20 Places To Visit On A Dallas to Austin Road Trip

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Road trips don’t always have to cover thousands of miles, crossing many states or countries. You can have an exciting road trip between two cities and discover new places to go, great natural landscapes and try excellent food. A Texas road trip from Dallas to Austin covers 195 miles (313.82 kilometres) and can easily be completed in around three hours.

Rather than rushing this journey between two of Texas’s great cities, turn your drive into a road trip and explore along the way. There are interesting historical and cultural towns and cities to call into. Spend a day or so in Dallas before making a short journey to Fort Worth, take an afternoon to wander the streets of Corsicana or Athens, and venture into Waco for the day.

Make the most of the beautiful and rugged Texan landscape and camp in some of the most beautiful state parks and wilderness areas in the Lone Star State. There are plenty of things to do and see on your journey, so take your time, embrace your surroundings and have fun exploring. Here are 20 places to visit on your Dallas to Austin road trip you might not have considered before.

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20 Places To Visit On A Dallas To Austin Road Trip

1- Dallas

austin to dallas drive
Dallas downtown skyline at twilight.

Begin your Dallas to Austin road trip by spending a few days in the city exploring and soaking up its culture and history.

Dallas has an excellent arts district packed with museums and galleries.

Head to the Dallas Museum of Art to immerse yourself in 5000 years of paintings, sculptures and ceramics.

For those more interested in the sciences, call at Perot Museum of Nature and Science.

The building itself is architecturally stunning and stands over a peaceful water garden.

Round off your day by eating at one of Dallas’ incredible restaurants serving Texas staples such as Tex-Mex and barbecue.

Mia’s Tex-Mex is a must-visit for its delicious brisket-filled tacos, quesadillas and plenty of homemade guacamole.

Fun tour: Party Bike Pub Crawl in Deep Ellum and Downtown Dallas.

2- Fort Worth

dallas to austin
Fort Worth is one of the places to spend time at when driving from Dallas to Austin.

Take the short drive from Dallas to Fort Worth and spend a day in this cowboy city.

Kick off your day by visiting the Stockyards to immerse yourself in cowboy culture.

The stockyards have been open since the 1800s for people to buy and sell cattle.

Head to the district today to meet cowboys, look for souvenirs in the stores and call into a saloon for a cold drink.

Sundance Square is the ideal destination to use as a base in Fort Worth, as many of the city’s museums, galleries and restaurants are all located on the square or nearby.

Driving from Dallas to Fort Worth covers 32 miles (51.5 kilometres) and takes approximately 35 minutes.

Fun tour: Stockyards History Tour Fort Worth Pub Crawl.

3- Lake Waxahachie

Welcome to Texas state road sign at the state border.
Driving from Dallas tx to Austin tx will give you a taste of what Texas has to offer.

Spend the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the outdoors at Lake Waxahachie, an ideal destination if you or your travel companions enjoy fishing.

The lake has excellent fishing opportunities from boats and docks.

Expect to catch largemouth bass, channel catfish, and white bass in the waters.

Swimming, canoeing and kayaking are all available on the waters, or if something a little faster-paced is more fitting for your perfect lake day, take to the water on a jet ski.

There are no camping grounds around the lake, but plenty of places for a picnic.

Driving from Fort Worth to Lake Waxahachie covers 48.1 miles (77.41 kilometres) and takes approximately 50 minutes.

4- Corsicana

Corsicana is an excellent stopping destination on your Dallas to Austin road trip to spend a few hours and to grab a bite to eat.

The Pearce Museum is perfect for reflecting on local history, particularly relating to the American Civil War.

The museum is packed with artefacts, important documents and photographs from the war and its impact on Corsicana and the neighbouring towns.

For more history, visit the Navarro County Historical Society, which is based inside the Pioneer Village, to learn more about the area’s first settlers and infrastructure.

Grab a bite to eat before you leave at K&K Bar-b-que for some of the best dishes in the city.

Try the pull pork sandwich, and order extra sides of their rich and creamy mac and cheese or smoky BBQ baked beans.

Driving from Lake Waxahachie to Corsicana covers 34.9 miles (56.17 km) and takes about 40 minutes.

5- Athens

Another great city to explore on your Dallas to Austin road trip is Athens.

This charming city is the perfect place to relax, unwind and grab snacks or souvenirs before hitting the open road again.

Wander around the charming and soothing East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society to be surrounded by nature.

The Arboretum has a children’s garden in its collection, a dream garden and plenty of native and exotic plants to admire and learn about.

There is also an excellent walking trail to stretch your legs on.

If you are visiting Athens on a Saturday, spend an hour or so exploring the delights of the farmers market.

The market is filled with delicious treats and seasonal produce from local farmers, making it the ideal destination to stock up on snacks or picnic foods for your journey.

Driving from Corsicana to Athens covers 37.4 miles (60.19 kilometres) and takes approximately 44 minutes.

6- Palestine

Visit Palestine for one of the most beautiful and historic cities in Texas.

This quaint city perfectly combines natural spaces and a passion for the past preserved in its museums and historical sites.

Stroll through Davey Dogwood Park to see beautiful dogwood trees in bloom, or walk around the edges of Upper City Lake before enjoying a picnic.

Palestine is an excellent destination for railroad lovers as it is home to the Texas State Railroad, a preserved 25-mile (40 km) stretch of track with steam trains running between Palestine and Rusk.

Driving from Athens to Palestine covers 34.7 miles (60.19 kilometres) and takes approximately 35 minutes.

7- Waco

A vehicle rear view mirror with the flag of the state of Texas.
Looking for places to visit when driving from Dallas to Austin? Here are 20 of the best.

Waco is an excellent stopping destination on your Dallas to Austin road trip to spend the night, as it is halfway between the two cities and has plenty of things to do.

If you are a soda drinker, a must-visit Waco destination is the Dr Pepper Museum.

The museum is located inside the old bottling plant, which dates back more than 100 years.

The fizzy drink is the oldest in America, and its story is told through several interactive and interesting exhibitions.

Marvel at a range of old bottles and adverts, check out Dr Pepper-related memorabilia, and try some of the famous drink itself.

After quenching your thirst, fill up on some of the best barbecue in Texas at Tony DeMaria’s.

This Waco institution has been serving tasty dishes since 1946 and cannot be missed.

Try their meat plates to get the best of Tony’s barbecue and side dishes.

Driving from Palestine to Waco covers 100 miles (161 km) and takes approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Classic Waco tour: Best Sites & TV highlights in Waco

8- Lake Creek Lake

Head back into nature and visit some of the best outdoor sites in Texas, beginning with Lake Creek Lake.

The lake is a reservoir that actively serves a local electrical plant.

There are several pleasant hikes around the shores of the lake and areas to stop for a rest or picnic and admire the view.

While no water sports or boats are permitted on the lake, the beauty, peace and tranquillity make Lake Creek Lake a good place to break up your journey.

Driving from Waco to Lake Creek Lake covers 17.9 miles (28.81 kilometres) and takes approximately 25 minutes.

9- Mother Neff State Park

Continue exploring some of the best natural areas in Texas by taking a day to stroll around Mother Neff State Park.

This state park is the perfect mixture of riverbank strolls, thick forests and beautiful expanses of prairies.

Isabella Neff gave the land the state park occupies to Texas in 1921.

The park is ideal for spending the day among the wildflowers, hiking its many trails and geocaching.

If you fall in love with the state park, there are plenty of places to camp, either in a tent or in one of their lodges.

Driving from Lake Creek Lake to Mother Neff State Park covers 45.7 miles (73.55 kilometres) and takes approximately 55 minutes.

10- Belton Lake

Take the short drive down to Belton Lake to relax by the waters. Belton Lake offers water access from several ramps, with motor boats allowed.

You can also take to the water in a canoe or kayak to enjoy the serenity of the lake.

There are plenty of spots around the lake to sit back and relax or enjoy a picnic too.

No camping spots are available at the lake; restroom facilities are provided.

There are also courtesy docks where boat gas and live bait can be purchased if you decide to do some fishing.

Driving from Mother Neff State Park to Belton Lake covers 24 miles (38.62 kilometres) and takes approximately 30 minutes.

11- Temple

Cowboy driving a classic car
Looking for things to do between Dallas and Austin? Hit the road and have some fun!

Temple is an old railroad town that retains some of its Old West charm despite modern additions in architecture and structure.

Explore the city’s railroad history at the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum inside the Santa Fe train depot.

The museum building is beautiful, and outside, there are many historical train cars to admire and photograph.

Avid readers should visit The Book Cellar, an underground bookstore selling everything literary, from comic strips to novels.

If music is your preferred creative outlet, spend an evening enjoying live country music at Bo’s Barn Dance Hall, or for a more classical twist, savour a performance from the Temple Symphony Orchestra.

Driving from Belton Lake to Temple covers 10 miles (16.09 kilometres) and takes approximately 20 minutes.

12- Chalk Ridge Park

Return to the spectacular Texan countryside and wander around Chalk Ridge Park, which follows part of the Lampasas River.

The biggest lure to the park is the river, which cascades gently down a waterfall.

A suspension bridge crosses the river and has become an iconic structure within the park, and worth heading to for incredible photographs of the river and surrounding woodland.

The park is a hidden gem, and many trails are not well marked or see heavy foot traffic.

Driving from Temple to Chalk Ridge Park covers 15.2 miles (24.46 kilometres) and takes approximately 20 minutes.

13- Crockett Garden Falls

Crockett Garden Falls makes for a great afternoon stroll around the beautiful countryside and gardens.

The main attraction and namesake, Crockett Garden Falls, was a beautiful spring water-fed waterfall that trickled over a moss-covered rock shelf, creating a truly magical sight.

Sadly, the rock shelf collapsed due to an unprecedented cold snap in Texas in late 2022.

Despite this, the natural spring continues to flow over the rock, and there is hope that as the moss grows, it will once again turn into a beautiful and natural feature.

Spend an hour or so wandering around the landscape and taking in the gentle stream before continuing your road trip.

Driving from Chalk Ridge Park to Crockett Garden Falls covers 34.8 miles (56.01 kilometres) and takes approximately 40 minutes.

14- Georgetown

At only 25 miles from Austin, Georgetown is a destination that can often be overlooked due to its location.

Experience the 1920s art deco vibes of Palace Theatre, an old cinema house that has been transformed into a live theatre venue and arts centre.

They have a varied and exciting year-round schedule, so check ahead before you visit to see what’s on.

Continue your foray into the arts of Georgetown by immersing yourself in the Art Centre.

This public space and gallery exhibit works from artists across the USA and beyond, as well as championing local artists and designers’ work.

Driving from Crockett Garden Falls to Georgetown covers 5.5 miles (8.85 kilometres) and takes approximately 15 minutes.

15- Canyon of the Eagles Resort and Nature Park

Canyon of the Eagles Resort and Nature Park is the perfect destination to spend a night or two in nature.

The resort takes its name from the bald eagles that nest within the parkland each year.

If you are spending the night, there are many sites to pitch your tent, park your RV, or stay in one of their beautifully designed guest rooms.

The resort has access to many miles of hiking and cycling trails, cruises and kayak rentals on the lake, and plenty to help you relax on an evening, including a s’mores fire pit and movies under the stars.

Driving from Georgetown to Canyon of the Eagles Resort and Nature Park covers 54.7 miles (88.03 kilometres) and takes approximately 1 hour.

16- Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Park

Wander through the natural wilderness of Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Park, a parkland with rugged shallow canyons, old woodlands and mountain foothills.

The landscape is a key habitat for golden-cheeked warblers, an endangered species; if you are lucky, you may see one during your hike.

This species and around 244 more are found in the park year-round, natively or on migratory journeys.

This park is an excellent destination to break up your journey between cities and connect with nature before returning to the hustle and bustle.

Driving from Canyon of the Eagles Resort and Nature Park to Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Park covers 51 miles (82.08 kilometres) and takes approximately 1 hour.

17- Lake Buchanan

Created when the Colorado River was dammed in 1939, Lake Buchanan is the largest lake in Texas and an ideal destination for relaxing on the water.

There are plenty of camping sites, RV spaces and cabins to rent if you plan on extending your stay, and restrooms and shower facilities are available if you are spending the day.

Take to the water on a fishing boat with an experienced local guide to help you with your first catch, or rent a kayak or power boat to explore the water.

Hiking trails are available around the lake, or if relaxing is on the cards kick back and unwind on the shores.

Driving from Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Park to Lake Buchanan covers 48.4 miles (77.89 kilometres) and takes approximately 1 hour.

18- Marble Falls

Call into quaint Marble Falls as your road trip nears its end.

This small city is surrounded by the Central Texas hills and is close to breathtaking natural landscapes and the vibrant city life of Austin.

Wander around the streets of Marble Falls’s historic downtown district to get a feel for the city.

Sample handmade chocolates at Choccolatte’s or grab an unusual souvenir from one of the city’s many antique shops.

If you are visiting in Spring or Fall, call into Sweet Berry Farm, a seasonal pick-your-own fruit farm.

Grab a basket and pick fresh strawberries and blackberries, relax with a picnic and enjoy the seasonal events such as hayrides and cutting your own fresh flowers.

Driving from Lake Buchanan to Marble Falls covers 28.3 miles (45.54 kilometres) and takes approximately 40 minutes.

Top tour: Dine & Disc Golf in The Texas Hill Country.

19- Volente Beach Resort and Waterpark

Green signpost austin
A Dallas to Austin driving trip reveals lots of interesting places.

Feel like you are on the coast at the fun-filled family resort of Volente Beach Resort and Waterpark.

This is the ideal final destination before you arrive in Austin if you are travelling with children.

The resort is a beach club on the shores of Lake Travis and is packed with exciting things to do for all the family.

Brave the waterslides, relax on the sandy beaches or board the pirate ship on an adventure.

There are many places to grab a snack or sit down for a proper meal at the park’s restaurant.

Driving from Marble Falls to Volente Beach Resort and Waterpark covers 46.3 miles (74.51 kilometres) and takes approximately 1 hour.

20- Austin

Downtown Skyline of Austin by the river
When driving from Austin Texas to Dallas Texas you don’t have to go straight to your destinations as there’s lots to see along the way.

Arrive at the end of your road trip from Dallas to Austin, spending a few days taking in this beautiful city.

Indulge your senses and creativity at Wonderspaces, a large art installation featuring a range of technology-fuelled unique pieces made even more immersive through mirrors, light and sound.

Animal lovers should head to Congress Avenue Bridge as the sun sets to see a truly unique natural phenomenon.

Every evening upwards of 1.5 million bats living underneath the bridge take flight.

This nightly event takes place from March through to early November, with August welcoming the annual Bat Fest, which includes music, food and drink.

Driving from Volente Beach Resort and Waterpark to Austin covers 21.9 miles (35.24 kilometres) and takes approximately 40 minutes.

Top tour: Best of Austin Small-Group Driving Tour with Local Guide

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sarah holmes travel writer
Sarah Holmes is a travel and fashion writer living in the heart of England. From family adventures in numerous parts of the UK and Europe to exploring cities as an adult, Sarah has a wide knowledge of the best areas, sights and local tips that the UK and the neighbouring continent can offer. Sarah grew up in the North East of England, with incredible sights and landmarks only a short drive away. Her favourite places to visit include Seaham Beach, the Lake District and Alnwick Castle. Sarah has written for a range of fashion and travel blogs and print publications.