New Braunfels north on good ol I-35

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Well-known member
Jun 18, 2013
Not having been in this part of the state in awhile, we will be going home via 35.  So, are the traffic nightmares of Austin and maybe Ft Worth, really that?  Is it bad anytime during the day or try and hit mid-morning or early afternoon?  Not sure about a loop in Austin or is that a pipe dream?
Yes, I-35 through Austin is a nightmare.  We travel that route about 4 times each year in both directions.  We live in San Antonio and visit our daughter just north of Dallas.

I usually just bite the bullet and drive though Austin on I-35.  I plan our drive to arrive in San Marcos (about 25-30 miles S of Austin) no earlier than about 9am.  It usually takes me about 1:30 hours or a little more to get from San Marcos to Georgetown a distance of about 55 miles.  Use your smart phone and check for traffic problems as you leave San Marcos. 

You can take the tollway around Austin.  It is about 25miles longer than I-35.  In a car with an 80mph speed limit that is not so bad.  Tolls for a 2 axle vehicle will be about $20.  If you are towing they may hit you up as a 4 axle vehicle and the tolls will be in the $30-$35 range.  They will mail you a bill.  Expect the bill to come a month or two later. 

Two reasons I just drive through on I-35.  I get about 8 miles to the gallon so in addition to the tolls I add the cost of fuel.  Then since I drive at about 55-60mph I am looking at good 30 minutes to go the extra miles.  It is more relaxing to take the toll road, but time wise and cost I just don't think it is worth it.

The Dallas/Fort Worth is no fun either.  Depending on construction on I-35W going I-35W is shorter than I-35E through Dallas. 

Just driving up I-35 is no fun even without Austin and Dallas.  Lots and lots of traffic. 

I would not recommend going through Austin and Dallas/FW in the same day.  Much easier to make it a 2 day trip. 

If you have the time an alternate route is US-281 from San Antonio to north of DFW.  Much prettier drive, but slower.  Pick out some State Parks along the way.  Inks Lake SP is one. 

If you are coming up from the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) on US-77 just stay on US-77 to Waco.  This bypasses both San Antonio and Austin. 

BTW, if you do come up I-35E though Dallas, this is the route I take:
--  I-35E to I-20, then W on I-20 to Spur 408.
--  North on Spur 408 turns into Loop 12, which takes you back to I-35E just south of I-635. 

I always take that route instead of going through downtown Dallas in I-35E.  It is only about 4 miles longer and a much easier drive.  Going north on Loop 12, plan on  after 9:30 am and before 3pm.
Depending on where you start, take 281 all the way north out of San Antonio. That is the easiest way north from there.
Thanks.  It will be 281 all the way.  We are now outside Johnson City, so it?s a no-brainer.
My dad lives in Kerrville and he takes 16 all the way to 20 now.
He says it is less traffic, we will try it next time.
seanR said:
My dad lives in Kerrville and he takes 16 all the way to 20 now.
He says it is less traffic, we will try it next time.
Just DON'T take SR-16 from Bandera to Kerville in an RV.  There is a really tight several miles with very sharp turns.  Anything over about 30' is not likely to make the turn w/o going well over the center stripe.  Take SR-173 from Bandera to Kerrville.

BTW, SR-16 is a pretty decent road, however it will be slower driving than US-281.  Parts of the SR-16 are a normal width 2 lane hwy with NO shoulders. Pretty curvy in spots as well.  Pretty drive though.
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