To get ready for summer, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite road trip spots around Texas. Mark your maps and add these pit stops to your travel itinerary because you don’t wanna miss these Texas treasures.
This one is a weirder kind of roadside stop, but all the more worth it. Now one of the most visited spots in the Texas Hill Country, Stonehenge II is a sight you won’t forget. Here, you’ll find a Stonehenge replica and Easter Island statue replicas created by the artists of Hill Country Arts Foundation. This, along with the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Texas, makes any Texas trip something of an international experience. While there, check out the exhibits of the Visual Arts Center — or just snap some photos!
Now one of the most iconic roadside stops on Route 66 in Texas, the Cadillac Ranch is home to ten Cadillacs partially buried as a modern art piece that highlights the evolution of the tail fin. First created in 1974 by a group of artists known as the Ant Farm and Stanley Marsh 3, the cars still draw tourists from around the world. Over the years, people have taken pieces of the cars, resulting in the skeleton frame of each car there now. Visitors are allowed, and encouraged, to spray paint what’s left of the cars to add their own creative touch.
This family-friendly spot is full of history, food and activities that any age will love. A whole day is easily spent at the Stockyards — from shopping, museums, shows and nightlife, there’s something for every hour of the day. Some highlights to add to the day’s itinerary: the petting corral, Billy Bob’s Honky Tonk Kitchen and the Stockyards Museum.
Texas has some great and awe-inspiring parks throughout the state, but only one is a National Park: Big Bend. It can be a long drive out there from Austin, but it’s completely worth it — even if just for a weekend. Here, you’ll be able to hike up mountains you never thought existed in Texas and wade through branches of the Rio Grande. An added bonus? The sunsets are sublime and the night sky showcases big and bright Texas stars.
Located just a few minutes outside of Lubbock, Ransom Canyon is home to one of the coolest houses you will ever see. Overlooking Buffalo Springs Lake in the canyon, Robert Bruno began to build this architectural design in 1973 but, according to Atlas Obscura, it was never completed. This unique structure has been the site of tourists for many years — even Solange Knowles ventured to the West Texas city to visit the Bruno home, as seen in her “Cranes in the Sky” music video.
Spoiler! This isn’t a real Prada shop. Constructed in 2005 by artists Elmgreen & Dragset, this permanent piece of artwork is an ideal spot for the hardcore-Instagrammers of Texas. The installation draws from contemporary, pop and land art practices and, although the inside of the store is not accessible, it does contain donated, real products from the coveted designer, according to the website.
It may be over six hours away via car from ATX, but Palo Duro Canyon will not disappoint — and it’s as rich with history as it is beauty. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, cultures like the Apache, Comanche and Kiowa left behind rock art in Palo Duro, a battle was fought in the canyon and cattle used to be driven through it. Now, travelers can visit the canyon to camp, hike and explore some West Texas history and grandeur.
If you’re headed to Galveston for a beach trip, make sure you check out all of the historical and beautiful buildings while you’re there. One of the best tours you can go on is the Bishop’s Palace — also known as the Gresham House. Completed in 1892 by lawyer Colonel Walter Gresham and designed by Nicholas Clayton, the extravagant designs landed this spot on both the National Register of Historic Places for architecture, and for good reason. Inside you’ll find intricate carvings, captivating sculptures, ornate fireplaces and fancy furnishings from all around the world. Truly a sight worth seeing.
San Antonio is rich with history and heritage from the Alamo to the River Walk. While you’re there, make sure you check out the botanical gardens. Founded in 1980, the 38-acre garden was meant to provide a connection to and education of both native and exotic plant life. Since then, the garden has served over 25,000 through its educational programming.
Bring the whole family and explore each section of the garden. From desert to jungle plants and even areas devoted to the different parts of Texas — East, West, South and North specific plants — there is so much to see and so much to learn!
Online learning is tough, so why not take your kids on a family field trip to the Space Center? Known for its variety of immersive learning opportunities, the Space Center has more than 400 space artifacts to see — just make sure to secure your tickets well in advance! The center is only a three-hour car trip from Austin, and one the family will never forget.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure! Located right here in the Capital of Texas, the Cathedral of Junk is a piece of art located off Lareina Drive and is literally in an Austin resident’s backyard — a piece of art that has been in the works since 1979. Just make sure to call ahead to make an appointment!
If you’re a history buff, this is a great spot for a picnic or pitstop along your route. The red brick jailhouse was known across West Texas as being escape-proof. It also seems to be able to withstand the test of time as it still stands almost entirely intact to this day after over 100 years. Stop by for a peek inside to see the very place infamous Texas outlaws sat after being caught in the small town.