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

Road Trip from Dallas to Houston

By Andrej Paskalov | Updated on 5 August 2021

If you're in the mood for a vacation that's both scenic and educational, a road trip from Dallas to Houston is perfect. Featuring everything from scenic Texas forests and ranches to the finest museum tours in the States, this trip is one you won't ever forget.

The 240-mile road trip from Dallas to Houston takes 3 hours 30 minutes to drive. Key attractions are Davy Crockett and Sam Houston National Forests, stopovers in Conroe and The Woodlands, and the Houstone Space Center and Minute Maid Park.

You might be surprised at how much there is to see on the way, so be sure to read on until the end to make sure you know what to

How far is Houston from Dallas and how long will the road trip take?

The road trip from Dallas to Houston covers 240 miles and takes 3 hours 30 minutes to complete. All you need to do is follow Interstate 45 the entire way, making this a particularly easy road trip for beginner drivers.

This beautiful route capitalizes on simple, yet captivating nature scenery, the abundance of camping spots (particularly near the route's various lakes), and a long chain of decent-sized towns and cities, each with their own quirks and historical remnants.

The Waterway at The Woodlands, Texas
The Woodlands are an understated yet impossibly beautiful place to visit near the home stretch of your road trip.
Prince Pazziuagan/

One thing worth noting about this trip is that, while the route is generally traffic-free and Houston isn't too troublesome, it can take a while to get out of Dallas, especially on the weekend. With that in mind, this is a road trip you'll want to start at daybreak, if you can.

You might not think there's too much to unpack with a drive this short, but you'll definitely want to take your time with this route and try to explore some of the lesser-known landmarks in or near the cities you'll be driving through.

Best road trip route from Dallas to Houston

The most scenic and straightforward route for the road trip from Dallas to Houston is via Interstate 45 - despite being relatively short, this scenic itinerary gives you plenty to look at while also being easy to drive.

Get onto Interstate 45 and follow it south, passing William Blair Jr. Park and Trinity River Audubon Center. Once you're out of Dallas, continue past Xtreme Raceway Park and Texas Motorplex, then take a break in Corsicana.

Past Richland-Chambers Reservoir and Fairfield Lake State Park, cut through Fairfield and Buffalo before doing a detour to Davy Crockett National Forest from Centerville. Once you're done, get back on the interstate and drive through Huntsville and Sam Houston National Forest.

From there, stop by Lake Conroe Park and W.G. Jones State Forest, and be sure to drop by the scenic parks in The Woodlands. Finally, explore the parks in Spring and continue a little further south to reach central Houston.

Best places to stop between Dallas and Houston

Don't let the short drive tempt you into doing the drive in a single day - the road trip from Dallas to Houston is best enjoyed over the course of 3 or 4 days, especially if you can top it off with some amazing hotel deals.

Although there are plenty of amazing accommodation options along the way, you should set yourself up for an unforgettable vacation with a room by booking one of these resorts:

Take in the relaxing lakeside view in Conroe

Although it's not terribly far from Houston, Conroe makes for a spectacular base of operations for exploring the county in its entirety. The city itself is famous for the titular Conroe Lake, one of the region's definitive fishing and sightseeing spots.

Whether you want to enjoy the gorgeous sunset from the lakeshore or the swanky hot tub, Piney Shorts Resort has you covered.

Lake Conroe, as seen on the road trip from Dallas to Houston
Lake Conroe and its surrounding luscious greens set the perfect mood for a picnic.

Thanks to its unpretentious yet charming interior, this resort is the very definition of homey and inviting. More importantly, though, the gorgeous Conroe Lake is practically in your back yard!

Besides that spectacular jacuzzi, the hotel even features an amazing tennis court and a swimming pool that aims to impress. Once you've had enough outdoor activity, you can head on inside for a game of table tennis or mini-golf.

When you take all the amenities and the awe-inspiring surroundings into account, the hotel's price is incredibly fair. On top of all that, Sam Houston National Forest and The Woodlands are both just a short drive away.

Enjoy the five-star treatment in Houston

Houston is by far the biggest city this route brings to the table, and the number of things you can do here is practically endless - you could spend your entire vacation in the Theater and Historic Districts downtown and never once get bored.

Unsurprisingly, Texas' biggest city also has some of the state's swankiest places to stay. For a hotel experience that's so stereotypically five-star in every possible way, The Post Oak Hotel is as fancy as fancy gets.

To call these rooms luxurious would be an understatement, and if you can snag one on a higher floor, the view of Houston's skyline is unprecedented. Even when working out in the fitness area, you get to enjoy a panoramic view of the city, just waiting for you to explore it.

Skyline of Houston, Texas downtown from behind Root Square
There's something special about downtown Houston that keeps you coming back for more.
Sean Pavone/

The beautiful colors of the lounge and restaurant go perfectly with the hotel's high-end design, but as impressive as the interior is, the most jaw-dropping part of this place might be the outdoor pool, complete with a fire pit and plenty of room for mingling.

With places like Memorial Park within walking distance, this hotel's location and connectivity couldn't get much better. It's worth noting that the price is a little on the high side, although it's nowhere near as expensive as it could be given how great it is.

Things to see on a road trip from Dallas to Houston

The sheer number of landmarks and hidden gems to discover on the road trip from Dallas to Houston is staggering. Although it would be next to impossible to list everything, these are the places you'll definitely need to keep an eye out for:

  1. Galaxy Drive-In Movie Theater – if you're looking to have some old-school fun, you and your better half can enjoy a snack and a movie from the comfort of your car
  2. Ennis Bluebonnet Trails – a scenic set of hiking trails that capitalize on their beautiful wildflowers
  3. Texas Motorplex – the region's ultimate drag-race stadium, where amateur high-stakes races are held every October
  4. Navarro Mills Lake – if you're into fishing, this is the ideal place to catch catfish and white crappie
  5. Collin Street Bakery – drop by to get a taste of Texas' famous pecan pies and fruitcakes
  6. Davy Crockett National Forest – a large woodland featuring some of the most beautiful hiking trails and picnic grounds in Texas
  7. Texas Prison Museum – Huntsville's biggest attraction will give you a taste of what prison life was like in Texas in the 20th century
  8. Huntsville State Park – a gorgeous forested area and a perfect complement to the neighboring Sam Houston National Forest
  9. Sam Houston National Forest – a scenic forest with access to hiking trails, Lake Conroe, several creeks, and diverse wildlife
  10. Conroe – a charming city with plenty of parks and a bustling business district
  11. Todd Mission – if you're traveling to Houston in the fall, you can pass by Todd Mission to enjoy the iconic Texas Renaissance Festival
  12. W. G. Jones State Forest – explore native flora and fauna (like red-cockaded woodpecker) on this preserve while horseback riding or hiking
  13. The Woodlands – an interesting community best known for its music scene and a bevy of shopping centers
Road in Sam Houston National Forest on the road trip from Dallas to Houston
Driving through Sam Houston National Forest will put your mind at ease.
Tyler Stuard/

Best time to go on a road trip from Dallas to Houston

One great thing about the road trip from Dallas to Houston is that you can do it at any time. The short drive is full of attractions every step of the way, so you're guaranteed to find something to do no matter the season.

Since you'll be spending much more time at the various stopovers than on the road, you'll probably want to make sure it's not raining when you do the trip. If you do get caught off-guard by rain or snow, though, you can rest assured that driving the interstate is extremely safe.

With all that said, Texas has some of the nastiest humidity in all the US, and you need to note that temperatures soar up in summer, so June-August trips can be difficult to recommend on a particularly hot year.

Park in Houston, Texas
There's a lot more to beautiful Houston than just high-rise buildings.
Prentiss Findlay/

On the other hand, the months of September-November and March-May are ideal times for the trip, as this is when the temperatures settle at about 80 degrees. Also, the summer crowds will probably be gone by mid-fall, so you get to enjoy a leisurely visit to the attractions.

Not to mention, because the weather is so pleasant in spring and fall, many of the city's unforgettable festivities are held this time of year - whatever major festival you've attended somewhere else in the States, it almost definitely has an offshoot happening in Houston too.

If you like winter drives, you'll be delighted to know that Texas temperatures are tolerable between December and January (low-to-mid 60s), This is also the cheapest season to do the trip, as the lack of festivals means there are hardly any tourists around.