Best Road Trips From Austin

If you are visiting the Texas capital and want to explore beyond the city borders, there are amazing road trip destinations in virtually every direction, with arid deserts, snow-capped mountains and lush forests all within reach as well as amazing cities and towns.

Top Road Trip Destinations From Austin

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Our rankings are based only on editorial opinion, not any commercial consideration.
South Padre Island

🚗 430 miles ⏱️ 5 hours, 30 minutes

Set off on an amazing Gulf Coast adventure from Austin to South Padre Island. Enjoy stunning beaches, buzzing nightlife, and rich history along the Texas Gulf Coast.

Leaving Austin pass through New Braunfels before stopping at the historic city of San Antonio, where you can visit the famous Alamo.

Road running through the Big Bend National Park in Texas with mountains in the background.

🚗 475 miles ⏱️ 7 hours, 30 minutes

Journey from Austin to Big Bend National Park, and the vast, rugged landscapes of Texas await you, ideal for hiking, star gazing, and exploring the Rio Grande.

If you plan on driving to Big Bend on a day the last town before the park is Marathon, so grab any snacks and gas as you pass by.

A stream running in the Boykin Springs area of the Angelina National Forest, Texas.

Austin to Angelina National Forest

🚗 240 miles ⏱️ 4 hours

Drive from Austin through the scenic landscapes of East Texas to explore Angelina National Forest, offering lush greenery, plenty of wildlife, and tranquil lakes. Angelina National Forest is a fresh breah of air and a welcome break from the city life.

As you make your way stop off at impressive Davy Crockett National Forest about 200 miles west. Make sure to head for the Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area during your visit.

An amazing view down from a trail in the Enchanted Rock State Park, Texas.

Austin to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

🚗 100 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 50 minutes

Escape Austin for a day trip to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area to hike and climb the ancient pink granite dome and enjoy panoramic views of the Texas Hill Country. It really does deserve it's own entry on the list!

As you make your way on this short but exciting journey, why not visit Fredericksburg, a short drive away. A charming town known for its historic main street, German heritage and excellent wineries.

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA with a view of Bourbon Street in the early morning. The renown nightlife destination is in the heart of the French Quarter.

🚗 510 miles ⏱️ 8 hours

Travel from Austin to New Orleans to experience the unique culture, historic architecture, and electrifying Big Easy, along with its world-famous cuisine and music.

As you make this journey we recommend stopping off at highlights including Houston, and scenic sites of Baytown Nature Center, and Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, before reaching Lafayette.

El Paso Texas Skyline at Night. Downtown El Paso Texas skyline seen just after sunset.

🚗 820 miles ⏱️ 13 hours, 50 minutes

Embark on a long drive from Austin to El Paso exploring the heritage of West Texas, from the Hill Country to the desert vistas.

As you head south it'll take you straight to the historic heart of San Antonio, before arriving at must-visit Big Bend National Park. Afterwards visit quirky Marfa, with interesting art installations for all all out different vibe.

Unusual Prada Art Installation along the roadside as you head through Marfa, Texas, USA

🚗 480 miles ⏱️ 7 hours, 35 minutes

Marfa is most defintely a destination in itself, and this historic route from Austin to Marfa is the ideal way to transport you to this unique West Texas town known for its minimalist art installations and mysterious lights.

A history fan? Then make sure to stop at Fredericksburg, where you can enjoy plenty of interest stops such as National Museum of the Pacific War and Pioneer Museum.

Magnolia Market by the two famous silos in Waco, Texas.

🚗 290 miles ⏱️ 5 hours, 40 minutes

Journey from Austin to Waco and attractions like the Magnolia Market, Baylor University, and the Dr Pepper Museum await you! Plenty of pretty landscapes and family-friendly attractions to keep you entertained for sure.

Taking this lake detour, you can experience amazing sites like Buchanan Dam, and Lake Buchanan, one of the largest lakes in Texas. As well as Gorman Falls, in Colorado Bend State Park, and Lake Whitney.

Scenic fishing pier and beach in Port Aransas on Mustang Island, Texas.

Austin to Mustang Island State Park

🚗 240 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 30 minutes

Escape Austin to Mustang Island State Park for a beach adventure, where you can enjoy swimming, fishing, bird watching, and relaxing on the beautiful Gulf Coast beaches.

Stop off in Corpus Christi, heading then towards the sea where you'll get to Mustang Island a few minutes later.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA cityscape in Bricktown at dusk.

🚗 410 miles ⏱️ 6 hours, 30 minutes

Travel from Austin through Dallas to Oklahoma City, exploring different cityscapes and attractions like the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum and the lively Bricktown entertainment district.

Along the way visit Waco and then Dallas. After exploring all the sights and stops in the Dallas area, consider a short detour to Fort Worth.

Pink buildings of downtown Santa Fe as sunset

🚗 825 miles ⏱️ 13 hours

Embark on a scenic drive from Austin to Santa Fe, experiencing the rich history and art scene of New Mexico's capital, with stops for stunning Southwestern landscapes.

This memorable journey will take you on a course past Horseshoe Bay and San Angelo in Texas, and Roswell and Fort Sumner in New Mexico, before finally taking you up to Santa Fe.

Orlando, Florida, USA taken at the Ride Toon Lagoon at Islands of Adventure of Universal studio on a sunny day.

🚗 1,200 miles ⏱️ 19 hours, 15 minutes

Travel from Austin to Orlando via the scenic Gulf of Mexico route, enjoying diverse landscapes and cities along the way to the heart of Florida's entertainment and theme park capital.

This trip is great if you are looking for a bit of beach action. Driving alongside the stunning Florida Coast, you'll head to Panama City Beach, Miramar Beach and Laguna Beach along the way.

El Capitan peak in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

Austin to Carlsbad Caverns

🚗 510 miles ⏱️ 8 hours

Set off from Austin on a spectacular adventure to Carlsbad Caverns, to explore some of America's most stunning underground landscapes. Carlsbad Caverns are one of the best cave systems in the country and you can roam through the lit-up rocks.

On route make sure to stop at Guadalupe Mountains National Park. This epic park is easy to get to, and is best explored on foot and to make the most of the trails.

George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.

Austin to College Station

🚗 100 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 45 minutes

Drive from Austin to College Station, home to Texas A&M University. The city is home to the well known Texas A&M University and over 1 in 2 residents are students or staff at the university which gives the town its unique vibe.

Take a short trip from College Station and visit the historic downtown Bryan for a bite to eat.

Skyscrapers in downtown Houston in the evening as the sun sets.

🚗 165 miles ⏱️ 2 hours, 45 minutes

Travel from Austin to Houston and you can expect some small-town feel sights and sounds as you head towards the artistic scenes of Texas' largest city.

Make sure to stop off at charming towns including Del Valle,Wyldwood, and Ellinger. This route also takes you to Columbus which is certainly worth exploring if you have the time.

Skyline of downtown Dallas, Texas under a beautiful sky.

🚗 200 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 10 minutes

Explore the dynamic city of Dallas on a direct route from Austin, offering a deep dive into Texas history, modern attractions, and a bustling arts scene.

Scenic Texas Hill Country greets you during this road trip, with rolling landscapes. A major stop en route is Waco, and we'd recommend a visit to Waco Mammoth National Monument, where ancient mammoth fossils have been preserved.

Sun chairs and colorful sun umbrellas on the beach in Galveston, Texas.

Austin to Galveston

🚗 215 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 30 minutes

Head from Austin to Galveston for a coastal retreat where you can enjoy sandy beaches, historic sites, and a relaxing island atmosphere on the Gulf of Mexico.

As you head through Houston along this journey, it's a great stop to recharge and get any essentials ahead of arriving for some R&R.

Aerial view of downtown Fort Worth, Texas, USA at sunset.

Austin to Fort Worth

🚗 190 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 20 minutes

Drive from Austin to Fort Worth and you can enjoy authentic Texas cowboy culture, with visits to the historic Stockyards and world-class museums.

Add the small town of Grapevine in-between to your itinerary, boasting a real small town feel about it and great wineries nearby.

Denver, USA downtown at sunrise under a pink sky with the city buildings lit up.

🚗 950 miles ⏱️ 14 hours

The journey from Austin to Denver is a super, taking in scenic landscapes and epic cities, ahead of reaching Mile High City, known for its outdoor lifestyle, craft breweries, and popular arts scene.

There is plenty to admire along this route, so stop off at key spots including Fort Worth, Amarillo, and Colorado Springs, as well as Lake Wichita, and interesting Cadillac Ranch.

Destin, Florida. Aerial view of beautiful city skyline.

🚗 850 miles ⏱️ 15 hours

Take the scenic and historic Natchez Trace Parkway from Austin to Destin to explore the stunning white-sand beaches and emerald waters of Florida's Emerald Coast.

This detour will take you through Natchez as well as Jackson and has been celebrated for the stunning scenic landscapes it offers on the way to and through these cities.

"Welcome to Las Vegas" sign with the view of the city in the background at night

🚗 1,300 miles ⏱️ 19 hours, 45 minutes

Take this memorable trip from Austin to Las Vegas, and be prepared to experience vast deserts and wide open views, culminating in the entertainment and excitement of Las Vegas. Not to be missed!

Head south and along the way you can catch something extra, visiting beautiful Big Bend National Park, or short detours to Apache National Forest and Coronado National Forest, and stunning Joshua Tree National Park.

Fort Davis National Historic Site, Home of the Legendary Buffalo Soldiers, Alpine, Texas, USA with voodoos in the distance and buildings in the foreground.

Austin to Fort Davis

🚗 430 miles ⏱️ 7 hours

Head from Austin to the historic Fort Davis, where you can explore Fort Davis National Historic Site, an important outpost during the U.S. Civil War and through to the 1880s. A must-visit for history fans.

If you have time on your hands, then make sure to extend your road trip and keep on driving south the Big Bend National Park.

The swamp and bald cypress trees on Caddo Lake between Texas and Louisiana.

Austin to Caddo Lake

🚗 380 miles ⏱️ 5 hours, 40 minutes

Journey from Austin to the mystical Caddo Lake, where cypress swamps offer a unique paddling experience and a chance to enjoy the lush East Texas wildlife.

Caddo Lake sits right on the border between Texas and Louisiana near the towns of Marshall and Jefferson, which are great places to visit and stay while you're in the area.

People eating dinner at tables set along the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas.

🚗 210 miles ⏱️ 4 hours

Explore the scenic route from Austin to San Antonio, delving into rich Texas history and vibrant cultural experiences, from the Alamo to the River Walk.

En route, a quick stop at Blanco is a peaceful start to your journey, with popular sites including Blanco State Park to visit. Fancy a tipple? Make sure to also stop off at Fredericksburg, famous for its local wineries.

Blue Bell Creameries factory recreation of the American flag using ice cream tubs in Brenham, Texas.

Austin to Brenham

🚗 90 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 30 minutes

Travel from Austin to Brenham, a charming Texas town known for its historic downtown, antique fairs, and home to Blue Bell Creameries ice cream.

About 20 minutes out of Brenham is the Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site. Known as the Birthplace of Texas, there's a visitor center, living history farm and a historic Pecan tree.

Looking at various shops that line downtown 6th street in the tourist town of Georgetown Colorado

Austin to Georgetown

🚗 30 miles ⏱️ 35 minutes

Enjoy a short drive from Austin to Georgetown, home to the "Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas" and a close community with a strong historic preservation focus.

Make a stop at Round Rock during this short trip, where you can enjoy a visit to legendary Round Rock Donuts.

A red and white patterned sign at the German-influenced town of Fredericksburg, Texas reads "Willkommen"

Austin to Fredericksburg

🚗 82 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 50 minutes

Set off from Austin to Fredericksburg, a town brimming with German heritage, and right in the heart of the Wine Country, perfect for exploring wineries, local shops, and historical sites.

En route you pass popular stop offs including Dripping Springs and Johnson City, that are both worth a visit if you have time.

Headquarters Hats storefront selling Stetson hats and Lucchese boots in the old Fredericksburg bank building.

Austin to Texas Hill Country

🚗 130 miles ⏱️ 2 hours, 30 minutes

Discover the Texas Hill Country from Austin, with picture-perfect rolling hills, vineyards, and an escape into nature. It's a prime destination for relaxation and wine tasting.

Fredericksburg, we just recommended, is right in the heart of the Wine Country and is well worth stopping either as a base for exploring the surroundings or a day or two seeing the city itself.

Colorful shop with art and artificial plants and an old pickup truck in Wimberley, Texas.

Austin to Wimberley

🚗 40 miles ⏱️ 45 minutes

Escape to Wimberley from Austin for a tranquil retreat in this picturesque Texas Hill Country town. Wimberley boasts a relaxed atmosphere and a slightly retro vibe full of artisan shops and quirky places to stop for lunch.

Sitting right on the edge of Texas Hill Country, you should combine a stop in Wimberley with exploring more of this area known for its unique combination of wine and cowboys.

A blue classic chevy pickup outside the Jefferson General Store in Jefferson, Texas.

Austin to Jefferson

🚗 350 miles ⏱️ 5 hours

Travel from Austin to Jefferson, a town steeped in history with well-preserved antebellum homes, charming bed and breakfasts, and Civil War history.

Make sure to check out more of Marshall on the way, where locals have declared it the Cultural Capital of East Texas. Visit the Harrison County Historical Museum that occupies the big County Court building right in the middle of downtown.

Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historical Park, Texas

Austin to Port Isabel

🚗 370 miles ⏱️ 6 hours

Head from Austin to Port Isabel, the gateway to South Padre Island, offering visitors a mix of historic sites, sea life encounters, and gateway to the beautiful beaches of South Padre Island. A visit to the Port Isabel lighthouse is ideal for great views in every direction.

As you make your way to the coast, you'll head close by Corpus Christi, an ideal pitstop for a museum visit or to enjoy the sandy Gulf shores.

Amarillo, Texas / USA  The Cadillac Ranch roadside attraction

🚗 600 miles ⏱️ 9 hours, 40 minutes

Take the scenic route from Austin to Amarillo and you get the chance to explore the rugged beauty of the Texas Panhandle, and before you even reach Amarillo you are in for a treat.

If you have time then there are some great places en route, including Fredericksburg, nestled in the heart of Texas Hill Country, Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, and lesser knownSan Angelo. Here, you can visit the Fort Concho National Historic Landmark.

Longer road trips from Austin

Los Angeles, California, USA with the Hollywood boulevard street sign and palm tree against a blue sky.

🚗 1,400 miles ⏱️ 21 hours, 30 minutes

Discover the epic cities, lush landscapes, and memorable landmarks of the American Southwest as head towards Los Angeles.

Saguaros, Palo Verde trees and other cacti on the Hieroglyphic Trail in the Superstition Mountains and Tonto National Forest, east of Phoenix, Arizona, United States.

🚗 1,310 miles ⏱️ 21 hours, 30 minutes

Experience the dramatic desert landscapes of the Southwest on your journey from Austin to Phoenix via El Paso.

Breathtaking view of three patriarchs in Zion National Park, Utah, USA against a blue sky.

🚗 1,340 miles ⏱️ 22 hours

Set off from Austin through Arizona to explore the spectacular hiking trails of Zion National Park, a true jewel of the American Southwest.

Horton Plaza Park with the Balboa Theatre in the background in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, California.

🚗 1,460 miles ⏱️ 23 hours

Take on this trip from Austin to San Diego for a laid-back atmosphere and beautiful beaches, in this vibrant Southern California city.

Blue-colored sign of the Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami on a sunny day

🚗 1,560 miles ⏱️ 24 hours

Explore from Austin to Miami, via Jacksonville, and you can expect sunny beaches, and plenty of nightlife at Florida's iconic coastal city.

Dawn at the Jefferson Memorial during the Cherry Blossom Festival. Washington, DC

🚗 1,650 miles ⏱️ 27 hours

Head north as you drive from Austin to Washington DC, before reaching the historic landmarks and cultural scenes of the nation's capital.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA with an epic view of the canyons against a blue sky.

🚗 1,950 miles ⏱️ 30 hours

From Austin, passing through Albuquerque, head to the majestic Grand Canyon to enjoy the world's most jaw-dropping natural wonders.

San Francisco, California, USA with a beautiful view of business center in downtown San Francisco at sunset.

🚗 1,940 miles ⏱️ 31 hours

Travel south from Austin to San Francisco for a road trip packed with culture, immense landscapes, and lively cities of the American West.

Pathway weaving through draping, fall leaves along the The High Line, New York City

🚗 1,870 miles ⏱️ 31 hours

Take an epic road trip from Austin to New York City and as you head inland you'll be treated by the epic sights of the eastern United States.

The Grand Prismatic panoramic in Yellowstone National Park

🚗 1,870 miles ⏱️ 32 hours

Travel from Austin through Albuquerque to Yellowstone National Park for stunning natural wonders in America's first national park.

Seattle Skyline at sunset. The photo is taken on a slightly cloudy day and the clouds reflect the dramatic colors of the sunset. Space Needle can be seen.

🚗 2,145 miles ⏱️ 33 hours

Embark on a scenic journey from Austin to Seattle through the Utah Desert, where mesmerising landscapes await you.