If you’re headed to San Antonio but can’t decide which route is best, the answer might be simple: It depends on what your preferences are. If a scenic backcountry drive sounds better than staying close to the city center and spending money at big-name places like La Cantera or South Rim, take I-35 south from Houston to see Texas Hill Country in all its glory.
The “roadside attractions between houston and san antonio” is a trip that I took from Houston to San Antonio. The trip was not only beautiful, but also had many interesting stops along the way.
If you’re on a tight schedule but want to go on a fun adventure with a short journey, a road trip from Houston to San Antonio is a good option. Despite the short distance, there are plenty of magnificent scenery and sights to see along the way.
The 200-mile road trip from Houston to San Antonio takes around 3 hours. Key stops include Palmetto, Bastrop, and McKinney Falls State Parks, the cities of Austin and San Marcos, and the Natural Bridge Caverns and Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo.
Because of the duration of the journey, it will be pretty simple to see every place of interest along the route, so keep reading to discover all you can about your itinerary.
What is the distance between San Antonio and Houston, and how long will the journey take?
|Route||Distance||Time to Drive|
|The quickest path||200 miles||3 hours|
|The route via Austin||235 miles||30 minutes 3 hours 30 minutes|
The journey from Houston to San Antonio takes around 3 hours and covers about 200 miles. This means you can leave later in the day and still make it to San Antonio in time for a night out.
The route never deviates from Interstate 10, ensuring a comfortable trip all the way to San Antonio. The absence of big cities along the route is a plus, since you won’t have to deal with significant traffic, which might slow you down.
Your epic road trip will be elevated to the next level if you catch a sunset at McKinney Falls State Park.
An alternative route involves leaving the highway about a third of the way through the journey and traveling northwest to Austin before heading south to San Antonio. This route will take you past a variety of gorgeous parks, many of which are located along State Highway 71 and inside the city limits of Austin.
Although the highway allows for an easy journey in and of itself, the additional miles coupled with the presence of larger cities such as San Marcos and New Braunfels may increase your travel time.
The best way to go from Houston to San Antonio is via car.
Both of the outlined routes are perfectly viable for the road trip from Houston to San Antonio. The route via Austin is more consistently scenic, but you should consider taking one on the way to San Antonio and the other on the way back since they have very few landmarks in common.
The quickest path
Pass through Memorial Park and Bear Creek Pioneers Park on your way out of Houston on Interstate 10. After passing through Stephen F. Austin State Park and crossing the Brazos River, you’ll arrive at Columbus and cross the Colorado River.
Detour south of Waelder down Route 97 to explore Independence Ranch, or remain on the interstate and continue through Palmetto State Park after passing through a series of smaller towns.
Visit ZDT Amusement Park and Son’s Island in Seguin after stopping in Luling or Kingsbury. To get to the center of San Antonio, follow Interstates 410 and 35 past the San Antonio Raceway and Converse City Park.
The route via Austin
Once again, take Interstate 10 and follow it all the way to Columbus. From there, take Texas State Highway 71. Pass by Fayette County Reservoir and Lake Fayette Oak Thicket Park, followed by the Kreische Brewery & Monument Hill State Park in La Grange.
Before reaching Austin, you’ll pass through a series of picturesque parks, including Buescher and Bastrop State Parks, as well as McKinney Roughs Nature Park.
Take your time seeing the city’s many parks and monuments before heading south on Interstate 35, which runs between McKinney Falls State Park and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Visit the parks in San Marcos, as well as the Natural Bridge Caverns and Landa Park near New Braunfels, after passing through Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park.
Just out of town is Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo, and you’ll see McAlister Park as you enter Uptown Austin. From here, follow interstates 410 and 35 to reach the center.
Between Houston and San Antonio, the best locations to stop are
The journey from Houston to San Antonio isn’t the longest in the world, but with so many parks and towns along the way, it’s worth spending a few days exploring the whole route.
You’ll need the nicest hotels to match, and here are some of your best options:
Austin is the place to go if you want to have a good time.
If you’re taking the longer path, you’ll need to stay in Texas’ capital for at least one night. Thanks to its rustic but contemporary style, The Driskill is by far the most comfortable and best-looking resort in the whole area, out of all the excellent hotels in town.
From the moment you enter the lobby, you will be captivated by the hotel’s beautiful architecture and design. The extraordinary attention to detail and gorgeous window views will make it difficult to even leave your room due to the excellent style choices.
However, after you’ve done so, the hotel has a lot to offer. The on-site Driskill Grill is a cut above most on-site eateries in Austin, and every night of the week, expect to see some recognizable stars playing at the bar.
Make a point of visiting Zilker Park while in Austin.
Guests will also have access to a fitness facility and a café that hosts a monthly “beer supper” with locally made goods.
For a weekend, you may have all of these incredible luxuries for a very low fee. The State Capitol, the Paramount Museum, and every other interesting attraction in town are all within walking distance of the hotel.
In San Antonio, take in the finest of the River Walk.
It may be tough to get an open room in a reputable hotel depending on the time of year you go. However, if you prepare ahead of time, you may be able to get a hotel with a fantastic view at the wonderful Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk.
The rooms’ layout is basic but effective: they’re designed for comfort, have lots of open space, and provide spectacular views of the city.
Swimming pools are typical in hotels, but the Hyatt Regency San Antonio Riverwalk takes things a step further with a rooftop pool with views of rising structures and a poolside bar.
Walking by the river in San Antonio is a wonderful way to unwind.
Guests may dine and drink at the Q Restaurant and Q Bar, and if you’re not out exploring for whatever reason, you can work out in the on-site fitness center.
The Alamo, Travis Park, and Rivercenter Mall are all within walking distance of this hotel, which is located in the heart of San Antonio’s River Walk.
If you visit the city during one of its less busy seasons (see on for more information), your stay at this hotel will be very reasonable, verging on free.
On a road drive from Houston to San Antonio, there are many sights to view.
There’s a lot to see between Houston and San Antonio, despite the fact that the journey isn’t especially lengthy. If you’re passing through Austin, you’ll want to plan on staying for a few days or maybe a week to see everything. The following are some of the locations worth visiting:
- Stephen F. Austin State Park –a great stopover for anyone looking to camp between Houston and San Antonio
- Palmetto State Park –the impossibly green terrain and the San Marcos River make this park a haven for a variety of animal species
- Kingsbury – one of the larger cities along the quicker route, the outskirts of Kingsbury feature some beautiful campsites
- Kreische Brewery & Monument Hill State Park –a historical monument to the Miler Expedition and Dawson Massacre
- Buescher and Bastrop State Parks –on top of being great fishing spots, these parks feature a total of 20 miles of scenic hiking trails
- McKinney Roughs Nature Park – a beautiful park along the Colorado River featuring hiking/biking trails and a zip line with an epic view
- The Dinosaur Park –a must-see if you’re traveling with children, this park features beautiful picnic areas and life-size dinosaur statues
- McKinney Falls State Park –besides the titular McKinney Falls, this gorgeous park is perhaps best known for Onion Creek and the trails that run alongside it
- Austin –the capital of Texas and the undisputed urban highlight of the state, courtesy of its rich cultural roots and amazing landmarks
- San Marcos – this city houses TSU, making it an important cultural hub for youths, and it features an array of scenic parks
- Santa’s Ranch –in early winter, this ranch doubles as a charming, Christmas-themed amusement park
- Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo –over the past 50 years, this “farm” has evolved from a haven for a variety of reptile species to a fully-fledged zoo featuring hundreds of animal species
- Natural Bridge Caverns –these breathtaking limestone caverns feature a natural amphitheater and a 60-foot limestone bridge
Palmetto State Park’s dwarf palmettos are among the most attractive vistas along this path.
When is the best time to go from Houston to San Antonio?
The ideal time to take a road trip from Houston to San Antonio depends on your goals; the city has lots to offer regardless of the season.
If you’re used to Houston’s weather, San Antonio has a similar climate — summers temperatures often approach (and sometimes exceed) 100 degrees, but winters are moderate, averaging about 60 degrees.
San Antonio is a great place for families in many ways, and with so many theme parks, you can expect it to be crowded throughout the summer. For others, this, along with the higher accommodation charges, makes travelling in the summer difficult to suggest.
If you want to see the finest of San Antonio, you must visit the Mission San José.
Shutterstock.com/Richard A McMillin
In terms of crowds, winter is often a better time to come, but you need still plan around a few large events during this time, most notably the Alamo Bowl in January.
Finally, March may be the greatest time to do this road trip — temps are similar to those in the autumn, hovering around 70 to 75 degrees, but unlike November, when you might anticipate lingering visitors, late winter and early spring are calmer and less expensive.
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The “houston to san antonio drive time” is the amount of time it takes to travel from Houston, Texas, to San Antonio, Texas.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is a car ride from Houston to San Antonio?
A: The driving time from Houston to San Antonio is 4 hours, 30 minutes.
What is the halfway point between San Antonio and Houston?
A: The halfway point between San Antonio and Houston is Galveston.
How much does it cost to drive from San Antonio to Houston?
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