A road trip is an adventurous way to see the world and a great excuse for getting some much-needed rest and relaxation. We asked five experts what they would pack in their car if they were headed on such a journey.

The “scenic route from houston to austin” is a road trip that starts in Houston, Texas and ends in Austin, Texas.

Consider the wonderful road journey from Houston to Austin if you’re searching for a short yet breathtakingly picturesque cross-Texas adventure. Before arriving at the state’s historic capital, you’ll pass through some of the state’s most picturesque parks.

The 160-mile road trip from Houston to Austin takes 30 minutes and 2 hours to drive. Places of interest on the way include Buffalo Bayou and Bear Creek Pioneers Parks, Kreische Brewery & Monument Hill State Historic Sites, as well as McKinney Falls and Mount Bonnell.

Despite the route’s shortness, there’s a lot to digest, so keep reading to understand the ins and outs of the plan.

What is the distance between Austin and Houston, and how long would the journey take?

a comparison of routes

Route Distance Time to Drive
Route to the South 160 miles 30 minutes and 2 hours
The Route to the North 173 miles 14 minutes and 3 hours

The journey from Houston to Austin is quite short, covering around 160 miles in 2 hours and 30 minutes. As a result, it doesn’t matter when you depart – you’ll be able to arrive to Austin the same day no problem.

One alternative is to take Interstate 10 out of Houston and follow it almost halfway to Austin before turning onto a state route. If you reside in central or southern Houston, the journey includes a lot of gorgeous vistas to keep you entertained before you arrive in the city.

Alternatively, you may follow Route 290 out of town; the length is about same, but you’ll pass through more little towns along the route.

Mount Bonnell, Austin the highest point in Austin overlooking the river below and the houses beyond in the background. If you have time, go to Mount Bonnell, Austin’s highest point, for some spectacular views.

Shutterstock.com/Roschetzky Photography

While this provides you more locations to stop, particularly in the early half of the journey, it also means you’ll have to deal with a lot of speed limitations, which might make your journey much longer than it needs to be, especially if the weather is bad.

Regardless of whatever route you drove to Austin, most of the points of interest are in or near the Austin region, thus extending your journey just a little west of town will offer you much more things to see.

The best route from Houston to Austin for a road trip

Given how similar the indicated routes are in terms of duration, there is no clear “optimal” way from Houston to Austin; instead, you should choose your route depending on where you reside in Houston.

Consider taking one of the routes from Houston and the other on your way back to get the most out of your trip.

Route to the South (Interstate 10)

Drive out of Houston on Interstate 10 through Buffalo Bayou Park, and shortly after passing Bear Creek Pioneers and Cullen Parks, you’ll bridge the Brazos River, just south of Stephen F. Austin State Park.

Past Alleyton, get onto Highway 71 and cross the Colorado River. Follow the highway northwest along the river, passing the Fayette County Reservoir and Kreische Brewery & Monument Hill State Historic Site.

Pass via Buescher and Bastrop State Parks before arriving to McKinney Roughs Nature Park. The Circuit of the Americas (immediately south of the freeway) comes next, followed by a visit to McKinney Falls State Park on Austin’s outskirts.

The Route to the North (Route 290)

Pass north of Bear Creek Pioneers Park on Route 290 and continue into Prairie View and Brenham. To the north, you’ll pass Somerville Lake and its network of parks, while to the south, you’ll pass Bastrop State Park and McKinney Roughs Nature Park.

You’ll soon be in uptown Austin after passing through Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park.

Between Houston and Austin, the best locations to stop

Although the travel isn’t lengthy, once you get in Austin, you’ll want to choose the nicest hotel available — obtaining rooms may or may not be tough depending on whether you’re going during festival season.

Fairmont Austin, on the other hand, if you can secure a room, has some of the greatest city views and an outstanding swimming pool.

The quality of your stay should be obvious the minute you walk inside your room, which is attractively designed and well equipped. If at all possible, get a room on a higher level of this hotel, since the city views are really stunning.

Spend your time by the outdoor swimming pool or in the hot tub to take advantage of Austin’s hot weather. With a unique combination of urban architecture and palm palms aplenty, the atmosphere will leave you feeling comfortable and rejuvenated for your next trip across the city.

In the evening, work up a sweat in the fitness facility with views of the city, unwind with a drink at the stylish bar, or dine in style at one of the six on-site restaurants. Spa amenities, including a sauna, are also available.

Finally, there’s the cost — this is probably the finest value for money you can get in Austin. This is particularly noteworthy given the hotel’s accessibility to almost every point of interest in town, including Texas Memorial Stadium and Barton Springs Pool.

Barton Springs Pool with the skyline of Austin, Texas in the background and the natural outdoor pool in the foreground. The Barton Springs Pool is one of Austin’s crown jewels.

Shutterstock.com/Roschetzky Photography

Another fantastic choice is The Driskill, a historic, near-150-year-old resort situated in the center of Austin with one of the most opulent interiors in Texas.

The interior design of the rooms and halls, which offers a unique blend of antique and contemporary, will make a lasting impression, and resting in the pleasant lounge area is probably the greatest way to spend an evening.

Then there’s the Driskill Grill, an award-winning on-site restaurant that serves up some of the region’s greatest cuisine. There’s a good possibility you’ll catch a world-famous musician singing only feet away from you while sipping a drink at the bar.

If you can find an empty room, you’ll be pleased to learn that this hotel’s cost is relatively reasonable, especially considering the fact that the Texas State Capitol and Austin Music Hall are just two of the many Austin attractions within walking distance of The Driskill.

On a road drive from Houston to Austin, there are many sights to view.

Don’t be deceived by the small distance between Houston and Austin; there’s much to see along the route. To see everything in between, not to mention all the diversions in the Austin region, you’ll want to set aside a couple of days for the journey.

Inner Space Caverns, Georgetown a dark cave illuminated with reds, oranges and yellows. The age of Inner Space Cavern is believed to be between 20 and 25 million years.

Shutterstock.com/JD Hiker

Here are a few of the most notable highlights:

  1. Buffalo Bayou Park is a beautiful park with a variety of water and land-based recreational opportunities, as well as a fantastic perspective of Houston.
  2. Bear Creek Pioneers Park is a green park with horse trails and sports grounds.
  3. Aside from the obvious picnic and camping areas, Stephen F. Austin State Park is an important birding location in the region.
  4. Kreische Brewery & Monument Hill State Historic Sites – serving to commemorate Texan militiamen and European settlers, respectively, these sites are a must-see for any history buff
  5. The “Lost Pines Woods” of Texas are prominently featured in Buescher and Bastrop State Parks, which are linked.
  6. McKinney Falls State Park is a lovely park with lush greenery, limestone ledges, and, of course, the magnificent McKinney Falls.
  7. Mount Bonnell is a ridge along the Colorado River that provides a panoramic view of Austin.
  8. Barton Springs Pool – with water that stays lukewarm even throughout the colder months of the year, this Austin pool is a great spot to unwind no matter the season.
  9. Somerville Lake – because to the network of tiny parks that surround it, this lake is particularly popular with anglers.
  10. Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park – called for its lake, this park is a great spot to go swimming or relax with a picnic.
  11. You may enjoy a breathtaking aerial tour of Austin or relax in elegance on a private beach at Lake Travis Zipline Adventure.
  12. The Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, just outside of Austin, is home to numerous endangered bird species and offers stunning high-canyon vistas.
  13. Pace Bend Park — this park, which is straddled by the Colorado River, provides a variety of hiking, mountain biking, and cliff diving opportunities.
  14. Many areas of the 20-million-year-old Inner Space Cavern near Georgetown (just north of Austin) remain undiscovered to this day.
  15. Pedernales Falls State Park — this park’s unusual blend of grasslands, rivers, and limestone creates a breathtakingly beautiful setting for hiking and picnics.

When is the best time to go from Houston to Austin?

The ideal time to travel from Houston to Austin depends on what you want to see; the city has a variety of cultural events throughout the year, so there’s something for everyone.

Houston, Texas in the early evening with the city skyline in the background and the a green park in the foreground. The journey from Houston includes stops in two magnificent cities as well as stunning parks.

Shutterstock.com/Sean Pavone

It’s worth noting that Austin’s temperatures are constantly high, with summer being 5 degrees higher on average than spring or autumn.

Even still, when the temperatures rise into the triple digits, a few degrees may make all the difference – summer in Austin attracts few visitors, making it an economical alternative for budget travelers. However, keep in mind that walking about the city in these conditions might be difficult.

Fall is a popular season to visit Austin, thanks in part to fantastic yearly events such as the Austin City Limits Music Festival. As a result, don’t expect to discover any bargains at this time of year; in fact, hotel costs are likely to be at their highest.

Although the shift from autumn to winter is quicker, March and April preserve some of Austin’s winter’s mildness, with highs of approximately 75 degrees. As a result, spring is the ideal season for some of Austin’s most well-known events, such as Rodeo Austin and Art City Austin.

Winter is the greatest time to travel if you want to keep costs down. The 60-degree weather is far more hospitable to travelers who aren’t accustomed to the region’s high temperatures, and it’s a great time to see the city without the usual throng.

The “houston to austin drive time” is a journey from Houston, Texas to Austin, Texas. The trip will take about 4 hours and 40 minutes.

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