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The Ultimate List of Road Trip Ideas from Houston

The Ultimate List of Road Trip Ideas from Houston

Buckle up, fellow adventurers! We’re about to embark on a journey that transcends the humdrum of daily city life with a guide that’s not just about the road, but about the memories, laughter, and unexpected discoveries that come with it. 

Houston, we have a road trip craving, and we’re here to satisfy it with an epic array of destinations that’ll make your GPS recalibrate with excitement. 

Get ready to leave the city skyline behind and embrace the open road, where every curve holds a story and every pit stop is a chance to find something extraordinary. 

So, gas up your car, load up your favorite tunes, and let’s hit the road on a quest for the ultimate road trip adventure!

Barton Springs Pool, Austin

Address: Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704, United States

Phone Number: +1 512-974-6300


Distance: 168 miles

Operational Hours: 

  • Friday to Wednesday – 5 am to 10 pm 
  • Thursday: 5 am to 9 am; 7 pm to 10 pm 

Pricing: Free

You can escape the city buzz with a road trip to Barton Springs, situated by the serene Colorado River in Austin. This spring-fed municipal pool is a year-round haven for people who are looking for a quick road trip especially during the summer. 

Over 3 acres in size, it has ample grassy fields for some sun-soaked relaxation. While the pool welcomes you to take a dip and cool off in the water.

The nearby Barton Creek is something you should check out while you’re in the area. To truly savor the tranquility, consider a weekday trip to avoid the bustling crowds of this local Austin gem during the weekends! 

Pro Tip: 
The Barton pool is not as popular in the winter which means if you’d like to avoid the huge crowds, it’s a good season to consider. Since the pool is fed by underground springs, the water stays at a constant 68-70 degrees anyway so don’t worry about being cold!

Cave Without a Name 

Address: 325 Kreutzberg Rd. Boerne, TX 78006, United States

Phone Number: +1 830-537-4212


Distance:  230 miles


  • Every Day – 9 am to 6 pm


  • Adults: $20 
  • Kids: $10

When you think of Texas, caves aren’t necessarily the first thing that comes to mind, but the state is actually home to a wide network of caves and underground systems that are worth exploring if you’re up for the adventure. 

The Cave Without stands is a living cavern that stands out with its remarkable features, from delicate soda straws to wide rimstone dams. With a steady temperature around 66 degrees year-round, exploring the cave’s wonders is a comfortable endeavor. 

You can observe stalagmites and stalactites, flowstones, and cave drapery all naturally formed by dripping water. In the 60 minute guided tour, your guides will point out odd rock formations that look like everyday objects like the Ice Cream Cone formation. 

Pro Tip: 
Dress appropriately by wearing comfortable shoes and be prepared to navigate through uneven terrain. Be sure to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants not only to keep you warm but also to keep the insects away from making you their snacks. 

Chisos Mountains 

Chisos Mountains
Image Source: Big Bend Website

Address: Big Bend National, TX 79834, United States 


Distance:  601 miles


  • Per person: $15 
  • Per motorcycle: $25
  • Per car or van: $30 

The misconception that Texas lacks mountains is negated with a road trip to the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park. This mountain basin offers a remarkable tapestry of scenic drives, meandering rivers, and rugged landscapes. 

Spanning 20 miles from the Punta de la Sierra all the way to the Panther Junction, it offers  diverse vistas encompassing everything from carved-out canyons to breathtaking desert scenes and dramatic limestone cliffs. 

Some of the highest peaks in the area are: 

  • Emory Peak at 7,835 feet above sea level 
  • Lost Mine Peak at 7,535 feet 
  • Toll Mountain at 7,415 feet 
  • Casa Grande Peak at 7,325
Pro Tip: 
Start your trip by dropping by the National Park Service Campground and Park ranger station to register, pay your environmental fees, and get maps and information you’ll need for the 7-mile allowable trek. 

Corpus Christi 

Address: Corpus Christi, Texas, United States


Distance:  211 miles

If you’re itching for some coastal fun, a road trip to Corpus Christi, a city of tranquil charm should be next on your travel list. Beyond its pristine beaches, Corpus Christi boasts a host of water parks, and land activities to enjoy! 

Out of the other cities in Texas, Corpus Christi has relatively smaller crowds, better-preserved beaches, and a more laid-back atmosphere than its bustling counterparts. 

The city has lots of museums, galleries, and aquariums that you can explore to make  the drive worth it. Don’t miss the remnants of the USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier built during World War II and the South Texas Botanical Gardens and Nature Center. 

Pro Tip: 
If you’re going to Corpus Christi for the beach vibe, make sure you plan your trip towards the end of spring or at the beginning of summer where it’s already sunny, but not too hot yet!

Fort Worth 

Address: Fort Worth, TX 76107, United States


Distance: 262 miles  

Fort Worth is a city where you can find a wide array of cultural treasures. The Kimbell Art Museum stands as a testament to the city’s love of art, showcasing a permanent collection that includes must-see Monet masterpieces. 

Fort Worth extends beyond art, offering a plethora of experiences including the Fort Worth Herd at the Fort Worth Stock Yards which is a daily cattle drive to really get into the Western cowboy culture! 

The Sundance Square is their entertainment district that spans 35 blocks and offers a whole lot of shopping and dining options, nt to mention shows at their performance halls or live music at the Plaza

Pro Tip: Before leaving Fort Worth, make sure you get in touch with the city’s history by dropping by some prominent sites like the Hell’s Half Acre, the Historic Southside, and the eastside.


Image Source: Pioneer Museum Website

Address: 126 W Main Street Fredericksburg, TX 78624-3708, United States


Distance:  237 miles

Known for its vintage treasures, Fredericksburg unveils more than meets the eye. While the antique shops are a must see, don’t overlook the town’s natural sites.

The crown jewel for us is the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area—a colossal dome of limestone that hides miles of trails within. You can go to its peak for a breathtaking panorama of the Hill Country landscape.

Beyond the wineries and beer gardens, the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park is a quirky place you should drop by (Check out the picture tree!). The Pioneer Museum offers an immersive look into the German history of the city through architecture. 

Pro Tip: 
The Grape Creek Vineyard is the most popular one in the city with a wide collection of white and red wines from across the globe. But, the best experience here re the wine tastings where they tour you around and let you taste some of their best!

Green Acres

Address: 2889 Farm to Market Rd 1704, Elgin, TX 78621, United States 

Phone Number: +1 512-598-1995


Distance:  138 miles

Pricing:  Starts at $115 per night

Elgin, Texas, a stone’s throw from Austin, features a glamping experience like no other at Green Acres. You can choose from a diverse range of accommodations, including revamped Airstreams, inviting cabin oases, and even a luxurious Spartan Mansion. 

This is the perfect place for people who want to get away from city life and be close to nature, but not too much! The glamorous tents allow you to still collect the perks of nature like fresh air and relaxing ambient sounds, without the hassle of bugs and heat!

Surprisingly, this upscale adventure comes with a down-to-earth price tag that won’t break the bank. With amenities like fire pits, well-equipped bathrooms, and kitchens, it’s a great place to consider for a road trip with friends or family. 

Pro Tip: 
Don’t miss out on the walking trails that lead you to the woods! Before taking off go to their visitor’s reception area to borrow some outdoor games, sound systems, and even binoculars for bird watching!

Huntsville State Park And Wildlife

Address: 565 Park Road 40 W Huntsville, TX 77340, United States

Phone Number: +1 936-295-5644


Distance: 70 miles


  • Every day – 6 am to 10 pm


  • General Admission: $7 
  • Children 12 years old and under: Free

Huntsville State Park is a mere two-hour drive away from the city and is a great location for a road trip from Houston. With inviting amenities like a refreshing swimming hole, convenient washrooms, camping sites, and more, it’s a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. 

On your journey, pay a visit to the local tribute statue of Sam Houston, A Tribute to Courage. Dive into another adventure at The Blue Lagoon—a scuba diving training facility and a beach spot rolled into one.

For plant lovers, the park is home to a wide variety of towering pine trees and wildflowers that you can encounter while you hike on the 21-mile long trails. 

Pro Tip: 
For a complete day of fun, we suggest heading out into the water to swim or fish! If you prefer to stay dry, you can rent canoes and kayaks from the Raven Lodge for a day out in the water. 

Lost Maples

Address: 37221 RM 187, Vanderpool, TX 78885, United States

Phone Number: +1 830-966-3413


Distance:  283 miles


  • Every Day – 8 am to 4:30 pm 


  • General Admission – $6 
  • Kids 12 years old and under: Free

If you’re obsessed with autumn because of the color of the changing leaves like we are, you should schedule a fall road trip to Lost Maples which is an almost 3000-ace area of hills covered in maple trees. 

Although the scenery is the most stunning when the leaves turn red and orange making the hills look like they’re on fire, this Texan treasure offers year-round beauty with its opportunities for stargazing, swimming, and fishing. 

As a delightful bonus, fishing from the shore or pier doesn’t require a license in the state park or natural area. However, remember to disconnect—there’s no cell service to distract you from the natural wonders.

Pro Tip: 
You are asked to stay on designated trails because the Bigtooth Maple trees in the area have very delicate and shallow roots that might be damaged if they get stepped on! 


Image Source: Marfa Website 

Address: Marfa, TX 79843, United States


Distance:  597 miles

Marfa, Texas, is an art lover’s sanctuary. The town’s artistic essence can be appreciated The Chinati Foundation and the Marfa and Presidio County Museum where you can see a wide array of art mostly focusing on minimalist ones. 

You can delve deeper into the art scene, where an entire 400-acre army base hosts captivating sculptures and installations. For a more modern approach to art, drop by the Prada Marfa, a permanent art installation along Route 90.

The highlight of any visit to Marfa is definitely the Marfa Lights which show up in the desert on the outskirts of the city. No one really knows where they come from, but the white, red, blue, and yellow floating orbs are a sight to see!

Pro Tip: 
If you want to make your road trip into a weekend trip, our favorite place to stay in Marfa is the Carmen’s Boutique Hotel at San Antonio Street for its very comfortable but chic amenities. 

Palo Duro Canyon State Park 

Address: 11450 Park Road 5, Canyon, TX 79015, United States

Phone Number: +1 806-488-2227


Distance:  613 miles


  • Every Day – 7 am to 9 pm


  • General Admission: $8 
  • Kids 12 years old and under: Free

Everytime we visit, we don’t fail to be awestruck by the sheer magnificence of Palo Duro Canyon, often dubbed the “Grand Canyon of Texas.” 

As you traverse through the crimson-hued mountains and sun-kissed cliffs, you’ll be transported to a different world altogether. You can explore the landscape on foot or by horse. If you’re feeling adventurous, they also have mountain bikes and ATVs.

This park is a haven for climbing enthusiasts and horseback riders, offering boundless adventure. When night falls, the starry skies are something straight right out of a painting. 

Pro Tip: 
Although the state park has several camping grounds and sites near the canyon’s rim and the Cow Camp cabins, for a more luxurious experience, you can try glamping by inquiring at the Visitor Center to learn more. 

Pedernales Falls State Park 

Address: 2585 Park Road 6026, Johnson City, TX 78636, United States

Phone Number: +1 830-868-7304


Distance:  197 miles


  • Wednesday to Sunday – 8 am to 5 pm


  • General Admission – $6 
  • Kids 12 years old and under: Free

Pedernales Falls and River flow over limestone and can have strong currents during rainy days, but for the most part, it’s known to be very tranquil, especially the wide and perfectly preserved swimming area that packs a stunning view. 

Just a short distance away lies the renowned Hamilton Pool, a crystalline swimming hole nestled within a cave behind the waterfall. While perfect for older kids adept at swimming and climbing, younger ones might find the experience a tad overwhelming. 

If you’d rather not get wet, the state park also offers lots of picnic spots, chances for birdwatching or even riding horses. 

Pro Tip: 
Opt for an early arrival to Hamilton Pool to avoid the crowds, and don’t forget to sport water-safe shoes to avoid slipping on the limestone. 

Rio Frio 

Address: 5964 Ranch Road 1120, Rio Frio, TX 78879, United States 


Distance:  289 miles

Rio Frio is a small community in Real County and is named after the Frio River. The river’s gentle rapids and occasional waterfalls make it a delightful journey suitable for all ages, but the waters are best for those who enjoy tubing or river rafting! 

Keep an eye on water levels and flow rates before getting in the water to swim, wade, ride a canoe, or paddle boat. There are also lots of fishing spots, especially at the mouth of the river. 

Just a mile away, Garner State Park is another spot to visit with lots of hiking and biking trails. There’s even a miniature golf course you can try out. 

Pro Tip: 
Garner State Park has been the site for Summer Dance since the 1940s where people gather near the park’s concession building and dance to the music of the jukebox, so if you want to join in, bring dry clothes to change into.  

Sea Center Texas 

Address: 302 Medical Drive, Lake Jackson, Texas 77566, United States

Phone Number: +1 979-292-0100


Distance: 54 miles


  • Monday – Closed
  • Tuesday to Saturday –  9 am to 4 pm
  • Sunday – 1 pm to 4 pm

Pricing: Free

You can dive into an aquatic wonderland at Sea Center Texas, an interactive aquarium and educational center near Lake Jackson. The best part? Admission is free! There are a variety of aquariums and exhibits that you can explore to learn about marine life.

They even have a fish hatchery on site where you can observe and learn about how they make sure the fish population in the surrounding waters are kept constant and sustainable. 

For a more immersive experience, they also have touch pools where you can touch blue carbs, hermit crabs, anemones, and urchins! 

Pro Tip: 
Although the center mostly features aquatic animals like Gordon, the 300-pound grouper, they also have a wetland area with mangroves and wildflowers where you can find turtles, snakes, dragonflies, and wading birds.


Image Source: Seguin Texas Website

Address: Seguin, TX 78155, United States 


Distance: 162 miles 

Nestled amidst the Guadalupe River, Seguin offers an underrated Texan retreat where you can experience the thrill of tubing along the river and discovering cascading water features throughout the town. 

People come from far and wide to visit the oldest licensed bar in Texas, to marvel at the World’s Largest Pecan, or participate in a range of fun festivals. 

Don’t miss the charming Son’s Island in Lake Placid—an oasis boasting sandy beaches, live music, kayaking, and more. Make a reservation to go, but don’t forget to wear river shoes for the rocky lake bottom.

Pro Tip: 
If you’re looking for somewhere to spend an entire day at Seguin, drop by for a visit to the ZDT’s Amusement Park with indoor tunnels and slides inside a refurbished farm. There are also go-karts and parachute drops you can try!


Image Source: Shiner Website 

Address: 603 E Brewery St, Shiner, TX 77984, United States

Phone Number: +1 361-594-3362


Distance:  127 miles


  • Monday to Saturday – 10:30 am to 4:30 pm 
  • Sunday – 12:30 pm to 4:30 pm 

Pricing: $10 per person

Shiner, Texas may be small, but its allure lies in its unassuming charm. While it might not be the most extravagant vacation, it offers a unique experience. A visit to the Shiner Brewery is a must—take the enlightening tour and savor the daily tasting. 

Just a short distance away, Howard’s gas station boasts an unexpected delight—picnic tables, beer, and card games. If you’d rather dive into the local scene, Antiques Art & Beer, Sunken Gardens, and of course, the iconic Shiner Brewery are must visits.

Pro Tip: 
A visit to Shiner shouldn’t end without a trip to the Edwin Wolters Memorial Museum where you can learn about Shiner’s history through a variety of displays like dinosaur bones, guns, dolls, and musical instruments. 

Showboat Drive-in 

Address: 22422 Farm to Market 2920, Hockley, TX 77447, United States

Phone Number: +1 281-351-5224


Distance: 38 miles


  • Friday to Sunday showtimes: 8:30 pm 

Pricing: $8

For a quick yet charming getaway, the Showboat Drive-In in Hockley, Texas—just an hour’s drive from Houston is a unique experience you should definitely try. 

The whole night is a nod to the golden era of cinema where drive-in theater experiences were popular.  When you get there, they’ll ask you to tune into the designated radio station for the audio of the movie. 

Just make sure you try to arrive early to secure prime parking and order the snacks and games offered at the on-site snack bar. 

Pro Tip: 
Parking at the front row might seem like the best spot to watch the movie, but being too close actually makes it hard to see the screen in its entirety, so try to get a spot in the 2nd or 3rd row for the best view!

Twin Lakes

Twin Lakes
Image Source: Twin Lakes Website

Address: 19400 Hwy 6, Manvel, TX 77578, United States

Phone Number: +1 281-489-4225


Distance: 23 miles  


  • Monday to Friday – 2 pm to 7 pm
  • Saturday to Sunday – 8 am to 7 pm

Pricing: $5 per car

If you’ve been itching for a serene lakeside escape without venturing too far from Houston, the Twin Lakes RV and Scuba Park in Manvel offers the perfect solution. 

A short distance from Houston, this park offers a range of activities from scuba diving, swimming, and paddling to fishing and grilling. 

While the lake’s ambiance is typically peaceful, busier days may need you to come in early, especially when it comes to securing tables for a lakeside picnic.

Pro Tip: 
The resort has 12 floating docks where you can set up camp for the afternoon and wait for your catch of the day which can include bass, panfish, perch, and catfish.

Watch out for some turtles that sometimes get snagged on fishing lines!


Image Source: City of Waco Website

Address: Waco, TX 76704, United States


Distance: 185 miles

Waco’s rise to fame extends beyond Magnolia Market where you can find a massive selection of home decor like wall decorations, kitchen accessories, and candles, courtesy of Chip and Joanna Gaines. 

Waco is also known for their breweries which produce some of the state’s best IPAs and lagers, as well as more inventive news like grapefruit or tangerine infused beer. 

For history buffs, the Waco Mammoth National Monument stands as a testament to the city’s rich history, while the Hall of Fame Museum offers a glimpse into the legacy of the Texas Rangers. 

Pro Tip: 
Cameron Park, where you’ll find nationally recognized trails for a full day of exploration is a great destination. You can end the day with a visit to Buzzard Billy’s Swamp Shack and let the kids feed animals while you enjoy refreshing cocktails.


Address: 100 Blue Hole Lane, Wimberley, Texas  78676, United States


Distance: 182 miles

Wimberley, Texas has a reputation for being the go-to spot for tubing and swimming for a reason. Located at the junction of Cypress Creek and Blanco River, this small town offers plenty of places to cool off like Blue Hole Regional Park and Jacob’s Well. 

If your visit aligns with March to December, don’t miss Wimberley’s bustling Market Days held every Saturday at Wimberley Square where you will find retail stores lining the central block, along with art galleries. 

If you enjoy a glass of wine or a bottle of beer, Wimberley also has a lot of good distilleries and breweries scattered around the area that produce rum, wine, and beer. 

Pro Tip: 
The Corral Theatre, a drive-in movie theater is definitely worth a visit just for the unique experience of being in a car while watching a film. They even offer snacks delivered to your car while you enjoy the show. 
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