A road trip from Houston to Austin is filled with everything from tropical forests and Texas barbecue restaurants to historical sites. Naturally, given the size of both Houston and Austin, many travelers opt to spend a couple of days in each of these cities. You can catch shows like Austin City Limits or cool off in family-oriented water parks. Other travelers prefer to get a scoop of ice cream at a local creamery before heading off to their favorite campground for a couple of days. Either way, this trip is interesting and infinitely satisfying no matter where you decide to play.
The road trip from Houston to Austin includes a respectable number of national parks. These parks celebrate the Texas landscape and offer travelers a look at the state’s history.
Big Bend National Park
Big Bend National Park is a dream come true for hikers, mountain bikers, and kayakers. The 801,000-acre park sits on the border of Texas and Mexico and includes an impressive variety of terrains. Depending on where you are in this park, you may encounter mountains and canyons, hot springs, and even desert areas. Park rangers offer guided themed walks in the park, though it’s possible to take self-guided treks, too. Finally, given Big Bend’s lack of light pollution, it’s an amazing place to stare at the stars above once nightfall has come.
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park traces the heritage and ancestry of the 36th U.S. President, Lyndon Johnson. Park visitors can tour his boyhood home, the LBJ Ranch, and the Johnson Settlement. If visitors to the site require more information, visitor centers are available.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
San Antonio Missions are outposts that were founded by the Catholic religious orders starting in the 17th century. The best-preserved of these missions is the Mission Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña, which was founded in 1716. A trip to these mission sites gives visitors a glimpse at history through the remains of the ancient buildings that still stand in this national park. San Antonio Missions has even been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Given the size of the state, it probably comes as no surprise that Texas has a number of state parks, and many of them are close to both Austin and Houston. If your Houston to Austin RV road trip has you hankering for the solitude of the wilds, then you’ll want to check out the following state parks.
Bastrop State Park
Located just 30 miles from Austin, Texas, Bastrop State Park was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Park visitors have many opportunities for recreation, including swimming, biking, hiking, and more.
Palmetto State Park
Palmetto State Park is the type of place that feels otherworldly due to its towering trees and tropical forest vibe. The San Marcos River runs through it, allowing travelers to wash the dust from their feet and their travel-weary souls. The area is also known for its hiking and biking. It is an excellent place to visit year-round.
Pedernales Falls State Park
Pedernales Falls State Park offers park visitors a wide range of activity options. This includes everything from horseback riding to tubing. Once a working ranch, this 5,211-acre park sits right on the Pedernales River.
Your Houston to Austin road trip route takes you through Central Texas, an area filled with rural communities, ice cream creameries, and fun festivals. Plenty of campgrounds are nearby, so you can afford to tour this area over the span of a couple of days if that strikes your fancy.
Quirky Country Market
Sustainability has become a buzz word these days, and there’s no better example of it than at the Quirky Country Market. Completely off-grid, this 1,400-square-foot space is powered by solar energy and rainwater. Visiting hours are on Saturdays and Sundays.
Blue Bell Creamery
What’s summer without a bit of ice cream? Fortunately for those who make the Houston to Austin road trip, there’s an excellent place to find it: Blue Bell Creamery. This creamery offers so many ice cream flavors that it’s difficult to decide on one. Good thing you can try a sample scoop of ice cream for just a buck.
Hruska’s Store & Bakery
If the Blue Bell Creamery didn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, then the next stop on your Houston to Austin RV road trip should be Hruska’s Store & Bakery to get some kolaches. These Czech pastries are so delish that they’ve become a staple food for Texans. It also happens to be down the road from the Quirky Country Market, so you don’t have to worry about driving out of your way to pick up what’s bound to become your new favorite pastry.
The Brenham Maifest celebrates that city’s German heritage each year. If your Houston to Austin road trip itinerary includes travel in the month of May, you won’t want to miss stopping in at this cultural festival. Events include a Maypole dance, parades with beautiful floats, German food, and home-brewed beer competitions.
Rosemary's Vineyard and Winery
Few things in life beat a glass of wine from a local winery, and Rosemary's Vineyard and Winery exists to satisfy not only wine lovers but also lovers of German culture as well. The winery celebrates both with equal gusto. Stop in and grab a bottle of wine to drink as you’re sitting near your Texas campfire after a long day of playing. It’s the perfect way to unwind.
Many of the cities on the route from Houston to Austin are small towns filled with friendly people and amazing cultural heritage. It’s also an area that loves baseball; local Little League teams in this area have been to the Little League World Series a number of times. If you’re traveling this way, you’ll find restaurants and rest areas where you can fill up your tummy and relax before moving on to the next part of your journey. You'll also find a number of dump stations to keep your RV clean during the trip.
This unincorporated community lies just 24 miles outside of Houston and was once home to the Akokisa and Atakapa Native American tribes. In fact, archaeological evidence suggests that there has been a human presence in this area since 7500 B.C. It’s located near Cypress Creek and is characterized by mild to cool winter months and hot and humid summer months. Consider staying a few days at one of the many great campgrounds in the area.
Though it only boasts a population of 250 people, Carmine is the home of the Texas Basketball Museum, which Coach Bob Springer operates. The museum celebrates the tradition of Texas high school basketball and highlights the players who have gone on to join professional teams.
Brenham is considered the heart of the bluebonnet region. A plethora of trails filled with bluebonnets entices visitors with their beauty and grace. Blue Bell Creamery is located here along with a number of other attractions, including Maifest and the World’s Largest BBQ Pit.
This small town has a quirky history. It came into existence after the Colorado River flooded the area in the mid-1800s. Not long after that, the railroad made its way through the area, establishing a flag stop in Elgin. By 1879, it had become a thriving depot town with a gristmill, newspaper, and cotton gin. Today, Elgin is a city that embraces baseball. The Elgin Little League has gone to the Little League World Series a number of times, and Ray Culp, the Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher, hails from Elgin as well. While traveling through the area in your RV, you'll have plenty of options for RV parks and campgrounds.
A Houston to Austin road trip itinerary includes plenty of small towns, German cultural festivals, baseball, and stunning national and state parks. The best way to take in this Central Texas road trip is inside an RV. If you don’t own one, there’s no need to fret. RVshare offers RV rentals in numerous cities, including Houston and Austin. Check out your rental options today.