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17 Exciting Weekend Getaways from Houston (Road Trip Ideas!)

Houston may be a fantastic city, but sometimes, the idea of ditching the humidity and traffic (or find different versions of them elsewhere, anyway) makes the idea of a quick road trip irresistible–and that’s where the best weekend getaways from Houston come in!

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway with your partner, a fun trip with friends, or a memorable escape with the kids for a long weekend, these road trips from Houston have a lot to offer–and several of them aren’t even in Texas.

From beautiful beaches to charming cities, here are the best Houston road trips to take this weekend.

front facade of luckenbach post office, an excellent stop on short road trips from houston to the texas hill country

How We Structured This Houston Weekend Getaways Guide

We’ve intentionally structured this guide to the best weekend getaways from Houston to cover destinations between roughly 3 and 8 hours from the city (emphasis on roughly, of course–Houston area traffic doesn’t always cooperate).

While there are dozens of destinations closer to Houston that could certainly justify a fantastic short road trip (hello Brenham, Galveston, and College Station!), we’ve already covered those in our Houston day trips guide, so chose not to include them here.

However, for incredible weekend trips close to Houston, be sure to peruse that post as well.

photo of downtown brenham with 2 murals visible, enjoying the murals is one of the best things to do in brenham texas

Small Town Weekend Getaways from Houston

While there are dozens of delightful small towns located within a couple of hours of Houston, go a bit further afield, and you’ll find even more–including some of the most cherished towns of the Texas Hill Country.

Fredericksburg

Known for its German heritage and location in the heart of Texas wine country, Fredericksburg is not only one of the best weekend getaways from Houston, it’s one of the most beloved weekend destinations in the state!

If you love events, consider heading to town for Oktoberfest or the town’s many Christmas events, but no matter when you choose to visit, you’ll find tons to do.

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Be sure to go for a wine tasting or two, try your hand at antiquing downtown, hike Enchanted Rock, eat at least a few plates worth of delicious German food, and stay in one of the town’s charming bed and breakfasts during your stay!

Side trips to Luckenbach and Old Tunnel State Park also make delightful additions to a weekend in Fredericksburg.

Driving Distance from Houston

4 hours.

woman standing in front of a shop along main street fredericksburg with a texas flag in the foreground

Wimberley

Another beloved gem of the Hill Country, Wimberley is known for its artsy downtown packed with galleries and unique boutiques, its natural beauty, and–most of all–its swimming holes.

Two of Wimberley’s swimming holes (Jacob’s Well and the Blue Hole) rank among the most sought-after places to swim in Texas, and you’ll need to plan weeks in advance to score reservations to jump in during the summer!

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While in Wimberley, be sure to also browse the downtown shops, climb Old Baldy (aka Prayer Mountain), enjoy a wine tasting, and keep an eye out for the many whimsically painted boot statues around town.

Driving Distance from Houston

3 hours.

Kate Storm swinging over the Wimberley Blue Hole

Jefferson (+ Caddo Lake)

The small town of Jefferson, Texas, combined with nearby Caddo Lake State Park, makes one of the best and most diverse Houston getaway ideas (for the lovebirds out there, it’s arguably one of the most romantic getaways from Houston, too).

The best things to do in Jefferson itself include antiquing in the historic downtown center, shopping at the famous Jefferson General Store, staying in one of the many bed and breakfasts that the town is famous for, and learning about Jefferson’s railroad history–touring Jay Gould’s opulent private rail car is a great place to start.

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From there, head to Caddo Lake, where you’ll find a very different side of the Lone Star State–one dotted with giant cypress trees that drip Spanish moss and leisurely canoe rides.

This isn’t a lake for swimming–the alligators who live in the lake are best avoided–but it is utterly beautiful, and a fantastic road trip from Houston for those looking to leave city vibes behind entirely.

Driving Distance from Houston

4 hours.

Family in an inflatable kayak paddling through the cypresses in Caddo Lake State Park TX

Nature-Focused Road Trips from Houston

Featuring several state parks and even a national park, these short weekend trips from Houston are perfect for those looking to enjoy the great outdoors.

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Fun fact: while both of Texas’ official national parks are further than an 8-hour drive from Houston, there is a US national park accessible on a weekend trip for Houston–it’s in Arkansas!

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Aptly named Hot Springs National Park is the perfect Houston getaway destination for those looking for a relaxing weekend complete with a soak in a natural thermal spa.

Located in an urban setting surrounded by shops, restaurants, and more, Hot Springs offers a fantastic mix of natural highlights and small-town charm.

Driving Distance from Houston

6 hours, 45 minutes.

Small waterfall in Hot Springs National Park AR, one of the best road trips from Dallas Texas

Lost Maples State Natural Area

Known for having the most magical fall foliage in Texas, Lost Maples State Natural Area is one of those remarkable places that makes you appreciate the sheer diversity of beauty that you can find in the Lone Star State.

While the fall foliage season is, hands down, the best time to visit (it generally runs from late October through mid-November), Lost Maples is a year-round destination known for its hiking, fishing, and beautiful views.

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The East Trail, while a bit of a challenge, is a must-do if at all possible to seek out the best views in the park.

Whatever trail you choose, though, you’ll find gorgeous views of the Sabinal River, stunning maple trees, and lovely wildlife throughout the park.

Driving Distance from Houston

4 hours, 45 minutes.

bright red fall foliage texas

Garner State Park

Encompassing more than 1700 acres of beautiful Texas Hill Country, nearly 3 miles of the stunning Frio River, and roughly 16 miles worth of trails, Garner State Park is absolutely one of the best weekend getaways from Houston!

Whether you’d like to hike, camp, float the river, or simply enjoy a picnic and a swim, Garner State Park’s unforgettable beauty will be on full display.

Driving Distance from Houston

4 hours, 45 minutes.

Clear waters of the Frio River in garner state park, one of the best texas state parks near houston tx

Broken Bow, Oklahoma

As the gateway to beautiful Beavers Bend State Park, Broken Bow is one of the best weekend trips from Houston for those looking for a quiet retreat into nature near a small town: go canoeing on the lake, take a hike, stay in a cozy cabin, and enjoy a relaxing trip that feels worlds away from the city.

If your goal is to find peace and quiet among the trees and rivers, you can’t beat the beauty of Broken Bow.

Driving Distance from Houston

5 hours, 30 minutes.

flowing river in Beaver Bend State Park near Broken Bow Oklahoma surrounded by fall foliage

Best Cities for Weekend Trips from Houston, TX

Every city has an energy all its own. If you want a change of pace from Houston without sacrificing the convenience and excitement of city life, here’s where to go!

Austin

If you get lucky with traffic, you may be able to drive from Houston to Austin in just under 3 hours, but since Austin is difficult at best to pull off as a day trip from Houston, it deserves to be featured as one of the best Houston weekend trips!

As the official capital of Texas and the self-appointed Live Music Capital of the World, Austin is positively bursting with fun things to do and see.

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During your weekend in Austin, stroll down South Congress, see a show, decide for yourself where you can find the best breakfast tacos in Austin (biased hint: they’re at Veracruz All Natural, though Juan in a Million is a close second), snap the iconic photos with the Greetings from Austin mural and I Love You So Much mural, watch the sunset from Mount Bonnell, and try your hand at kayaking or SUPing on Lady Bird Lake.

Driving Distance from Houston

3 hours.

greetings from austin mural on a sunny day with red roadside relics doors to the left

New Orleans, Louisiana

Featuring some of the best food, music, and culture in all of the country, having a city as incredible as NOLA reachable as a road trip from Houston is definitely something to take advantage of!

While you’re there, be sure to enjoy Bourbon Street, but get off of it, as well: NOLA is more than just its incredible partying (though the partying does indeed live up to the legends).

Consider visiting the Garden District, taking a ghost tour, visiting the nearby bayou, taking a steamboat cruise, and of course, eating plenty of excellent food, from po’ boys to beignets, during the course of your weekend in NOLA.

Driving Distance from Houston

5 hours, 10 minutes.

Bourbon Street in NOLA as seen from above at night. New Orleans is one of the best road trips from Dallas!

Fort Worth

Often lumped in with its next-door neighbor of Dallas, Fort Worth is a distinct city all its own. On short road trips from Houston, you probably won’t have time to see both cities–so that’s all the more reason to plan more than one weekend escape to North Texas!

During a weekend in Fort Worth, be sure to watch a cattle drive at the Stockyards, pay a visit to famous Sundance Square, watch US currency being printed at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (yes, really–it’s even free to visit!), and check out the beautiful Fort Worth Water Gardens.

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Want to get a bit of a thrill during your trip? Hop over to Arlington to ride roller coasters at Six Flags Over Texas!

Driving Distance from Houston

4 hours.

Sundance Square in Ft Worth TX with the fountains on during a sunny day

San Antonio

As the most-touristed city in Texas, San Antonio knows how to show visitors a good time, and it is absolutely one of the best weekend getaways from Houston.

Be sure to visit the famous Alamo, as well as the rest of the San Antonio Missions. All five missions, including the Alamo, are recognized together as a UNESCO World Heritage Site–the only UNESCO site that exists in Texas!

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You’ll also want to sample the Riverwalk, of course, as well as visit the San Fernando Cathedral, stroll through the King William Historic District, go shopping at the Historic Market Square and in La Villita, and visit one of San Antonio’s incredible museums.

During December in San Antonio, holiday events and 100,000 Christmas lights along the Riverwalk transform the city into one of the best places to celebrate Christmas in Texas–and the fact that the weather finally cools off then doesn’t hurt, either.

Driving Distance from Houston

3 hours.

Cobblestone path on the San Antonio Riverwalk with a small waterfall visible to the right

Tyler

If you’ve heard of one thing about Tyler, it’s probably about its flowers: not only is the stunning Tyler Rose Garden one of the most magnificent rose gardens in the country, but Tyler’s Azalea Trails also draw plenty of visitors each spring.

Add in beautiful historic homes to tour, a handful of local distilleries, a cool planetarium, and one of the top barbecue joints in Texas (Stanley’s BBQ), and you have the makings of an incredibly fun Houston weekend getaway.

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Be sure to also stop by Tyler State Park to hike or fish, and to browse this small city’s charming downtown while you’re there.

Driving Distance from Houston

3 hours, 30 minutes.

white colonial style house in tyler texas with pink azaleas blooming in front. tyler is one of the best san antonio weekend getaways

Dallas

Known for big hair, big (oil) money, and big buildings, Dallas is a quintessentially Texan city that has a distinctly different vibe from Houston. It also happens to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the USA, with an excellent food scene and a plethora of things to do–and while the Houston vs Dallas rivalry may run deep, even the most loyal Houstonites will enjoy spending a long weekend in Dallas.

Of course, no weekend trip to Dallas would be complete without a somber exploration of the assassination of President Kennedy, whose murder in Dallas in 1963 is one of the most haunting in the USA’s collective memory.

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On a lighter note, though, Dallas offers far more than morbid history: with phenomenal shopping, excellent skyline views at Reunion Tower, walkable neighborhoods like the Bishop Arts District, and great gardens and museums (the Dallas Arboretum is stunning), you’ll find plenty of fun things to do during a weekend getaway from Houston in Dallas.

With enough time, you can even stop in small towns like Huntsville, Centerville, and Corsicana on your way to Dallas!

Driving Distance from Houston

3 hours, 45 minutes.

View of Dallas skyline from Reunion Tower with iron bars framing the skyline

Waco

Long known as the home of Baylor University, Waco has become one of the most popular road trips from Houston in recent years for a very different reason: the opening of Magnolia Market, owned by Chip & Joanna Gaines of HGTV fame.

Even beyond the immensely popular Silos, though, Waco has plenty to see: consider also stopping by the Dr. Pepper Museum, enjoying Baylor’s beautiful campus, or checking out the Wooly Mammoth National Monument during your visit.

Driving Distance from Houston

3 hours.

bridge along the brazos river in waco tx, a common stop on a san antonio to dallas road trip

Fun Beach Road Trips from Houston

Galveston may be the most accessible beach for a weekend trip from Houston, but it’s far from the only one!

Unlike the rest of Texas’ major cities, Houston is even within reach of beach towns beyond Texas that you can enjoy on a short road trip from Houston!

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Pensacola Beach, Florida

The legendary beaches of Florida–the ones on the very western edge of the panhandle, anyway–just barely squeeze into our criteria for these weekend trips from Houston.

While you’re there, be sure to check out Fort Barrancas, the Pensacola Lighthouse, and the National Naval Aviation Museum. Most importantly, though, make sure to spend plenty of time on the absolutely stunning beach!

If you’re visiting over a long weekend, you might even want to squeeze in a day trip to nearby Destin.

Driving Distance from Houston

8 hours.

pensacola beach florida as seen from the water, one of the best weekend getaways from houston tx

South Padre Island

As the only tropical island in Texas, South Padre definitely ranks among the best weekend trips from Houston.

Here, you’ll find 34 miles of sandy beaches with calm, beautiful water, dolphins to watch, recovering sea turtles to visit, the opportunity to take a horseback ride on the beach, and some stupendous sunrises.

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South Padre Island is one of the most popular beaches in Texas for good reason, and though it is known for its raucous Spring Break parties during March, outside of those weeks, the island is a far more laid-back escape.

Driving Distance from Houston

5 hours, 45 minutes.

Sunrise over the beach in South Padre Island Texas, one of the best Texas romantic getaways

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Want to enjoy some of the best gulf beaches in the south, but don’t want to drive quite as far as Pensacola Beach?

Consider heading to Gulf Shores, Alabama, where you’ll not only find stunning beaches at incredibly affordable prices but excellent seafood, a wildlife refuge, and a couple of state parks to visit.

Driving Distance from Houston

8 hours.

photo of florida beach and san antonio riverwalk, black and red text on a white background reads 17 cool weekend getaways from houston tx

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