Lit up Dallas skyline at dusk with buildings and skyscrapers in focus
Sean Pavone/

Road trip from New Orleans to Dallas

Published by Pat Dorri on December 7 2023

New Orleans is famous for its musical heritage and lively celebrations and if you are looking for something a little different after spending time here, why not head to Texas and explore its rich cowboy heritage? This road trip from New Orleans to Dallas will take you to the heart of the cosmopolitan buzz of the Lone Star State.

The 520-mile road trip from New Orleans to Dallas will take about 8 hours to drive. On the way, you can visit Shreveport, Kilgore, Bossier City, Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Pineville, Ville Platte, Waxahachie, Italy, Waco, Houston and Lake Charles.

This drive from New Orleans to Dallas will be full of endless fun around every corner. Read on below to learn more about our recommended routes, best places to stay, top highlights, and the best seasons to make the drive.

How far is Dallas from New Orleans, and how long will the road trip take?

Comparison of road trip routes between New Orleans and Dallas
RouteDistanceDriving Time
Direct Route520 miles7 hours and 50 minutes
Houston Route630 miles9 hours and 30 minutes

The Direct Route on a road trip from New Orleans to Dallas takes approximately 7 hours and 50 minutes to complete, covering a distance of 520 miles.

Alternatively, the Houston Route stretches over 630 miles and takes about 9 hours and 30 minutes to complete without accounting for any detours.

While it's possible to complete either route in a day, the diverse landscapes and cities along the way offer plenty of reasons to extend the trip. Each route offers unique experiences and attractions, making 3-4 days the perfect time to make the drive.

View of downtown Dallas with the Chase Tower in the background from the front of the AT&T Performing Arts Center.
This road trip from Louisiana to the heart of Texas will take you through charming towns of the south and to the urban landscape of Dallas.
Sean Pavone/

Best road trip route from New Orleans to Dallas

While both routes from New Orleans to Dallas offer unique landscapes and experiences, the choice ultimately depends on the type of scenery and attractions you prefer.

The Direct Route offers a serene and picturesque journey. As you leave New Orleans, the road takes you past the city's surrounding swamplands and lakes, transitioning into Texas's lush, tree-lined highways.

This route is dotted with quaint ranches and small towns that are easy to drive through. As you travel through Louisiana, the scenery is further enhanced by rivers, bayous, and national forests flanking the highway, creating a continuously captivating backdrop.

You will get to visit the charming cities of Baton Rouge and Shreveport on this route.

In contrast, the Houston Route is a more varied and open landscape. The flat terrain of this area allows for unobstructed views of the expansive, green landscapes.

As you journey through central Louisiana, the route is enriched by the historical beauty lining the Mississippi River, bringing you up close to the region's rich history and culture.

For an urban fix, you can make stops in Lafayette, Houston and Waco if you are following this route.

Along the way, you'll encounter the iconic Texas ranches and the emblematic oil and gas companies that make the state famous before making your way to Dallas.

How to drive from New Orleans to Dallas

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

Direct Route

Set off on the Direct Route from New Orleans to Dallas on Interstate 10 (I-10) West. Your first stop will be the city of Baton Rouge.

Here, you can explore the Louisiana State Capitol and the Capitol Park Museum. Just a short detour away is the Houmas House Plantation, offering a glimpse into the region's history.

Continuing northwest on I-49, your next major stop is Alexandria, where the Alexandria Zoo awaits. Further along I-49, take a break at the Louisiana State Arboretum State Preservation Area for a serene nature walk.

As you approach Shreveport, consider a detour to the Barksdale Global Power Museum or explore the natural beauty of the Red River National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Bistineau State Park.

From Shreveport, the route shifts to Texas, following I-20 West towards Dallas. Along this stretch, you'll find a variety of attractions like the historic Kilgore College East Texas Oil Museum before you arrive at your destination in Dallas.

Sleepy racoon on a branch in the zoo
Make a stop at the Alexandria Zoo and meet its adorable residents on your way from New Orleans to Dallas.
Mathew Risley/

Houston Route

The Houston Route from New Orleans to Dallas begins in New Orleans and heads west on I-10 towards Houston. This route initially follows the same path as the route above but the routes diverge past Baton Rouge.

This leg of the trip allows you to experience the bustling energy of Houston, with a must-visit to The Galleria for shopping enthusiasts.

Continuing on I-10, you'll find the San Jacinto Battleground Historic Site, a pivotal location in Texas history. From here, you'll drive north towards Waco.

As you journey towards Waco, consider a visit to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, located just off I-35.

In Waco, you'll find unique attractions like the World's Largest Caterpillar. The route then takes you north towards Dallas on I-35, passing through scenic landscapes and quintessential Texas towns before reaching Dallas.

Aerial view of the site and obelisk and the greenery surrounding it on a cloudy day
Learn about the rich history of the Lone Star State by paying the San Jacinto Battleground Historic Site a visit.

Best places to stop between New Orleans and Dallas

With so much to see and do along the way, you'll want to stop and rest in one of our recommended destinations below. That way, you'll be ready to explore the region at a leisurely pace.

An evening on a riverboat casino in Shreveport

Shreveport, located approximately 5 hours into the Direct Route from New Orleans to Dallas, is an ideal overnight stop. This city, named for Captain Henry Miller Shreve, features diverse attractions and activities.

Shreveport is not just famous for its dazzling riverboat casinos. It's also a hub of cultural festivities like the annual Film Prize and Music Prize that draws thousands to the city each year.

Shreveport, Louisiana showing the downtown skyline in the distance, and a metal bridge crossing the Red River in the foreground at sunset.
Shreveport is a beautiful city and there is always something going on - why not book yourself a place on a triverboat casino for a unique experience?
Sean Pavone/

The Shreveport Aquarium is a must-visit for all ages. The Spring Street Historical Museum is a must for a slice of history.

Nestled in the historical district of Shreveport, we recommend staying at the elegant 2439 Fairfield ‘A Bed and Breakfast'. This charming establishment was built in 1905 and features English rose and herb gardens, a Victorian swing, gazebo, and water fountain.

It offers luxurious amenities like private whirlpool baths and serves a proper English breakfast every morning. Its location is ideal, being conveniently close to local attractions and restaurants.

If you're interested in exploring the vicinity, the Meadows Museum of Art is just 1.3 miles away. Another nearby attraction is The Logan Mansion, located 1.5 miles from the hotel, perfect if you're interested in historic architecture and stories from the past.

Museum hopping in Houston

Houston, approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes into the Houston Route from New Orleans to Dallas, is the perfect city for an overnight stop. This city, celebrated as the most diverse metropolitan area in Texas, is a mosaic of cultures, flavors, and experiences.

The city's connection to space exploration, its famous food scene, energy industry, sports teams, museums, and cultural institutions are just some elements that make Houston so fun to visit.

Sam Houston Statue, positioned on a concrete archway in the park, photo taken during sunset
One of our favorite places to visit in Houston is the beautiful Hermann Park.
Prajwal Shinde/

It annually attracts over seven million visitors to its Museum District alone. Not to be missed are the Art Car Museum, showcasing unique, artistically modified cars, and The Menil Collection, one of the most significant private art collections in the world.

For your stay, the luxurious Blossom Hotel Houston is an impeccable choice. This hotel is known for its personalized service, elegant public spaces, and spacious accommodations filled with thoughtful touches.

Staying here, you can enjoy luxurious services, a rooftop pool offering panoramic city views, and a state-of-the-art fitness center.

Near the hotel, you'll find Hermann Park, less than a miles away, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a picnic amidst its beautiful green spaces. The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, located 2 miles from the hotel, is another must-visit, offering an extensive collection that spans centuries and continents.

Where to stay when you reach Dallas

Dallas, renowned for its blend of world-class museums, a flourishing arts scene, and iconic sports teams, makes it an unforgettable destination.

Begin your time by visiting the Dallas World Aquarium, an aquatic wonderland in the heart of the city, or immerse yourself in the artistic masterpieces at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) in the Pearl Arts District in Dallas, Texas
Admire the world-class collection of Dallas Museum of Art during your stay in this vibrant city.

Another must do is to visit AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys football team. After exploring the city, don't miss indulging in its world-class restaurant and bar scene.

Nestled in this cityscape is the highly-rated Hotel Crescent Court, a property that epitomizes the unique blend of Texan charm and Dallas sophistication. The hotel boasts a year-round outdoor pool and spa center, perfect for relaxation and unwinding after a day of city exploration.

Dining at the Hotel Crescent Court is an experience in itself, with five restaurants to choose from. Nobu serves Japanese fusion cuisine every evening, while The Conservatory is perfect for breakfast, lunch, and Sunday brunch in a sunroom overlooking the courtyard.

The hotel is close to downtown Dallas' restaurants, bars, and activities. You'll be within walking distance from highlights such as the Arts District and American Airlines Arena.

Things to see on a road trip from New Orleans to Dallas

On your way from New Orleans to Dallas, you'll have an endless amount of things to do and see. To help you plan the ultimate journey, we've created a list of our favorite stops below.

Both Routes

  1. Cajun Pride Swamp Tours - Offering guided boat tours near LaPlace, Louisiana, where visitors can experience the unique beauty and wildlife of the Louisiana swamps.
  2. Oak Alley Plantation - A historic plantation in Vacherie, Louisiana, famous for its stunning oak-lined alley and well-preserved antebellum mansion.
  3. Maurepas Swamp Wildlife Management Area Laplace - A natural preserve near Laplace, Louisiana, offering a tranquil setting for wildlife observation and outdoor recreation.
  4. Raising Cane's River Center, Baton Rouge - A multipurpose entertainment center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, hosting a variety of events from concerts to conventions.
  5. Blue Bayou Water Park - A popular water park in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, known for its thrilling water slides and family-friendly attractions.
  6. Houmas House Plantation - A historic plantation near Darrow, Louisiana, offering guided tours of its mansion and lush gardens.
  7. Capital Park Museum, Baton Rouge - This museum in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, showcases the rich cultural and political history of Louisiana through interactive exhibits and artifacts.
  8. BREC's Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center - A nature preserve in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, featuring boardwalks and paths through a cypress-tupelo swamp, ideal for birdwatching and nature education.
Oak Alley Plantation in southern Louisiana along the Great River Road down to New Orleans.
You can visit the beautiful Oak Alley Plantation on both of our recommended routes.

Direct Route

  1. Louisiana State Arboretum State Preservation Area - Situated in Ville Platte, Louisiana, this arboretum offers a peaceful natural setting with walking trails among diverse plant species.
  2. Alexandria Zoo - Located in Alexandria, Louisiana, this zoo features a diverse collection of animals from around the world, set in a family-friendly environment with educational exhibits.
  3. Red River National Wildlife Refuge - A haven for wildlife enthusiasts, this refuge in Bossier City, Louisiana, offers picturesque trails, birdwatching, and serene natural landscapes.
  4. Lake Bistineau State Park - Located near Doyline, Louisiana, this state park offers a range of outdoor activities, including fishing, boating, and hiking, amidst scenic lake and forest views.
  5. Splash Kingdom Paradise Island - A vibrant waterpark in Shreveport, Louisiana, offering a variety of water slides, pools, and family-friendly attractions set in a tropical island theme.
  6. Barksdale Global Power Museum - Located on Barksdale Air Force Base near Bossier City, Louisiana, this museum displays aircraft and exhibits related to the history of strategic bombing and the role of the Air Force.
  7. Gators and Friends - An adventurous wildlife park near Shreveport, Louisiana, where visitors can interact with alligators and other animals, and even zipline over their habitats.
  8. Lonestar Speedway, Texas - A high-energy dirt track racing venue located near Kilgore, Texas, known for hosting exciting races and motorsport events.
  9. Kilgore College East Texas Oil Museum - Located in Kilgore, Texas, this museum offers an insightful look into the history and impact of the oil industry in East Texas.
  10. Tyler Rose Garden - A stunning 14-acre garden in Tyler, Texas, known for its extensive collection of rose varieties and beautifully landscaped grounds.
A vintage plane on display outside on the glass as a part of the museum exhibit
If you are a lover of planes and history, then we highly recommend visiting Barksdale Global Power Museum on the Direct Route.
Allen J.M. Smith/

Houston Route

  1. Lafayette Science Museum - Situated in Lafayette, Louisiana, this museum offers interactive exhibits on science and technology, including a planetarium and dinosaur displays.
  2. LARC'S Acadian Village, Lafayette - This village in Lafayette, Louisiana, is a living history museum showcasing Acadian life in the 19th century with authentic homes and artifacts.
  3. Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu - Located in Lake Charles, Louisiana, this museum showcases the history and costumes of Mardi Gras, with vibrant displays and artifacts.
  4. World's Largest Caterpillar - An unusual roadside attraction in Italy, Texas, featuring a giant caterpillar sculpture, offering a unique photo opportunity.
  5. Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum - Located in Waco, Texas, this museum honors the famed Texas Rangers with exhibits on their history and contributions to law enforcement.
  6. The Munster Mansion - A private residence in Waxahachie, Texas, this house is a faithful replica of the iconic home from the 1960s TV show "The Munsters."
  7. Bear Creek Pioneers Park - A large park in Houston, Texas, offering a variety of recreational activities, including walking trails, wildlife habitat, and sports facilities.
  8. San Jacinto Battleground Historic Site - Near Houston, Texas, this historic site commemorates the Battle of San Jacinto, a decisive battle in the Texas Revolution, featuring a museum and the towering San Jacinto Monument.
  9. The Galleria, Houston - A sprawling upscale shopping center in Houston, Texas, featuring an array of shops, restaurants, and an ice rink.
  10. Washington-on-the-Brazos State Historic Site - Near Navasota, Texas, this significant historical park marks the birthplace of Texas independence, with museums and a replica of the 1836 Independence Hall.
A green park after rain with a river running through between trees
If you are looking for a quiet moment, then take a break at Bear Creek Pioneers Park on the Houston Route.
Si Vo/

Best time to go on a road trip from New Orleans to Dallas

Dallas, a city celebrated for its big-city culture and famous sports teams, offers a year-round destination with experiences varying by season.

In spring, the city blooms with temperatures ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, creating ideal conditions for exploring outdoor attractions like the Dallas World Aquarium or the Dallas Museum of Art.

This season also coincides with the Baton Rouge Blues Festival in April on the Direct Route. However, be mindful of heavy traffic in Dallas, especially during rush hours.

Summer in Dallas can be hot, with temperatures soaring between 80 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This season offers a bustling atmosphere, perfect for those who enjoy the heat.

If traveling along the Houston Route during this time, you might catch the Westfest in June. You can also enjoy the popular Fourth of July festivals throughout the towns and cities on both routes.

Fall, with its mild temperatures of 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit, is an excellent time for the road trip. The State Fair of Texas in September-October in Dallas is a must-visit event, adding a unique flair to your journey.

The Wings Over Houston Air Show on the Houston Route in September is another highlight. Driving conditions are comfortable, but the popularity of these events means that booking hotels and event tickets early is a good idea.

Winter brings colder weather to Dallas, with temperatures ranging from 35 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and occasional snow and ice, even in the south. While winter travel requires precautions, the city's festive charm during this season is undeniable.

Winter is also the time for Mardi Gras in New Orleans in February, so make sure to book your accommodation ahead of time because this is one of the biggest celebrations in the USA!