The Three Best Houston Scenic Drives

October 2nd, 2022 by
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz in a forest

Houston is a city of cars, trucks, SUVs—and interstates. That’s well and good when you need to get somewhere in a hurry, but what if you want to spend some time in nature? There are thousands of ways to answer the question, “Where can I drive around in Houston?”, but if you’ve come this far, then let us show you the best Houston scenic drives. Whether you’re hoping to kill a few hours or you’re spending the whole day on the road, you’ll find ready-made plans right here.

Drive North to the Sam Houston National Forest

There’s a National Forest just 45 minutes north of the Houston city center, and driving out in that direction can afford you some pretty impressive views. Head north on I-45 toward Conroe and get ready for adventure.

  • If you don’t have time to spend in the forest, we recommend that you make a loop by taking the Willis exit on I-45 and drive right over Lake Conroe as you make your way west toward Montgomery.
  • If you’ve got more time, continue through the forest and soak up the light that comes through the trees. 
  • For even more magic, keep going on I-45 until you hit Pinedale Road, and take that exit east. This is real backroads driving for those who want to get away from it all—and you’ll eventually reach the place known as the best spot for scuba diving in Texas: The Blue Lagoon. Continuing on Pinedale will take you toward Highway 247, where you can enjoy more of the idyllic countryside as you make your way back toward Huntsville.

For something a little different—but still close to the forest—try heading up I-59 toward Livingston. Then get off the interstate, and take highway 190 west until you reach Woodville. Taking highway 69 north from there will eventually land you in the Angelina National Forest. It’s certainly not a bad idea to drive across Lake Sam Rayburn while you’re there, so plan on taking highway 147 farther north once you reach Zavalla. 

Drive West to the Hill Country

What’s the prettiest drive in Texas? Just about every list you encounter will take you toward the Hill Country in the center of the state. For the full experience, it’s worth taking the four-hour drive from Houston to Fredericksburg, and then heading back to Houston along whichever backroads you like. This destination might feel far from home, but it’s perfect for a day-trip or a weekend getaway.

Taking highway 290 for most of the journey will take a little bit longer than taking I-10, but trust us when we say that you won’t regret it. This route will generally take you down 290 and, as part of a brief detour, through Austin on highways 21 and 71. With that said, you can always skip the city by routing yourself down the backroads that lead through Creedmoor, Buda, Driftwood, and Dripping Springs—listed here from east to west. In fact, we think these secluded winding roads make for some pretty enjoyable driving all on their own!

Head South to Galveston—or Brazos Bend State Park

You’ll find that two very different experiences await you less than an hour south of Houston. Brazos Bend is an incredible place to soak up the natural backcountry beauty of Texas and see a few alligators in the wild. Plus, it’s less than an hour from the city center. With that said, a trip to Brazos Bend only makes for the second-best Houston scenic drive south of the city—at least on its own.

For a beachside driving experience unlike any other, you’ve got a couple of options. If you’re already in Brazos Bend, you can take highway 25, hop on highway 35 toward West Columbia for a few minutes, and then take highway 36 south until you reach Brazoria. From there, you can get on highway 332 and take it all the way to the coast. Trying to get out to the beach in a hurry? Take Interstate 45 south from Houston to Galveston.

Regardless of whether you start at the edge of Lake Jackson or in Galveston, you can drive northeast right along the coast—and even take the ferry from Galveston to Port Bolivar. The seaside journey continues from there, and you can complete the circuit by taking highway 124 north to Interstate 10. From there, head west back into Houston.

Navigate Houston with Humble Hyundai

So, what’s the most scenic drive in Texas? Depending on how much time you’ve spent in the area, you might be surprised to learn how much there is to see just outside of Houston! If you’re looking for more scenic drives in our neighborhood, all you need to do is reach out and ask our team for recommendations. After all, we want you to make the most of your new or pre-owned Hyundai.


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