Ewan McDonald plots a course from Dallas to Galveston, with stops in Austin, San Antonio and Houston.

One from Jack Kerouac's On the Road sums up a road trip through America's Lone Star State: "You drive and drive and you're still in Texas tomorrow night."

That great Texan poet, Willie Nelson, said something similar in On The Road Again, or thinks he did. Willie sometimes has trouble with his memories these days.

Yes, Texas is that big. It's almost 700,000sq km; li'l ol' New Zealand could fit into it three times. If you don't have a month to smash the entire state, our 1645km itinerary from Dallas to Galveston covers the highlights.


Dallas, or the Big D, is home to football's Cowboys, baseball's Rangers — their home turfs are across the street from one another — and basketball's Mavericks. Not into sports? The Dallas Arts District is the largest in the nation — spanning 27ha and 19 blocks. For another drop of Texas culture, tour Dallas the TV show, including Southfork Ranch, where the dastardly, backstabbing Ewing family "lived" for 13 years.

Cadillac Ranch, in Texas. Photo/ Keith Yahl
Cadillac Ranch, in Texas. Photo/ Keith Yahl

A mere 20-minute drive from Dallas is Fort Worth, gateway to the West. It boasts the oldest zoo in Texas with nearly 7000 native and exotic animals like the Komodo dragon and white tigers.

For a slice of smalltown life, enjoy a May afternoon walking main street Grapevine, just the other side of Dallas-Fort Worth airport. An annual three-day craft brew festival draws a convivial crowd into the sunshine.

Austin is Texas' state capital and also the live music capital of the world, with a warm welcome for everyone. Filled with remnants of the old Austin, South 1st St and Congress St are home to some of the city's coolest hidden gems, including stores, watering holes and restaurants. Here's where you'll get your taco fix. If you've a hankering for barbecue, track down The Salt Lick or the — not joking — world-famous Franklin's. Come evening, head to Rainey St, where villas have been converted into backyard bars, or "Dirty 6th St" for cool cocktails and hot music.

Cruise through the bluffs and meadows of Texas Hill Country toward Fredericksburg, and the centre of wine country.

On the drive from Austin, stop for a dip at Hamilton Preserve — one of the many swimming holes in the area; if travelling in April, take in the annual Wine and Wildflower Trail.

More than 50 local wineries help celebrate the springtime blooms of bluebonnets, daises,

verbena and the like that paint the countryside. Stay at one of the charming B&Bs, meander down main street for quaint stores and, if it's summer, head to an orchard to pick peaches or buy them roadside.

Known for the 1836 Battle of the Alamo — last, fated stand of Davy Crockett and Jim "the Knife" Bowie, San Antonio is where Texan and Mexican cultures collide to form that wonderful hybrid, Tex-Mex.

You'll see it everywhere; in the city's artwork, nightlife, parks, and cuisine. The 25km central-city River Walk, or Paseo del Rio, shows European influences in its cypress-lined walkway of paved paths, brightly coloured umbrellas sheltering riverside cafes, and arched stone bridges. Take one of the passing river launches to access the city's cultural hot spots and historic sites at a gentle, slow pace.

Home to the Space Center, Houston is the state's largest city and arguably the most cosmopolitan. The art scene has exploded over the past decade. And this outpouring of culture, is matched by another pouring: craft beer.

Check out the vast beer hall of Texas' oldest craft brewery, Saint Arnold, or tour Karbach Brewing Company before heading to the biergarten. If this is a stop on your road trip, check into a hotel first: it would be more than a little embarrassing to have to text the family: "In Houston, we've got a problem."

Austin during the South by Southwest Music Festival. Photo / Davidlohr Bueso
Austin during the South by Southwest Music Festival. Photo / Davidlohr Bueso

"Galveston, oh Galveston," crooned Glen Campbell in his tribute to the seawinds blowing through the sun-drenched historic charms of this Gulf Coast city. Significant shipping trade put Galveston on the map in the 1800s, when it welcomed 133,000 immigrants to US soil. How things have changed ... today it boasts five top Gulf Coast beaches, the Historic Downtown Strand District with its fine array of shops, restaurants, galleries, museums and historic buildings. There's no better place to order the must-have seafood, a cocktail, and wait for that lonesome star to shine down over Texas.

House of Travel's 'Texas Trails' roadtrip comes with seven days car hire and nine nights accommodation. Prices start from $1359pp.