Skip to Content

The Texas Stretch: How Long to Drive Across the Lone Star State?

They say everything is bigger in Texas, and one thing that lives up to that reputation is the state’s size. Texas is famous for its vast landscapes, diverse cultures, and rich history. However, if you’re thinking about embarking on a road trip across the Lone Star State, you’re probably wondering: How long does it take to drive across Texas? We have crossed the state dozens of times and know the drive well.

In this article, we’ll explore how big Texas is, discuss the best routes to take across the state, and discover the must-visit places along the way. Let’s two-step into this adventure together. 

The Ultimate Texas Road Trip: A 12-Day Journey Through the Lone Star State

Exactly How Big is Texas?

To appreciate the enormity of Texas, one must first comprehend its size. Texas covers an astonishing 268,597 square miles, making it the second-largest state in the United States after Alaska. Its dimensions are so extensive that it’s larger than many countries, including France and Germany.

From east to west, Texas spans approximately 773 miles. From north to south, it stretches about 801 miles. Within the state, you’ll find a diverse range of landscapes, from the piney woods of East Texas to the arid deserts of the West. Moreover, the Gulf Coast offers beaches reminiscent of northern Florida, while the Panhandle resembles the rolling hills of Oklahoma. Texas offers every type of landscape you could want, and you’ll encounter most of them during your road trip across the Lone Star State. 

Welcome to Texas sign
A drive across Texas is sure to be a grand adventure.

What is the Best Route to Drive Across Texas?

Choosing the best route is crucial when setting out on your drive across Texas. The most standard route is Interstate 10 (I-10), which stretches from the southeastern city of Orange to the western city of Anthony, near the New Mexico border. At 877 miles, this route traverses a considerable portion of Texas, offering a glimpse of its varied terrain and cultural diversity.

Another popular route is Interstate 20 (I-20), which runs from the eastern city of Waskom to the western city of Kent. Unlike I-10, I-20 traverses some of the northern cities of the state, including Abilene and Arlington. 

Nevertheless, if you’re in search of a scenic journey across Texas, you might want to consider US Highway 90. This historical route goes through charming towns, exciting cities, and stunning landscapes. However, any route you take across Texas will feel long. You might as well choose the most exciting route and enjoy the trip!

Texas Interstate 10
Interstate 10 is one of the standard routes you can use to drive across Texas.

How Long Does it Take to Drive Across Texas? 

The time it takes to drive across Texas depends on several factors, including your starting and ending points, the route, and your driving speed. On average, if you were to drive the full length of I-10 from Orange to Anthony, it would take approximately 10 to 12 hours of non-stop driving, covering a distance of about 880 miles.

For those taking I-20 from Marshall to Kent, the journey is slightly shorter, spanning around 620 miles and taking about 9 to 11 hours, assuming there are no extended stops.

Additionally, Route 90 spans approximately 607 miles, making it slightly shorter than I-20. If you drive straight through, it will probably take you about 9 to 10 hours. However, we recommend setting aside more time for this route. It’s crucial to remember that Texas is not only about getting from point A to point B. It’s about the experiences and adventures you encounter along the way.

In the RV we usually take at least 2 days of driving to cross the state with one or two stops in it.

Where is The Heart of Texas? 

While the geographical center of Texas is near the small town of Rochelle, Texas, people often assume the “heart” of Texas is in the city of Brady. The “Heart of Texas” Brady city is in the central part of the state and is a hub for various cultural and historical attractions.

One of the most iconic landmarks in Brady is the Heart of Texas Historical Museum, which showcases the rich history and heritage of the region. Visitors can learn about Native American history, early settlers, ranching culture, and more. Brady also hosts the annual Heart of Texas Fair & Rodeo, a popular event that brings together locals and tourists. Brady’s central location makes it a convenient stop for travelers exploring the state. They can immerse themselves in Texan culture.

Pro Tip: Go on an epic adventure to one of these amazing spots to go overlanding in Texas.

Stargazer, Big Bend National Park, Texas
From Big Bend National Park to San Antonio, there are so many amazing spots to explore in Texas.

5 Best Places to Stop While Driving Across Texas 

If you’re worried about how long it takes to drive across Texas, never fear. Highway 90 provides countless fascinating destinations that will make the trip seem to fly by. Here are five must-visit places to stop along the way. 

#1 Orange 

Starting in the east, Orange is a fantastic place to kick off your Texas journey. It’s a vibrant city on the Texas-Louisiana border along the Sabine River. Visit the Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center to immerse yourself in lush gardens, wetlands, and wildlife. Orange also boasts a rich history, with attractions like the Stark Museum of Art and the W.H. Stark House, offering insights into the region’s heritage.

#2 Houston 

A day in this massive city will only cover a small portion of what Houston offers, so we recommend setting aside several days to explore this sprawling metropolis. Houston provides a diverse array of experiences, from exploring the Space Center Houston to wandering the Museum District. Feel bougie as you stroll the halls of the Galleria shopping center, and savor the amazing Tex-Mex restaurants in the area as you drive across Texas.

#3 San Antonio 

Further west, San Antonio waits with its rich cultural heritage and historic sites. The Alamo nearby is an iconic symbol of Texas independence and history. Tour the scenic River Walk, where you’ll find charming riverside restaurants. You can also visit the colorful and lively Market Square for a taste of Mexican culture. 

The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas
A visit to The Alamo is a must when in San Antonio, Texas.

#4 Big Bend National Park 

Heading toward the western border, Big Bend National Park is a breathtaking destination. Because it’s remote, the park is a lengthy two-hour detour from Highway 90. However, it’s worth the drive if you have the time. This vast area encompasses rugged mountains, canyons, and the meandering Rio Grande River. Hiking, camping, stargazing, and birdwatching are trendy activities in this remote wilderness. To get there, make your way to Marathon, Texas, via I-90 and head south on U.S. 385. Gas up and pack plenty of food and water, because Big Bend National Park is truly off the beaten track. 

Pro Tip: Rest up for your Texas adventure at one of these 10 Best Spots for Big Bend National Park Camping.

#5 Marfa 

If you’re interested in the surreal and artistic side of Texas, make sure to stop in Marfa. This small town in the West Texas desert is famous for its minimalist art installations, including the Prada store at mile 73. If you’re there overnight, keep an eye out for the mysterious Marfa Lights. Visitors describe them as dancing colorful orbs in the sky, making this a popular place for people interested in the supernatural. Even if the lights don’t pique your interest, Marfa’s quirky charm and artistic community make it a unique and fun destination.

We Left Texas! - Sugarite Canyon and Capulin Volcano - Mondays with the Mortons S4 E1

Is Driving Across Texas Worth it? 

If you must travel across the southern United States, a road trip across Texas isn’t only worth it; it’s necessary. Speaking from experience, if you focus only on covering the hundreds of miles across this massive state, it will feel like a long and tedious drive. However, if you embrace the ever-changing landscape of Texas and take advantage of the many interesting destinations along your route, your drive will turn into an unforgettable road trip. 

Driving across Texas allows you to witness the incredible diversity of the state, from the greenery of the east to the tumbleweeds of the west. You’ll encounter friendly locals who are proud to share their Texan hospitality and traditions with visitors. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore historical landmarks, indulge in mouthwatering cuisine, and marvel at the stunning landscapes. So yes, a trip across Texas is worth it!

Would you ever drive across Texas? Tell us in the comments below!

Become A Mortons On The Move Insider

Join 15,000+ other adventurers to receive educating, entertaining, and inspiring articles about RV Travel Destinations, RV Gear, and Off-Grid Living to jump-start your adventures today!

About Cait Morton

Co-Founder, Logistics Queen, Business & Content Manager, and Animal Lover

An Upper Peninsula of Michigan native (aka a Yooper), Caitlin is the organization, big-picture, and content strategy queen of our operation. She keeps everything orderly and on track.

With a background in Business Management, she supports and helps channel Tom’s technical prowess into the helpful content our readers and viewers expect. That’s not to say you won’t find her turning wrenches and talking shop – RV life is a team effort. She keeps the business and the blog moving forward with a variety of topics and resources for our audience.

Believe it or not, she is rather camera shy, though she co-hosts the Mortons’ personal videos and The RVers TV show.

Caitlin’s passion lies in outdoor recreation and with animals. Some of her favorite things to do are hiking, biking, and getting out on the water via kayak, SUP, or boat.

She also loves the RV life due to the fact that you can bring your pets along. Sharing information about safely recreating outdoors with your whole family – pets included! – is very important to her. Because of this, Caitlin spearheaded the launch of HypePets in 2023.

About Us

Sharing is caring!

KC

Monday 30th of October 2023

Check out the McDonald Observatory in the Guadelupe Mountains north of Big Bend. Great viewing for casual sky observers, amateur and professional astronomers. Very dark sky!

“McDonald Observatory operates 4 research telescopes at its facility in w. Texas. The 2.7m, 2.1m and 0.8m telescopes are open to any professional astronomers by accepted proposal. Details on these telescopes can be found under the "Research Facilities" link. Information for proposing for telescope time may be found under the "Observer tools' link. The 0.9m telescope is generally used for student groups and public outreach. The Hobby-Eberly Telescope is only open to PIs at the four partner institutions, of which UT Austin is the managing institution.“ https://mcdonaldobservatory.org/

Cathy Sykes

Wednesday 25th of October 2023

Wow! This sure brings back memories. When we were newlyweds in the late 70s we would drive home for Christmas from AZ to NC. When you only have 10 days off you have to make the most of it. We could make the trip in 24 hours by driving straight through in our little Honda CIVIC with one person driving and the other person sleeping. (We didn't need as many pit stops in those days.) Texas was literally half the trip with 12 hours from El Paso to Texarkana along I-10 to 20 to 30 to 40.

We have been to four of the five must-see places you listed and totally agree. Other places I would add are Fredericksburg and the nearby LBJ National Historical Park. Texas Hill Country is a special place. We lived in San Antonio for about 4 1/2 years and absolutely loved camping and hiking in the Texas State Parks. They have something for everyone. Only NC won out over Texas when we chose our retirement landing pad.

Thanks for bringing back wonderful memories!

AC

Tuesday 24th of October 2023

You did not mention I40

Rip

Tuesday 24th of October 2023

Depending on the time of year and your areas of interest, Austin is just a little over an hour's drive from San Antonio. In the month of March, there is a festival (South by Southwest) with segments that cover Tech, Film, Interactive Media and Music.

1,400 bands from all over the World, played this last March over a 5-day period. I've gone to concerts at 7 am, you can't walk down many streets (in town) and not hear someone playing. ( https://www.sxsw.com/ ). Their website will give you all the details. NOTE: Austin is busy that time of year, if it's on your list, prepare.

Average temps for March will have highs in the 70's and lows in the 50's. It's also a great time to cross Texas. Driving across it in July/August can be pretty challenging for both your occupants and your vehicle. Temps in the 100's are not unusual.

And do some searching on brisket, Texas Monthly (Magazine) usually compiles a list of the best bar-b-que places. They have an online site.