Planning the Ultimate Road Trip to Austin

The lure of the open road isn’t limited to summer. Winter road trips provide an escape from holiday stress and fun for children during the break. One of our residents’ favorite weekend destinations is Austin. The state capitol is always decked out for the holidays. Getting there is half the fun, because there is plenty to see and do along the way. Here’s our guide for planning the ultimate road trip to Austin.

Driving to Austin Two Ways

Coastal Point in League City is less than three hours from Austin. Two routes are available. You can travel Highway 290 or take I-10 to Highway 71. Either way, you will discover charming towns, quaint eateries, and interesting side trips.

Best Stops Along Highway 290


If you don’t make at least one stop at Buc-ee’s, are you really road-tripping? This travel center on steroids has everything you need for your trip. Bathrooms at Buc-ee’s have been named the cleanest in America. In addition to the highly addictive Beaver Nuggets and brisket sandwiches, you’ll find jerky, drinks, souvenirs and more.

Chappell Hill

Chappell Hill is known for its fields of bluebonnets. They’re sleeping now, but you can still enjoy the town’s historic downtown, museums and eateries. The most famous of these is the Chappell Hill Sausage Factory. The family-owned business features a restaurant and store. Be sure to stop in and order one of their honey-glazed hams for your holiday feast. Prefer to picnic? The Chappell Hill Lavender Farm offers scenic views and a delightful pavilion.


CNN named Brenham the “The Texan’s Texas” and it’s not hard to see why. The Brenham Barbecue Trail is home to many tasty barbecue joints. You’ll also discover wineries and breweries. Brenham is most famous for being the home of Blue Bell Ice Cream. If you are traveling during the week, you get a scoop right from the source at the Blue Bell Ice Cream Parlor. On weekends, step back in time at  Must Be Heaven an old-fashioned soda parlor with Instagram-worth murals.

Lake Somerville State Park & Trailway

If you love nature and don’t want to make the trip to Austin all in one day, this is the perfect spot for camping. Explore 40 miles of trails, bring your kayak, and relax on the lake.

Taking the Scenic Route: I-10 / Highway 71

Hruska’s Store & Bakery

This is the place to stop for kolaches. Located in Ellinger, the family-owned business serves up 16 varieties of traditional Czech pastry and some of the best cheeseburgers around.

Kreische Brewery State Historic Site

Home of the first commercial brewery in Texas, this is a great place for a pit stop. Travel there in December to enjoy the annual Trail of Lights. In addition to themed displays along the historic trail, you can explore Kreische House, decorated in the traditional 19th-century German style, and learn about Christmas of the Victorian era from costumed interpreters.

The Dinosaur Park

One of Bastrop’s most famous attractions, the park features life-size dinosaur replicas strategically placed along a winding nature trail. Other activities include a fossil-dig, playground, picnic area and Dinosaur Store.

State Parks

There are three state parks where you can get out and stretch your legs. Buescher State Park features six miles of trails and a 30-acre lake. Fishing is popular at Bastrop State Park. McKinney Roughs Nature Park  offers thrills in the form of ziplining and UTV trails.

Once You Get to Austin

You did it. You made it to Austin. What should you do first? Austin is known for its festivals, so check the calendar to see what’s happening before you go. If you love the outdoors, you’ll love Austin as the balmy temperatures make for year-round opportunities to explore. Holiday activities abound. Don’t miss the Austin Trail of Lights in December. The Ice Rodeo at the Four Seasons offers ice skating, luxe “cabins” and holiday gingerbread house displays. Sign up for a trip with Santa on the North Pole Flyer.

Pictures courtesy of: Buc-ee’s Instagram (Sign); Chappell Hill Sausage Instagram (Barn); Dinosaur Park Website (Dinosaur); Austin Trail of Lights Instagram (Lights).