Huge American cars glinting in the sun, air conditioning on, powering down a long highway, just the passengers and the landscape – this is the immortal image of the road trip. The most quintessential place for this is the American South, and if you’re going to do it there, you do it in Texas.
Houston is a fantastic starting point for your journey, and so many famous cities are within easy driving distance from the Bayou City – each of them unique in spirit and well worth a visit. It’s like fitting several countries’ worth of holidays into one trip, except they’re all within a few hours of each other.
San Antonio, Texas
Not far from the US-Mexico border, San Antonio enjoys the benefits of a shared Mexican and American heritage. A site of great historical importance for Texas, alongside all the culture to take in, this city is also known for its food and drink, which alone makes it worth the trip from Houston. It makes for a perfect weekend getaway. The only thing between you and all that San Antonio has to offer is a 3hr drive west on the I-10.
If you’re in the mood for that classic American experience of long drives on endless highways, only nine hours up I-30 is Memphis, Tennessee, a hub of blues, soul and rock’n’roll. Known for its music, Memphis has also been a center of the civil rights movement. Among the museums and landmarks, there are amazing opportunities to gain some education on Black history in the US. While the drive is long, Memphis is well worth the journey.
Sports, entertainment, art, wealth and history all collide in Dallas, Texas. A city whose name is known the world over for many different reasons, it truly does have something for everyone. The city has a skyline of beautiful architecture and, at street level, a mixture of cultures and fashions that rivals Houston – all combined with that classic Texan friendliness. It’s only a 4hr journey north on the I-45.
On your way to Memphis, it is well worth stopping over in the Big Easy: New Orleans, Louisiana, where America, Africa and France combine into a city world-famous for its jazz, food and, of course, Mardi Gras. When it’s not heaving with people, it’s a place full of energy and character where you’ll want to spend many, many weeks, but you could exhaust yourself after spending just one night. A 5hr drive east on the I-10 will take you through the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge and straight to New Orleans.
Houston’s next-door neighbor, and the state’s capital, Austin is a hub of live music and entertainment. It’s regularly voted the best place to live in America, and a short road trip here will show you why. It’s a modern, growing city, home to many tech start-ups and big companies that invest money in the local area, creating a cultural and creative center for Texas. Austin is only a 2.5hr drive on the I-10 W.
For visitors wishing for a road-trip experience that takes in the bayou’s flora and fauna, plus fun activities, sports and hiking routes, Caddo Lake State Park is a picturesque escape from city living. Bald cypress trees tower over you as you explore the swamps and ponds of this protected alligator habitat. In terms of sleeping arrangements, there are 46 campsites to choose from, or historic cabins are available to rent. Travel north via US-59 and through the Davy Crockett National Forest.