tallest bald cypress tree and a handful of alligators. This journey from Dallas takes only around 4 hours, but you’ll feel like you’ve traveled for days.
- Route 66 Road Trip
A small section of Route 66 goes across the Texas Panhandle and is accessible from Missouri, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Your Route 66 adventure will begin in Shamrock at the Tower Station and Café. This restored 1935 Conoco gas station still retains the pumps and old signage, however, it is no longer open to the public and no longer provides service.
Once you’ve made your way to Amarillo’s US Route 66–Sixth Street Historic District, you’ll find elegant antiques and down-home Southern food. Also in Amarillo, you’ll find the Cadillac Ranch, a 1974 art installation that features ten Cadillac sticking straight out of the desert landscape. In Adrian; you’ll discover the Route 66 halfway point and the Midpoint Café, which serves classic American food in a 50s-style diner. In New Mexico, don’t forget to visit Dot’s Mini-Museum and the Vega Motel.
- Road Trip from Waco to Longview
Several routes connect the two cities, but none is as picturesque as State Highway 31, where you’ll be tempted to pull over every 10 minutes to take in the scenery. You’ll see everything from water sports destinations to little roadside villages on your driving holiday from Waco, Texas. BSR Cable Park, a water park that puts all others to shame, is just 20 minutes outside of downtown Waco. There is a famous Royal Flush ride that launches brave visitors into the air before splashing them in a refreshing pool at the end. Next, visit some of the small-town attractions.
About a third of the way through the drive, Corsicana is an excellent spot to stop for lunch before continuing on your journey. Corsicana, Texas’ first oil boomtown is known for its Petroleum Park and Pioneer Village, two must-see historical places. Tyler, Texas is another great place to take a break from traveling if you need to stretch your legs. Among the city’s attractions are a beautiful rose garden and a pine forest state park with several easy hikes. In Longview, you can do everything from sipping on fine local wine to zip-lining over waterfalls.
- Road Trip from West Columbia to Corpus Christi
Along State Highway 35, also known as the “Hug the Coast Highway,” you’ll be daydreaming of sunny beach days the entire way along. Even at a leisurely pace, it may be completed on a weekend. While traveling around calm wetlands with occasional glimpses of the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll want to take your time. This small town in the South may look like any other, but it was the capital of the Republic of Texas for three months in 1836, despite its small size.
A few museums in the area are worth a look, as are The Point and its legendary Vietnamese and Mexican restaurant/bait shop/social hub The Point in Palacios. Before continuing your journey to Rockport on one of the most scenic stretches of the entire drive, stop here for lunch. Aransas National Wildlife Refuge adds only an hour to your trip but offers a wealth of breathtaking sights. Whooping cranes inhabit the area, which you can see up close on a 1.5-mile hike. After all, the entire trip to Corpus Christi takes only around three hours without diversions, so there’s plenty of time to take it all in.
- Road Trip from Georgetown to San Antonio
Look no further than the Georgetown to San Antonio route for a road trip in Texas that’s off the usual path. A careful eye and a carefully planned itinerary are required to discover the real reasons why so many people love this road trip. In the shadows of rushing vehicles, there are five beautiful spring-fed swimming holes. You should drive slowly and keep your swimwear on so you don’t miss any opportunities to take a dip in the scorching heat of Texas.
A short distance from Georgetown’s downtown is the expansive Blue Hole Lagoon. Go 31 miles south to Barton Springs after you’ve had your fill of fun there. Located in the Austin region, Barton Springs is a popular swimming hole that is supplied by subterranean spring water, which keeps the water at a pleasant 70 degrees throughout the year. Once in San Marcos, you’ll find the San Marcos River and Rio Vista Park, which are great locations for tubing or stand-up paddleboarding if you’re looking for more action.
- Road Trip from Dallas to Galveston
Get out of the big city and head to this lovely beach town in Texas, where life is more colorful and the air smells of salt and ocean wind. Check out our schedule for a weekend in Dallas, or simply a day in Dallas, so you can be sure to see all the city’s highlights, including the mind-blowing murals. Soak up your surroundings as you cruise towards the Gulf of Mexico, and the views along the way just increase your excitement. The fact that Galveston is a great weekend escape from Dallas is without dispute. To maximize your beach time, this plan does not include too many stops. However, you will want to commemorate the halfway point at a renowned Texas institution, the Buc-in ee’s Madisonville. It’s not only road trip munchies that you’ll find at this mega-gas station. There are hundreds of handmade beef jerky kinds to choose from, as well as Texas-themed souvenirs and the cleanest roadside restrooms in the whole state.
A weekend in Houston, home to NASA’s Space Center and an abundance of fine dining alternatives in the city, may satisfy your big city desires if Dallas does not. For those with limited time, it’s best to arrive at your destination as soon as possible so you can spend a few days strolling down the boardwalk, swimming in the Gulf, and eating seafood to your heart’s delight. It’s a must-do road trip in Texas out of all of them.
- Texas Hill Country Road Trip
Assemble, you wine enthusiasts! Enjoy a bottle of red or white wine while taking in the scenery on this journey. Traveling to the Texas Hill Country Wine Trail is easy from Austin. A magnificent natural pool located 45 minutes west of Austin, the Hamilton Pool is reminiscent of a Mexican cenote and is an excellent place to begin your trip. Once you’ve had enough, it’s time to continue westward. Fredericksburg, formerly a German enclave, is now home to some of central Texas’ trendiest boutique boutiques and most magnificent wineries, making it a must-stop on any Texas Hill Country road trip.
Another reason to go to Fredericksburg (Texas) is that it has a reputation for being an extremely romantic destination. Aside from peach picking and country music jams, there’s a whole host of things to do in Fredericksburg on our to-do list. Stopping by their superb tasting rooms is also a good idea. It’s no secret that Fredericksburg is located in the heart of the Texas Wine Country. Once in San Antonio, head south to Landa Falls, where you may take part in a time-honored Texas tradition–river tubing on the San Antonio River. Take a leisurely cruise along the Comal River with memories of vineyards dancing in your brain and a bottle of that new wine at your side.
- Dallas to Fort Worth Road Trip
As Dallas’ sister city, Fort Worth is part of the United States’ fourth-largest metropolitan area (Metroplex). The air will change as you leave the city’s beautiful skyline behind. The mottoes of the city are clear. Forth Worth is known as the “Crossroads of Cowboy and Culture” and “Where the West Begins.” In about 30 minutes, you’ll find yourself in the land of cowboys and vibrant honky-tonks, even if you’re coming from Dallas. Fort Worth’s Stockyards is by far the greatest place to spend a day. Take a morning trip to the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame before catching the 11:30 cattle drive.
For lunch, there are countless barbeque and Tex-Mex alternatives, all of which are fantastic. You may go to Billy Bob’s at night for some square dancing and a go at your record-breaking bull ride. Consider combining your Fort Worth activities with our one-day Dallas itinerary to get the most out of both cities in one day.