Best Road Trips From Houston

Whether you live in Houston or just visiting the Bayou City, there are a lot of options if you want to escape the hustle and bustle. From nature parks, lakes and rivers to city breaks and quirky towns, you can drive in any direction and find amazing places to visit.

Top Road Trip Destinations From Houston

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Our rankings are based only on editorial opinion, not any commercial consideration.
Austin, Texas, USA with the city skyline in the evening and blue hour taken as a panoramic shot.


🚗 160 miles ⏱️ 2 hours, 30 minutes

Austin stands out from the other major cities in Texas with its young vibe and big city living with the relaxed feel of outdoors everywhere you look. The capital of Texas is an amazing destination for a weekend away from Houston.

The drive from one big city to another is dotted with beautiful landscapes of Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge and Bastrop State Park.

Mission San Jose in San Antonio during sunset, flowers growing in front of the ruins

🚗 370 miles ⏱️ 6 hours, 10 minutes

If you like history, San Antonio is an amazing destination with the Alamo and Mission San Jose, some of the best-known historic sites in the country. Make sure you try one of the signature Tex-Mex breakfasts when visiting this city!

Instead of driving directly to San Antonio, we suggest making a fun detour to Waco and Austin, and stopping at New Braunfels to make the most of your road trip.

View of downtown Dallas with open green space surrounding it


🚗 240 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 30 minutes

From numerous art museums to riding the McKinney Avenue Trolley, Dallas is full of culture, history and fantastic food. If you have enough time, make sure you visit Fort Worth and Grapevine as well.

Take your time on this drive and extend your journey to visit Conroe, Huntsville, Peace Museum in Corsicana en route to Dallas.

View of a balanced rock along Grapevine Hills Trail, Big Bend National Park

🚗 600 miles ⏱️ 10 hours

The picturesque mountains, desert landscapes and dramatic canyons in Big Bend National Park offer some of the most scenic hiking trails in the USA. Here, you can hike, camp, and stargaze in one of the least light-polluted areas in the US.

There is plenty to see on this drive from beautiful small towns to buzzing cityscapes. We recommend stopping at The Heritage Museum in Seguin and putting aside some time to have lunch in San Antonio.

A hill covered in wild bluebonnet flowers in Texas Hill Country at sunset, with a tree silhouetted in the foreground

Texas Hill Country

🚗 290 miles ⏱️ 4 hours, 20 minutes

Texas Hill Country is known for many things, and its wineries, small towns, and cowboy lifestyle top the list. The wineries spread throughout the area are a Texas hidden secret.

This road trip will take you to the heart of Texas Hill Country past Kerrville, and you can visit beautiful towns and cities en route, such as Schulenburg, San Antonio and Comfort.

Sunset on the long pier of South Padre Island, with waves crashing in

South Padre Island

🚗 375 miles ⏱️ 5 hours, 45 minutes

South Padre Island is a long, thin stretch of land sitting just off the coast of the mainland in the Gulf. There's a whole lot of nature to see in this tropical oasis known for its beautiful beaches and water sports.

The most direct route to South Padre Island will take you through the Museum of the Coastal Bend in Victoria, and allow you to make a coastal detour to Corpus Christi en route.

Mardi Gras parades through the streets of New Orleans.People celebrated crazily. Mardi Gras is the biggest celebration the city of New Orleans hosts every year.

🚗 420 miles ⏱️ 7 hours, 15 minutes

New Orleans needs little introduction. One of the best cities in the region for listening to live music, you will find a plethora of jazz and blues sounds coming out of the doors along Bourbon Street and the rest of the French Quarter.

On your way to New Orleans, take some extra time to visit the McFaddin-Ward House Museum in Beaumont, pretty Lake Charles and historic Baton Rouge.

Waco's Dr Pepper Museum in the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building.


🚗 380 miles ⏱️ 6 hours

A charming city to visit, Waco features the best of the Texan countryside. You can check out the Magnolia Market at the Silos, enjoy the Cameron Park Zoo, and explore the Dr Pepper Museum here.

As you make your way to Waco, we recommend putting aside some time to visit Austin, Georgetown and Temple en route.

Atlanta, Georgia, USA taken at Piedmont Park skyline in fall on Lake Meer with the city reflecting on the waters edge and taken on a sunny day.


🚗 790 miles ⏱️ 14 hours

For an urban adventure, visit Atlanta, a hub of history and culture. You will have plenty to see, including the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, and can enjoy award-winning dining options, and experience a buzzing arts scene.

This drive combines the best of historic cities and coastal sights en route to Atlanta. We recommend taking some time to discover Baton Rouge, making a detour to Mobile and visiting Montgomery.

South beach in Miami stretching into the distance with sun loungers everywhere and crystal clear waters.


🚗 1,235 miles ⏱️ 18 hours, 40 minutes

For the ultimate beach holiday, it is hard to beat Miami and the Florida coastline. But there is much more to this sunny city with its beautiful Art Deco architecture and sizzling nightlife. Enjoy cultural festivals, world-class arts, and scenic ocean views.

On this sizeable road trip around the Gulf of Mexico, you will get to visit Baton Rouge and then hug to coast to spend some time in Biloxi and Mobile before heading inland.

Orlando Wetlands Park, Florida, with golden sunset behind and palm tree silhouettes


🚗 960 miles ⏱️ 13 hours

Enjoy some time under the sun and have a blast at the theme parks in Orlando, with attractions like Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios offering endless fun for families and adventure seekers alike.

To make the best of your road trip, you can also visit New Orleans, Mobile and make a detour to Tallahassee to visit the Florida Historic Capitol Museum.

Back view of the Statue of Coming Through the Rye designed by Frederick Remington at National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

🚗 610 miles ⏱️ 10 hours

For a different time of getaway, you can learn about Oklahoma City's rich Western heritage with visits to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and vibrant Bricktown district.

Some of the great places you will get to discover on this drive include Nacogdoches, Shreveport, Texarkana and Paris, Texas.

El Paso, Texas, USA downtown city skyline at dusk with Juarez, Mexico in the distance.

El Paso

🚗 810 miles ⏱️ 13 hours, 20 minutes

El Paso is a city with a unique blend of American and Mexican cultures. This is one of the best places in Texas to discover historic missions, walk the scenic Franklin Mountains, and enjoy authentic and delicious Tex-Mex cuisine.

On your way to El Paso, you will get the perfect mix of urban fun and natural wonder by visiting Austin, San Angelo, the amazing Carlsbad Cavern National Park and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Sanctuary Of Guadalupe on a cloudy day with colorful flowers in the foreground

Santa Fe

🚗 980 miles ⏱️ 15 hours, 30 minutes

Santa Fe is a unique city to visit that is the perfect blend of Native American and Spanish cultures. With such a colorful soul, you can explore art galleries, busy markets historic sites, and delicious food in this Southwestern city.

As you drive from Houston to Santa Fe, you can also make a detour to Dallas and visit Forth Worth, Wichita Falls and Amarillo.

Large guitar outside brick building in front of blue sky


🚗 570 miles ⏱️ 8 hours, 50 minutes

If you are thinking of amazing southern food, proper local blues bars and amazing sights of the Mississippi River, then Memphis is calling your name. Visiting Graceland and the historic Sun Studio is simply a must.

There are plenty of interesting places you can also visit en route to Memphis, including Shreveport, Texarkana and Little Rock.

Rocket statue outside U.S. Space & Rocket Center


🚗 70 miles ⏱️ 1 hour

Huntsville is best known as the place where General Sam Houston, dubbed the most famous Texan ever, spent the majority of his life. The city is also a great gateway to the beautiful Blue Lagoon, two pools of water that have formed in an old limestone quarry.

This is a short road trip, but you will have plenty of places to visit like charming small town of Conroe and beautiful Sam Houston National Forest, so plan your time accordingly.

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


🚗 50 miles ⏱️ 55 minutes

Galveston Island is the most popular Gulf Coast destination. Everything here is designed for entertainment and relaxation. Pleasure Pier is the most famous of the sights - the pier has a number of rides, shops and spots to grab some food.

As you leave the city, you can make a stop at the world-famous Space Center Houston, a must for any history buff, and visit Challenger Seven Memorial Park.

Caddo Lake State Park, Texas, USA with a view of Caddo Lake and Bald Cypresses from a wooden pier.

Caddo Lake

🚗 250 miles ⏱️ 4 hours, 15 minutes

Caddo Lake might just be one of the prettiest wetlands in the world. Its still waters are covered in water lilies with majestic cypress trees growing right in the lake.

On your way to this pretty lake and bayou, you can also visit the scenic Lake Livingston State Park, and charming towns of Lufkin and Nacogdoches.

Underground pathway through the Big Room, with green and blue lights marking the way along Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico


🚗 645 miles ⏱️ 9 hours, 40 minutes

The Carlsbad Caverns National Park is home to a set of jaw-dropping cave systems that are well worth the long drive across the entire width of Texas from Houston. Make sure to book well ahead of your travel for a guaranteed visiting spot.

The Guadalupe Mountains National Park is just across the border, back in Texas and only a short drive.

Havasu Falls, waterfalls in the Grand Canyon, Arizona

🚗 1,300 miles ⏱️ 19 hours, 50 minutes

One of the most famous landscapes of the world, Grand Canyon National Park is the best place to witness one of the world's natural wonders. Expect to enjoy breathtaking vistas, hiking trails, and the stunning Colorado River.

This adventure to the Grand Canyon is dotted with new experiences, such as a detour to Dallas and visits to Albuquerque, Petrified Forest National Park, and Flagstaff.

Denver Cityscape Colorado. Downtown Denver Skyline and the Mile High Stadium. Colorado, United States.


🚗 1,030 miles ⏱️ 15 hours, 20 minutes

Denver, famously known as the Mile High City, known for its stunning mountain views, up and coming arts scene, and outdoor activities. Explore museums, parks, and local breweries.

This epic drive to Colorado includes visit to Dallas and Fort Worth, quirky Amarillo, beautiful Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and the nearby Garden of the Gods.

Chicago Skyscrapers Skyline View from Lincoln Park with Sunlight


🚗 1,080 miles ⏱️ 16 hours

Chicago is famous for its architecture, world-class museums, and vibrant food scene. Enjoy scenic walks along Lake Michigan and see the famous Bean, or more commonly known as Cloud Gate, created by Anish Kapoor.

Take your pick of amazing places you can visit on this drive to the shores of Lake Michigan; from Shreveport and Hot Springs to Little Rock and diverting to Memphis, you will be spoilt for choice.

Kansas City, Missouri, USA downtown skyline with Union Station at dusk.

🚗 850 miles ⏱️ 12 hours, 50 minutes

If you are looking for some of the best BBQ in the nation and a spot to listen to great jazz, Kansas City is the place to visit. Discover the historic jazz district and enjoy numerous museums and cultural attractions.

The drive to Kansas City will take you through some cute towns like Waco and Wichita and buzzing metropolises such as Dallas and Oklahoma City.

White sands and clear blue water on the beach on the Emerald Coast near Henderson Beach State Park and Destin, Florida


🚗 570 miles ⏱️ 9 hours

Sitting on the beautiful Gulf Coast, it doesn't come as a surprise that Destin is famed for its pristine beaches, emerald waters, and excellent fishing. You will enjoy waterfront dining and family-friendly attractions here.

En route, we recommend visiting Baton Rouge, spending some time at the French Quarter in New Orleans, as well as sightseeing inMobile and Pensacola.

The quirky art installation "Prada Marfa", located on the side of the highway in Valentine, Texas. Photo taken during a sunny day


🚗 590 miles ⏱️ 9 hours, 20 minutes

Experience the quirky charm of Marfa, a small desert city in West Texas known for its modern art installations and minimalist aesthetics. One of the must-visit places here is the famous Prada Marfa.

Take your time en route to visit amazing places like Austin, cute town of Fredericksburg, Caverns of Sonora and historic Fort Stockton.

Early morning at Corpus Christi Cathedral, Corpus Christi, Texas, USA

🚗 270 miles ⏱️ 5 hours

Corpus Christi is a great destination for a fun beach experience with a blend of culture and outdoor activities. Explore the USS Lexington, the Texas State Aquarium, and the bustling waterfront.

This road trip will take you past some of the most beautiful towns and cities on the Gulf Coast, such as Galveston Island, Lake Jackson, Port Lavaca and Rockport.

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

🚗 310 miles ⏱️ 6 hours

Willkommen! Fredericksburg is ready to welcome you with its German heritage, Texan hospitality, fantastic wineries and historic places to visit. Here, you can enjoy shopping on Main Street and taste the delicious local cuisine.

As you make your way to Fredericksburg, you can see the famous bluebonnets of Brenham and go on an urban adventure in Austin.

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

College Station

🚗 95 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 30 minutes

College Station is a University city in Brazos County, northwest of Houston. Famous for its many sights around the university, the main sight in College Station is the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

This drive makes for the perfect day trip from Houston, and you will get to visit Zube Park and Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site en route.

Beautiful crystal-like lake with plants growing on the banks of it on a sunny day with some dramatic white clouds

Brazos Bend State Park

🚗 45 miles ⏱️ 50 minutes

Brazos Bend is a small state park sitting on the west side of the Brazos River with Elm Lake in the center. The different lakes are all connected by paths that are great for a day of walking and other outdoor activities.

As you leave Houston on this short drive, you can stop by Thurmond Lake, a great spot for fishing or a scenic picnic.

Famous man-made strip that sits straight on the ocean on a sunny day

Texas City

🚗 50 miles ⏱️ 50 minutes

Sat on the western edge of Galveston Bay, Texas City is great if you want somewhere off the beaten track. With a lot fewer tourists than Galveston, Texas City boasts the longest man-made pier in the world.

You might feel like you haven't really left the city on this short drive, but there are plenty of places to visit en route such as Lone Star Flight Museum and Space Center Houston.

Field of bluebonnet flowers with a red barn in the background during sunset


🚗 75 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ask a Texan what the perfect rural destination in Texas is and they will likely mention Brenham. There are two things that Brenham is particularly known for: ice cream and bluebonnets.

You will drive past many amazing BBQ joints on this road trip, so make sure to set off hungry! You can also spend some time at Zube Park, especially if traveling with family.

Harrison County Courthouse and a town square in Marshall, Texas


🚗 220 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 40 minutes

Marshall was one of the most important trade cities in Texas for two centuries. Sitting on the trading route between Dallas and Jackson, the town grew in stature and is sometimes known as the Gateway of Texas.

There are plenty of great places to visit en route to Marshall on this road trip, including Lake Livingston, Lufkin and Nacogdoches.

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

Mustang Island State Park

🚗 230 miles ⏱️ 3 hours, 40 minutes

Mustang Island is a long stretch of land just off the coast of Texas, along the Coastal Bend from Aransas to Corpus Christi. Unlike all other islands south of Galveston, you can drive all the way down the island and through the Mustang Island State Park itself.

This road trip is a great adventure yar-round with great places to spend some time at such as the Museum of the Coastal Bend in Victoria and Port Aransas Beach.

Fun rides and Ferris wheel on Kemah Boardwalk, photo taken during a sunny day


🚗 35 miles ⏱️ 35 minutes

Enjoy a day at Kemah Boardwalk, where fun rides, games, and waterfront dining offer a perfect family getaway. We highly recommend checking out the boat rides and seasonal events.

This drive to Trinity Bay will take you past several great beaches where you can work on your tan including Sylvan Beach Park and El Jardin Beach.

Lake Conroe, Texas, colorful sunset on lake with empty boathouse and green grass


🚗 40 miles ⏱️ 40 minutes

Conroe is perhaps most well-known for its vicinity to the scenic Lake Conroe, ideal for boating and fishing. Not only that, but you can also visit local breweries and parks in this rapidly growing community north of Houston.

As Conroe is really close to Houston, this would make a great day trip and we recommend combining it with a visit to the beautiful WG Jones State Forest.

Building and sign of Stanzel Model Aircraft Museum on a sunny day


🚗 95 miles ⏱️ 1 hour, 25 minutes

A short but much-recommended day visit to Schulenburg will allow you to discover Texas' rich heritage of painted churches, showcasing beautiful architecture and European influences.

Make sure to add the San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site and Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge to your itinerary en route to Schulenburg.

Longer road trips from Houston

Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA taken during the Balloon Flight at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque above a river and trees.

🚗 1,330 miles ⏱️ 20 hours, 30 minutes

Albuquerque is home to a unique blend of Spanish and Native American cultures, and you can see this blend in the historic Old Town.

Washington DC, United States landmark. National Capitol building with US flag.

🚗 1,400 miles ⏱️ 20 hours, 30 minutes

If you have quite a bit of time on your hands, you can visit the nation's capital, Washington DC, and see iconic landmarks like the Capitol, the White House, and the Smithsonian museums.

 New Year celebration fireworks on Las Vegas strip

🚗 1,445 miles ⏱️ 21 hours, 45 minutes

Spend some time in Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world and explore casinos, see spectacular shows, and enjoy fine dining and shopping.

Los Angeles, California, USA with a view of the cityscape at downtown LA at sunset with palm trees in the foreground.

🚗 1,550 miles ⏱️ 23 hours

There are so many places to discover in California, so use this guide as a starting point to plan your next sunny road trip.

Hollywood Sign, viewed from behind at sunset in Los Angeles, California

🚗 1,550 miles ⏱️ 23 hours

Sunny Los Angeles is known for its iconic film industry and beautiful beaches, where you can also visit Hollywood, shop on Rodeo Drive, and enjoy amazing theme parks.

Two men are sailing a yacht with colorful sail in Mission Bay, San Diego, California.

🚗 1,580 miles ⏱️ 23 hours

Explore the beautiful city of San Diego, known for its ideal climate, pristine beaches, and family attractions like the world-renowned San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park.

Manhattan skyline including architectural landmark Chrysler Building in New York City

🚗 1,630 miles ⏱️ 25 hours

If you are looking for a high-energy road trip, you can head to New York City and see iconic landmarks like Times Square and Central Park and the Statue of Liberty.

Basin of colorful hot water and sulfur emanation in the area of West Thumb Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, USA.

🚗 1,980 miles ⏱️ 31 hours

There is quite nothing like the majestic landscapes of Yellowstone National Park, where you can marvel at geothermal wonders like Old Faithful and the beauty of its vast wildlife and pristine wilderness.

Steep winding Lombard Street in San Francisco leading to the city centre, colourful buildings on the right and the bridge in the far distance.

🚗 2,088 miles ⏱️ 33 hours

It is easy to recognize skyline and landmarks of San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz Island. Here you can also enjoy amazing dining options.

Seattle, Washington with the downtown skyline in the background and Mt. Rainier in the distance, and green trees in the foreground under a blue sky.


🚗 2,570 miles ⏱️ 40 hours

Journey to Seattle, where vibrant urban culture meets stunning natural scenery, and explore the iconic Space Needle and the bustling Pike Place Market.