Aerial view of the Wheeler Ferris Wheel with the iwhite "OKC" sigh in the front, sunny day
Kit Leong/

Road Trip from Austin to Oklahoma City

Published by Dianne Titos on September 15 2023

If you are looking at the map, trying to decide where your next road trip from Austin will take you, look no further. This jam-packed drive from Austin to Oklahoma City will take you through the beautiful Red River Valley and the expansive landscapes of the Great Plains and its charming cities.

The 410-mile road trip from Austin to Oklahoma City will take 6 hours and 30 minutes to drive. Places you can visit include Georgetown, Belton Lake, Waco, Dallas, Fort Worth, Lubbock, Abilene, Sweetwater, Amarillo, Groom, Clinton and Weatherford.

This road trip will be full of exciting destinations, natural wonders, history, culture, and much more. Read on below to learn more about our recommended routes, top highlights, the best places to stop, and the best seasons to make the journey.

How far is Oklahoma City from Austin, and how long will the road trip take?

Comparison of road trip routes between Austin and Oklahoma City
RouteDistanceDriving Time
The Dallas Route410 miles6 hours 30 minutes
The Lubbock Route760 miles11 hours 40 minutes

The Dallas Route will take you through the heart of Texas, with stops in Waco and Dallas. This route spans 410 miles and will take roughly 6 hours and 30 minutes.

Alternatively, the Lubbock Route takes you on a longer scenic drive, covering 760 miles over approximately 11 hours and 40 minutes through Abilene, Lubbock, and Amarillo.

While it's possible to complete either route in a day, we recommend stretching your road trip to over 2-3 days to take advantage of all the wonderful sights and attractions on the way.

Bricktown neighborhood at night in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City is an urban metropolis with the colorful Bricktown neighborhood at the heart of it.
Sean Pavone/

Best road trip route from Austin to Oklahoma City

While both routes offer distinctive attractions and landscapes, your ultimate choice depends on what type of scenery and the kind of experiences you want.

The more direct Dallas Route will take you from Austin to Oklahoma through expansive highways, whisking you through small southern towns and bustling cities like Dallas and Waco. You will also get to admire the scenery of the Red River Valley as you cross from Texas into Oklahoma.

As you get closer to Oklahoma City, you'll see the southern plains' drier and dustier terrains, hinting at the cowboy adventures awaiting in Oklahoma. However, this route offers fewer natural landscapes compared to its counterpart.

The longer alternative Lubbock Route passes through a wide array of imposing landscapes. You'll also get to take a detour to the beautiful wine country of Lubbock. Here, some of Texas' most famous wines are produced and where there's excellent wine, there's good food!

As you proceed, the route enters open desert terrain and expansive grasslands, offering beautiful open skies and sunsets.

The portion between Abilene and Amarillo lets you immerse in an otherworldly atmosphere with sprawling rocky and dusty landscapes, and a rural backdrop that feels like you're traveling back in time.

You will also get to travel on parts of the "Mother Route," Route 66, on the Lubbock Route.

How to drive from Austin to Oklahoma City

The map above shows our suggestions for the best road trip routes between Austin and Oklahoma City. Keep reading for detailed descriptions of both routes, where to stay on either, and the best things to do on the way.

The Dallas Route

Starting in Austin, one of the music and culture capitals of America, head north on Interstate 35 (I-35) to Waco and then Dallas. After exploring all the sights and stops in the Dallas area, consider a short detour to Fort Worth.

After your visit, drive through the countryside of north Texas until you get to the lush banks of the Red River, dividing the states of Oklahoma and Texas.

Continue north on I-35 to Ardmore. After exploring this historic small city, continue en route to Pauls Valley. From here, drive north on the interstate to your destination of beautiful Oklahoma City.

Green vintage delivery truck outside the Dr Pepper Museum, Waco TX
You can visit the famous Dr Pepper Museum in Waco if you are driving from Austin to Oklahoma City on the Dallas Route.

The Lubbock Route

Starting in Austin, head northwest on US-183. You'll pass small Texas towns with plenty of charm. Continue on driving northwest to the city of Abilene. From here, drive to Lubbock. Enjoy the changing landscapes, from lush countryside to desert plains.

Continuing north, you will reach Amarillo. Here, you can visit the quirky Cadillac Ranch before setting off again. From here, you will get on historic Route 66, now I-40, and drive east towards Oklahoma.

Continue on through the Great Plains of Oklahoma through Elk City. Soon, you'll arrive at your destination of Oklahoma City.

White clouds over a secluded dirt road stretching across the expansive flatlands of the Great Plains, Oklahoma
On your way to Oklahoma City on the Lubbock Route, you will drive through the expansive Great Plains of Oklahoma.
Joe Belanger/

Best places to stop between Austin and Oklahoma City

Even though you're only seeing two states, there will be plenty of fun and adventure around every corner. Below, we've listed our favorite places for a stopover so you can be well-rested and ready to explore all this magical region offers.

A dazzling urban stop in Dallas

Just about halfway through your journey from Austin to Oklahoma on the Dallas route, around 3 hours from your starting point, lies the vibrant city of Dallas. This quintessential Texan city has plenty of rich culture, history, and gastronomy.

While in Dallas, at least two places (if not more!) should be on your must-visit list, depending on how much time you have. These are the Frontiers of Flight Museum and the Reunion Tower, offering panoramic views of the city.

A red propeller plane hanging from the ceiling of the museum, located in Dallas
You can visit the Frontier of Flight Museum in Dallas to see some impressive vintage airplanes up close.

If you have more time, we also recommend visiting the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, dedicated to chronicling the life, death, and legacy of President John F. Kennedy.

For your stay, we recommend staying at the HALL Arts Hotel Dallas, Curio Collection by Hilton. Nestled in the heart of the Arts District, the hotel beautifully echoes its surroundings, bringing the rich art vibe inside with intricately curated spaces and modern aesthetics.

You can enjoy lovely live piano music while you dine in their restaurant, all while surrounded by a mesmerizing collection of art pieces. To add a touch of relaxation, a snazzy rooftop pool awaits, offering a refreshing dip with a view.

And, when it comes to exploring, the hotel puts you in the heart of the most iconic art venues in Dallas. Just a short 10-minute walk away lies the Dallas Museum of Art, a paradise for art enthusiasts, while a shorter 5-minute walk will take you to the Nasher Sculpture Centre, a haven for lovers of contemporary sculptures.

A musical stop at Lubbock

Six hours from Austin, on the Lubbock Route, Lubbock is a haven that is just about halfway on your journey. Nicknamed the ‘Hub City', Lubbock is a destination infused with a rich musical history, being the birthplace of the iconic musician Buddy Holly.

This lively city has an inviting atmosphere, family-friendly attractions, and a culinary scene on the rise. Lubbock is also home to fine wines and some of the top wineries in Texas.

The sign and iconic pair of glasses in front of the Center on a sunny day
Lubbock is the birthplace of the beloved musician Buddy Holly, and you can learn more about his life at the Buddy Holly Center.
Cheri Alguire/

As you soak in the city, make sure to visit Buddy Holly Center to experience the life and music of the legendary artist. Afterwards, visit the West Texas Walk of Fame, which features a series of plaques dedicated to artists, including Waylon Jennings, Roy Orbison, and Tanya Tucker.

After exploring the city's sights, we recommend staying at the Cotton Court Hotel, by Valencia Hotel Group. There is a courtyard on the premises, which is the heart of the hotel, where you can unwind in rocking chairs and even enjoy live music on occasion.

The hotel features a modern retro décor, offering a fusion of the old and the new. When you're ready to explore more of the city, the hotel offers free bikes for guests to roam the streets of Lubbock and discover the city's gems on two wheels.

Located a short 5-minute drive from the hotel is the Buddy Holly Center, an attraction not to be missed for music enthusiasts. For a delightful family excursion, take a 10-minute drive to Prairie Dog Town, where you can witness these adorable creatures in their natural habitat.

Where to stay when you reach Oklahoma City

Welcome to the land of the cowboy spirit — Oklahoma City! This place has a unique energy that brings the Wild West back to life, blending the best of cowboy culture with rich Native American heritage.

Make your first stop at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. It's a treasure trove that takes you on a journey through Western history, with art pieces, exhibitions, and memorabilia that pay homage to the cowboy era.

Back view of the Statue of Coming Through the Rye designed by Frederick Remington at National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.
Visit the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum to learn about the cowboy heritage of Oklahoma City.

For a deeper dive into the rustic Western charm, Historic Stockyards City offers a glimpse into the cowboy lifestyle, where you can shop for genuine cowboy gear, including boots, hats, and more.

For your stay, we recommend the luxurious Colcord Hotel Oklahoma City, Curio Collection by Hilton. Immerse yourself in the ultimate cowboy experience with a hotel that echoes the city's spirit.

This hotel merges comfort with cowboy charm, allowing you to experience the city's rich heritage while enjoying all the modern amenities to make your stay comfortable and memorable.

The Colcord is just a stone's throw from Oklahoma City's best sights and landmarks. Just 10 minutes on foot is the Museum of Art, where you can experience some of the finest art in the West.

Things to see on a road trip from Austin to Oklahoma City

Both routes are full of adventure around every corner. To help you plan easily and make the most out of your journey, we've included our top highlights below for both routes.

Dallas Route

  1. Round Rock's Hairy Man Road - Known for the local urban legend of the "Hairy Man," this road in Round Rock, Texas, offers a scenic drive lined with trees and is the site of an annual Hairy Man Festival, which celebrates the legend with a family-friendly event.
  2. The Williamson Museum - Situated in Georgetown, Texas, this museum offers a deep dive into the rich history of Williamson County through interactive exhibits and educational programs, promoting community involvement and heritage conservation.
  3. Chalk Ridge Falls Park - A hidden gem in Belton, Texas, Chalk Ridge Falls Park offers beautiful hiking trails that lead to a picturesque waterfall, providing an excellent opportunity for photography and bird-watching.
  4. Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum - Located in a restored Santa Fe Depot in Temple, Texas, this museum showcases the rich railroad history of the region through engaging exhibits, including vintage train cars and railway memorabilia.
  5. Dubl-R Old Fashioned Hamburgers - A classic burger joint in Waco, Texas, known for its delicious burgers served in a retro setting, offering a taste of nostalgia along with its famed dishes.
  6. Dr Pepper Museum - This museum in Waco is a haven for Dr Pepper fans, featuring the history of the iconic beverage through a range of exhibits, including vintage advertisements and memorabilia.
  7. Czech Stop and Little Czech Bakery - A popular stop in West, Texas, offering a delightful range of Czech baked goods, including the famed kolaches, alongside a convenient store to pick up road trip essentials.
  8. World's Largest Caterpillar - A whimsical attraction in Italy, Texas, featuring a giant caterpillar structure, offering unique photo opportunities for travelers and fun for kids.
  9. Dallas Zoo - Spanning 106 acres, the Dallas Zoo is home to over 2000 animals, offering educational programs and experiences that allow visitors to learn about wildlife and conservation efforts.
  10. Dallas Museum of Art - This world-class museum houses an impressive collection of over 24,000 works, ranging from ancient artifacts to contemporary art, offering a rich cultural experience to its visitors.
  11. Eliza Cruce Hall Doll Museum - Nestled in the Ardmore Public Library, Oklahoma, this museum showcases a fascinating collection of dolls amassed by Eliza Cruce Hall, offering a nostalgic journey through the world of dolls.
  12. Southwest Museum of Clocks and Watches - Located in Lockhart, Texas, this museum takes visitors on a journey through time, showcasing a remarkable collection of clocks and watches from various eras, illustrating the evolution of timekeeping devices.
  13. Toy and Action Figure Museum - This museum is a paradise for toy enthusiasts, featuring a vast collection of action figures and toys, and offering interactive exhibits that are fun for both kids and adults.
  14. Andy Alligator's Fun Park and Water Park - A family-friendly attraction in Norman, Oklahoma, offering a range of activities, including go-karts, mini-golf, and water rides, ensuring a fun-filled day for everyone.
Tiger resting on grass at the zoo
You can visit the Dallas Zoo to see majestic creatures like this beautiful tiger.

Lubbock Route

  1. Buchanan Dam - This massive dam in Texas Hill Country is a remarkable engineering feat, offering beautiful views of the lake and surroundings, and opportunities for boating and fishing.
  2. World's Largest Spur - Located in Lampasas, Texas, this roadside attraction features a giant spur, offering a quirky photo-op for travelers and drawing attention to the region's ranching heritage.
  3. Lake Brownwood State Park - A tranquil spot in Texas, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for hiking, camping, and water activities with a backdrop of beautiful nature.
  4. Abilene Zoo - A small yet delightful zoo in Abilene, Texas, featuring a diverse range of animals and educational programs encouraging wildlife conservation.
  5. The Grace Museum - This museum in Abilene offers a rich cultural experience through its art, history, and children's museum, hosting a range of interactive exhibits and programs.
  6. National WASP WWII Museum - Located in Sweetwater, Texas, this museum pays homage to the Women Airforce Service Pilots of World War II, showcasing their history and contributions through a range of exhibits and memorabilia.
  7. West Texas Walk of Fame - This walk of fame in Lubbock honors the legends of West Texas in various fields, including music and arts, offering a glimpse into the region's rich heritage.
  8. Silent Wings Museum - Also located in Lubbock, Texas, this museum showcases the history of the WWII military glider program, offering a rich educational experience through its exhibits and artifacts.
  9. Midpoint Cafe - A historic restaurant and gift shop, famous for being situated at the midpoint of the iconic Route 66, equidistant between Chicago and Santa Monica.
  10. Amarillo Botanical Gardens - A beautiful haven in Amarillo, Texas, showcasing a diverse range of flora through themed gardens and offering a tranquil space for relaxation and nature walks.
  11. Wonderland Amusement Park - A family-friendly amusement park in Amarillo, Texas, offering a variety of rides and attractions suitable for all age groups, promising a day of fun and excitement.
  12. Leaning Tower of Texas - A quirky roadside attraction in Groom, Texas, featuring a leaning water tower that offers unique photo opportunities and adds a fun stop in your road trip itinerary.
  13. Welcome to Texas Sign - A quintessential photo stop for travelers entering Texas. This sign marks your welcome into the state, offering a moment of anticipation and excitement as you begin your Texan adventure.
  14. Water-Zoo Indoor Water Park - Located in Clinton, Oklahoma, this indoor water park offers year-round water fun with a variety of slides and pools, making it a great destination for family outings.
  15. Stafford Air and Space Museum - This museum in Weatherford offers an insightful journey through the history of aviation and space exploration, featuring exhibits that include actual spacecraft, rockets, and aviation artifacts.
Daytime view of the Japanese garden of Amarillo Botanical Gardens at Texas
If you are looking for a beautiful, green oasis, Amarillo Botanical Gardens will offer a moment in tranquility if you are following the Lubbock Route.
Kit Leong/

Best time to go on a road trip from Austin to Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City is a year-round destination with dynamic cultural experiences that vary with the seasons.

Springtime is a wonderful time to visit the area, with pleasant temperatures and beautiful wildflowers. If you're traveling during this season, make sure to visit the Lubbock Uncorked wine event, the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, or the Norman Music Festival, all in April.

Be prepared for thunderstorms and occasional tornados in spring. Although rare, it's important to stay up to date with weather information as you travel through this region.

Summer is also a popular time to travel along both routes. However, the temperatures throughout this region are very high in summer, making air conditioning and plenty of drinking water a must.

If you travel during the summer, make sure to check out the Oklahoma State Fair and the West Texas Fair and Rodeo in September.

Fall is also an excellent time to travel, with pleasant temperatures and generally good weather. Make sure to check out the spectacle of West Fest in October if you travel during this time.

Winter is mild, yet snow happens every year. Temperatures usually range from 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Although the area has a warm climate, it's full of Christmas cheer, with holiday parades and celebrations in almost every city and town along the routes. New Year in Dallas and Oklahoma City is always a memorable celebration and well worth experiencing for yourself.