Everything is bigger in Texas, right? That includes the road trips! Two cities that might seem close on a map may actually take several hours – such as the drive between Dallas and San Antonio.
If you need to travel between these two Texas cities, you’re not alone. They’re connected by a major interstate (35) and several state highways – including one of the fastest roads in the country by max speed limit. These two cities sit on the eastern border of the Great Plains, but many people are headed west into the Plains when they make this drive.
Whatever reason you need to make the drive between Dallas and San Antonio – be it leisure, business, or a bit o’ both – after reading this post you’ll know how long the trip should take, great stops you can add to your road trip itinerary, and other important info too.
TL;DR: How long is the drive between Dallas and San Antonio? The direct drive from San Antonio to Denver (or vice versa) is 290 miles (467 km) and should have a drive time of 4 hours, 33 minutes in normal traffic.
In this post, I promote travel to destinations that are the traditional lands of the Jumanos, Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo), Waco, Tawakoni, Coahuiltecan, Nʉmʉnʉʉ Sookobitʉ (Comanche), Ndé Kónitsąąíí Gokíyaa (Lipan Apache), Tonkawa, and Sana peoples. With respect, I make a formal land acknowledgment, extending my appreciation and respect to the past and present people of these lands. To learn more about the peoples who call these lands home, I invite you to explore Native Land.
This post was originally published in June 2021, and was updated in June 2022 for the upcoming road trip season!
Dallas to San Antonio Drive Interactive Map
Dallas to San Antonio Distance
As the crow flies, it’s roughly 250 miles between Dallas and San Antonio, Texas. Luckily, we can’t skip over all the good stuff and have to drive – that means seeing some of the sights and countryside between these two Texas cities.
For driving, it is roughly 290 miles between Dallas and San Antonio. This may vary slightly depending on your start and end points within each city.
Dallas to San Antonio Drive Time
In terms of travel time by car, the 290-mile drive between San Antonio and Dallas takes roughly 4.5 hours. Again, your final drive time depends on where you start in Dallas and end in San Antonio – but planning for a 4-5 hour drive is a good estimate to start planning. It may take longer, depending on any stops you make along the way. (And there are some good ones – as I share below!)
In terms of the fastest route, the first half of the drive between Dallas and San Antonio is on Interstate 35 and the second is on Texas Highway 130/Interstate 10. The interstate speed limits are 75 miles per hour in Texas and State Highway 130 has a speed limit of 85 miles per hour (making it faster than I-35 for the whole route).
As 290 miles is roughly one tank of gas, you may or may not need to stop for gas along the way; there are plenty of options along these major roads.
8 Stops to Make on Your Drive Between Dallas and San Antonio
With fast speed limits and wide open Texas spaces, you might wonder if there’s anything worth stopping for between Dallas and San Antonio. The short answer is: yes! Here are eight of the coolest stops for a Dallas to San Antonio road trip.
1. Roadside America Museum
If you love Americana and that era of road travel in the U.S., the Roadside America Museum is a must. It’s a quick detour off I-35 but visits/tours are available by appointment only – so plan ahead and call to schedule one if you want to stop on your way between San Antonio and Dallas.
2. The Waco Mammoth
There are a couple of different sights in Waco (including a memorial to the Branch Davidians Cult that might be of interest to some) but I think the most widely appealing option is the Waco Mammoth. Two amateur archaeologists discovered this site in 1978 and it’s an ongoing dig site today. It’s definitely a worthwhile stop for anyone interested in this kind of history or science.
3. Inner Space Cavern
We might not think of Texas as a destination that receives a lot of ice – but there are all kinds of Ice Age artifacts across the state. In addition to the Waco Mammoth, Inner Space Cavern near Georgetown is another spot. These natural karst caves were discovered during the construction of I-35; today you can stop and take a tour to learn about these 90–100 million-year-old natural wonders.
4. J. Lorraine Ghost Town
If you’re looking for an authentic Texas ghost town, this ain’t it – but J. Lorraine Ghost Town may still be worth a visit for some, especially those with smaller kids. This amusement center hosts events and is open to the public; inside you’ll find food, music, and some distinctly Texas activities to burn off that road trip energy.
5. Texas State Capitol Building
If you decide to pass through Austin instead of bypassing it for the faster route, don’t forget to stop at the Texas State Capitol Building. Originally constructed in 1882-1888, this huge building proves “everything is bigger in Texas” – it’s actually bigger than the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C.! It’s open to the public for tours most weekdays.
6. World’s Largest Pecan
Nicknamed the Pecan Capital of Texas, Seguin is home to three giant pecan attractions. This one, the largest in town, may actually be dwarfed by one in Missouri but let’s not talk about that. This is a quirky little roadside attraction that will leave your mouth watering for a slice of its namesake pie. I’m sure you can find a bakery around town that can serve some up!
7. Natural Bridges Caverns
If Inner Space Cavern wasn’t enough, there’s another great natural cave system along the drive between Dallas and San Antonio. Natural Bridges Caverns has been extensively explored and developed (in contrast to Inner Space Cavern) and has a number of attractions in addition to cave tours. It’s a bit of a longer detour off the main route, but a really cool sight if you like these kinds of natural wonders!
8. The Alamo
While there are plenty of cool sights to see in San Antonio, I couldn’t skip over mentioning the main one: The Alamo. This historic building is a tourist trap, sure, but it’s also something you need to see at least once to learn more about this chapter of Texas history.
Other Tips for Your Drive Between Dallas and San Antonio
Here are some final tips to help you plan your Dallas to San Antonio drive:
- The route from Dallas to San Antonio is entirely in big ol’ Texas.
- The major city along the route between Dallas and San Antonio is Austin.
- Austin is roughly the halfway point on this drive. This is the best place to stop if you need to stop and stretch your legs.
- Austin is also the best place for an overnight stop if you decide to make the 4.5-hour drive from Dallas to San Antonio across two days.
- There are several rest stops on the drive between Dallas to San Antonio: Hill County and Bell County are the main ones. All of these are also accessible if traveling northbound. There’s also a rest area in Kingsbury near where TX-130 meets I-10 but it requires going eastbound a few miles out of your way.
- There are plenty of gas stations and truck stops along the entire route if you need fuel, toilets, snacks, or other services.
Should You Fly Between Dallas and San Antonio Instead
It obviously depends on why you need too get from Dallas to San Antonio when you’re trying to decide to drive or fly. Flying is faster, since it’s a 65-minute non-stop flight; even including airport time, it’s still faster than driving. That said, there are obviously cool sights to see some of the sights between Dallas and San Antonio and TX-130 is the only place in the U.S. where you can legally drive 85 miles per hour!
In the end, it’s up to you. If you’re short on time, consider flying between Dallas and San Antonio; if you want a leisurely trip or to explore more, driving is the better option.
Have other questions about the drive between San Antonio and Dallas? Let me know in the comments!