Is There Anything to Do on a Road Trip Between Houston and Austin Texas? Finding the Hidden Gems

American and Texas flags flying
I needed to be in Austin, Texas for work and decided that this was the perfect opportunity for a road trip since I would be flying into Houston to start my business trip. The most important question then became: is there anything to do on a road trip between Austin and Houston? What pitstops might I expect? I found a few helpful TripAdvisor posts but not terribly much information on things to do while driving in this part of Texas. Fortunately, Google Maps also helped me identify some possible spots for a quick break on the approximately 3 hour drive between Houston and Austin. I decided to take Route 290 on the way to Austin and Route 71 to Route 21 to Route 290 on my return for a bit of variety.

Pitstop at Buc-ee's

Buc-ee's is the perfect pitstop between Austin and Houston
Buc-ee's is the classic Texas road trip stop. I might have driven right by if not for the recommendation of a friend. What is Buc-ee's? It's an awesome rest area and gas station. You can stop and use the restroom, shop for snacks, and generally bask in the kitsch. Buc-ee's is also a go-to place for Texas-sized souvenirs.
Buc-ee beaver, the mascot of Buc-ee's rest stop and general stop between Houston and Austin Texas
How can you resist this face?!
Plush buc-ee beavers at Buc-ee's convenience store located between Houston and Austin Texas

Chappell Hill Kolaches

Sign for Chappell Hill bakery in Texas
Apparently, the corridor between Houston and Austin was settled by Czech and Slovak immigrants. Because of this, look for kolaches. Based on a Google Maps recommendation, I stopped at Chappell Hill for a sweet glazed kolache. I opted for the sour cream variety which is most popular according to the person working there.
Kolaches from Chappell Hill bakery in Texas

Blue Bell Ice Cream

Tubs of Blue Bell ice cream in Brenham, Texas
Is there anything to do on a road trip between Houston and Austin? Yes, apparently there is lots of eating :-)  Based on my research before the trip, I'd identified Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham as a must-stop along the road on the way to Austin. For a dollar, you can sample a scoop of their delicious ice cream. I opted for the maple pecan. Blue Bell was set-up like an old-fashioned ice cream parlour and also featured a small gift shop. I had the place to myself when I visited on a Monday morning. I read online that they used to do creamery tours. Apparently, they don't do tours anymore which was fine by me since I was tight on time. 
Scoop of maple pecan ice cream at Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham, Texas

Experience Small Town Texas

Main Street in Brenham, Texas
Driving back to Route 290 after my stop at Blue Bell Creamery, I drove through Brenham proper and got a taste of small town Texas. It's worth turning off the highway on the trip between Houston and Austin to see any number of charming towns.

Scenic Forgotten Byways

Old Potato Road near Paige, Texas
On my way from Houston to Austin, I pretty much took a straight shot on Route 290. On my return trip from Austin to Houston, I decided to take a few more detours to see what I was missing. On a whim, I turned onto Old Potato Road near Paige, Texas. It was like being transported into another world. I saw rusty oil drilling equipment (a pumpjack), an alpaca farm, and of course plenty of Lone Star motifs.
Rusty pumpjack in a grassy field in Texas
Farm equipment and a lone star between Austin and Houston in Texas
The stark winter scenery was also quite charming. I loved the gnarled old trees lining the road.
gnarled trees in Texas
Barren tree and small lake in Texas in winter

Texas Big Sky

Puffy clouds in a big Texas sky between Austin and Houston
One thing that really impressed me on the road from Houston to Austin was not strictly a thing to do but awesome nonetheless. Driving along, my jaw dropped just looking at that famous Texas big sky. For a while, happy little clouds dotted the landscape and swirled into interested patterns that kept me entertained and fascinating on the long straight drive.

Roadside Attractions at Weikel's Bakery

Painted metal T-Rex dinosaur near Weikel's Bakery between Houston and Austin, Texas
Road trips in the U.S.A. are never complete without stopping at a proper roadside attraction. Based on another Google Maps recommendation, I stopped at Weikel's Bakery. I was pleased to see an over-sized metal dinosaur outside to greet me. Across the street was an antiques shop selling old signage. It was all very kitsch but charming at the same time.
Antique road signs between Austin and Houston in Texas
Of course, I had to fuel up for the rest of the trip and grabbed a cherry kolache to keep my energy up for the rest of the drive. I loved Weikel's motto: We gotcha kolache!
We gotcha kolache: a cherry kolache at Weikel's Bakery between Houston and Austin, Texas
So what's the verdict? As you can see, there are a number of things to entertain road-trippers driving between Houston and Austin. I wouldn't got out of my way to do this road trip but if you have another reason to be driving between Houston and Austin (like I did for business), you'll definitely be able to keep yourself entertained along the way.


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A Road Trip Between Houston and Austin Texas featuring Buc-ee's, kolaches, pumpjacks, and the Lone Star flag

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Sidewalk Safari: Is There Anything to Do on a Road Trip Between Houston and Austin Texas? Finding the Hidden Gems
Is There Anything to Do on a Road Trip Between Houston and Austin Texas? Finding the Hidden Gems
Discover pitstops on a road trip between Houston and Austin, Texas. A photo-rich post by travel blogger, Jennifer (aka Dr. J) from Sidewalk Safari.
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Sidewalk Safari
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