How Long Does It Take to Drive Through Texas?

How Long Does It Take to Drive Through Texas?

Driving through Texas is an experience like no other due to its immense size and diverse landscapes. Whether you’re planning a cross-country road trip or just curious about the journey, understanding how long it takes to drive through Texas is essential. This article will provide a detailed guide on driving across the Lone Star State, including travel times, routes, and tips to make your journey enjoyable. You can also read this How to Become a Travel Agent in Texas

Introduction: The Vastness of Texas

Texas is the second-largest state in the United States, covering approximately 268,596 square miles. Its size means that driving through Texas can take a significant amount of time, depending on your route and speed. From the eastern border with Louisiana to the western border with New Mexico, and from the northern border with Oklahoma to the southern tip near Mexico, Texas offers a wide range of landscapes and experiences.

Factors Affecting Drive Time

Distance and Routes

The distance you need to cover will be the primary factor in determining how long it takes to drive through Texas. The most common routes are:

  • East to West: Driving from the eastern border at Orange, Texas, to the western border at El Paso covers about 825 miles.
  • North to South: Driving from the northern border at Texline, Texas, to the southern tip at Brownsville covers about 801 miles.

Speed Limits

Speed limits in Texas vary depending on the type of road and location. Interstate highways typically have speed limits of 75 to 80 mph in rural areas, while urban areas may have lower limits. State highways and rural roads can range from 55 to 75 mph. Always observe posted speed limits for safety and legal compliance.

Traffic Conditions

Traffic can significantly affect travel time, especially in urban areas like Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio. Rush hour traffic, construction zones, and accidents can cause delays. Checking traffic reports and planning your route to avoid peak hours can help minimize delays.

Driving East to West Through Texas

Route Overview

Driving east to west through Texas typically involves taking Interstate 10 (I-10). This major highway runs from Orange on the Louisiana border to El Paso on the New Mexico border.

Estimated Drive Time

Assuming an average speed of 70 mph and minimal stops, the drive from Orange to El Paso can take approximately 12 hours. However, this time can vary based on traffic, weather conditions, and stops along the way.

Points of Interest

  • Houston: As the largest city in Texas, Houston offers numerous attractions including the Space Center Houston, museums, and vibrant dining scenes.
  • San Antonio: Known for the Alamo and the River Walk, San Antonio is a great place to explore Texas history and culture.
  • Hill Country: Driving through the Texas Hill Country offers scenic views and charming small towns like Fredericksburg.

Driving North to South Through Texas

Route Overview

Driving north to south typically involves taking U.S. Highway 83 or Interstate 35 (I-35). U.S. Highway 83 runs from Texline in the north to Brownsville in the south, while I-35 runs from Gainesville near the Oklahoma border to Laredo on the Mexico border.

Estimated Drive Time

Assuming an average speed of 70 mph and minimal stops, the drive from Texline to Brownsville can take approximately 12 hours. As with the east to west route, this time can vary.

Points of Interest

  • Dallas/Fort Worth: This metropolitan area offers attractions like the Fort Worth Stockyards, Dallas World Aquarium, and numerous shopping and dining options.
  • Austin: The state capital, known for its live music scene, outdoor activities, and the University of Texas.
  • San Antonio: A key stop on both north-south and east-west routes.

Preparing for the Journey

Vehicle Maintenance

Before embarking on a long drive through Texas, ensure your vehicle is in good condition. Check the oil, coolant, tire pressure, and brakes. It’s also a good idea to have a spare tire, jack, and emergency kit on hand.

Packing Essentials

Pack plenty of water, snacks, and any medications you might need. It’s also useful to have a first aid kit, flashlight, and a map in case your GPS fails.

Planning Your Stops

Plan your stops ahead of time to rest, refuel, and stretch your legs. Texas has numerous rest areas, gas stations, and dining options along major highways. Taking regular breaks can help prevent fatigue and make the journey more enjoyable.

Safety Tips for Driving Through Texas

Weather Considerations

Texas weather can vary greatly, from hot and dry conditions in the west to humid and rainy in the east. Be prepared for sudden changes in weather, especially if driving through areas prone to thunderstorms or flash floods.


Rural areas in Texas are home to various wildlife, including deer and livestock that may wander onto the roads. Be especially vigilant when driving at night or in less populated areas.

Road Conditions

While Texas generally has well-maintained highways, some rural roads may be less so. Watch for potholes, uneven surfaces, and construction zones.

Experiencing Texas on Your Drive

Scenic Byways

Texas has several scenic byways that offer beautiful views and interesting stops. The Texas Hill Country Trail and the El Camino Real de los Tejas are just a couple of examples worth exploring.

Local Cuisine

Take the opportunity to sample local cuisine as you travel. Texas is famous for its barbecue, Tex-Mex, and seafood. Stopping at local diners and food trucks can provide a delicious and authentic taste of Texas.

Historical Sites

Texas is rich in history, and there are numerous historical sites to visit along the way. The Alamo in San Antonio, the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, and the missions in El Paso are just a few examples.


Driving through Texas can be a long journey due to the state’s vast size, but it offers a unique opportunity to experience the diverse landscapes, cultures, and attractions of the Lone Star State. Whether you’re traveling east to west or north to south, understanding the factors that affect your drive time, planning your route, and preparing for the journey can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. So, how long does it take to drive through Texas? It depends on your route, speed, and the time you take to explore all that Texas has to offer.