Driving from Florida to Texas can be a very long drive, depending where you start and end. It can also be a very fun road trip! Here are some places to stop along the route from the Sunshine State to the Lone Star State.
Since this road trip was also a “moving to Texas” trip for my friend, we left from Deland, Florida where we went to college. If you happen to start here, or pass by Deland, stop at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill! The Sugar Mill is a restaurant about 15 minuets from Deland in Deleon Springs. Here you can make your own pancakes on the griddle at your table!
The food is amazing! Make sure to try the buckwheat pancakes with all the different syrups they offer. They also have a swimming hole, a pond to kayak in and a handful of hiking trails.
Ocala National Forrest
If you have started at some point before Deland you will most likely pass through Ocala National Forrest. If you have time to stop and hike, do so! The trails are more like a walk in the woods but it’s calming and a nice excuse to get out of the car for a bit.
From Deland it is a six hour drive to Pensacola. Depending on when you left it will most likely be dark and you will be ready for bed. Grab a cheap hotel and get some shut eye.
While we didn’t end up doing anything in the city beside visiting friends, there is lots to check out. So, if you have the time, see what events they have going on, head downtown or check out the bay.
Pensacola is in the panhandle of Florida so it will feel like forever to drive through. Be warned, this is where it starts to get cold if you are driving in the winter months. Yes, it does get cold in Florida.
Florida welcome center
When heading out of Florida, stop by the Florida Welcome Center. Here you can sample Florida oranges and check out some baby alligators. Browse around at all the interesting souvenirs they have for sale like gator heads, shark teeth and just about everything you can think of made out of sea shells. While you are loading up on road trip snacks, if beef jerky is your thing, pick up some alligator jerky to try.
In Robertsdale you will find the Derailed Diner right along your route. It is a transportation themed diner and gift store. Even if you are not in the mood for food it is a great stop to see something new and different.
If you are looking for food, it’s also a great stopping point to get something to eat. Or ,if you are not up for a full meal, try the cheese cake! It is absolutely amazing and you can munch on it from the bed of a pickup truck. Make sure you have some time when you stop here. Even though we only ordered cheese cake it took them about 45 minuets to bring us a slice. (To be fair, we stopped there about 3 years ago, so the service could be quicker now.)
Biloxi Mississippi is a beautiful small town. It’s a great stop to get out, stretch your legs, and get some fresh air. So, take a long walk on the board walk and out to sea.
Stop into the welcome center and browse around. Here you can find some beautiful artwork that represent the state. Besides the paintings and sculptures, the building itself is beautiful and worth a quick stop in.
Of course, a road trip wouldn’t be a road trip without stopping by a giant road side attraction. So on your way through Gulfport, stop at the world’s largest rocking chair.
If you have never been to NOLA, or if you go all the time, it is always worth the stop! When you step into the French quarter it is like entering a whole different country. There are so many different foods to try, such as beignets, crawfish, po’boys, creole chocolate, and much more.
There is also so much to see! Stroll down Bourbon Street, take a ride on the Mississippi, and your future told! If you are looking for a more detailed list, check out my post, “The Big Easy!”. If you are only here for a few hours, make sure you go to Cafe Du Monde for some amazing beignets!
After another day of over six hours of driving, why not spend the night in the capital city of Louisiana. In the morning check out one of the many museums, tour the college campus or stop by the capitol building. There is plenty to occupy your time.
For another road side attraction, head to the world’s biggest working fire hydrant. You should stop here because… why not?
Welcome to the big city! Huston is nothing like you would expect. Without the accents, trucks, and cowboy hats, you would have no idea you were in Texas. While the city itself has an upscale feel, thanks to the higher prices and tall glass buildings, if you walk away from the main shopping areas you can still find a little bit of Texas in the shops and food.
While in Huston (and Texas in general) you have to try some Mexican food! Apparently Mexican food is a big staple in Texas. I can see why since they are so close to Mexico. You should have no problem finding an authentic (and by “authentic” I do mean “American-style authentic”) Mexican restaurant.
“Keep it weird,” is Austin’s slogan, and if you spend a good amount of time in the town it is not hard to see why. Head to downtown Austin where the hipster vibe is strong. It’s a comfortable town that has a home grown feel to it. It’s worth a pit stop, even just to walk along the main drive.
Graffiti park is another cool point to stop at along the route. If you are into art (or not) plan on taking a pit stop here. It’s a broken down, stone structure that is completely covered in graffiti. You can climb to the top and check out all the art work on the way up.
Along the Route
As you continue your drive you will pass lots of stereotypical Texas things. (While driving an actual tumble weed crossed our path.) Keep an eye out for places to stop, even if it is just big horns that you have never seen before!
Brady Texas is not exactly a must see. However, it will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s a one gas station type of town where everyone knows everyone. We stopped off to get gas and pulled up to the one pump they had. We both got out to grab some drinks and fill the car with gas. My friend forgot her wallet and when she went to go back and get it… the car was locked…and the keys were inside.
It didn’t take 10 minutes after trying to get in the car and going inside the store to call for help, for at least two different people to say to us, “I heard you locked your keys in the car”…..HOW DID YOU HEAR THIS?! Long story short, the lady working at the store called her friend who lived down the street to bring some tools to help us get in. He rolled up in his pickup truck and actually said to us, “Where there’s a redneck there’s a way.” He was awesome! And he got our car unlocked.
So, I will always remember Brady, the man who came to our rescue and the time we prevented an entire town from getting gas because we locked our keys in the car.
Between Brady and Midland you will drive through miles and miles of open land and oil fields. Take in the open road while you can and keep an eye on the view.
There isn’t too much to do in Midland, but it was our final stop. If you are there during the holidays, take a drive and admire all the Christmas lights and beautifully built houses. If not, you can check out downtown or hit the water park.
Make sure you pack lots of snacks and have a good music playlist for your trip because driving to and through Texas is long. Once you hit Texas you can drive for miles and see nothing but open road. However long and seemingly unending the drive it, it is also beautiful and there is lots to see along the way.