Finding the Best Scenic Drives in Texas

Sunny Daytime Road


At Rusty Wallis Volkswagen, we’re proud Texans and automotive enthusiasts. If you live in Garland or DFW, and you’re looking to hit the back roads for a cruise in our massive state, you’ll have a few thousand options. To narrow the scope, we recommend Mesquite drivers think of Texas in 6 regions — each the size of a large European country. These regions include the Gulf Coast, the Hill Country, the East Texas Piney Woods, North Central Texas, the Panhandle, South Texas, and West Texas. Needless to say, there are hundreds of iconic drives in the Lone Star State, and starting your research with a region will help you narrow down your options.

First, ask yourself what kind of scenic beauty you prefer:

  • Perhaps you’re looking for something coastal along the island chains, dune preserves, and beach towns of the gulf?
  • Maybe your tastes are drawn to the rolling hills and wine-country of Central Texas.
  • If you’re looking for abandoned Spanish missions, endless plains, and plenty of great Mexican restaurants to stop at along the way, we recommend South Texas.
  • The East Texas Piney Woods and bayous of Caddo Lake are also quite charming.
  • The farm and ranch land of North Central Texas offers worthwhile pastoral vistas, though we understand if Dallas drivers are looking for something more exotic. Still, if you haven’t spent much time around the Trinity River, Red River, or surrounding remnants of Black Land prairie, there’s plenty to see.
  • The hard-scrabble and tumbleweeds of the Pan Handle serve up the look and feel of a Texas seen in the movies. The Pan Handle also features some of the biggest skies in a state known for its huge horizons.
  • Last but not least, West Texas features some of the wildest, loneliest, and most sublime terrain in the American Southwest. When you read Cormac McCarthy novels, this is where they’re set. It’s also home to the world-famous Lonesome Highway in the Guadalupe Mountains of far West Texas. The most profoundly beautiful drives in the Yellow Rose are around the Rio Grande and Big Bend.

Our Top Three Picks: Best Scenic Drives in Texas

We assume that Mesquite drivers have already heard plenty about the Lonesome Highway in West Texas, but we’ve included it, regardless, because it rightfully deserves a top slot. If you haven’t made the trip, it’s a must. We’ve also included two other recommendations, but as we mentioned earlier, the list of world-class joyrides in the Blue Bonnet State is lengthy. Take a look at our picks below to simply begin your research:

The Lonesome Highway

The most famous scenic drive on our list is the Lonesome Highway in the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas—the one you might remember from the Hank Williams song. This 59-mile stretch in the Chihuahuan Desert is just north of El Paso on the border with Mexico. It’s so remote that we’d be surprised if you saw another car on your trip. To get there, head west on Highway 285 until you hit Highway 180.

Highway Sixteen

The Hill Country of Central Texas is one of the most gorgeous locales in the U.S. Imagine the lushness of Napa Valley with more wildflowers and a distinctly Southwestern flair (cacti, boulders, and bluffs). Located in Fredericksburg, Highway Sixteen takes you right through some of the most beautiful stretches of Hill Country. We recommend taking this drive in the spring or early summer for the Blue Bonnets.

Don’t forget to stop by Enchanted Rock, an exfoliated Basalt dome and holy site to the Comanche Nation. This massive, light-pink, boulder-studded dome is one of the strangest looking works of geology in the great state. Speaking of weird, did we mention that several ponds on the head of the dome are home to naturally occurring populations of Fairy Shrimp?

Route 66

“Get your kicks on Route 66,” sang Nat King Cole. He wasn’t lying. Between billionaire eccentric Stanley Marsh’s Cadillac Ranch and his Floating Mesa, the Texas Panhandle stretch of Route 66 maintains its reputation for weird scenes. Numerous ghost towns dot a landscape of ranches that have been grazed to smithereens, and are now home to herds of rolling tumbleweeds. To this day, the dust bowl remains quite dusty and depressed, but its gloom is potent with history, poetry, and cultural depth. After all, we can thank the peculiar beauty of the Pan Handle’s wide open spaces for Buddy Holly and Hank Williams.

Need a Car for Your Lonesome Highway West Texas Joy Ride?

If you think you’re due to upgrade your ride, and you want something that’s going to be fun to drive down the Lonesome Highway in the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas, give Rusty Wallis Volkswagen a call. We’re located in Garland, and can help you get a great deal on a Volkswagen model in DFW. Just explore our new vehicle specials and contact us to book your test drive!

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