Planning a Dallas to Austin road trip?
This is our favorite Texas road trip for numerous reasons!
Dallas and Austin are the most vibrant two cities in Texas…
….the scenic route along I-35 goes through the Hill Country….
and you will be driving through beautiful small towns and natural areas!
Here is an ultimate guide to the best things to do on the way from Dallas to Austin, Texas.
Also Read: Best Things to do in the Texas Hill Country
Dallas to Austin Drive Route
Planning to drive Dallas to Austin on your next vacation?
The route you will be taking will be along I-35.
This is the most direct route and will take you through some of the nicest scenery in Texas!
You will start your drive in Dallas and head south on I-35.
Also Read: Dallas to New Orleans Road Trip
Dallas to Austin Trip Distance
The distance along the scenic route from Dallas to Austin is a little under 200 miles on I-35.
If flying in into Dallas airport, the DFW to austin drive distance is a little more – 220 miles.
However, the driving distance from Dallas to Austin can increase significantly if you are taking detours along the many charming Texan towns that dot this route.
Dallas to Austin Drive Hours
Dallas to Austin drive time is about three hours on the road without stopping.
The drive from DFW to Austin is a little over 3 hrs 15 mins.
We recommend keeping aside a minimum of 4-5 hours if you are driving from Dallas to Austin by car for a timed event due to the traffic and construction.
Add in the time spent checking out the many attractions along the way – and you can even easily plan a 3 to 5 days long loop road trip between the cities!
Also Read: 21 Best Road Trips from Austin, Texas
Essential Stops on Dallas to Austin Road Trip
The three hour drive has plenty of attractions to explore.
Dallas is a large city in the state of Texas and is known for its Cowboys, arts scene, and cuisine.
If you’re looking for things to do in Dallas, you won’t be disappointed.
One popular attraction is the Sixth Floor Museum, which chronicles the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens are other must-sees, and visitors can also explore the city’s many art galleries and museums.
Enjoy the nightlife, eclectic museums, and street art in Deep Ellum before heading south towards Austin.
Waxahachie, Texas is a historic town with a variety of things to see and do.
The Ellis County Courthouse is one of the most notable landmarks in the town.
For history buffs, a visit to the Ellis County Museum is a must.
The museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts that tell the story of the county’s past.
The town square, with its quaint shops and restaurants, is the perfect place to spend an afternoon.
Located in the heart of Central Texas, Hillsboro is a charming small town that is often overlooked by visitors.
For history buffs, the Hill County Courthouse and Museum are a must-see.
Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of the many hiking and biking trails in the area, or spend a day boating or fishing on one of the nearby lakes.
West, Texas is a small Czech town with a lot to offer.
It’s most famous for kolaches, Czech heritage, and festivals – and a must stop on the Dallas to Austin drive!
West is the best place to get your hands on some of Texas’ finest kolaches – you will get them inside bakeries housed inside gas stations!
Some of the most popular ones are Little Czech Bakery or the Czech Stop and Slovacek’s.
Trying a kolache in West is one of the essential things to do between Austin and Dallas.
Waco is one of our favorite family vacation destinations in Central Texas.
It is one of the best things to do between Dallas and Austin, especially for families.
Located on the Brazos River, the big city of Waco has plenty of attractions.
Waco Mammoth National Monument, located a short distance from the city center, is a hit with kids.
The national monument is home to the remains of a herd of Ice Age mammoths.
Magnolia Market at the Silos, of the famous Fixer Upper fame, is another famous attraction in Waco.
Visitors can browse the market for home decor items, pick up some snacks from the food trucks, or take a tour of the Silos complex.
Other popular attractions in Waco include the Dr. Pepper Museum, the Cameron Park Zoo, and Baylor University.
Temple & Buc-ee’s – #1 Essential Stop on Dallas to Austin drive
Temple is home to the famous Buc ee’s gas station!
The Texan chain is famous for its clean bathrooms, friendly fast service, and a vast selection of Buc-ees road trip snacks as well as souvenirs.
It is one of the most famous places to visit between Dallas and Austin to fill up the car.
There’s so much more to do at Buc-ee’s than just gas up your car.
Try the famous Buc ee’s beaver nuggets or get some of their beef jerkies for your trip!
Shop for Texas souvenirs, produce, camping gear, home decor, and even clothes at Buc-ees!
The Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum is also worth a visit.
Belton, Texas is a historic small town located in the heart of Central Texas.
Visitors can explore the town’s rich history at the Bell County Museum or take a stroll down Main Street to see the restored Victorian-style homes.
Chalk Ridge Falls Park is another popular attraction in Belton – it is home to one of the best waterfalls in Texas.
The scenic park has hiking trails as well as shaded picnic area and is a great place for nature lovers to cool in the hot Texas sun.
Salado is a beautiful small town in the Texas Hill Country.
Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities including….
…..shopping at the many antique stores…
exploring the Salado Sculpture Garden, and;
Checking out the art galleries displaying works by local artists!
Salado is also home to several bed and breakfasts, wineries, and restaurants.
Jarrell, Texas is a small town located about an hour outside of Austin.
Check out the vintage gas station, and other historic buildings, as well as learn about the tornado that destroyed most of this small town in 1997.
Georgetown, Texas is a quaint small town located just north of Austin.
It is one of the most beautiful cities between Dallas and Austin.
With a charming Main Street lined with boutiques and restaurants, Georgetown is the perfect place to spend a day.
Georgetown also has a beautiful town square.
Be sure to see the Williamson County Courthouse, which tells the story of the county’s history, or take a stroll along the San Gabriel River.
For something truly unique, stop by Inner Space Cavern, where you can tour an underground cave system.
Also Read: Best bat caves in Texas
Round Rock is a city in Central Texas, located about 20 miles north of Austin.
The city is home to several historical buildings and landmarks, as well as a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities.
Visitors to Round Rock can explore the Old Settlers Park, which features a playground, hiking and biking trails, and a lake.
The park is also home to the Round Rock Express minor league baseball team.
At the end is your destination, Austin – the vibrant capital of the Lone Star State!
You will find a vast variety of things to do in Austin for all types of visitors.
Visitors can take in the city’s rich history at attractions like the State Capitol or the Bullock Texas State History Museum.
Also Read: Weekend in Austin Itinerary
Austin is also a hit with music lovers.
It is known as the Live Music Capital of Texas.
The city is home to over 250 live music venues, and you can find everything from country and folk to rock and hip-hop.
Outdoor lovers can check out the many natural attractions around Austin including McKinney Falls State Park and Hamilton Pool.
Also Read: Best day trips from Austin
Dallas to Austin Road Trip Tips
Here are a few trips to planning this amazing road trip in the Lone Star State.
Avoid rush hour while driving from Dallas to Austin!
Traffic in Texas can be horrendous – especially on I-35, so plan your drive outside of peak times.
Another pro-tip is to download an offline map of Texas before you go.
This will come in handy if you lose cell service at any point during your drive from Dallas to Austin TX.
Finally, make sure you have plenty of snacks and drinks for the journey.
You can also use this itinerary for Fort Worth to Austin road trip.
Austin to Dallas drive
You can use the same itinerary for the Austin to Dallas road trip along I-35N.
Stop at the many amazing cities between Austin and Dallas.
Take a stroll in charming Georgetown, visit magnolia Market in Waco, and eat the kolaches in West.
The drive from Austin to Dallas is especially fun during events such as the State Fair of Texas in Dallas or during the holiday season to see Christmas lights in Dallas, Texas.
Or plan the scenic drive Austin to Dallas during the famous bluebonnet season.
Looking to extend this trip from Dallas to San Antonio? Read the drive planner now.
For the most scenic views, plan this road trip in spring when the wildflowers including the Texas bluebonnets are blooming all over the countryside.
Have a safe and fun road trip from Dallas to Austin!