Take a trip north through the Lone Star State, driving from El Paso to Dallas, Texas. This trip is an explorer's dream, offering a blend of urban chic and rugged beauty, from the understated charm of the Chihuahuan desert to the bustling cosmopolitan energy of Dallas.
The 700-mile drive from El Paso to Dallas takes a 10-hour, 40-minute drive through Lubbock, Texas. On this route, you'll also pass Carlsbad and Sweetwater Caverns. Alternatively, you can drive through Big Bend, Marfa and Austin National Park.
Your adventure starts here, buckle up and get ready to experience Texas like never before. Keep reading for more details on our favorite routes between El Paso and Dallas, as well as the best places to stop on your trip, recommended things to see and do, and the perfect time of year to take the trip to Big D.
How far is Dallas from El Paso and how long will the trip take?
|The Carlsbad Caverns Route||1000 miles||16 hours 30 minutes|
|Grand Curve Route||700 miles||10 hours 40 minutes|
If you choose the route plus Carlsbad Caverns, you'll have to cover about 700 miles. Following the major arteries of I-20 and I-10, the nonstop journey takes approximately 10 hours and 40 minutes.
Alternatively, you can take the scenic route, which we'll call The Big Bend Route. This trail is significantly longer at around 1,600 kilometers, which would take about 16 and a half hours to drive non-stop.
To make the most of your trip, we recommend covering a distance of between 3-4 days. That way, you're not just logging miles, but also enjoying and exploring Texas' rich diversity along the way.
The Best Road Trip from El Paso to Dallas
Both the Carlsbad Caverns Route and the Big Bend Route offer distinct and unique experiences despite having similar travel distances. Each one's charm lies in the type of scenery and sights you'd like to enjoy on your trip.
The Carlsbad Caverns Route is a fantastic option for anyone seeking the rugged charm of desert landscapes. Your journey will take you through a combination of scenic desert vistas and bustling urban centers.
Along the way, you'll find the thriving towns of Lubbock and Sweetwater. But the real gem on this drive is the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Here you can admire one of the most important cave systems in North America, a truly unique experience.
The Big Bend Route is perfect for anyone wanting the quintessential Texas experience. This route allows you to immerse yourself in Texas' diverse landscapes, from the cultural hubs of Austin and Fredericksburg to the majestic landmarks of Fort Stockton.
The focus of this trip, however, is Big Bend National Park. Offering a fascinating mix of mountains, forests and desert, this route is a naturalist's dream.
While the Carlsbad Caverns Route offers a more urban experience, the Big Bend Route strikes an attractive balance between city attractions and natural beauty.
How to drive from El Paso to Dallas
The map above shows our recommendations for the best travel routes between El Paso and Dallas, TX. Read on for detailed descriptions of both routes, where to stay on each, and the best things to do along the way.
The Carlsbad Caverns Route
Begin your journey heading east from El Paso on US-62, saying goodbye to the majestic desert landscapes that were your backdrop.
Continue along this route as you delve into New Mexico for a while, taking in the stark beauty of the desert that spills out on all sides. Don't miss the opportunity to stop at the famous Carlsbad Caverns, where you can admire the extensive network of underground caverns.
Continue along US-62 until you reach Lubbock, often known for its rugged terrain and extensive ranching. From Lubbock, set your compass southeast towards Sweetwater. Known as the wind turbine capital of Texas, Sweetwater won't be a sight you'll soon forget.
From Sweetwater, you must take Interstate 20 (I-20) through Fort Worth and Arlington before reaching your destination in Dallas.
Grand Curve Route
Start your trip from El Paso by heading east along the Mexico-Texas border on I-10. You'll soon arrive in Marfa, known for its vibrant arts scene and historic charm. Marfa is a pit stop you won't want to miss.
After soaking up Marfa's vibes, continue on until you reach Marathon. Here, head south to Big Bend National Park. The high mountains and dense forests are truly a sight to behold.
Head north to Fort Stockton, then continue east and you'll pass through Fredericksburg before reaching the bustling city of Austin.
Once you've seen Austin, head north through Waco. And just like that, you'll see the vibrant city lights of Dallas, marking the end of your adventurous journey through the Lone Star State.
Best Places to Stop Between Austin and San Antonio
A relaxing and luxurious hotel stay can make all the difference to your travel experience, even if the trip itself is filled with amazing things to see.
To make sure your trip from El Paso to Dallas impresses, we've picked our favorite places to stay along each route, along with some of the best things to do during your short pit stop.
Discover "the cultural gem of the southern plains", Lubbock
Halfway between El Paso and Dallas on the Carlsbad Caverns road, you'll arrive in Lubbock, a thriving city full of attractions, places to eat and fantastic places to rest your head at night.
Known as the cultural gem of the South Plains region, Lubbock is a hotspot for anyone wanting to experience local history and culture. Immerse yourself in the music and life of rock 'n' roll icon Buddy Holly at the Buddy Holly Center, a must-see for all music lovers.
For those with a penchant for history, Lubbock is home to the Silent Wings Museum, a tribute to the World War II glider pilots who trained in the area. Here, you'll discover the glider program's past, complete with military artifacts and a fully restored WACO CG-4A glider.
And for an experience you won't find anywhere else, visit the American Wind Power Center. This museum has one of the most extensive collections of windmills in the world and offers insight into the evolution of wind energy.
When it comes to where to stay,we cannot recommend the Cotton Court Hotel enough. Tucked away in the center of Lubbock, the location is perfect, bringing you close to all the city's must-see attractions.
The Cotton Court Hotel features a Texas-inspired design that incorporates modern industrial elements throughout. Each room is decorated with local artwork and furniture. Plus, dog lovers rejoice - this place is pet-friendly!
After a day of exploring, relax by the cozy fireplace in the lobby or take a dip in the stunning outdoor pool. The hotel also features an excellent on-site restaurant serving delicious Texas-inspired dishes and a selection of exquisitely crafted cocktails.
Relax at the gates of Big Bend National Park in Lajitas
Just off the midpoint of The Big Bend Route, Lajitas is an ideal gateway to Big Bend National and State Parks. These parks are an outdoor enthusiast's paradise, offering countless opportunities for mountain biking, rock climbing, wildlife photography and river exploration.
Located in Texas, Lajitas is famous for its luxury resort, breathtaking views and proximity to Big Bend Ranch State Park and Big Bend National Park. It's an enchanting stop for travelers looking to immerse themselves in the wild charm of the Big Bend region and the Chihuahuan Desert.
The city is located along the Rio Grande, the natural divide between the United States and Mexico. Here, you can enjoy paddle boarding, tubing and fishing while taking in the remarkable scenery of the Big Bend region from a unique perspective.
Another gem of an attraction near Big Bend National Park is Terlingua Ghost Town. This exciting spot is known for its quirky atmosphere, ancient appeal and fun annual festivities like the International Chili Cookoff Championship.
It is located in the heart of the Chihuahuan Desert, next to the Rio Grande and surrounded by high mountains.Lajitas Golf Resort swims in a stunning location. Beginners and professional golfers alike can test their skills on the 18-hole championship golf course, expertly designed by Lanny Wadkins.
The resort will be happy to arrange guided tours and excursions, including mountain biking, river expeditions and hiking in neighboring Big Bend National Park. Alternatively, guests can enjoy horse riding, bird watching tours and archaeological excavations on the resort's premises.
After an adventure-filled day at the park, relax at the luxurious full-service spa that offers a variety of treatments, including hot stone massages, detoxifying body wraps and facials, all inspired by native plant life and cultural practices.
While staying at this resort, be sure to experience delicious West Texas cuisine at the hotel's excellent restaurant.
Where to Stay When Arriving in Dallas
Dallas, Texas offers several accommodations, but this one stands outHotel ZaZa Dallas. Located in the vibrant Uptown neighborhood, this boutique hotel is known for its unique style, exceptional service and luxurious amenities.
The beautiful hotel, ideally located near the Dallas Arts District, offers luxurious rooms and suites, a full-service spa, an award-winning restaurant and a resort-style pool.
During your stay, be sure to visit the famous museums, art galleries and performance venues (including the Dallas Museum of Art and the Winspear Opera House) that are located nearby.
For shopping and dining, Hotel ZaZa Dallas is just a short distance away from McKinney Avenue: an area filled with upscale boutiques, cafes and gourmet restaurants. The free McKinney Avenue Trolley can take guests to the West Village, a popular area of Uptown Dallas, making the hotel even more attractive.
Finally, after a day of exploring, guests can relax at Monarch, the hotel's restaurant. Offering innovative dishes and beautiful views of the Dallas skyline, it is a top dining destination.
Poolside at ZaZa is also great for soaking up the Texas sun with a cocktail in hand. With its combination of luxury, prime location and hospitality, Hotel ZaZa Dallas is an excellent accommodation choice.
Things to See on a Road Trip from El Paso to Dallas
Although this trip's starting and ending points fall in Texas, the trip is deceptively diverse and full of interesting things to do.
To help you with your planning - and perhaps your decision between our two routes - we've listed our favorite things to see on the Carlsbad Caverns Route and the Big Bend Route from El Paso to Dallas below.
The Carlsbad Caverns Route
- Guadalupe Mountains National Park- This nature reserve is home to a variety of plant and animal species and is famous for its hiking trails and Pico Guadalupe, the highest peak in Texas. Offers breathtaking views of El Capitan.
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park- A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park features a unique labyrinth of caves. Admire the amazing limestone formations in this underground cave system.
- Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park- Located in Carlsbad, this zoo and botanical garden is a visual treat that showcases the plants and animals native to the Chihuahuan Desert.
- Roswell, New Mexico- A short detour from the route, Roswell is famous for the 1947 UFO incident. The International UFO Museum and Research Center, among other attractions, makes this a fascinating stop.
- Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge- This Texas sanctuary offers an impressive display of the state's diverse wildlife. It provides habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.
- Caprock Canyons State Park- Located in Quitaque, Texas, this state park has spectacular canyons and a herd of bison, as well as many recreational activities.
- Palo Duro Canyon State Park- The second largest canyon in the United States, it offers great hiking and biking opportunities, as well as spectacular views.
- Joyland Amusement Park- Located in Lubbock, this family-run amusement park offers lots of rides, games and entertainment. It's a fantastic destination for a family day out.
- Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic Site- This unique historic district in Fort Worth, Texas offers a glimpse of the Old West with its shops, restaurants and live entertainment.
Grand Curve Route
- Fort Leaton State Historic Site- Explore this 19th-century adobe fort and trading post and learn about the region's history while enjoying breathtaking views of the desert landscape.
- balmorhea state park- This park in Toyahvale is famous for having the largest natural swimming pool in the world. Swimming, snorkeling and observing the unique underwater ecosystem are must-do activities.
- mcdonald observatory- Located in Fort Davis, this remarkable observatory offers day trips, sun watching and nightly star parties. Explore the universe, use the powerful telescopes and admire the beauty of the night sky.
- Fort Davis National Historic Site- This well-preserved 19th-century military outpost offers an insight into frontier life. You can discover the fort's role in protecting settlers and travelers and take part in living history demonstrations.
- Rocha Encantada State Natural Area- Located in Fredericksburg, this site features a large pink granite rock formation that rises 130 meters above the ground. Walk the paths around the rock and enjoy the incredible panoramic view from the top.
- Pedernales Falls State Park- In Johnson City, this park features waterfalls along the Pedernales River. You can hike, swim, bird watch and relax in nature.
- hamilton pool cream- This stunning natural pool in Dripping Springs, with a 50-foot waterfall, is surrounded by limestone cliffs and lush vegetation. It is an ideal place for swimming and picnics.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center- This beautiful botanical garden in Austin preserves and displays plants native to Texas. Enjoy exploring the gardens, guided tours and educational programs.
- Zilker Park- A sprawling urban park in Austin, offering recreational facilities such as playgrounds, fields and picnic areas, as well as the famous Barton Springs Natural Pool, perfect for swimming and relaxing.
- Texas State Capitol– Located in Austin, this building is an impressive architectural landmark and the seat of the Texas state government. You can take guided tours to learn about the history, architecture and legislative processes of this iconic building.
Best time to travel from El Paso to Dallas
Dallas, Texas is known for its humid subtropical climate, creating a variety of weather conditions throughout the year. Each season offers a unique experience for travelers, making Dallas a versatile destination.
Summers in Dallas are characterized by hot, humid conditions, with average highs ranging from the mid-90s to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Despite the heat and humidity, the cooler nights offer a great opportunity to explore Dallas' vibrant nightlife.
Dallas experiences mild winters with average daily highs in the 50s to 60s Fahrenheit. However, temperatures can drop into the 30s Fahrenheit at night. The city tends to take advantage of sunny winter days, making it attractive to those looking to escape the harshest winter climates.
The spring and fall seasons offer comfortable weather, with average highs ranging from 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit in the spring and mid-70s to mid-80s in the fall. These times tend to have less tourist traffic, creating a relaxed atmosphere and potentially offering more affordable accommodation.
Dallas hosts the Texas State Fair every year from late September through October. This huge event features carnival rides, concerts, car shows and a variety of foods, drawing huge crowds. Planning your trip around these events can add an unforgettable touch to your experience.