Texas is full of interesting sights, and a road trip to experience them all can be a great way to immerse yourself in the beauty of the area.
Located on the Gulf coast and spanning from Central Texas to the mountain regions, there are a variety of winding, picturesque roads that will give you gorgeous views around every turn, from rolling hills and prairies, canyons, and rivers, to breathtaking sunsets across an awe-inspiring horizon.
Whether you’re looking for a leisurely day trip or an unforgettable journey, a scenic drive in Texas is sure to have something spectacular in store.
A scenic drive in Texas is an experience like no other; make sure to plan your route carefully, take plenty of stops along the way, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
1. Highway 16
Highway 16 in Texas takes you down a winding path of beautiful landscapes and breathtaking vistas. Stretching from Abilene to Sonora, it is an incredibly scenic drive that offers plenty of opportunities for stops along the way.
From vibrant wildflowers in the spring to snow-covered trees in winter, Highway 16 will bring your jaw to the floor with its majestic scenes.
The land is filled with rolling hills and distant mountain walls that take your breath away. With plenty of roadside attractions and towns full of small-town charm such as Rocksprings and Junction, it’s no wonder why this road has become some people’s favorite drive in all of Texas.
2. Canyon Sweep
Embark on a breathtaking journey and witness one of the most picturesque drives in Texas and beyond.
Canyon Sweep, located at Fort Griffin State Historic Site in Albany, is a scenic drive that takes motorists on an extraordinary path along the Brazos River Valley.
As you take in the lush landscape of trees and blooms, it’s easy to feel engulfed by nature and appreciate its beauty with all five senses, feeling the sun’s embrace, hearing the singing of birds, seeing wildflowers in bloom, smelling the sweet scent of springtime, and tasting juicy fruits from local orchards.
Take your time winding through this extraordinary part of Texas and be sure to capture moments to reminisce about for years to come.
3. Highway 207
Highway 207 in Texas is a truly majestic experience. Traversing through the Hill Country between Sonora and Junction, travelers will be enthralled with the breathtaking views of rolling hills, wide open meadows, and vast canyons the region has to offer.
Roadside attractions such as Longhorn Caverns are prime opportunities for visitors to break up their trip and take in the scenery along their journey.
The landscape grows increasingly diverse during the summer months when towering cypresses bloom and pools of crystal-clear riverwater appear amongst hillsides bursting with color.
Whether it be a relaxing weekend trip or simply taking a detour off of 1-10, Highway 207 offers an unforgettable experience that should not be overlooked by those looking to get outside and explore.
4. Texas Lighthouse Trail Scenic Drive
The Texas Lighthouse Trail Scenic Drive is a stunning coastal route that allows you to discover some of the Lone Star State’s most spectacular lighthouses.
The incredible view takes you past 18 coastal lighthouses, with stories steeped in history and culture.
Not only can you gaze up at the iconic beacons, but along your journey to the various locations, you will also enjoy views of wildlife habitats with wading birds, shorebirds, and sea turtles. And don’t forget about spotting dolphins playing in the Gulf.
When touring along this scenic drive, you will get an insight into our state’s proud maritime history including references to famous maritime disasters from shipwrecks off the coast of Galveston.
You are bound to make incredible memories when exploring such a wide range of sights and experiences that this journey has to offer. Make sure to take the time to step back and appreciate it all.
5. River Road
Experience the beauty of Texas from the comfort of your car with a drive on River Road. This route traces the southern border of Texas, which offers breathtaking views of natural preserves and ponds.
As you approach Big Bend National Park, take time to admire the rugged mountain terrain and woodlands filled with rich wildlife and plant species.
Make sure to bring along snacks to enjoy at one of the many rest stops that offer ample opportunities for taking photos, camping, or relaxing by one of the many wild rivers near Alpine.
With stops near San Antonio and Austin, River Road is more than a nine-hundred-mile journey; it’s an unforgettable adventure through stunning landscapes in the Lone Star State.
6. Bandera Pass
Bandera Pass is located in the beautiful countryside of central Texas, making it a stunning place for a scenic drive.
Due to its rolling hills and sprawling meadows dotted with towering bluebonnets, taking a drive along Bandera Pass can be incredibly peaceful and calming.
However, if you’re the type that prefers something a bit more thrilling, you’ll find plenty of twists and turns on this route to keep your adrenaline pumping. The view overlooks Medina Lake far below, where some say you can spot bald eagles and white-tailed deer.
Whether you’re looking for relaxation or excitement, a drive through Bandera Pass has everything you could want from a scenic route in Texas.
7. El Camino Real Highway
El Camino Real Highway in Texas provides a gorgeous stretch of picturesque scenery and tranquil rolling hills. It’s the perfect cruise for outdoor enthusiasts looking to really connect with nature.
Whether driving or biking, its 138 miles of roads offer plenty of opportunities for exploration. Monuments, historical attractions and stunning natural ocean bluffs are just some of the wonders you’ll see along the way.
Wildlife is also abundant in this rich region, with deer, wild turkeys, birds and other species making their homes in the area.
With convenient rest stops and gorgeous views everywhere you turn, it’s easy to get lost in the breathtaking scenery El Camino Real Highway has to offer.
8. Devil’s Backbone
Devil’s Backbone in Texas is a scenic route you won’t soon forget. With its winding roads and spectacular views, it’s no wonder travelers from around the globe flock to this amazing drive.
Trees line both sides of the highway, adding a sense of serenity as you drive through Texas Hill Country.
Crystal-clear lakes, rolling Hills and wildflowers make this drive an eye-catching experience. Along the way, there’s plenty of natural beauty to explore, including historic towns and limestone formations.
9. Texas Swiss Alps Scenic Drive
Taking a drive through the stunning Texas Swiss Alps is truly an unparalleled experience.
Spanning a total distance of 33 miles, this exhilarating route winds its way through the gorgeous sights of Texas Hill Country from Marble Falls to Llano. Seeing forests, pastures, lush greenery and flowers dotting the countryside is an unforgettable sight for all visitors.
The winding roads lead their way to Enchanted Rock State Natural Area where visitors can admire the incredible landscape formations at their leisure.
10. FM 337
Driving on FM 337 in Texas is a delightful adventure from start to finish. This nearly forty-mile journey provides stellar views of the Hill Country, springs, creeks, and the Nueces River.
Starting from Highway 41 near Leakey, Texas, one will travel through scenic roads where wildflowers pepper the land in the spring. Beyond that lie crystal-clear rivers and streams which are perfect for swimming or catching catfish.
The highlights at each bend of this stunning road include sprawling vistas with mesas and rocky outcrops that add depth to its serene beauty.
Finally, FM 337 ends near Catarina after meandering past hundreds of years old ranches and other historical sites along the way.
11. Route 66
There are so many great places to discover in Texas, and one of the best is a scenic drive along Route 66.
Stretching from Amarillo to Van Horn, Route 66 is an adventure for those looking for a peaceful retreat and beautiful scenery.
Many quintessential Texans experiences come alive on this route, such as visiting unique stores, tasting roadside barbeque, or seeing genuine Texas longhorns chillin’ by their pastures.
You can take a day trip down this route or plan an entire week-long road trip. No matter what length of time you decide on, you will feel like you’ve taken a journey through time as you observe all that has remained unchanged for generations in this part of the country.
12. Davis Mountains Scenic Loop
Located near the bustling city of Fort Davis, Texas, the Davis Mountains Scenic Loop offers breathtaking and unforgettable views from every corner.
From its vast grasslands to its rugged hillsides, this scenic drive follows a winding seventy-mile path through one of the state’s most captivating landscapes.
Its elevation changes provide dramatic alterations in vegetation throughout the loop, with an arid and sparse desert terrain giving way to lush valleys and evergreen mountains framing nearby vistas.
Pack up a picnic lunch and take some time out of your day to appreciate nature; there is not a bad view along the Davis Mountain Scenic Loop.
In addition to seven miles of spectacular mountain views, visitors can appreciate diverse wildlife sightings like turkeys, roadrunners, quail birds and javelina pigs as they tour picturesque Indian Lodge State Park or visit one of the five lakes present on the loop.
13. Lonesome Highway
Lonesome Highway in Texas is an unforgettable scenic drive sprinkled with rolling hills and beautiful countryside.
This underrated excursion features amazing sunsets that showcase the vast expanse of land and incredible natural beauty of the area.
The highway passes through some fascinating historical sites along its route, offering travelers a unique perspective on Texas’ past.
Along this journey, one can see a variety of wildlife such as deer, armadillos, and even wild horses. The whole experience can take up to a few hours, depending on where visitors decide to stop along the way.
14. Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
The Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive in Texas is a 48-mile route rich with stunning views of the natural splendor of the Chihuahuan Desert.
From the sand dunes to the limestone bluffs, travelers get to experience an abundance of wildlife, including coyotes, jackrabbits and more than 100 species of birds. With starker beauty than found along most any road trip in the country, this could be the best-kept secret in Texas.
Along the drive are multiple spots for those who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and sightseeing. The parks along the highway have some of the state’s largest and oldest trees that predate Spanish colonization.
In addition, visitors can travel to interesting sites such as the Castolon Historic District with its iconic adobe buildings left by century-old pioneer families or the Santa Elena Canyon which allows trekkers to witness one-of-a kind landscapes full of various rock formations created by wind erosion.
15. Highway 90/385
Taking Highway 90/385 through Texas is truly one of the great American road trips. Stretching from El Paso to Big Bend National Park, the highway allows you to witness some of the most breathtaking sites in the Lone Star State.
As you begin your journey in El Paso and drive south, you’ll take in views of the beautiful Franklin Mountains, before making your way past Fort Davis and Marfa.
Further along, you’ll be surrounded by rolling hills dotted with well-preserved ranches that are steeped in history.
Before concluding at Big Bend National Park, you’ll pass through Maravillas Pass and Gaines Mountain; here spectacular cliffs offer panoramic views or rugged trails that may keep you off-road for hours at a time.
Whether it’s experiencing Texas’ cowboy culture or sustaining yourself on its many vistas, this scenic drive is an adventure worth taking.
16. Willow City Loop
If you’re looking for beauty, history, and adventure all wrapped up in one amazing drive, then look no further than the Willow City Loop in Texas.
Highlighting the best of the state’s picturesque Hill Country landscape, this gorgeous route is a 13-mile stretch of winding roads and unending rolling hills that reveal panoramic views.
From quaint chapels to old-fashioned Texas ranches to wildflowers decorating the roadside, every twist and turn on the loop offers a charming surprise.
You won’t want to miss Lone Man Mountain at nightfall for an awe-inspiring sunset that lights up the sky with shimmering rays of orange and pink.
Locals will tell you that Sundays are even better, that’s when cars from miles around can be seen lined up to experience all that Willow City Loop has to offer.
17. Highland Lakes Drive
With its dense forestry and picturesque lakes, the Highland Lakes Drive in Texas is an incredibly scenic experience.
Running from Burnet to Mason County, travelers will discover sights such as Inks Lake State Park, Lake Buchanan and several other exciting bodies of water along the way.
The calm clear waters and surrounding hills full of pine trees give off a hint of winter during the warm summer months.
When traveling this route, be sure to stop at Lion’s Club park for a great lake view and other recreational activities to enjoy.
18. The Crockett Trail
The Crockett Trail in Texas offers a beautiful journey for nature lovers and anyone who enjoys the open road.
Spanning 110 miles of breathtaking scenery and exciting backroads, this scenic drive weaves through three different beautiful state parks, Davy Crockett National Forest, Pineywoods National Scenic Area, and Mission Tejas State Park.
Each park provides unique perspectives as travelers explore the countryside with views of rivers, creeks, thick forests with interesting wildlife, and more.
Along the way there are plenty of opportunities to stop and rest or try local cuisine at charming cafes located right along the route. All in all, the Crockett Trail in Texas provides an unforgettable experience.
19. The Sabine River Trail
Located in far eastern Texas, the Sabine River Trail is a beautiful and vibrant drive that takes adventurers along the shores of the scenic Sabine River.
Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventure or simply want to take a leisurely drive with spectacular views, the Sabine River Trail has something to offer everyone.
While driving along this picturesque stretch of Texas, expect to come across lush green forests punctuated by rolling hills, colorful wildflowers, and plenty of wildlife including deer, eagles, and herons as well as other aquatic birds.
Throughout your journey remain on the lookout for historic sites and attractions like Caddo Lake State Park which is home to numerous hiking trails as well as boat ramps should you wish to get onto the river itself.
There’s no shortage of fun things to do while exploring this natural wonderland; anglers have particularly good luck catching catfish or large-mouth bass during the summer months.
20. The Gulf Coast Loop Drive
The Gulf Coast Loop Drive in Texas is a stunning scenic drive along the beautiful Gulf Coast.
Starting in Galveston, Texas and winding its way down the east coast of Texas and back around to Houston, it’s an incredible journey that is absolutely packed with sights to take in.
Along the way, you can enjoy tropical rainforests, peaceful beaches, and an abundance of incredible wildlife. Additionally, you can explore the sites that honor our nation’s heroes and history.
From the San Jacinto Monument to Admiral Nimitz State Park there are a multitude of parks, monuments, beaches and preserved habitats dedicated to honoring past American history.
For those looking for shopping and entertainment, hundreds of quaint towns have plenty of local boutiques as well as delicious seafood restaurants for visitors to enjoy during their travels on this distinctive loop drive.
The spectacular scenery Texas has to offer is unrivaled. A scenic drive through the Lone Star State can be a great way to enjoy everything that is so uniquely Texan.
Ranging from stunning sunsets, lush rolling hills, desert vistas, and picturesque towns, there’s truly something for everyone who takes a scenic drive in Texas.
Along with breathtaking views and historical revelations, a scenic drive in Texas also offers wonderful opportunities to dine on some of the state’s famous fare such as ribs, brisket and roadhouse chili.
What better way to end your journey than with a plate full of classic Texas-style BBQ? So for those seeking an afternoon filled with gorgeous landscapes and tasty treats, look no further than your own backyard for all that Texas has to offer.