After living in Los Angeles for over a year, I decided to make a big life change: move back to Austin, Texas to focus on my creative side and my travels! We decided to expand the 2-3 day journey into a week in order to explore places we’d never seen before. We are travelers after all, right?
This guide series will enlighten you on stops to make while driving from Los Angeles to Austin starting with stops in California. Keep following the series for further information on stops in the other states.
When coming to Texas from Santa Fe, we passed through Roswell like I mentioned in my previous post, and our first big stop was Marfa, Texas. About 30 miles out from Marfa, you’ll pass by an abandoned Prada store. This is the part of Texas that is mysterious and leaves food for thought.
Once an old, small town with not much to it, Marfa has grown into a tourist, “hipster” town with it’s strange, alien lights bringing more and more people to witness them everyday. These lights are only a few miles out from downtown and display almost like three bright stars that arbitrarily twirl around and disappear in the evenings. No one knows where these lights come from or why they have remained in the same spot for over a hundred years. Some say it’s simply the headlight’s reflection from the cars passing on the highway, but many others are not so sure this is the case. It’s also believed that James Dean used to watch the lights frequently during the filming of the movie “Giant.”
When you’re not watching the lights, there are plenty of places to eat at for any time of the day. We thoroughly enjoyed the nachos at Planet Marfa where they have a quirky outdoor patio featuring a large teepee, a vintage school bus, and an eclectic display of rooms where one can sit and enjoy a drink.
For breakfast, I highly recommend Buns N Roses, but be prepared to wait the longer you take to get there as it gets pretty busy in the mornings.
For sleep, we decided to skip AirBnB this time and stay at the El Cosmico. This hip resort is filled with teepees, safari tents, and space for regular camping. When we arrived, they were having a live poetry reading(that’s how hipster this place is, y’all), followed by a free, all-you-can-eat potluck.
If you have time after Marfa, I definitely suggest going to Big Bend National Park and camping if you stay the night, or just spend a few hours there enjoying a nice hike.
Some more hiking can be had here on your way down to San Antonio. It’s a little out of the way if you decide to stop here, but it’s absolutely worth it. Fredericksburg is known for its massive rock called Enchanted Rock, which provides stunning views. It is a bit of a hike, especially when it’s hot outside, so be prepared with plenty of water!
After hiking the rock, head downtown to Main Street where many shops and wineries are located. It is allowed to carry open containers of alcohol in public here, so you can walk the streets with a drink in hand while you shop!
From the Alamo to the Riverwalk, San Antonio is the city that best encompasses Texas history. The Alamo is now a nice walk-through museum that highlights the battle fought there once upon a time ago.
After leaving the Alamo, lunch and/or dinner on the Riverwalk is the perfect way to enjoy a meal. If you’re looking for something fancy, dine at Bella’s on the River, and if you’re looking for something casual, Mad Dog’s is an Irish pub with a fun atmosphere.
To stay the night in San Antonio, I really enjoy the Menger (mainly because it’s believed to be haunted and I love ghosts!), but it’s also a beautiful, Victorian-era hotel with historic properties to match the rest of your history lessons in the city!
This is a small, but really fun town, that not many bloggers post about (you’re welcome)!
If it’s a nice day when you’re driving through here, you MUST fill a cooler with some drinks and float the river! This consists of riding tubes with friends down the river for about a 3-4 hour ride.
For extra fun on your float, be sure to stop at the “Shotgun Islands.”
If you’re here during the month of November, a large German festival titled Wurstfest is held where people from all over the state, and out-of, come to drink beer straight from the pitcher, eat amazing bratwurst, and ride some rides!
Gruene, Texas is a little niche within New Braunfels that consists of wineries, some fantastic restaurants on the river, and the oldest dance hall in Texas. Check out Gruene Hall’s calender for artists and showtimes by going to their website!
When you’ve finished enjoying the day and evening here, we always stay at the Faust hotel, another historic hotel with a few ghost stories and a 20’s era feel.
The very last stop in the road trip series. Austin is not only the capitol of Texas, but it’s definitely the most unique city in the state.
Having a reputation for being weird, Austin prides itself on its abundant, quirky small businesses, its active and healthy way of life, and its tolerance for pets almost everywhere! I have been to a lot of American cities, but none of them quite match the charm that Austin has. No wonder over 100 people move here everyday!
For a full on guide to Austin, check out my blog post Your Ultimate Austin Itinerary!
That’s a wrap on the Los Angeles to Austin road trip series! If you would like to start from the beginning of the series, click here.
Are you ready to travel the Southwest? Ask me questions or comment with your thoughts below in the comment section!