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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
#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.
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.
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!
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