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9 Best Stops on Houston to Austin Drive

Planning a Houston to Austin road trip?

Austin, located in the Texas Hill Country, is one of our favorite weekend getaways in Texas.

The drive from Houston to Austin is scenic and there are plenty of stops along the way to make the most of your trip.

Here is a guide to planning a road trip between two of Texas’s most vibrant cities.

Also Read: Houston to South Padre Island Road trip

Texas state capitol building in Austin is a must visit attraction
Texas state capitol building in Austin is a must visit attraction

Houston to Austin Drive Route

You can take two routes.

US-290W is a scenic alternative while the I-10 up to Columbus and then State Highway 71 offers the fastest alternative.

Or plan a round trip – take the I-10 to Austin and 290 on the return Austin to Houston drive.

Also Read: 28 Best Road Trips from Houston

Houston to Austin Trip Distance

The straight line distance is under 150 miles but the drive is closer to 170 miles.

The total driving distance from Houston to Austin via US-290W is 165 miles while via I-10 is 162 miles.

Houston Austin Drive Hours

Houston to Austin Drive time is about 3 hours, which means you can easily make it a day trip.

But we recommend spending at least a night or two in Austin so that you can experience all that the city has to offer.

Also Read: 21 Best Road Trips from Austin, Texas

Historic Victorian homes in Houstons The Heights district
Historic Victorian homes in Houstons The Heights district

Houston and Austin fly and drive trip

Visiting Texas?

Fly into George Bush Intercontinental Airport of Houston.

The airport is well connected to all major US cities via several airlines including United Airlines, American, Spirit, and more.

Spend some time exploring the Bayou City and its attractions before driving to Austin.

Then fly out from Austin airport.

Also Read: Best Things to do in Houston, Texas

Essential Stops on Houston to Austin Road Trip via US-290 W

If you’re looking for things to do on your Houston to Austin drive on US-290W, here are the best stops:

Chappell Hill 

This small town is located between Brenham and Navasota in Washington County.

The historic district has charming bed & breakfast inns and antique shops.

Gorgeous Bluebonnet fields In The Texas Hill Country
Gorgeous Bluebonnet fields In The Texas Hill Country

Brenham

The home of Blue Bell Creamery is a must-stop on any Texas road trip.

The small town of Brenham is also home to several historic sites, museums, bluebonnets in spring, and great eateries.

Giddings

Giddings is a popular stop before Austin and makes for a great break on your journey.

The town is home to several historic buildings and museums,

You can also find some good Texas barbecue here.

Elgin

Elgin is known as the Sausage Capital of Texas!

It is famous for its bbq, Main Street, and antique stores.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with coleslaw and dill pickles Texas Barbecue
BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich with coleslaw and dill pickles Texas Barbecue

Austin

And last but not the least, Austin – the Live Music Capital of the World!

There’s no shortage of things to do in Austin.

You can explore the city’s food scene, catch a live show, visit one of the many museums or simply enjoy the outdoors.

Essential Stops on Houston to Austin Road Trip via I-10W and State Highway 71

If you’re taking the I-10W and State Highway 71 route on your Houston to Austin road trip, here are some stops you shouldn’t miss.

Katy

Katy is a great place to make a pit stop on your drive.

The town is home to the famed Katy Mills Mall as well as other shopping and dining options.

Kayaking on the lake in Bastrop Texas
Kayaking on the lake in Bastrop Texas

Buc ee’s

The popular Texas gas station and convenience store is an essential stop!

Buy souvenirs, get road trip snacks, and explore the sprawling aisles at Buc-ee’s on your trip.

Bucees Snacks lineup cookies crackers and chips galore
Bucees Snacks lineup cookies crackers and chips galore

Columbus

Columbus is another historic town located between Houston and Austin.

You can visit the one-of-a-kind Santa Claus Museum.

Downtown Columbus also has several breweries, historic buildings including the Colorado County Courthouse, and hosts fun events.

The Country Market is another great spot to visit on Saturdays.

Beautiful Colorado County Courthouse Texas
Beautiful Colorado County Courthouse Texas

La Grange

La Grange is the county seat of Fayette County.

The town is known for its live music scene and has several bars and dancehalls.

Timeless Texas Classics Car museum / dealer is also a popular attraction for car lovers.

Pennybacker Bridge or 360 Bridge Over Colorado River in Austin
Pennybacker Bridge or 360 Bridge Over Colorado River in Austin

Bastrop

Next up – Bastrop, a charming small town, is an essential stop on this road trip.

Bastrop State Park has scenic hiking trails.

Be sure to check out the Dinosaur Park attraction with kids.

You can see gigantic dinosaur sculptures and the gift shop has plenty of souvenirs, games, and toys.

Also Read: Best dinosaur museums in Texas

Austin

Check in to a hotel and enjoy the popular attractions of the Texas Capital.

Some of the top things to do in Austin in a weekend include touring the Texas State Capitol, visiting Zilker Park, seeing the bats at Congress Avenue Bridge, and more.

Crowds gather to watch the bat flight at Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin
Crowds gather to watch the bat flight at Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin

What is your favorite stop on the Houston to Austin drive? Let us know below!