Road Trip Guide: California to Texas Drive

Are you planning to make the journey from the Golden State to the Lone Star State? Whether it’s for vacation, moving, or simply the joy of the open road, the Texas to California drive is one filled with enchanting landscapes, memorable pit stops, and fascinating historical sites. In this comprehensive guide, we’ve detailed everything you need to know to make the drive from Texas to California, or the reverse, a memorable adventure. 

Preparing for the Trip: 

A road trip from California to Texas can take you across desert landscapes, bustling cities, and everything in between. Before you embark on your journey, it’s essential to ensure your vehicle is in prime condition, especially for the more isolated stretches of road. Consider a full inspection and tune-up before leaving. If you’re not taking your own vehicle, investigate auto transport in California or Texas to ensure a comfortable and reliable ride. 

Setting Your Route:  

The Southern Route – Interstate 10 (I-10): 

This route is one of the most common California to Texas drives. It’s a direct path and takes you through some of the country’s most unique landscapes. I-10 stretches from Santa Monica, California, all the way to Jacksonville, Florida, passing through the southern border of Texas along the way. 

Key Stops: Palm Springs, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Tucson, AZ; El Paso, TX; San Antonio, TX; Houston, TX 

The Central Route – Interstate 40 (I-40): 

This route, while slightly longer, gives you a chance to see a different set of attractions. The I-40 goes from Barstow, California, through Northern Arizona and New Mexico, then straight into Texas. 

Key Stops: Las Vegas, NV; Grand Canyon, AZ; Albuquerque, NM; Amarillo, TX; Oklahoma City, OK 

The Northern Route – Interstate 80 (I-80) and Interstate 35 (I-35): 

This route is a little out of the way but perfect for a more extended road trip. The I-80 will take you from San Francisco, California, through Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Iowa, until you reach Kansas City. From there, you’ll need to get on the I-35 south, which will take you straight into Texas. 

Key Stops: Reno, NV; Salt Lake City, UT; Cheyenne, WY; Omaha, NE; Kansas City, MO; Oklahoma City, OK; Dallas, TX 

Main Attractions: 

Whether you’re on a Texas to California drive or the reverse, there are numerous landmarks and attractions you can’t miss: 

  1. The Alamo, San Antonio, TX: Step back into history and visit the Battle of the Alamo site. 
  2. The Grand Canyon, AZ: One of the world’s natural wonders, a must-see for any road trip that goes near it. 
  3. Joshua Tree National Park, CA: A beautiful desert park filled with its namesake Joshua Trees. 
  4. Petrified Forest National Park, AZ: Known for its large deposits of petrified wood, this park also offers strikingly colourful landscapes. 
  5. Space Center Houston, TX: As the visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center, this is a must-visit for space enthusiasts. 

Finishing the Journey: 

As you complete your road trip, you may need to consider auto transport in Texas or California, especially if you’ve moved one way and need to return your vehicle. Many reliable auto transport services can help make this process smooth and hassle-free. 

How Long is the Drive from California to Texas? 

The driving distance from California to Texas greatly depends on your starting point, your destination, and the route you choose to take. Here are some estimates: 

  1. Los Angeles, CA to Houston, TX via I-10: This is about 1,546 miles and typically takes around 22-24 hours of driving time, not accounting for rest stops, traffic, or sightseeing. 
  2. San Francisco, CA to Dallas, TX via I-40 and US-287 S: This route is approximately 1,719 miles and generally takes around 25-27 hours of driving time, again without considering rest stops, traffic, or detours for sightseeing. 

Remember, these times are purely driving hours and don’t account for breaks, overnight stays, or potential delays. For a comfortable road trip, it would be realistic to plan for a journey of 3 to 5 days, depending on how much ground you want to cover each day and how much sightseeing you plan to do. Always prioritize safety and avoid driving when overly tired. 

How Many Days Does It Take to Drive from California to Texas? 

The total time it takes to drive from California to Texas depends on your specific start and end points, your planned route, how many hours you plan to drive each day, and how often you stop along the way. 

If you were to drive straight through from Los Angeles, CA, to Houston, TX, without stopping for more than gas and food, the trip would take about 22-24 hours. But this would be quite a demanding schedule, and there are more enjoyable and safest travel methods, especially if you’re the sole driver. 

Consider spreading the drive over 3-5 days for a more comfortable and enjoyable road trip. This would mean driving for about 5-8 hours each day, allowing plenty of rest time and opportunities to stop and explore. This schedule provides a good balance between making progress on your trip and taking the time to appreciate the journey. 

Is It a Good Idea to Drive from California to Texas? 

Absolutely! A road trip from California to Texas (or vice versa) can be an extraordinary experience, allowing you to explore a diverse range of landscapes, cities, and cultural sites. However, like any long-distance road trip, it requires good planning and preparation. Here are a few factors to consider: 

  1. Time

Depending on your route and the amount of time you plan to spend on sightseeing, the drive could take anywhere from 2-5 days, so make sure you have enough time to dedicate to the journey. 

  1. Vehicle

Ensure your vehicle is reliable and capable of handling a long journey. Consider having it serviced before you leave. 

  1. Costs

Factor in the cost of gas, meals, accommodations, and unexpected expenses that could come up during your trip. 

  1. Route Planning

Do some research on the route you plan to take, including where you might want to stop along the way. Plan your lodging in advance, especially if you’re traveling during a busy season or holiday. 

  1. Safety

Never push yourself to drive if you’re feeling tired. Taking frequent breaks to rest, eat, and stretch your legs is important. 

  1. Entertainment

Lastly, ensure you have plenty of entertainment for the journey – music, audiobooks, podcasts, etc. It’ll help keep you entertained and alert. 

With the right planning, a road trip from California to Texas can be an unforgettable adventure filled with beautiful scenery, interesting attractions, and great memories. So, if you’re up for a drive and ready for a memorable experience, it’s a great idea! 


Whether driving from Texas to California or going in the opposite direction, this road trip can offer an amazing blend of urban charm and stunning natural beauty. It’s a journey of discovery, filled with wonderful surprises at every turn. So, buckle up, enjoy the ride, and make the most of your California to Texas drive! 

Remember, the journey is as important as the destination. Stay safe, and happy travels! 

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