Texas road trip
A road trip is a perfect way to have an outdoor family adventure!

Are you planning a Texas road trip in your van or RV? If you’re looking for itinerary ideas for your next adventure, you’re in the right place. Texas is a vast and diverse state with plenty of diverse landscapes and attractions to explore. From the bustling cities of Austin and Houston to the rugged beauty of Big Bend National Park, there’s something for everyone on a Texas road trip.

One of the best ways to experience all that Texas has to offer is by hitting the road in your van. With the freedom to travel at your own pace and the ability to camp in some of the state’s most beautiful locations, van life is the ultimate way to explore the Lone Star State.

Whether you’re a seasoned van lifer or RVer or a first-time road tripper, this article will provide you with some Texas road trip itinerary ideas to help you plan your perfect adventure. And if after exploring Texas you’re still hankering for some more adventures on the road, consider a Southern New Mexico road trip too!

Best Routes for a Texas Road Trip

If you’re planning a Texas road trip in your van, there are a few routes that you should consider. Here are three of the best routes for a Texas road trip:

Route 1: The Gulf Coast Trail

The Gulf Coast Trail is a scenic route that takes you along the Gulf of Mexico. This route is perfect for beach lovers, as it passes through several beach towns and state parks. Some of the highlights of this route include:

  • Padre Island National Seashore
  • Mustang Island State Park
  • Galveston Island State Park
  • Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge

This route is approximately 500 miles long and can be completed in about a week.

Route 2: The Hill Country Loop

The Hill Country Loop is a beautiful route that takes you through the heart of Texas and could make for an excellent way to experience a Texas road trip. This route is known for its rolling hills and scenic vistas. Some of the highlights of this route include:

  • Fredericksburg
  • Enchanted Rock State Natural Area
  • Lost Maples State Natural Area
  • Garner State Park

This route is approximately 350 miles long and can be completed in about a week.

Route 3: The Big Bend Scenic Drive

The Big Bend Scenic Drive is a breathtaking route that takes you through the rugged terrain of West Texas. This route is known for its stunning desert landscapes and panoramic views. Some of the highlights of this route include:

  • Big Bend National Park
  • Chisos Basin
  • Santa Elena Canyon
  • Marfa

This route is approximately 500 miles long and can be completed in about a week.

No matter which route you choose, a Texas road trip is sure to be an unforgettable adventure. Just be sure to pack plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen, and you’ll be ready to hit the road!

Must-See Destinations

If you’re planning a Texas road trip in your van, there are a few destinations that you absolutely can’t miss. From the bustling city of Austin to the quirky town of Marfa, there’s something for everyone on this itinerary.


Start your trip in the capital city of Texas, Austin. This vibrant city has a little bit of everything, from live music and delicious food to outdoor activities and historical landmarks. Be sure to check out the famous South Congress Avenue, where you’ll find plenty of shops, restaurants, and street performers. Take a dip in Barton Springs Pool, a natural spring-fed pool that’s perfect for a hot Texas day. And don’t forget to visit the Texas State Capitol, where you can take a free tour and learn about the state’s history.


Next up is the quirky town of Marfa, located in West Texas. This small town is famous for its art scene and unique desert landscape. Check out the Prada Marfa art installation, a fake Prada store in the middle of the desert. Visit the Chinati Foundation, a contemporary art museum that features large-scale installations and sculptures. And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the mysterious Marfa lights, a phenomenon that has puzzled locals and visitors for decades.

San Antonio

No Texas road trip is complete without a visit to San Antonio. This historic city is home to the Alamo, a UNESCO World Heritage site that played a crucial role in the Texas Revolution. Take a stroll along the River Walk, a scenic pathway that winds through downtown and features plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars. And if you’re feeling adventurous, head to Six Flags Fiesta Texas for some thrills and roller coasters.

South Padre Island

Finally, end your trip on a high note with a visit to South Padre Island. This beautiful island is located on the southern tip of Texas and is known for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters. Spend your days lounging on the beach, swimming in the ocean, and trying out water sports like paddleboarding and jet skiing. And if you’re lucky, you might even spot some sea turtles or dolphins in the wild.

Overall, this Texas road trip itinerary is the perfect way to see some of the state’s most iconic destinations while traveling in your van. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an adventure you’ll never forget!

Van Life And RV Tips and Tricks

When embarking on a Texas road trip in a campervan or RV, there are a few tips and tricks that can make your journey more comfortable and enjoyable. After all, there are some pros and cons of RV life. Here are some suggestions to help you make the most of your van life experience.

Choosing the Right Vehicle

The first step to a successful van/RV experience is choosing the right vehicle. Consider the size of your group, the length of your trip, and the type of terrain you will be traveling on. A larger van or RV may be more comfortable for longer trips, but a smaller one may be easier to navigate on narrow roads.

When choosing a campervan or RV, make sure to check the amenities included. Some campervans/RVs come equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping quarters, while others may only have a bed and a few basic amenities. Make a checklist of your must-haves and choose a vehicle that meets your needs.

Packing Essentials

Packing for a trip on the road requires some strategic planning. Space is limited, so it’s important to pack only what you need. Here are a few essentials to consider:

  • Clothing: Pack versatile clothing that can be layered for warmth or removed for comfort in hot weather.
  • Kitchen Supplies: If your campervan/RV doesn’t come with a kitchen, consider packing a portable stove, cookware, and utensils.
  • Bedding: Bring comfortable bedding that can be easily stored when not in use.
  • First Aid Kit: Accidents can happen, so make sure to pack a first aid kit with basic supplies.
  • Entertainment: Books, board games, and a portable speaker can help keep you entertained during downtime.

Finding Free Campsites

One of the biggest advantages of van life is the ability to park and camp almost anywhere. This is often not the case with an RV. However, it’s important to follow local laws and guidelines when parking overnight in either case. Here are a few tips for finding free campsites:

  • National Forests: Many national forests allow free camping, but be sure to check the rules and regulations before setting up camp.
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Land: BLM land is often free to camp on, but again, make sure to check the regulations before camping.
  • Walmart Parking Lots: Many Walmart stores allow overnight parking for RVs and campervans. Just be sure to ask permission from the store manager before parking.

By following these tips and tricks, you can make your Texas road trip in a campervan or RV a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Off the Beaten Path Adventures

If you’re looking for a unique and exciting road trip through Texas, consider exploring some of the state’s lesser-known destinations. Here are a few off-the-beaten-path adventures to add to your itinerary:

Hot Springs in West Texas

Did you know that Texas is home to several natural hot springs? One of the best places to soak in the warm waters is at the Chinati Hot Springs in Presidio County. This remote location is perfect for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy some peace and quiet. The hot springs are located on a private ranch, but visitors can book a cabin or campsite to access the pools. Another option is the Balmorhea State Park, which features a large pool fed by the San Solomon Springs. The water is crystal clear and always a pleasant 72-76 degrees Fahrenheit.

Exploring the Guadalupe Mountains

The Guadalupe Mountains National Park is a hidden gem in West Texas that’s worth a visit. The park features stunning mountain scenery, hiking trails, and plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing. One of the most popular hikes is the Guadalupe Peak Trail, which takes you to the highest point in Texas at 8,751 feet. The park also has several campgrounds and backcountry camping options for folks who want to spend the night.

Visiting the Caverns of Sonora

The Caverns of Sonora are a must-see destination for anyone traveling through Texas. This underground wonderland features stunning rock formations, crystal-clear pools, and even a bat colony. Visitors can take a guided tour of the caverns to learn about the geology and history of the area. The tours range from easy walking tours to more challenging spelunking adventures. There’s also a campground on site, so you can spend the night and explore the caverns at your leisure.

Whether you’re looking for hot springs, mountain adventures, or underground wonders, Texas has plenty of off-the-beaten-path destinations to explore. So pack up your van or RV and hit the road to discover the Lone Star State’s hidden gems. Still, want to explore more? You can stay tuned with houstoning.com.

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