Road Trip in Texas
As one of America's largest states, you'll have a lot of ground to cover while road tripping through Texas. The state's size lends itself to a wide variety of natural, cultural, and fun-filled attractions for you to enjoy during your travels.
This guide outlines the traffic laws, main highways, and destinations you'll want to be familiar with before embarking on your Texas road trip.
TX Rules of the Road
To make your trip as stress-free as possible, you should know a little bit about Texas driving laws. Take a look at the TX driver's manual, which has all of the information and advice you need to know regarding traffic laws.
As a quick reference point, you can also check out our page on Texas safety laws. These laws tend to differ from state to state, and knowing them can save you from a ticket—and even more so, an accident.
Acceptable Driver's Licenses
Now that you're familiar with the TX rules of the road, it's time to make sure you're equipped with the right kind of driver's license:
- Visitors from another U.S. state—Valid driver's license from your home state.
- Drivers from another country— check with the TX Department of Public Safety.
Major Texas Roads
Most of the major roads you'll encounter in Texas will be interstates (I) and U.S. routes (US). Both tend to pass through major cities and multiple states, therefore making them ideal paths for cross-country road trips.
Here are the major Texas roads you might encounter, the major cities they pass through, and the states they connect to (if applicable):
- I-10 (west to east).
- Passes through El Paso, Fort Stockton, San Antonio, Houston, and Beaumont.
- Connects to New Mexico and Louisiana.
- I-20 (west to east).
- Goes through Barstow, Stanton, Sweetwater, Abilene, Fort Worth, Dallas, and Kilgore.
- Continues into Louisiana.
- I-35 (north to south).
- Intersects Denton, Fort Worth, Waco, Belton, Austin, San Antonio, and Laredo.
- Goes into Oklahoma.
- I-40 (west to east).
- Runs through Amarillo, McLean, and Shamrock.
- Links to New Mexico and Oklahoma.
- I-45 (north to south).
- Intersects with Dallas, Corsicana, Centerville, Huntsville, Houston, and Galveston.
- US-59 (north to south).
- Passes through Marshall, Lufkin, Houston, Sugar Land, Victoria, Beeville, and Laredo.
- Connects to Arkansas.
- US-62 (west to east).
- Runs through El Paso, Seminole, Lubbock, Paducah, and Childress.
- Passes through New Mexico and Oklahoma.
- US-67 (north to south).
- Goes through Mount Pleasant, Sulphur, Dallas, Stephenville, Brownwood, Ballinger, San Angelo, Fort Stockton, Alton, and Presidio.
- Continues into Arkansas.
- US-77 (north to south).
- Intersects Denton, Dallas, Waco, Victoria, Portland Christi, Kingsville, Harlingen, and Brownsville.
- Goes into Oklahoma.
- US-82 (west to east).
- Passes through Plains, Benjamin, Seymour, Wichita Falls, Gainesville, Sherman, and Paris.
- Passes into Arkansas.
- US-83 (north to south).
- Runs through Perryton, Shamrock, Childress, Aspermont, Abilene, Ballinger, Eden, Uvalde, Laredo, Roma, Rio Grande City, and Harlingen.
- Continues into Oklahoma.
- US-84 (west to east).
- Intersects Farwell, Lubbock, Sweetwater, Abilene, Brownwood, Waco, Palestine, and Joaquin.
- Connects to New Mexico and Louisiana.
- US-87 (north to south).
- Goes through Dalhart, Dumas, Amarillo, Plainview, Big Spring, San Angelo, Brady, San Antonio, and Victoria.
- Goes into New Mexico.
- US-90 (west to east).
- Passes through Van Horn, Alpine, Del Rio, San Antonio, Houston, Beaumont, and Vidor.
- Continues through Louisiana.
- US-190 (west to east).
- Runs through Eldorado, Brady, Belton, Bryan, Huntsville, and Jasper.
- Passes into Louisiana.
- US-281 (north to south).
- Intersects Wichita Falls, Stephenville, San Antonio, Corpus Alice, Edinburg, and Brownsville.
- Connects to Oklahoma.
- US-287 (north to south).
- Goes through Stratford, Amarillo, Childress, Vernon, Wichita Falls, Dallas, Corsicana, Palestine, Grapeland, and Crockett.
- Continues into Oklahoma.
As you road trip through the Lone Star State, keep your gas tank full and your mind open; there's a lot of driving and adventuring ahead! Below, you'll find just a few of the countless must-see TX destinations.
Texas' Natural World
Texas' diverse natural landscape is still largely untouched and beckoning for you to visit. Some of the most breathtaking spots include:
- Big Bend National Park—Brewster County, TX.
- Endless hiking and camping opportunities amongst sprawling mountain ranges, flowing rivers, historic sites, and magnificent rock formations.
- Hugs the Rio Grande river on the U.S. border with Mexico.
- Padre Island National Seashore—Corpus Christi, TX.
- Spend a day at the beach on the world's largest undeveloped barrier island, home to myriad wildlife and camping activities.
- Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River—Brewster County, TX.
- Wind your way through rocky canyons as you make your way down the infamous Rio Grande.
- Caddo Lake State Park—Karnack, TX.
- Hike, boat, and relax around a foliage-rich lake that looks like it's straight out of a fairy tale.
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park—Salt Flat, TX.
- Hike the remnants of an enormous prehistoric reef, which is now covered in woodlands, rock formations, and fossils.
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Historic Attractions in TX
Texas has been the site of many an historic happening, dating back to the days before the U.S. was an official country. If you're looking to take a step back in time, be sure to visit the following destinations:
- The Alamo—San Antonio, TX.
- Don't miss touring one of the world's most famous forts, where you can explore the battlefield, see authentic artwork, and attend special events.
- San Antonio Missions—San Antonio, TX.
- Take a walk through some of the most unique and ornate architecture Texas has to offer at the mission sites of some of the earliest Spanish missionaries.
- Lyndon B. Johnson's boyhood home—Johnson City, TX.
- Visit the accurately and fully-furnished home President Lyndon B. Johnson lived in until his high school graduation.
- Battleship Texas—LaPorte, TX.
- Tour one of our country's most influential battleships, which was used in both World Wars. It now serves as a fully accessible museum and memorial.
- Dealey Plaza—Dallas, TX.
- Drive the road and immerse yourself in the environment where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
Texas Arts & Culture
The arts and culture scene in Texas is distinct in that certain aspects have held influence on the whole world, while others are unique to the Lone Star State. For a mixture of both widespread and localized TX attractions, be sure to visit:
- Texas Music Museum—Austin, TX.
- Get an inside look at the musicians and songs that have come out of and been inspired by Texas.
- San Antonio River Walk—San Antonio, TX.
- Shops and restaurants line the San Antonio River, making this an elegant and authentic cultural hotspot.
- Fort Worth Stockyards—Fort Worth, TX.
- Once known as “Wall Street of the West," this (still active) stockyard is now home to restaurants, shops, and regular rodeos.
- Dallas Museum of Art—Dallas, TX.
- Large collection of artwork and artifacts spanning all types of genres, cultures, and mediums.
- Space Center Houston—Houston, TX.
- Interactive exhibits, artifacts, and educational tours will give you an in depth look at NASA, space technologies, life as an astronaut, and more.
Family-Friendly Texas Attractions
If you're in need of a kid-approved destination providing entertainment, education, or maybe both, look no further than the following:
- Kemah Boardwalk—Kemah, TX.
- Ride roller coasters, get a bite to eat, and even pet stingrays right on the waters of the Galveston Bay.
- Schlitterbahn Waterpark—Galveston, TX.
- Cool off from that Texas heat with a fun-filled day of waterslides, cabana lounges, and more at one of the state's most popular waterparks.
- Caldwell Zoo—Tyler, TX.
- See all of your favorite mammals, birds, and reptiles at this sprawling, world-class habitat.
- National Butterfly Center—Mission, TX.
- Hang out with numerous species of butterflies and learn about the crucial (and beautiful) role they play in our natural world.
- Dinosaur World—Glen Rose, TX.
- Dig for fossils, wonder at prehistoric artifacts, and watch as your favorite dinosaurs come to life at this one-of-a-kind museum.
Sure, you've heard that everything's bigger in Texas—but sometimes, things can be stranger too. If you're in search of the oddest and most unique Texas attractions, you won't want to miss:
- World's Largest Squirrel—Cedar Creek, TX.
- Her name is Ms. Pearl and she sits outside of a pecan shop where you can buy just about any kind of delicious and nutty confection.
- Texas Prison Museum—Huntsville, TX.
- Take an inside look at the history, contraband, and artistic creations born from the Texas prison system.
- Art Car Museum—Houston, TX.
- This unique museum is devoted to off-the-wall art, with a special focus on out-of-this-world car art that you must see to believe.
- Cadillac Ranch—Amarillo, TX.
- Witness the roadside attraction that's become a Texas icon for its poignant message and just plain weirdness.
- Odessa Meteor Crater and Museum—Odessa, TX.
- You'll have the chance to see one of the largest craters in the country, created by multiple asteroid impacts during the Paleolithic Era.