25 of the Best Things to See and Do (and Eat) on I-35 in Texas

I-35 spans a lot of Texas, from Gainesville to Laredo, and here’s our list of some of the best stops along the way!


1.  Gainesville gives you the Frank Buck Zoo and Leonard Park Train  They’re both a lot of fun to get out and walk around and stretch your legs for a bit.  We love historic downtown’s and Sarah’s on the Square is a cute restaurant serving breakfast and lunch 5 days a week, and dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.

2. Valley View  There’s not a lot to see in this little town, but Whiskey Hollow Distillery is worth a stop!  You can purchase a flight of their moonshine, or for $10 take a tour.  Rider’s Smokehouse’s meatloaf is worth a drive to get, and don’t miss out on their BBQ beans!

3.  Sanger  I love the little square in Sanger, and while the busiest restaurants on the square may be Babe’s Chicken Dinner House, which is a definitely must if you’ve never been, the American Eggrolls at Bolivar Street BBQ are Road Trip Worthy!

4.  Denton   A little off the highway, but the Denton Courthouse Square has great restaurants and shops!  We love LSA Burger Company!

I-35 gets a little complicated South of Denton, as it splits to go to Dallas on I-35E and Fort Worth on I-35W.  The highway then merges back together South of Fort Worth.  

I-35 E

5. Lewisville  For a fun break to play on the water, check out Sneaky Pete’s Restaurant on Lake Lewisville.  Dine poolside and let the kids cool off in the pool or play sand volleyball at this fun, lakeside restaurant!

6.  Carrollton  Downtown Carrollton has fun restaurants and you can go rock climbing in the old Carrollton Grain Silos!

The Perot Museum, Dallas

7.  Dallas  Of course, Dallas has great things to do not too far off the Interstate!  Watch a medieval knights dinner and show at Medieval Times, visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, or see the city from atop Reunion Arena!  Animal lovers can explore the Aquarium of the Americas or the Dallas Zoo!

Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas

8.  Waxahachie  Spend an hour walking the Courthouse Square in this scenic little town South of Dallas, filled with cute boutiques and antique shops!

I-35 W

9.  Fort Worth  The first of 3 Bucee’s on I-35 is in Fort Worth, at the Texas Motor Speedway exit!  Just North of Downtown Fort Worth, the Historic Stockyards has great restaurants, shops and daily cattle drives.

10. Burleson  Old Town Burleson has fun restaurants and shops!  We love Grumps Burgers!

11. Hillsboro  In addition to the few stores still open at the Hillsboro Outlets, check out the Historic Hill County Jail Museum, where Elvis once spent the night while stationed in Texas!  On the Courthouse Square, check out A Tisket A Tasket Soda Fountain for great sandwiches, burgers and ice cream!

12. West  One simply does not drive through West.  It’s almost mandatory to pull off at the Czech Stop for kolaches!  On the South Bound side of the highway, Slovacek’s offers up tasty sausage and kolaches and has a nice dog park for pup breaks, too.

13. Waco   There is so much to do in Waco, and most of it is close to the interstate!  If you’re going early enough, a stop at the Magnolia Table of Fixer Upper fame is always fun and tasty!  A few other favorite restaurants are Health Camp right next door or Buzzard Billy’s on the river!  To stretch your legs, take a hike up Jacob’s Ladder, visit the Cameron Park Zoo or Mayborn Museum, or take a walk around the artisan craftsman shops at Heritage Homestead.  A visit to Waco isn’t complete without a shopping trip to the Magnolia Silos!

14.  Temple   The 2nd Buc-ees on I-35 is in Temple, and stretch your legs at the Czech Heritage Museum.

15.  Belton   A quick hike to Chalk Ridge Falls will get your circulation moving, or let the kids play at Nolan Creek just off the Courthouse Square.  We love the Gin at Nolan Creek for a nice patio lunch overlooking the creek, or Dead Fish Grill in Belton overlooking beautiful Lake Belton!  To cool off on a summer day, head over to Stillhouse Hollow Park on Stillhouse Hollow Lake, with rocky shores and clear blue water!

16. Salado  A fun artisan community, you can take a walk to the various galleries in town, and stop by Salado Glassblowers.  We enjoy The Shed’s burgers and pizza!

17.  Georgetown  My favorite restaurant, the Monument Cafe has great food and a fun shop and garden to explore after you eat!  You’ll enjoy a tour of Innerspace Caverns just off I-35, which was actually discovered during the construction of  the highway!  Named the Most Beautiful Town Square in Texas, you’ll want to browse the fun shops!  Last, cool off at the Blue Hole on the San Marcos River, a fun and free swimming destination.

18.  Round Rock   There’s usually a line, and for good reason, at the famous Round Rock Donuts.  Spend a fun hour bowling at Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl, an ocean-themed bowling alley, or watch the Houston Astros AAA team, the Round Rock Express play a game during the summer!

19.  Austin  Take a tour of the Texas State Capitol, visit the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, go shopping on South Congress or watch the Bats at dusk on the Congress Ave. Bridge.  Watch the sunset at the Oasis on Lake Travis, or a one of a kind donut at Gourdough’s!  The Austin Duck Tour is a blast!

20  San Marcos  Grab a tube and enjoy the beautiful San Marcos River!  We love the Lions Club Tube Rental and Texas State Tubes.  The Glass Bottom Boat Tours on Spring Lake are another wonderful way to get out on the water!  We love the Porch in Downtown San Marcos and Ivar’s Rio Vista Pub at Rio Vista Park, then a fun dip down the falls!

The Float In New Braunfels Texas

21. New Braunfels  Start your day at Naegelin’s Bakery, Texas’ oldest!  Tube the chute at Prince Solm’s Park on the Comal River, splash at Landa Park’s Historic Swimming Pool or spend a day floating the Guadalupe River!  Schlitterbahn Waterpark, voted the best in the nation, is always a wonderful!

The San Antonio Zoo

22. San Antonio  A visit to the Historic Alamo and the Riverwalk is a must when in San Antonio!  Casa Rio on the Riverwalk offers authentic Tex Mex as you watch the river boat tours!  Further down the riverwalk, Brackenridge Park has the Japanese Tea Gardens, San Antonio Zoo, Witte Museum, Do Seum Children’s Museum and so much more!  We love Guenther House and Flour Mill!

23.  Lytle  Stop for a chicken fried steak at the Railhead Cafe!

24. Devine  Let the kids run and play at Devine Acres Farm!  The farm offers fun seasonal activities for the whole family!

25.  Laredo  Visit beautiful Lake Casa Blanca International State Park, with amazing birding and a perfect place to see a Texas Horned Lizard!  The South Texas Imaginarium is a great place for families, and we love the many amazing Mexican restaurants!


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