The road trip from Austin to Houston is a straightforward journey. Just take US Highway 71 toward the southeast out of Austin as it follows the Colorado River until it meets I-10, and then, take the freeway straight into Houston. However, if you are embarking on a family vacation, then there are several places you will want to stop to create memories that will last a lifetime.
Though there are no national parks located on a road trip itinerary from Austin to Houston, Texas, you may wish to visit this list of national parks to plan future road trips. There are two national historical parks within driving distance of Austin, Texas, for you and your family to visit.
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park
Before you start on your Austin to Houston RV road trip, make a small detour to the west to see the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. The park holds several attractions, including the home of our 36th president, Lyndon B. Johnson, and his wife, Ladybird Johnson, known as the “Texas White House.” The park includes the first cabin built on the property by the president’s ancestors. The whole of the property is nestled in the beautiful Texas Hill Land area. Located within 50 miles of Austin, the detour is a short diversion from the Austin to Houston road trip. Most of the tours are guided by the president’s grandchildren and are performed on bicycles.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park
While you are exploring the Austin area, visit the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park located in San Antonio. The park is only 73 miles southeast of Austin and can easily be reached on the same day after you visit the Lyndon B, Johnson National Historical Park. The park includes four old Spanish missions with the conventional architecture of the time. Between them, the Missions cover 8 acres. A visit to the park informs you of the effect of early missionary work among the Native Americans.
Bastrop State Park
Bastrop State Park is only 30 miles east of Austin. The park opened in 1937, a product of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The park was devastated by a wildfire in 2011 and is now coming back to its natural form. Some of the CCC constructions still show the effects of the wildfire. Walking the park trails, you can see how nature takes care of itself as the plants and animals begin returning. The ranger-led programs are educational and extremely informative. Swimming and fishing on a hot day are some of the favorite activities that visitors enjoy at this park.
Buescher State Park
Beyond Bastrop State Park lies a park of a different type. At Buescher State Park, you find a fantastic undeveloped water land where lakes and trees are just as they were when the first European visitors arrived. Birdwatchers love this park as over 250 different species of birds build their habitats alongside the lake or in the trees. The 7 miles of trails that wind through the surrounding forest are a favorite for hikers. Canoeing on the lake, as well as fishing in its pristine waters, is available. Staying overnight here after traveling just 47 miles from Austin in your RV may relieve some of the stress of the road.
Sea Rim State Park
After completing your Austin to Houston RV road trip, look for a comfortable coast campground at the Sea Rim State Park. The park is easy to reach. You just continue east on I-10 through Houston for another 86 miles until you reach Port Arthur. Follow the signs south for about 5 miles to Sea Rim State Park. There are abundant RV camping spots at the park. With over 5 miles of sandy beach on the Gulf of Mexico, Sea Rim State Park offers shell collecting, surf wading, or just plain relaxation. Included in the 4,141 acres of the park is a large marsh area where birds and water animals live freely. Stopping here is a relaxing moment that may be the culmination of your trip or a place to recuperate so that you can go on to further adventures.
There are more points of interest to visit on your road trip from Austin to Houston than can be mentioned in this article, but here are a few that you may want to visit.
Waco Mammoth National Monument
Before taking off on your road trip, you might consider taking a detour to Waco, TX, to visit the Waco Mammoth National Monument. Traveling the 100 miles north along I-35 takes only an hour and a half. You can view some of the 26 fossilized mammoth skeletons excavated at a nearby museum. Paleontologists believe more fossils may be beneath those already excavated at this 105-acre site.
The Big Green Dinosaur
The Dinosaur is a statue gracing the entrance of the Riverfront Park in Wharton. The town is considered the gateway to the Gulf of Mexico. The city is easily reached with a slight diversion off the main route from Austin to Houston. Just continue to follow US Highway 71 on its path beside the Colorado River instead of exiting onto I-10. The highway will take you directly to Wharton.
Houston Space Center
No trip to Houston is complete without a visit to the Houston Space Center. Besides the exhibits of used rockets, space capsules, including the Apollo Command Module, and space suits, the Space Center offers educational programs that examine the difficulties of reaching into space. Located within the Houston city limits, signs on I-10 show the best route to reach this incredible example of human ingenuity.
Your road trip from Austin to Houston goes through several important towns.
Brenham, Texas, is about 90 miles along on your eastern Austin to Houston road trip, making it the halfway point between the two cities. If you have been stopping to enjoy the various road trip opportunities along the way from Austin, then you may want to take advantage of any dump stations close to Brenham, TX to clear your waste tanks. Use RVshare’s site to find campgrounds near Brenham. The town has a population near 15,000 and has a diverse selection of restaurants as well as entertainment opportunities. Brenham is a typical Texas small town with all the charm and fun that that designation implies; it is the home of the Maifest event, which is an Oktoberfest done Texas-style.
Katy, TX, is a rapidly expanding city of 21,000 people sitting just west of Houston. The city is easy to reach from the I-10 freeway as it sits just north of the main corridor. The atmosphere in this town is one of opportunity, friendliness, and a positive feel for the future. There are numerous dump stations around Katy, TX, and camping opportunities are plentiful and of high quality. Don’t miss the Typhoon Texas Waterpark for great family entertainment or the picturesque Mary Jo Peckham Park for a great picnic opportunity.
Conroe, TX, is another city on the northern edge of Houston. Conroe has a population of over 91,000 people and is considered a significant town in the area. The Central Business District of Conroe hosts an incredible array of art venues, including playhouses and film theaters, outdoor performances, and music presentations throughout the year. Be aware that some events in Conroe are so popular that they may attract as many as 25,000 people from various areas of the country. You can take the opportunity to clean your waste tanks at one of the dump stations in Conroe, TX. If you wish to spend some time in this locality, then look over this list of campgrounds in the area.
You can barrel your way through a road trip from Austin to Houston in just two and a half hours. But a memorable family vacation takes much longer than that. Take your vacation in comfort. Visit RVshare.com to rent an RV in Austin, Texas. To travel in the other direction, visit the Houston, Texas, rental page to find the RV that will suit your needs. Take your time to enjoy the road trip from Austin to Houston and create those memories that will stick with you for a lifetime.