Texas Road Trip

Experience Texas: A Family Road Trip From Dallas to San Antonio

We took a fun road trip through Texas over a Spring Break and it was a great time to do it as the weather and temperature were perfect. It was also a pretty easy trip to do in 6 days.  One of the nice things about this trip is that you come back the same way you went down, so you can break up what you want to see and not feel you have to see everything on the first go round.

This Texas road trip has a little bit of everything and is perfect for families.

Texas Star

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Day 1: Home To Dallas

Mileage:  340 Miles or 5.5 Hours

 Stop Offs:  George Bush Presidential Museum ; JFK Assassination Site (Dealey Plaza)

The George W. Bush Presidential Museum was top notch! The exhibits and the Oval Office are definitely worth seeing. The 9/11 section of the museum was powerful. As adults who lived through it and while a sad time to remember, it also reminded us just how we came together as a Country.

Hanging out in the "Oval Office
Hanging Out In The Oval Office

Overnight→ Hotel Indigo (1933 Main Street  Dallas, TX) (Note: Free Shuttle to/from Hotel within 3 Mile Radius) We would highly recommend this hotel. It’s in a fantastic location within walking distance to several restaurants and activities. The hotel’s parking garage is just across from the front doors as well ( parking was $29 per night). The free shuttle was a nice bonus, so we didn’t have to worry about trying to find parking when we went somewhere.

Dinner:  YO Ranch Steakhouse (702 Ross Avenue  Dallas, TX)

We usually try and fit one “nicer” restaurant in each of our trips. We are steak people and so almost always our “fancy” meal out will involve steak of some kind. The hubby had eaten here several times with clients and was excited about taking us here. It didn’t disappoint. When you go, order the prosciutto wrapped scallops, they were perfectly seared and came on top of a smoked corn coulis – just trust me on this one, it is heaven!

Photo Courtesy Of YO Ranch Steakhouse

Day 2:  Dallas, TX to Waco, TX to Austin, TX to San Antonio, TX

Mammoth National Monument is one of the NPS’s newest parks. It sits on 100 acres along the Bosque River. In 1978, 2 men discovered what turned out to be Columbian Mammoth bones. Over the next many years more, Mammoths have been discovered, along with the remains of a camel and a juvenile saber-toothed cat! In 2015, President Obama signed an executive order establishing the Mammoth National Monument. Kids will love this and the entire park is wheelchair or motorized scooter accessible.

Waco Mammoth National Monument
The Columbian Mammoth was HUGE

Our youngest loves all things law enforcement. When we discovered that Waco was the site of the Official Texas Rangers Hall of Fame Museum, we knew it was going to be on the list of stops. Honestly, this one was a really pleasant surprise. It’s laid out so well and they have some of the most interesting items to view. One of the neat things for kids is they can become a Junior Texas Ranger ( $35). With this, they receive an Honorary Texas Ranger Certificate signed by a real Texas Ranger ( when purchased, the staff take the certificate to be signed by a Texas Ranger and it is then mailed to you) and a Junior Ranger badge. Your Junior Ranger will also be listed on the museum website and in the files of the Texas Rangers Museum.

Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Museum
Statue outside the Texas Ranger Museum

We stopped to eat at In-n-Out Burger since the boys had never eaten there before and since it’s located close to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Museum. No surprise here, it was delicious and hit the spot.

Late Lunch/ Early Dinner:  Banger’s (Austin Downtown)

Downtown Austin is pretty cool! We were lucky enough to find free parking and headed to Banger’s. I always research great locally-owned restaurants before any trip and I kept seeing Banger’s listed as a “must go” to eat stop in Austin. The vibe is cool and the food was great. Since I wasn’t driving, I had a beer and it was a perfect compliment to my bratwurst. We ate outside on a picnic table and the live music was fantastic!

Banger's Sausage House

We arrived in San Antonio early evening. One of the highlights of the entire day was the light show at San Fernando Cathedral in the Main Plaza as it was a beautiful evening and the event is free. It’s a light show celebrating San Antonio’s history and is continuing through 2019 and it was a quick walk from the back of the hotel to the Plaza. There is a ton of room at the Plaza to sit or stand for the show. 

San Fernando Cathedral

Overnight :  Holiday Inn Riverwalk (120 Camaron Street   San Antonio, TX)

The Holiday Inn Riverwalk was in a great location. You can take the back steps to be at the Riverwalk and its also within walking distance to The Alamo (and lots of shops and restaurants). Of course, the Riverwalk has a TON of restaurant choices. The rooms were nice and we had a nice view of San Antonio. There was construction happening on the back of the hotel so we were unable to get a room overlooking the Riverwalk.  For parking, the garage in integrated to the hotel and is on the bottom floors of the building. Parking is $27 per night for self-parking and $32 for valet parking. It was pretty easy to get in and out on our own so we opted for self-parking.

Holiday Inn San Antonio Riverwalk

Days 3-4: San Antonio

One of our main reasons for going to San Antonio was The Alamo. As lovers of history, we were excited to see the place we learned about in elementary school and watched in countless movies and documentaries. The staff was incredibly welcoming and we were impressed by their knowledge and love for what they do. Like a lot of things, the Alamo is smaller than one might expect. It’s also a little strange to see this important part of Texas history in the middle of a busy downtown area.

The Alamo
The Alamo

The San Antonio Missions is a UNESCO World Heritage Site preserving four of the five Spanish frontier missions. They were absolutely stunning! Our guide, Tatum, really made the tour enjoyable and the boys liked learning about the Missions.

Mission San Jose
Mission San Jose
Mission San Jose
San Antonio Missions National Historic Park

When you’re in San Antonio, of course, you must visit the Riverwalk. There are countless shop and restaurant choices for you to choose from at just about any point. There is an energy to the Riverwalk that is enjoyable for all ages. Our boys enjoyed just walking it and looking at the many ducks that hang around the Riverwalk.

The Riverwalk

Lunch stops for Day 3 & 4:La Panaderia &  Nola Brunch & Beignets

NOLA Brunch & Beignets in San Antonio have beignets good enough to rival Cafe Du Monde. Nate couldn’t get enough of them. I had the best eggs and bacon I have ever had in my life. The praline candied bacon alone is worth going for.

Lunch at La Panaderia was really good!  While they’re known for their sweets, I had the best avocado salad I have ever had in my life!

NOLA Brunch & Beignets
La Panaderia

Dinner on days 3 & 4: La Fogata and Bella on Houston 

Both of these dinners were very good. La Fogata is an authentic Mexican food restaurant with fantastic friendly service. Bella on Houston was a nice place to celebrate the hubby’s birthday. It offers more upscale cuisine.

Photo Courtesy of La Fogata

Day 5:  San Antonio, TX to Austin, TX to Waco, TX to Oklahoma City, OK

Mileage:  466 Miles or 7.5 Hours

 Stop Offs: LBJ Presidential MuseumMagnolia Marketplace / Silos

We love going to Presidential libraries and museums. The LBJ museum is absolutely perfect for families as there are a ton of interactive displays for children and adults alike. You can “talk to the President” on the phone and step on a platform to receive the “Johnson treatment”.

Talking to the President
Lady Bird Johnson's office
Lady Bird's Office
austin, texas sign

Lunch:  Franklin’s BBQ in Austin- You’ll likely notice a theme throughout most of our road trips –  BBQ. Our oldest loves it and enjoys comparing the different types of BBQ and which he likes best.

Be prepared if you plan to eat at Franklin’s, the line is ALWAYS long. We waited approx. 45 minutes just to get in the door to order and that was on a random weekday not around lunch time. However, if you are willing to wait, it’s delicious BBQ (and Hubby’s favorite amongst all of our road trips).

If you are at all a fan of Chip & Joanna Gaines, you must stop at Magnolia in Waco. The store is huge and it’s full of some really great items. The bakery on-site had a line around the corner, so we didn’t do that, but people sure looked happy when they walked out. 🙂 There is a large courtyard area with games for kids and food trucks for a bite to eat. We probably bought a little too much, but we absolutely loved what we got. They do have a shipping area that is really handy. If you are buying things that you don’t want to bring on a plane or try and fit in your car, they will ship it all to you (our purchases arrived to our home about 3 days after our trip had concluded).

Inside the store

Overnight:  Holiday Inn Express (101 East Main Street  OKC, OK)

This hotel is in the middle of Bricktown in OKC which is also close to many other attractions. The location is easy to get to and parking is $15 a night. As always, it’s nice to go down the next morning and have breakfast with the family before heading out.


Day 6:  Oklahoma City, OK to Pawhuska, OK 

Mileage: 155 Miles or 2.5 Hours

Stop Offs: Pioneer Woman Museum & Statue (Ponca City, OK), Pioneer Woman Mercantile (Pawhuska, OK)

My Grandfather was from Ponca City and, as a young girl, he brought me to the Pioneer Woman Statue. As a little girl, I was so impressed with the tribute to pioneer women and it made an impact on me. I was excited to bring my boys there and show it to them.

The Pioneer Woman Statue is a bronze sculpture designed by Bryant Baker. Dedicated in 1930  it cost roughtly $350,000. Upon its dedication President Herbert Hoover broadcasted from the White House. There was large parade in Ponca City that included a 19-gun salute.  

Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummond is so likable and we have enjoyed watching her show on the Food Network so stopping at the Mercantile was a given. No surprise, it was very busy! The staff was friendly and we contemplated eating at their restaurant, but the line was forever long so we decided against it. If you or anyone in your family is a fan the Pioneer Woman, this is a must stop.

The Mercantile

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there’s a lot to see and do on this road trip. Using the same route to go to San Antonio and back up through Dallas made it a great way to see different things.

As a final, final thought while in Texas, I must insist you only stop for gas and bathroom breaks at Buc-ee’s. They have the cleanest bathrooms and a great selection of food. Pick up a bag of Beaver Nuggets- trust me, you won’t regret it!


I hope you find this itinerary helpful! When you head out on your next road trip through Texas, please comment and let us know your thoughts.

 Travel Well,


This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Christa

    Ah! The light show looks amazing. I’m obsessed with those on buildings. I live in Barcelona and we have these types of things all the time. They’re so cool and moody.

    1. nclaesen

      The light show was really beautiful and tt was definitely was one the highlights of the trip.

  2. Shirley

    How awesome! I lived in Dallas for a brief 9 month period of time and found Texas to be a beautiful state. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

    1. nclaesen

      Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it. 🙂

  3. Dee

    My sister just moved to San Antonio so this has given me tips on what to do when ‘i visit thanks for sharing

  4. Roxanne Weijer

    I never visited Texas but would love to!! Especially Austin is high on our list. And the San Antonio Riverwalk looks amazing too. Thank you for the great tips (always love getting good recommendations).

  5. Catherine

    My kids are always up for a road trip and I’ve been dying to do one through Texas! This is a great itinerary for the whole family – I love outdoor activities such as exploring the Riverwalk.

  6. Helena

    This is such a helpful post! Especially San Antonio looks interesting, full of history and things to see. Love the Riverwalk, too, such a relaxing place!

  7. Tina

    Never been to TX before, it looks like an interesting place to visit. My gosh and that riverwalk looks incredible! Would love to take stroll there 🙂

  8. Amber

    I have always wanted to visit the Alamo. Looks like you hit up a lot of historical must see sites and good eats. Great time for the family.

    1. Nicole Claesen

      Hi Amber! Visiting The Alamo was amazing! We love all things history, so it was a bucket list item for us.
      This is such a fun family road trip and we feel it has something for everyone, no matter the age.

  9. Chrissie

    As a Texan, I approve this post! Ha! So glad y’all got to experience the Alamo, and even more glad you got to experience Franklin BBQ! It’s a commitment but it is SO WORTH IT.

    1. Nicole Claesen

      Hi Chrissie, makes me very happy to have a Texan approve!! Yup, the line at Franklin’s was LONG, but absolutely worth it!!

  10. Emily

    This looks like a really fun trip. I would love to take a road trip like this.

  11. I love Croatia

    Thank you on a detailed impressive guide! 🙂Saved your post for the future.

  12. Go Wander Wild

    I loved reading about your Texas Road Trip experience. Your descriptions really made it come alive for me. Happy travels!

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