Road trip from Kansas City to Houston - activity suggestions
April 23, 2010 6:54 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I are making a road trip from Kansas City to Houston, TX, in mid-May. We like to explore small towns, eat at local diners, take tours, etc. What are your recommendations? We'll take either I-45 or I-35, and probably use some side-roads.
posted by esnyder to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Why not US-71 and/or US-69 and/or US-59? There are lots of small towns along each of them, although only 59 goes to "directly" to Houston. No US route really goes directly anywhere, though. :p

In Oklahoma, you've got Picher, where you can see what happens when people mine a bunch of lead and leave piles of the leftovers everywhere, a nice winery in Haskell (or the one over in Drumright), the runestone at Heavener, and many other things I'm forgetting, I'm sure.

In Arkansas, there's several civil war battlefields, some nice state parks, and 8 bazillion small towns. (And "scenic" US-71 between Fayetteville and Alma is a rather pleasant drive now that it's not choked with traffic)
posted by wierdo at 7:03 PM on April 23, 2010

If you don't mind a 2 hour detour, you should go to sodolak's original country inn in snook, tx. CHICKEN FRIED BACON. It's divine.
posted by wooh at 7:10 PM on April 23, 2010

Between Dallas and Austin on I-35, there are great little Czech bakeries. Czech Stop and Nemecek Brothers in West, Texas, are two common favorites.
posted by lunalaguna at 7:16 PM on April 23, 2010 [1 favorite]

Agreeing with the two posts above...the Czech Stop was even featured in Texas Monthly magazine a couple months ago but it is out of your way.
posted by tamitang at 7:23 PM on April 23, 2010

there are a million places to see, and exploring nooks and crannies on your own is as valid as advice from mefites.

i just came in here to say it's going to be hot. not "omg kill me" hot yet, most likely, but possibly hotter than you expect. it's on the verge of Texas Hot (which happens during all of June, July, and August). prepare accordingly for maximum roadtrip enjoyment.
posted by radiosilents at 7:33 PM on April 23, 2010

Best answer: I've always had good luck with Roadside America and Roadfood for this kind of thing.
posted by unknowncommand at 7:56 PM on April 23, 2010

Make sure to get ice cream at Braum's while passing through OK. There are many of them.
posted by jferg at 8:40 PM on April 23, 2010

Best answer: Search around Chowhound a bit.

Highway 59 is not fun. Don't take it.

My wife and I just took a trip to OKC. If you and/or your boyfriend are/is into beer, here's a brief and incomplete OKC beer roundup [self-link]. Shorter version: stay out of Bricktown and drink Coop and/or Marshall beers.

Also, you'd have virtually no reason in the world to swing over to Abilene, KS on your way, but be advised that you can get fantastic bierocks at the Daylight Donuts shop there. Just, so you know.
posted by cog_nate at 9:14 PM on April 23, 2010

You didn't try Choc beer, cog_nate? But, but, backstory!

If you're taking I-35 to Dallas (or a rough approximation), you should stop in the lovely college town of Denton, just north of Dallas. Poke around, get lunch at the Denton County Independent Hamburger Company, and the very cool Recycled Books is just across the square.

If you're planning on stopping in the Oklahoma City area, I can do you a list of off-path restaurants. For small-town charm, you might start with Choctaw, 20 minutes east of OKC, and the Old Germany. For a diner, I'd go with the imaginatively named, 110-year-old The Diner, in the old downtown Main Street area of Norman, a few blocks northeast of the University of Oklahoma.

A bit north of Oklahoma City on I-35, you'll pass the old territorial capitol of Guthrie. Guthrie is... how can I put this... the biggest individual concentration of bed-and-breakfasts in Oklahoma. They have "replica trolley cars" and "territorial-style entertainment". That may be what you're looking for, it may not be; I hear the antiquing's good.
posted by ormondsacker at 12:12 AM on April 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're taking US 75 you'll go through Bartlesville and Tulsa, OK. In my opinion, this is the only civilized route. In Bartlesville, you can see the Price Tower. Catoosa, OK isn't too far off your path, and you can see this there. It's breathtaking. Catoosa, BTW, is the furthest inland port in the world.

While you're in Tulsa, you must eat coneys. Seriously. I recommend Jim's Never on Sunday They also have Greek food- but get the coneys.

A couple hours South, there's a Confederate Memorial Museum in Atoka, OK.

And there are plenty of casinos between the state lines in OK. You'll go through the Osage Nation, the Creek Nation, and the Choctaw Nation on your way. They all have casinos, and some of them are pretty nice.
posted by Shohn at 6:18 AM on April 24, 2010

Best answer: You should really go via Austin, even if it's a bit out of the way. Once there hit Guadelupe street near the UT campus and Congress across from the capitol, it's the best way to experience the wonderful weird that is Austin. Outside of Houston you can stop in Shiner and take a tour of the Shiner brewing facility where you get 5 tokens for 5 free beers to be drank on site, the beer will be new ones they are testing out.
posted by ExitPursuedByBear at 6:51 AM on April 24, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the great suggestions! I look forward to looking through them and planning our trip!
posted by esnyder at 6:52 AM on April 24, 2010

Just south of Denton, TX is Roanoke, TX with some delicious restaurants like Babe's Chicken Dinner House, Twisted Root Burgers (seen on Food Network), Gerhard's German Restaurant (brand new, and DELICIOUS), Prairie House Restaurant‎, and a couple others. It's not even that big of an area, but it's only 6 minutes away from hwy 35W. (I 35 splits into 35E and 35W in Denton.)

If you're driving through Denton, I do suggest Rudy's BBQ too.
posted by drstein at 12:52 PM on April 26, 2010

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