New York City skyline, cityscape of Manhattan in USA at sunset.

Road Trip from Austin to New York

Updated by Dianne Titos on May 7 2024

See some of the best national parks, mountain ranges, music cities of Memphis and Nashville and coastlines that America has to offer on this epic road trip from Austin to New York. From the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway to historical museums and landmarks, this trip has it all!

The 1,870-mile road trip from Austin to New York takes 32 hours to drive. Highlights include Dallas, Asheville, Great Smoky Mountains, Washington DC, Baltimore, as well as the musical giants of Houston and New Orleans.

This is an incredible trip spanning several great states across to the world-famous Big Apple. You'll be spoilt with iconic cities to visit, beautiful parks and forests to hike and paths to follow. Keep reading to learn the best route, times to visit and places to stop along the way.

How far is New York from Austin, and how long will the road trip take?

Comparison of road trip route options between Austin and New York
RouteDistanceDriving Time
The Inland Route1,870 miles31 hours
The New Orleans Route1,820 miles27 hours

However you look at it, the drive from Austin in Texas to New York City is an epic drive crossing several states and plenty of major cities. The two best ways to tackle it are to head towards New Orleans or to stay further inland and enjoy driving through more great cities and towns.

The slightly longer of our two recommended routes will take you through Memphis and along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. This option will take 31 hours of non-stop driving and covers approximately 1,870 miles, though this will differ depending on how many stops you make.

Our New Orleans Route is slightly shorter at 1,820 miles. For this option, you'll be driving a minimum of 27 hours without accounting for stops along the way.

This isn't a trip that can be completed in a weekend. Given the sheer number of incredible cities, parks, mountains and beaches you'll be passing along the way (route dependent of course), we suggest spending at least seven days to drive from Austin to New York.

Austin, Texas Downtown Skyline on a sunny day.
Wave the characteristic skyline of Austin goodbye as you head towards New York.
Randall Stevens/

Best road trip route from Austin to New York

There's no particular 'best' route for this trip, instead, you should definitely pick the option that appeals most to you.

You could consider our Inland Route, where this option allows you to explore the stunning natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Parkway which offers fantastic hiking opportunities.

Stop off in iconic American cities like Dallas, Nashville, Washington DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia to get your fill of culture and history, as well as nature and the great outdoors. You'll also get to experience the best of country music in the iconic cities of Nashville and Memphis.

Our alternative New Orleans Route is also a fantastic option. Here you can stop in lively New Orleans as you make your way to the Big Apple. It's a bucket list stop-off, with plenty to keep you entertained throughout the day and night.

Whether you're flying into Austin or you simply don't have a vehicle in the city, renting a car for your road trip is something you'll want to take care of ASAP.

For an easy-to-compare view of rental options for your road trip from Austin to New York, take a look at our partner site,

The Inland Route

Begin in Austin heading north on the interstate to Dallas, taking you through Waco along the way. After getting your Texan fix, head east through Sulphur Springs and Mt Pleasant to Little Rock.

Take a short detour to explore the stunning Ouachita National Forest or continue east on the interstate past White River National Wildlife Refuge to Memphis.

Before continuing your musical journey in Nashville, spend some time exploring Hatchie National Wildlife Refuge which has beautiful woods and lakes.

From Nashville continue heading east to Catoosa Wildlife Management Area. You could head south here to visit the beautiful city of Chattanooga, otherwise follow signs for Knoxville.

From here you can spend time in Cherokee National Forest or explore the landscape at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a stunning place for hiking or wildlife spotting.

Next, you'll arrive in Asheville where you can pick up the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway for one of the most scenic drives in the US. Follow this parkway through Blowing Rock and Pisgah National Forest.

Rejoin the interstate and head north alongside the epic Shenandoah National Park, and then east to the iconic city of Washington DC.

Your final stretch will take you north through Baltimore and Wilmington (or Philadelphia if you'd like one final city hit) before crossing into Brooklyn and New York City.

Fall on the Blue Ridge Parkway Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, North Carolina.
Take in the majestic scenery that surrounds Blue Ridge Parkway as you follow the Inland Route.

The New Orleans Route

Head east from Austin to Houston, passing through Columbus and joining the interstate along the way. Continue east, driving by the shore of Trinity Bay and near to McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge before landing in Beaumont.

Stop here to explore Big Thicket National Preserve for forest trails or continue towards Lafayette where you can stop at Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge before reaching Baton Rouge.

Still on the interstate, follow signs for New Orleans, before crossing the Twin Span Bridge and passing through the Pearl River Wildlife Management Area.

If you have time then make a short detour and follow the coast, and visit Biloxi. It is a great stopping point for ocean views, before heading back on I-59 past De Soto National Forest and towards Birmingham.

Continue on the interstate and you can visit the city of Knoxville, before jumping onto the I-81 and make your way to George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.

Follow the I-81 further north where you will pass into Maryland, curving past Harrisburg and Allentown before making your way into epic New York.

Sunset as seen from the Appalachian Mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway in George Washington and Jefferson National Forest
Alternatively, you can enjoy a beautiful sunset when you stop by George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.
Film Adventure/

Best places to stop between Austin and New York

You'll definitely need several overnight stops on this epic trip from Austin to New York. Thankfully you'll be spoilt for choice on either route for city and town options.

Of all the incredible hotels you'll pass, here are some of our favorite places to consider.

Surround yourself with music in Nashville

There is a plethora of fantastic cities to stop on our Inland Route but if you're fascinated by the musical past of Tennessee, then it doesn't get much better than staying in Nashville. Known as the Music City, a stop here is essential to soak up the lively atmosphere.

Famous for its music industry, Nashville is home to many live venues, record labels, music publishers and musical talent crossing genres from country to blues. Make sure you visit the Grand Ole Opry, which has housed Dolly Parton and its Broadway which is filled with shops, clubs and bars.

Nashville, Tennessee downtown skyline at Cumberland River.
Take a stroll by the river during your visit to the heart of country music in Nashville.

However, the music heart of the city is definitely found on Music Row; here you'll find several venues, record labels, radio stations and recording studios. There's so much to see here that an afternoon just isn't long enough.

If you have the time to stop the night, then Noelle in Nashville blends historic charm with artistic flair in the heart of the city. Tired road trippers can unwind in the inviting rooftop bar at the end of the day.

Perfectly situated in Nashville's midtown neighborhood and within walking distance from Music Row, the Parthenon and Country Music Hall of Fame. This hotel is perfect if you'd like to surround yourself with music.

READ MORE - Click here for more great hotel options

Explore the melting pot of New Orleans

An ideal first stop just under 8 hours into your drive, New Orleans is famed for its rich history, jazz music and stunning French Quarter.

Known for its 24/7 nightlife, live music scene, and unique cuisine that reflects the mosaic of cultures that call New Orleans home, you can't drive past New Orleans and not stop the night.

New Orleans neon style sign on brick wall next to Bourbon St view in the French Quarter.
French Quarter is a must-visit while visiting the festive city of New Orleans.

Thanks to its melting pot of cultures, you'll find New Orleans rich with color and atmosphere. Head to the French Quarter for beautiful architecture, history, food, music and stunning views of the Mississippi River.

Afterwards take a walk along Bourbon Street which is a historic and iconic street in the heart of the French Quarter and the best place to come if you'd like to party in the evening as the street is lined with clubs and bars.

A hotel fitting such a fine and fun city is the One11 Hotel. This stylish hotel has an onsite restaurant, a beautiful outside area and a bar. Competitively priced, this hotel also allows guests to access the sun terrace for breathtaking views of the city and the river.

Located in the French Quarter, this hotel is around the corner from Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Woldenberg Park, and a short walk from the nightlife of Bourbon Street. In fact, all of New Orleans is within walking distance of this stylish and comfortable hotel.

City views in New York

You'll know when you've reached the Big Apple. This iconic city is packed full of incredible skyscrapers, world-famous shopping malls, the legendary Central Park and some of the best restaurants serving every kind of cuisine you could imagine.

New York City Manhattan Central Park panorama in Autumn lake with skyscrapers and colorful trees with reflection.
You can visit Central Park while in New York if you want to embrace the changing of the seasons.
Songquan Deng/

One of the best places to base yourself before exploring New York is the Civilian Hotel. This stylish hotel is situated in the heart of Manhattan in Hell's Kitchen. Offering views of the most famous city in the world, it's around the corner from Radio City Music Hall and the Broadway Theatre.

Guests can enjoy a cocktail from the hotel bar on the terrace before heading out for a night in NYC and enjoy a continental or buffet breakfast before a busy day of sightseeing. There's also a swimming pool and stylish rooms to enjoy, making it the perfect city stopover.

For more options and to learn more about other areas in New York City where you can stay, please check our detailed guide below:

READ MORE - Our Area-by-Area Guide to NYC

Things to see on a road trip from Austin to New York

There's so much to see on the road trip from Austin to New York that you could easily spend a whole month exploring them all. To help you start planning your own epic trip, we've set out the best things to see on your drive from both routes.

Both Routes

  1. Philadelphia - Visit the important sites of the American Revolution including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed.
  2. Asbury Park - Take a small detour from Route A to visit the Jersey Shore. Asbury Park is home to a famous boardwalk and the iconic music venue the Stone Pony, notable in many careers including New Jersey icon Bruce Springsteen.
  3. Statue of Liberty - Catch a glimpse of the iconic Statue of Liberty as you drive up to Jersey City to make your way into New York City.

The Inland Route

Great Smoky Mountains National Park during a dramatic sunset with rolling mountains in focus.
You will drive past the majestic scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Inland Route.
  1. Fort Worth - Take a slight detour and experience the rich western heritage that Fort Worth has to offer. Known for cowboys and stockyards, Fort Worth is also home to a quirky food and cocktail scene.
  2. Dallas - Immerse yourself in this sleek and modern Texas city digging into the emerging art scene in the Dallas Art District, the delicious multicultural food scene that brings Tex-Mex to meet Southern soul food or catch a sport game with the Dallas Cowboys.
  3. Little Rock - Sitting on the south bank of the Arkansas River, this city is full of natural beauty and interesting museums and historical monuments.
  4. Memphis - Famous as the place of origin of influential strains of blues, soul, and rock 'n' roll, Memphis is home to the legendary Sun Studio where Elvis Presley, B.B King, and Johnny Cash recorded. No trip to Memphis is complete without a visit to Presley's Graceland mansion.
  5. Nashville - Stay in Music City and soak up the lively atmosphere with live music spilling out of every bar. Take in a show at the Grand Ole Opry, and brush up on Country history at The Country Music Hall of Fame.
  6. Great Smoky Mountains National Park - This national park is renowned for its diversity of plants, with wildflowers that bloom all year round. Hike in lush forests along streams, rivers, and waterfalls, and experience views of misty mountains at the top of Clingmans Dome.
  7. Asheville - Explore the vibrant Asheville art scene and beautiful architecture including the dome-topped Basilica of Saint Lawrence. This is where you can also pick up the Blue Ridge Parkway for the next part of your trip.
  8. Pisgah National Forest - Hike part of the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, exploring this landscape of mile-high peaks, lush, forested slopes, and cascading waterfalls.
  9. Grandfather Mountain State Park - Hike this 4.1-mile challenging route that will take you through the beautiful forests of the state park and up to incredible views from the summit of Calloway Peak. Don't miss the Mile High Swinging Bridge on your visit to this park.
  10. Basin Creek Trail - Hike trails in the largest national park on the Blue Ridge Parkway - discover the secluded gorge known as Basin Creek hiking past waterfalls, summit views, and abandoned cabins.
  11. Roanoke - A beautiful city nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, known for the Roanoke Star, a neon monument overlooking the city.
  12. Monongahela National Forest - Home to black bears, wild turkeys, deer, and 230 species of birds, this stunning forest offers hiking and biking trails to suit all abilities.
  13. Washington DC - The US Capital is famed for iconic buildings and historic monuments. Visit the White House, Capitol building, Library of Congress, and The Lincoln Memorial.
  14. Baltimore Inner Harbor - Visit the birthplace of the National Anthem, sitting at the mouth of Baltimore's inner harbor. This is a great place to spend the afternoon with the USS Constellation, the National Aquarium, and Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine.

The New Orleans Route

 Earth goddess plant sculpture in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens for the Once Upon a Time theme.
Make sure to visit the Atlanta Botanical Garden to see the fascinating living sculpture of the Earth Goddess.
Nicholas Lamontanaro/
  1. Houston - The city of Houston offers something for everyone, whether you want to explore the trails in Buffalo Bayou Park, visit the Museum of Natural Science or see incredible art in the Museum of Fine Arts, you won't run out of things to see and do here.
  2. Space Center Houston - You can't stop in Houston and not visit the leading center for science and space exploration. The official visitor center for NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston is a great place to spend the afternoon.
  3. Beaumont - This great city is the Cajun Capital of Texas. Discover its thriving food scene or visit its Boomtown Museum for a delve into the history of the city.
  4. Lafayette - Known as the Happiest City in America, Lafayette is a great foodie place to visit. You can also walk through the ancient oaks of South Louisiana too.
  5. Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge - A great stop for any outdoor or nature lovers, at this wildlife refuge you can explore the swamps of Louisiana, you may even spot the many animals, birds and plants that call it home.
  6. New Orleans - This melting pot of a city offers 24/7 nightlife where you can enjoy live music and bars on Bourbon Street, discover great Jazz bands, or enjoy incredible food thanks to its mix of cultures.
  7. Biloxi - Explore the beautiful beaches, historic lighthouses, and the fascinating Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum in Biloxi.
  8. Birmingham - Visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute for insight into the city's role in the Civil Rights Movement.
  9. Knoxville - Enjoy the popular arts scene and outdoor attractions like the World's Fair Park and Sunsphere in Knoxville.
  10. George Washington and Jefferson National Forest - The vast wilderness areas, stunning drives, and numerous hiking trails are more than worth exploring with a stop off at this stunning forest.
  11. Harrisburg - Visit Harrisburg for the chance to tour the Pennsylvania State Capitol complex, known for its stunning architecture and rich history.
  12. Allentown - Allentown Art Museum and the historic Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom provide a mix of cultural and family-friendly activities.

Best time to go on a road trip from Austin to New York

New York has plenty to offer visitors all year round, with plenty of indoor attractions that have air conditioning for the hot summer months, and heating in the winter.

Summer in New York is hot and can be humid with temperatures reaching 77 degrees Fahrenheit, that said it is still a very popular time of year to visit. Expect the summer in the city to be busy - but then, New York is always busy!

Angels with big Christmas tree with light in front of the Rockefeller center. Christmas famous decorations in Midtown, Manhattan in the New York City downtown.
New York becomes a festive winter wonderland as Christmas approaches.
Vivvi Smak/

In contrast, winters are very cold and you're likely to see snow if you're visiting between December and February (Central Park in the snow is stunning). Temperatures average around 35 degrees during the day and can reach as low as -2 at night. So, remember to bring layers, hats and gloves.

Spring is a beautiful time to visit the city; expect long days with temperatures that can reach highs of 60 degrees. However, the weather in March can be very changeable, it is not unheard of to have heavy snow followed by heavy rain.

Meanwhile fall in NYC starts in September and gives a mix of warm and cool days, and beautiful tree foliage lining the streets, as well as in the parks and forests along the way. Temperatures are similar to that of Spring, sitting around 60 degrees.

For a trip with a real bang, you could time it with one of NYC's iconic events. The city marks all major festivals with spectacular parades, like St. Patrick's Day and Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in the fall. Don't miss out on the Rockefeller Christmas Tree Lighting if you are visiting in winter!