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Road Trip from Dallas to Austin – How Long/Short & What to Stop to See

The short road trip from Dallas to Austin is easy and comfortable. Just be sure to make it extra special by stopping at the Czech bakery on the way!

texas countryside

One of the best ways to get around Texas is by car, so on my recent trip back home to Dallas, I decided to rent a car and drive down to Austin—no doubt, the coolest city in Texas.

It’s also the home of my sister, so taking a few days out of my trip to enjoy a personal visit to one of America’s most hipstery cities was too good of an opportunity to pass up!

I picked up my car rental at the DFW airport and headed south to Austin. It’s a quick and easy trip easily manageable under four hours.

The Texas countryside is flat and often brown during the summer, but there’s something special about driving through open plains, rolls of hay and cattle peppered between massive highway rest stops.

How far is Austin from Dallas?

Listen, getting from Dallas to Austin or vice versa — it’s one of the most popular Texas road trip routes. And, in all honesty, the distance while the same regardless which direction you’re traveling, it just doesn’t matter. What matters is how long it takes to get from city to city.

In my experience, if you’ve got a bit of a lead foot and don’t mind risking getting a speeding ticket, it’s possible to do the road trip in about 3 hours. But the joy of a Texas road trip isn’t in getting to your destination, it’s the journey you take to get there.

And the road trip between Austin and Dallas is full of fun and wacky things to see. The most notable, though, is the Czech Stop.

Road Tripping in Texas: Highlights from the Open Road

I’ve always loved driving in Texas. At night, the highways are dark, the sky is bright and the roads straight and flat. In a state as big as Texas, the scenery is pretty varied, though admittedly the drive from Dallas to Austin (and back) leaves plenty to be desired.

The journey consists mostly of highways, traffic and big, boring cities such as Waco. (Well, to be completely honest, I’ve never stopped in Waco so couldn’t really tell you if it’s boring or not…)

Czech-Tex Kolache at the Czech Stop

On the road, though, there is one very special stop. It’s probably the most hipster thing to do in West Texas outside of ironic-but-secretly-awesome camping trips in the Texas countryside. It’s taking a rest stop at the Czech Stop!

The Czech Stop has been around since 1983 and serves hundreds of drivers a day. I remember it most for being popular amongst friends driving back and forth going from their homes in central Texas back to college in either College Station or Austin.

The bakery and gas station serves traditional Czech foods but is probably most famous for its kolaches. If you’re taking a road trip down I-35 in Texas, the Czech Stop is definitely worth a visit!

czech stop - texas kolache

Even though the road trip from Dallas to Austin is relatively short, I still made the stop at the Czech bakery. Worth it!

Having a rental car in Austin isn’t a necessity, though it’s certainly convenient. My sister doesn’t even have a car and she lives and works in the capital city! But with the car, we were able to cover a lot of ground (ie, eat at a lot of the city’s best restaurants) in a short amount of time.

The only thing that suffered was my belly!

Local Texas Radio

Driving in Texas and tuning into local radio stations rather than relying on your curated Spotify playlist can be a surprisingly enjoyable and enriching experience. It’s a journey filled with unexpected surprises, connecting you with the unique flavors of each city and town you pass through.

One of the most delightful aspects of listening to local radio while traversing the Lone Star State is the opportunity to encounter a diverse array of disc jockeys. These radio hosts are like your travel companions, guiding you through the sonic landscapes of their cities.

Whether it’s their charming Texan cowboy accents, witty banter, or local insights, they add an element of authenticity to your road trip.

Local radio also provides a musical mosaic that reflects the regional tastes and trends. As you travel from one city to another, you’ll notice a shift in the music being played. From country hits in rural areas to hip-hop in metropolitan hubs, these stations give you a sonic tour of Texas’s cultural diversity. It’s like flipping through a musical atlas, allowing you to appreciate the rich tapestry of genres that define the state.

The act of scanning through radio stations and discovering hidden gems is an adventure in itself. You might stumble upon a classic rock station, an indie music haven, or even a station dedicated to Texas’s rich country music heritage. It’s like digging through a treasure chest of musical history, uncovering forgotten tracks and rediscovering old favorites.

And let’s not forget the simple joy of blasting music loud while on a road trip. There’s something liberating about feeling the bass thumping through the car speakers as you cruise down Texas highways. It’s an experience that makes you feel more connected to the open road, the vast landscapes, and the communities you pass by.

So, the next time you find yourself behind the wheel in Texas, consider ditching your Spotify playlist and tune into the local radio stations. Embrace the spontaneity, enjoy the serendipitous musical encounters, and relish the feeling of being part of the unique tapestry of Texas’s diverse soundscape.

It’s a road trip experience that will not only make your journey more enjoyable but also leave you with lasting memories of the Lone Star State’s musical soul.

My car was comfortable and convenient—it even had an iPod dock so I could plug in my own tunes (though I opted for the radio). Music really is a necessity for a hipster road trip.

  1. Steve says:

    Great tip – we’re doing this roadtrip in January so I’ll add this to the list of places to stop.

    • Adam says:

      Hey Steve – definitely be sure to stop at the Czech Stop during your trip :) Enjoy the open road!

  2. I’d drive from michigan for those rolls…

  3. Shalu Sharma says:

    Looks like the road to Dallas seems a lot of fun. The Czech Stop seems interesting, something for the travellers to enjoy. Austin does seem as the coolest city in Texas. The photo of the car in the post, is that the original car you hired.

  4. Fiona says:

    Loved reading about your adventures in Austin. Reading more and more about this city lately and I’m now intrigued!

  5. Ayngelina says:

    I SO SO want to see Texas. It seems like a whole other country on its own and a car would be the perfect way to explore it.

  6. Austin is such a great city, but I found the roads in Texas to be dreadfully bad!

  7. Micki says:

    Sounds like a fun trip! We did the drive from San Antonio down to Mission, TX a year or so ago. Would have loved a stop like the Czech Stop, though!

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  9. Hi Adam, I am wondering if you visited any city of Australia during your 15 months world trip. I liked the czech shop and your car . Thanks for sharing.

    • Adam says:

      Hey Troy,
      I didn’t visit Australia on my round-the-world trip, but did study in Sydney for a semester in 2006. Spent over four months in Sydney and another month traveling around the country…with a stopover in New Zealand one week, too :)

  10. Dave says:

    Ipod docks should come as standard really :) – Congrats looks like your having a great time!

    • Adam says:

      Totally agree with you Dave that iPod docks should be a standard in car rentals. What travelers carry CDs and if you’re in foreign city, you likely won’t know which radio stations to listen to either!

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  14. Hey Adam –

    Glad you liked Austin. The drive from Dallas to Austin isn’t the most fun and the highway needs some work, but it’s better than flying. Although you say you don’t need a car in Austin, it really is nice to have one. Parking is pretty easy and, like you said, it allows you to cover the city easier. Hope you make it back here.

  15. I ran across your blog looking for stops between Dallas and Austin. We are travelers, bloggers and video producers….we still do the travel thing..check out our bogs etc

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