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Driving from Dallas to San Antonio: Stops and Tips!

Let’s face it, a weekend getaway to San Antonio makes for a fabulous trip!

Don’t wait and start the party when you get there though, there are so many fun things to do when driving from Dallas to San Antonio also!

The state of Texas is big on everything, including Texas road trips!

Looking at the map, you probably assume driving from Dallas to San Antonio will be pretty easy and relatively uneventful.

While that could be true, we are here to tell you that you are missing out on some awesome Texas small towns if you don’t take advantage of the stops during your drive between these two cities.

A San Antonio road trip from Dallas gives you the opportunity to see some of the natural wonders of TX, check out a new city or two, and maybe even include a state park if you so desire!

Of course, we will give you all of the great tips and great stops on this Dallas to San Antonio road trip guide, so add in an extra hour or two into your Dallas and San Antonio trip!

Keep reading about this fun road trip to get more details and to start planning your drive from Dallas to San Antonio!

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    Dallas to San Antonio Road Trip Distance

    A road trip from Dallas to San Antonio (or vice versa) is about 275 miles of driving distance.

    If there aren’t any traffic problems along the way, the direct drive from city to city would take about 5.5 hours.

    Of course, this will vary slightly depending on your exact starting point in Dallas-Fort Worth and your direct ending point in San Antonio.

    Read Next: Hiking in Dallas: 20 Great Hiking Trails

    Dallas to San Antonio Drive Time

    If you drove straight from Dallas-Fort Worth, TX to San Antonio, your driving time is approximately 4-4.5 hours in normal traffic on the main route (heading south on I-35).

    Of course, this does not account traffic delays or for stops (which is why you are here).

    You can usually always count on at least some of traffic the main route, so we always add an extra half hour or so just for this.

    Another important thing to note is that if you are leaving on Friday after work (during rush hour), you can usually add 1.5-2 hours extra to your road trip.

    If you have ever driven in Dallas traffic, this is a no brainer. LOL!

    Since we are stopping along the way and not just driving straight to San Antonio, you will want to allot for more time for sure!

    You can also take other, more scenic routes when visiting Dallas and San Antonio, but they don’t contain these popular stops.

    So, if you want to take the more scenic drive through the back roads of Central Texas, then consider driving that way on the way from San Antonio to Dallas when you return home.

    Read Next: 19 State Parks Near San Antonio

    Stops When Driving From Dallas to San Antonio, Texas

    Grab Some Texas Kolaches

    West, Texas is one of the fun small towns in Texas.

    This little town is proud of its Czech heritage.

    Thankfully for us, that Czech heritage means that this town serves up delicious food, and especially some delicious kolaches!

    This is one of the TX towns that is a must stop when doing a Dallas to San Antonio drive.

    Take your pick of the stops here and dive into your favorite flavor of kolache.

    Favorite stores serving up kolaches (and more) include Gerik’s Ole’ Czech Bakery & Deli, Czech Stop, and Slovacek’s West.

    Local Texans each have their favorite for different reasons, but most people stop at Czech Stop or Slovacek’s thanks to their convenient location right off of the freeway.

    If you have time though, check our out personal favorite, Gerik’s.

    Gerik’s is located just a couple of blocks off of the highway, so it won’t interfere with your travel time too much!

    Not only that, but this is a great, authentic Czech bakery.

    Read Next: 14 Great State Parks Near Dallas

    Waco-The Silos or the Mammoth

    Making a stop in Waco when driving from Dallas to San Antonio is always fun.

    You could spend a whole weekend in Waco, but for our Dallas to San Antonio road trip, we are just going to choose a couple of things.

    The Waco Mammoth archaeological site is a unique stop.

    Discovered by two archeologists in 1978, the Waco Mammoth site is now a National Park and a great roadside attraction.

    Another popular attraction in Waco are the Waco Silos.

    Put on the map by the hit HGTV series, Fixer Upper, the Waco Silos now draw visitors from all over the United States!

    Chip and Joanna Gaines, the stars of fixer Upper, have created a fabulous outdoor shopping and dining space all around the Silos.

    While here, do some shopping and then grab one of their delicious cupcakes!

    If you want to spend more time exploring Waco, then you can also visit the Dr. Pepper Museum, tour some of the historic homes, and even add some shopping to your road trip itinerary.

    Stops like these definitely help to break up the drive time in the car!

    Read Next: Weekend in Austin: The Perfect 2 or 3 Day Austin Itinerary

    Inner Space Cavern

    After leaving Waco, you might want to stop and take a tour of one of the many caverns in the area.

    One that is quick and easy to get to on your way to San Antonio is Inner Space Cavern.

    Inner Space is located near the town of Georgetown, right off of the highway!

    Here you can take a tour to learn all about this amazing cavern and its beautiful formations.

    Inner Space Cavern offers several tours that range from a beginner’s adventure tour, to a more advanced wild cave tour.

    In addition to the cave tours, Inner Space Cavern also has gemstone panning, a zip ride, gift shop, and more.

    This is a great place to explore on your road trip from Dallas to San Antonio!

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    Texas State Capitol Building in Austin, TX

    While on your San Antonio, TX road trip, you might as well stop and see the Texas State Capitol Building in Austin.

    A visit to the Texas State Capitol Building in Austin allows you to truly see that we stand behind the motto of “Everything is bigger in Texas.”

    The Texas Capitol Building is bigger than the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

    Learn this and many other fun facts when you stop in for a free tour!

    If you don’t want to stop on the way down, then be sure and try to include this Austin stop on the return trip from San Antonio to Dallas!

    Read Next: 14 Great Dallas Beaches

    Mount Bonnell-Fabulous Views

    As you continue on your way, don’t miss a chance to stop and stretch your legs at one of the most scenic hills in the park-like setting at Mount Bonnell.

    Located right off of the highway in Austin, Texas, Mount Bonnell has welcomed visitors for years.

    After climbing about 800 steps, you are rewarded with a beautiful view of Lake Austin.

    During the summer months, you are treated with boats and people enjoying the lake.

    This is a great place to enjoy a breath of fresh air, especially after braving the I-35 traffic.

    Just be sure you have your walking shoes!

    Read Next: Lavender Fields in Texas and Lavender Festivals

    Explore San Marcos

    The college town of San Marcos sits is the Austin/Round Rock area and is another great places to explore during your San Antonio road trip.

    We love spending time browsing around the San Marcos square. The fun little boutique shops and coffee houses are the key to my heart for sure!

    In the summer, try paddle boarding or tubing on the San Marcos River in this Texas Hill Country town.

    Anytime of the year, you can enjoy stretching your legs in the local park just to get out of the car if you would like.

    The San Marcos Premium Outlets might be of interest to you also.

    This is a popular stop on the road from Dallas to San Antonio as there are numerous designer stores at this huge outlet mall!

    This is also a great area to see the bluebonnets in Texas if you are visiting during the springtime!

    World’s Largest Pecan

    If you are into quirky, roadside attractions, then don’t miss this one!

    Stop into the town of Seguin and snap a photo with the World’s Largest Pecan.

    I guess this is fitting since Sequin is nicknamed the ‘Pecan Capital of Texas.’

    Read Next: 14 Fun Lakes In Dallas (& Nearby)

    Make a Stop at Bucc-ee’s

    Any good Texan will tell you that you aren’t on a Texas road trip if you don’t stop at Bucc-ee’s .

    At first glance, you might think that Bucc-ee’s is just a big gas station.

    But trust us when we tell you, this is another but a normal gas station!

    Inside you will find a store full of delicious treats, home décor, and more.

    Not only that, but Bucc-ee’s is known for their extremely clean restrooms!

    Don’t forget to stop here again when returning home from San Antonio to Dallas!

    This is one of the best stops on the San Antonio drive to find some fun souvenirs from Texas!

    New Braunfels

    New Braunfels is a great little city just north of San Antonio.

    If you stopped at Bucc-ee’s, then you have arrived in New Braunfels.

    The Guadalupe River State Park is close by, so if you want to spend more time in the city of New Braunfels, this is a great park to consider.

    The park has some gorgeous natural areas and is a great park to have a snack and get some exercise in.

    If you are passing through in the summer, make time on your way home from San Antonio to Dallas to spend some time here and float the river!

    Read Next: Dallas Date Ideas: 60 Fun & Unique Choices

    Natural Bridge Caverns

    If you are near the Natural Bridge Caverns, then that is a good sign that your drive from Dallas to San Antonio, TX is coming to an end.

    The Natural Bridge Caverns is another classic stop on this route.

    The guided tours of the caverns offer guests the opportunity to learn more about this piece of Texas history.

    There is also a maze, ropes course, and a great little gift shop on site!

    Read Next: 16 Great Beaches in San Antonio (& Nearby)

    Bracken Cave Preserve

    Another cool stop on this route is the route from Dallas to San Antonio is Bracken Cave Preserve, which houses the largest bat colony in the world!

    If you are heading to San Antonio between March and October, then time your stop to Bracken Cave just before dusk so that you can witness the bats exit the cave for their nightly feeding.

    Tips for Driving from Dallas to San Antonio

    Avoid Rush Hour in the Big Cities

    You will be traveling through several big cities on your San Antonio road trip, so try your hardest to avoid hitting rush hour in any of them.

    These include Dallas, Austin, Waco, and San Antonio.

    Try to leave in non-peak hours and time your stops so that you aren’t passing through one of the big cities during the prime driving times.

    Plan Your Meal Stops

    I know this sounds silly, but try to plan your meal stops in advance.

    This will not only help ensure that you enjoy your meals, but will also allow for some time to break up the monotony of being on the road.

    There are several great places along this route to consider.

    We generally like to stop in Waco or in/close to Austin.

    Twisted Root burgers in Waco is delicious as is Chuy’s outside of Austin, in Round Rock.

    Don’t Underestimate the Toll Road

    If you find yourself in a lot of traffic, consider taking the toll road.

    Granted, you have to pay and you might miss some of the stops we mentioned, but paying the tolls may well be worth it to avoid the stress.

    Take the Scenic Route

    As we mentioned above, you might want to take the scenic route either heading to or coming home from San Antonio.

    Highway 281 offers a beautiful drive through crossing over the Brazos River, winding through the Hill Country, and taking you through several fabulous little towns like Glen Rose (including Dinosaur Valley State Park), Marble Falls, and Johnson City.

    You can even take a little side trip to Fredericksburg if you choose to take this route.

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    Michelle Snell founder of That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel

    About The Author

    Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel.  Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

    Christy S.

    Sunday 25th of February 2024

    The two caverns definitely caught my attention as my brothers and I love visiting caves. I had no idea there was so much to stop and see between Dallas and San Antonio.


    Monday 26th of February 2024

    There really is. You could make a whole day of it for sure. Thanks for reading, Christy!