21 Best Road Trips from Austin, Texas

Updated

Live in Austin or just visiting the Texas State Capital and want to get out of the city?

Luckily, there are countless amazing road trips you can explore all over Texas!

From small towns in the Texas Hill Country and stunning state parks to neighboring states like New Mexico and Arizona, we’ve got the ultimate list of best road trips from Austin, Texas.

Also Read: 32 Best day trips from Austin, Texas

Best Road Trips from Austin within Texas

Countless amazing road trips can be taken within a few hours of Austin, each with its unique attractions and experiences.

Here are our favorite road trips from Austin to nearby attractions.

Austin Fredericksburg Road Trip

Fredericksburg is a small town in the Hill Country of Texas with a rich German heritage.

Visitors can explore this history at the Pioneer Museum or take a tour of the Vereins Kirche, an 1880s-style German church.

Fredericksburg is also home to several museums, including the National Museum of the Pacific War, which tells the story of the Pacific campaigns of World War II. 

The town is located just a short drive from Austin, making it an ideal day trip or weekend getaway. 

A must-stop on this road trip is Enchanted Rock State Park. 

The massive pink granite dome rises 425 feet above the surrounding landscape and is one of the largest monoliths in the United States.

The highlight of the park is its summit, which offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Other great stops on this Austin Fredericksburg road trip include Luckenbach, Dripping Springs, and Blanco.

Also Read: 17 Best State Parks near Austin, Texas to Visit Now

Texas Hill Country Road Trip for bluebonnets

The Texas Hill Country is a scenic region of rolling hills and wildflowers.

It’s an ideal destination for a road trip, with plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and picnicking.

Start your trip in Austin and visit Muleshoe Bend and Turkey Bend Recreation areas to see the sprawling flower fields on the shores of Lake Travis.

The area is also home to several small towns such as Burnet – the bluebonnet capital of Texas, Marble Falls, and Llano.

In addition, the Hill Country is home to several vineyards and wineries, making it the perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine after a day of admiring the bluebonnets.

San Antonio Road Trip

San Antonio is a beautiful city with a rich history.

The Alamo is one of the most popular destinations in the city.

This historic site is where the Battle of the Alamo took place.

Be sure to take a tour of the Spanish Colonial mission and learn about the history of this important landmark.

The city is also home to several excellent restaurants, hotels, and parks.

Next, take a stroll along the San Antonio River Walk.

This beautiful pedestrian walkway winds its way along the banks of the San Antonio River.

The river walk is lined with restaurants, shops, art galleries, and other cultural attractions. 

San Antonio also has many museums, including the Museum of Art and The Witte Museum.

The distance from Austin to San Antonio is just under 80 miles and the trip takes about 1 hr 30 mins.

Austin Houston Road Trip

Houston is one of our favorite weekend getaways from Austin.

The city has a lot to offer, from excellent restaurants and shopping to museums and cultural attractions.

Start your road trip to Houston by visiting the Museum District.

This area is home to several different museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and the Children’s Museum of Houston.

Next, head to the Space Center Houston.

This museum is operated by NASA and is a must-see for anyone interested in space exploration.

The center offers tours of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, as well as exhibits on the history of the American space program.

Spend some time at the beach by visiting Galveston Island.

The island is home to several beaches, as well as the famous Moody Gardens.

Also Read: Best Things to do in Austin, Texas

Austin Waco Drive

One of our favorite road trips in Central Texas!

Waco is home to several family-friendly attractions.

The Waco Mammoth National Monument preserves the remains of ancient mammoths in the fossil bed.

Visitors can also tour the ranger-led exhibits and learn about the area’s natural history.

The famous Dr. Pepper Museum chronicles the history of this popular soft drink.

Then, take a walk through the Cameron Park Zoo to see the animals.

And no trip to Waco would be complete without a stop at Magnolia Market at the Silos, made famous by HGTV’s “Fixer Upper.”

With its quaint shops and boutiques, Magnolia Market is the perfect place to pick up home decor, clothes, souvenirs, and gifts.

Wimberley San Marcos Road Trip

Wimberley is our favorite small town in Texas!

This quaint town is situated on the banks of the Blanco River in the Hill Country.

Wimberley is home to several art galleries, antique shops, and restaurants.

The town is also a popular destination for swimming, tubing, and kayaking on the river.

Nearby, visitors can also explore the Blue Hole and Jacob’s Well.

Just a few miles from Wimberley is San Marcos, a lively university town.

The San Marcos River is known for its excellent swimming and tubing–and even kayaking!

Dallas Fort Worth Weekend Getaway from Austin

Looking for a fun weekend getaway from Austin?

Look no further than Dallas and Fort Worth!

Start your visit by exploring downtown Dallas.

Catch a ride on the elevator to the top of Reunion Tower for a stunning view of the city.

Be sure to check out the JFK Memorial and Dealey Plaza, as well as several museums including The Sixth Floor Museum, which explores the life and death of President John F. Kennedy.

Fort Worth is only about 45 minutes away but offers a very different experience.

Visit the Stockyards National Historic District to learn about Fort Worth’s cattle ranching heritage, then grab a bite at one of the many top-rated steakhouses in the area.

No trip to Fort Worth would be complete without witnessing a live Texas rodeo, so head to Cowtown Coliseum for steer wrestling and bull riding.

Read: Austin to Dallas Road trip Guide

Arlington Road Trip from Downtown Austin

Arlington is home to Six Flags, one of the best amusement parks in America!

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or prefer something a little tamer, Six Flags has plenty of roller coasters and other rides to keep you entertained.

If you visit in the summer months, be sure to check out Hurricane Harbor, the water park next door.

Arlington is also home to Globe Life Park – the home of the Texas Rangers baseball team.

If you’re a sports fan, be sure to catch a game there during your trip!

No visit to Arlington is complete without spending some time in the entertainment district downtown.

Here you can find several bars and restaurants serving up local craft beers and delicious BBQ.

Mustang Island State Park

Mustang Island State Park is one of the best state parks in Texas.

The park is home to miles of soft sandy beaches, as well as several hiking trails and birding areas through the dunes.

Mustang Island is a popular destination for camping, fishing, swimming, and kayaking.

South Padre Island Road Trip

South Padre Island, located on the South Texas Gulf Coast, is the spring break capital of Texas.

With miles of white sand beaches, top-rated surfing conditions, and plenty of nightlife, it’s easy to see why.

South Padre Island is also home to some great family attractions like Sea Turtle Rescue Center and the South Padre Island Birding & Nature Center.

You can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities on the island including fishing, windsurfing, and horseback riding.

No trip to South Padre Island would be complete without taking a dolphin watch tour or going parasailing.

Corpus Christi Road Trip

Corpus Christi is a beautiful coastal city located on the Gulf of Mexico.

Here you will find miles of Corpus Christi beaches, as well as several great attractions.

Some of our favorites include the Texas State Aquarium, the USS Lexington Museum, and the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center.

If you’re looking for a fun day trip, head over to Padre Island National Seashore or Port Aransas.

Caddo Lake Weekend Trip

Caddo Lake State Park is the perfect spot for a weekend trip in East Texas.

The park is home to Caddo Lake, the largest natural lake in the state.

This beautiful lake is known for its fishing and boating, as well as its abundance of wildlife.

The park itself is home to a variety of hiking trails and boardwalks, making it the perfect place to spot alligators, turtles, birds, and more!

No trip to Caddo Lake is complete without taking a scenic boat tour of the lake.

Tyler and East Texas

Tyler, located in East Texas, is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway.

The city is home to a variety of attractions including the Caldwell Zoo, Tyler Rose Garden, and the East Texas State Fair.

If you’re looking for a more outdoorsy weekend, head to one of the nearby state parks like Tyler State Park or Daingerfield State Park.

Other small towns in East Texas worth visiting include Jefferson, Marshall, and Nacogdoches.

All three offer a variety of historical attractions, as well as outdoor activities like hiking and fishing.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park

Plan the ultimate West Texas road trip to the Guadalupe Mountains!

The national park is home to the Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas.

The park also offers several great hiking trails, as well as the opportunity to go horseback riding, mountain biking, and backpacking.

Don’t forget to pack your camera – the views from the top of Guadalupe Peak are simply breathtaking!

Extend this trip by visiting other West Texas attractions such as Carlsbad Caverns, Pecos, El Paso, and Fort Stockton.

Fort Stockton mural outside Bella Terrazza antique store
Fort Stockton mural outside Bella Terrazza antique store

Big Bend National Park

For the ultimate outdoors adventure, head to Big Bend National Park in West Texas.

The park offers miles of scenic hiking trails through the Chihuahuan Desert and along the Rio Grande River.

Within the park, you’ll also find plenty of opportunities for camping, backpacking, rafting, fishing, and more.

Visit the Terlingua ghost town and Marfa, two popular towns located nearby.

You can also extend your trip by visiting Alpine, Marathon, and Big Bend Ranch State Park.

The best time to visit Texas is in the spring or fall when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds.

Also Read: Austin to Big Bend Road Trip

Texas Route 66

Texas Route 66 offers the perfect road trip, traveling through ghost towns, vintage gas stations, and natural wonders in the state.

Start your journey in Austin and make your way up the Texas Panhandle.

Along the way, be sure to stop at some of the most iconic attractions including Cadillac Ranch and Palo Duro Canyon.

End your trip in Amarillo where you can explore the Historic Route 66 Historic District.

Best Road Trips from Austin beyond Texas

Looking for multi-day overnight trips from Austin, Texas?

There are many amazing road trip options beyond the state’s borders, including the Grand Canyon and Sedona in Arizona;

….New Orleans in Louisiana;

Las Vegas in Nevada; or Denver and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado!

Also Read: Weekend in Austin Itinerary

Austin New Mexico Road trip

Looking for a great road trip that combines the best of both Texas and New Mexico?

Consider taking a drive on Austin to New Mexico Road, which travels from Austin to Santa Fe.

Along the way, you’ll pass through iconic southwestern landscapes filled with canyons, red rock formations, and stunning sunsets.

Some of the highlights of this road trip include Albuquerque, Carlsbad Caverns, and White Sands National Monument.

Carlsbad Caverns is a famous UNESCO World Heritage Site while White Sands is famous for its dunes made of gypsum sand.

Make sure to add this one to your bucket list!

Austin Grand Canyon Road Trip

One of the most popular road trips from Austin is to the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

This trip can be done in a week, making it the perfect summer vacation trip.

The drive from Austin to the Grand Canyon is about 18 hours, so be sure to take your time and enjoy the journey.

Along the way, make sure to stop at some of the many stunning natural wonders in this part of the country.

These include Petrified Forest National Park, Monument Valley, and the Antelope Canyons.

Once you reach Grand Canyon National Park, be sure to spend a few days exploring its many hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and historic sites.

Texas Colorado Road Trip

Another popular road trip destination from Austin is Denver, Colorado.

The beautiful Mile High city is located in the front range of the Rockies and is surrounded by stunning landscapes.

This makes it the perfect destination for a Texas Colorado road trip.

There are many amazing scenic drives in Colorado, including the famous Trail Ridge Road and Peak to Peak Scenic Byway.

You can also explore Rocky Mountain National Park, which is located just outside of Denver and features hiking trails, wildflowers, waterfalls, and alpine lakes.

In winter, Colorado is the favorite ski and snow destination for Texans.

Austin New Orleans Drive

One of the most popular road trips from Austin is to New Orleans.

This drive will take you about 9 hours, but you’ll be sure to enjoy the beautiful southern scenery along the way.

Some of the top highlights of this trip include Cajun Country in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, with its beautiful beaches and vibrant towns.

As you near New Orleans, make sure to explore some of the city’s iconic neighborhoods including the French Quarter and Garden District.

End your trip with a beignet at Cafe du Monde, one of New Orleans’ most famous landmarks.

Texas California Road Trip

Plan the ultimate cross-country road trip adventure across the Southwest USA!

Starting in Austin, make your way to California via multiple scenic routes, including the classic Route 66 and the California Coast Highway.

Along the way, be sure to stop at some of America’s best national parks like Zion, Joshua Tree, Yosemite, and Death Valley.

Visit the iconic cities of Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

And don’t forget to visit the Disney Parks in Anaheim.

This is a road trip you’ll never forget!

Did you like our post on the best road trips from Austin, Texas?

Which of these trips would you most like to take? Let us know in the comments!

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