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In the lower 48 states, Texas is the largest inland area by more than 100,000 square miles. This means you could spend months driving around The Lone Star State and still not see everything there is to see. But how long does it take to drive across Texas?
Let’s look at a few routes, and we’ll give some tips for making this drive. If you’re going to drive almost 1,000 miles, you better be prepared!
How Big Is Texas?
In both area and population, Texas is the second-largest state. Alaska is the largest by area, with 571,951 square miles of land.
Alaska is actually bigger than Texas, California, and Montana combined. California is the most populous state, with over 39.5 million residents.
Texas holds its own in second place with 261,232 square miles of land and over 29.1 million residents.
Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas are all in the top 10 most populated cities in the United States.
Houston ranks fourth with approximately 2.3 million residents, San Antonio ranks seventh with about 1.4 million residents, and Dallas ranks ninth with approximately 1.3 million residents.
When compared to other states, Texas dwarfs many of them. North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia could fit inside Texas.
The entire Northeast plus part of Canada and the Atlantic Ocean could fit inside Texas. Its massive size is why many Texans are proud to call The Lone Star State “home.”
How Many Miles Is Texas From East to West?
The Texas Almanac says the total miles from east to west across Texas is 773 miles. However, there’s not a straight line of roadways, so you’ll end up driving a longer distance.
If you plan on traveling the entire width of Texas, you’ll be driving 870 miles from the New Mexico border in the west to the Louisiana border in the east along Interstate 10. You’ll go through San Antonio and Houston in the southern part of the state.
To travel more in the middle of the state, you’ll drive along Interstate 10 from New Mexico to where it intersects with Interstate 20 in Reeves County.
Interstate 20 veers north and goes through Fort Worth and Dallas into Shreveport, LA. This route is about 816 miles.
Pro Tip: Many RVers have to pick a state to make their resident state when hitting the road. Texas is one that should be considered!
How Long Does It Take to Drive North to South Texas?
The Texas Almanac says the total miles from north to south across Texas is 801 miles. However, again, there isn’t a straight line of roadways.
In fact, driving north to south adds quite a bit more miles because you have to jump from one highway to another to reach the Mexican border.
In the panhandle, you can hit Interstate 27 in Amarillo. From there, take Highway 84 to Sweetwater and then Highway 83 to Interstate 10 in Junction.
Interstate 10 intersects with Interstate 37 in San Antonio. Before reaching Corpus Christi, get on Highway 77. That will take you south to the Mexican border.
This route is about 810 miles, but starting in Amarillo is still 100 miles south of the Oklahoma border.
So how long does it take to drive across Texas from north to south? The entire driving route would be approximately 910 miles.
Learn More: Not everyone loves driving long distances. Read the 5 Regrets of an RV Road Trip before planning your trip!
What Is the Longest Texas Drive?
El Paso in the west to Texarkana in the east is the longest drive through Texas. The driving distance is about 814 miles along Interstate 10 to Interstate 20 to Interstate 30.
This takes you through the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolis. If you were to drive straight through from El Paso to Texarkana without stopping, it would take about 11 ½ hours.
As you make this drive, you’ll see rural communities, large ranches, bustling cities, and a varied landscape.
Tips for Driving Across Texas
Before hitting the road to tackle The Lone Star State, there are a few things to keep in mind to help make your drive more enjoyable.
First, don’t try to drive through it in one day. It’s just too vast. You want to be alert and attentive as you travel.
Long travel days can lead to fatigue and irritability. So take your time and enjoy the ride.
Because it takes so many hours, it’s a good idea to have at least two drivers. If you’re in a hurry and have to make it through Texas in a short amount of time, this is the best way to tackle the drive.
By rotating drivers, the driver is always fully awake and focused. Once a driver starts to get tired or can’t fully concentrate, it’s time to switch.
Some people can drive three or four hours at a time, while others can stretch it out to five or six. Know your limits and plan accordingly to drive safely through this huge state.
Stay Alert: When driving long distances, many RVers wonder Is Highway Hypnosis a Real Thing? Click to find out more!
Plan Your Fuel Stops
There can be long stretches with nothing much to see or do. This leads to driver fatigue, which is why it’s a good idea to rotate drivers.
It also means you have to plan your fuel stops. Look at a map and plan when and where you’ll be stopping.
Expect delays, especially if you’re traveling through big cities like Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas. This will add to your travel time and your fuel consumption. Fill up before entering these large metropolis areas.
Pay attention to how many miles are between fuel stations. The western side of Texas is much more rural than the central and eastern sides.
If you start in El Paso, make sure to fill up before heading out. If you start in Texarkana, make sure to fill up before entering this rural area to ensure you have enough fuel to reach El Paso.
Keep in Mind: You’ll need to understand your RV Gas Mileage before hitting the road! Here’s everything you’ve ever wanted to know.
Drive During the Day
Finally, it’s much easier physically and mentally to drive across Texas during the day. You can stop for fuel and run into the service center for snacks or a bathroom break while it’s daylight.
You’ll also have more flexibility for food stops. Most restaurants close by 10:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m. You’ll be limited on where you can stop for meals if you don’t drive during the day.
Mentally, you don’t have to worry about your safety as much when you stop. Entering a rest area or service station after midnight can be scary. You don’t want this added stress on an already long drive day.
It’s also more difficult to focus at night when you could be sleepy or have to refocus your eyes to see in the dark. Even though you may encounter more traffic during the day, it’s the safer bet.
The best tip is to leave as early in the morning as possible. If you’re driving several hours that day, you can arrive at your destination long before rush hour traffic.
You may have some heavy traffic during the morning commute, but you won’t have to deal with it again at 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to for a free place to overnight while driving through, check out these 10 Free Camping Spots in Texas!
Take on the Lone Star State
Driving through The Lone Star State is an adventure in itself. How long does it take to drive across Texas? A long time.
You can tackle the drive in two or three days or stretch it out across a few weeks. The more you explore the different areas along the route, the more enjoyable your travels.
Eat the local cuisine, visit the national parks, and take selfies at the roadside attractions.
Have you driven across Texas? How long did it take you?
Once drove from Denver to Corpus Christi with just a few miles on interstates. Secondary roads provide the views of the countryside, great out of the way picnic stops and of course far less traffic. My daughter and I took 10 days for the journey and she still speaks of it.