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Easy Road Trip Opportunities from Houston

Haley Kurisky
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2017 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

(From left) Sisters Haley and Holly Kurisky attended the 2017 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. They saw Earth, Wind, and Fire as well as Stevie Wonder perform. 

With Memorial Day and the start of summer around the corner, it’s time to start planning some trips. The easiest way to get away for a bit without having to plan a lot is a road trip! I have put together a list of places where you can easily get away for a weekend or even a day, only a short drive away from Houston.

New Orleans

NOLA is between 5 and 6 hours away by car, and is known for being a party destination. Despite its reputation, this old Southern city has a lot of history and fun activities to check out, too. The World War II Museum is located in NOLA, as well as great restaurants like Mother’s, Palace Café and Acme Oyster Bar. Take a swamp tour while you’re there, or visit one of the many plantation homes located along the road towards New Orleans.


Concan is a town situated right on the Frio River, perfect for tubing and relaxing by the water. Garner State Park is nearby, with opportunities for camping and hiking. About five hours away by car, Concan provides the perfect spot for typical Texan river activities, with country music galore and small-town vibes. The drive through the Hill Country is beautiful.


Wimberley is about three hours away from Houston, right on the Blanco River. Wimberley has the cutest town square with many bed and breakfasts. You can rent a cabin on the river or even stay in a riverside home to get the full tubing experience. The Corral Theatre is an outdoor movie theatre located in Wimberley that still operates today. In addition, there are natural wells and swimming holes in Wimberley where you can cool off.

San Marcos

San Marcos is the home of Texas State University, located in between San Antonio and Austin, about a three-hour drive away from Houston. San Marcos is known for its great outlet malls and the San Marcos River that runs right through it. The Downtown Square has lots of shops and restaurants open all year round. For a small-town feel with upscale dining and activities, San Marcos is the place to go.


About three hours outside Houston close to Austin sits Georgetown, home of Inner Space Caverns. This cave system is amazing, with perfectly conserved stalagmites and stalactites. Georgetown also has an old town square where a market can be found with crafts and food. The Georgetown Town Square has the reputation as “The Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas.”


Another college town, Waco is the home of Baylor University. Located between Dallas and Austin (about a three-hour drive), Waco is filled with fun things to do. The beautiful Waco Suspension Bridge is located within the city, and is the setting for many photo shoots, including engagement pictures. The Dr. Pepper Museum is located in Waco, as is the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. If you have time, you can take a tour around Baylor’s campus, too.

Corpus Christi

Four hours from Houston, Corpus sits right on the Gulf of Mexico. In Corpus, you can enjoy the beaches, the original Whataburger (the very first one!) and take a tour of the U.S.S. Lexington aircraft carrier. Corpus has great seafood too. The Texas State Aquarium is located in Corpus and is a fun activity for kids and grown-ups alike.

Big Bend National Park

If you’re looking for an adventurous Texas road trip filled with hiking, camping and wildlife, Big Bend is the place for you. It is between 9-10 hours away from Houston, but is home of beautiful natural canyons and cliffs. The park is located right on the border of Mexico, and also hosts natural hot springs. The drive is long, but I’ve been told that the views are worth it.

More Road Trip Ideas

For more on road trips, see: Great Texas road trips by Tracy L. Barnett, Restaurant Road Trips by Russell Weil, Summer Road Trips with the Kids by Tracy L. Barnett or Day Trips from Houston by Sarah Bass. 

Have a favorite road trip? Comment below to share your experiences. 

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