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Travel Information

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The Laredo Travel Information Center in Laredo, Texas

The Laredo Travel Information Center. Photo by Will van Overbeek.

DRIVETEXAS™

This is the Texas Department of Transportation’s highway conditions information service. Visit drivetexas.org to view an interactive highway map displaying construction areas, closures, weather-related hazards, and other conditions along your route. The website also has options allowing you to see a live traffic feed, view traffic cameras in select regions, and find safety rest areas and Texas Travel Information Centers. The site is both desktop- and mobile-friendly.

Travelers may also call 800-452-9292 for 24-hour automated information or to speak with a professional travel counselor for high­way conditions, safety information, and expert tourism recommendations from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time seven days a week.

Highway Rest Areas

Texas pioneered the concept of miniature parks along roadways—an idea that has been adopted nationally. Today, safety rest areas with restrooms, picnic areas, and scenic turnouts give travelers a break from driving so they can return to the road refreshed and more alert. Remaining in a rest area for more than 24 hours or erecting any kind of structure is prohibited by law.

Speed Limits

Pay careful attention to speed limit signs! In Texas, speed limits can range from 25 mph to 85 mph on numbered highways. Speed limits on some Texas highways, especially urban freeways, may be reduced because of their individual operating characteristics. Posted speed limits apply to cars and trucks for both day and night.

Toll Roads

Many toll roads are cashless or all-electronic, meaning they do not have staffed booths to take tolls. Some require people to have toll tags, and some may have a Pay by Mail option. If a vehicle without a valid toll tag uses a toll road, a picture is taken of the license plate, and the bill is mailed to the address associated with the plate. The bill may contain an administrative charge in addition to the toll fee. Rental car drivers should check with the rental company regarding the handling of toll fees. On the occasion that a toll plaza is staffed, signs will direct travelers to lanes with the option to stop and pay. Visit txtag.org to view locations of toll roads and find information on payment forms accepted.

Texas Travel Information Centers

The Texas Department of Trans­portation operates 12 travel information centers for the convenience of the traveling public. Professional travel counselors welcome visitors and provide a wealth of information and suggestions to make every Texas trip safe and pleasant.

Travel counselors supply comprehensive statewide travel publications, plus detailed brochures about points of interest, attractions, and recreational areas. The centers also host safety awareness events and other special events throughout the year.

The centers are open 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily and 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. The Capitol Visitor Center hours are 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon–5 p.m. Sunday year-round.

All centers are closed on New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day.

For 24-hour highway condition information, call 800-452-9292 or visit drivetexas.org.

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Traffic Signs

Speeds, caution areas, stops, and directions in the state are marked by more than half a million signs. Passing is illegal when there is a continuous yellow stripe on the driver’s side of the center line. Center lines are yellow dashed stripes. White dashed stripes separate dual lanes of traffic in the same direction. Painted or reflective pavement arrows often show ap­proved directions or turns. Arrows pointing toward you or red reflectors indicate you are driving the wrong way on a freeway ramp or one-way street.

Auto Safety Belts and Child Seats

All people in a passenger vehicle, regardless of age or seating position, are required to wear a seat belt. Children up to 8 years old, unless taller than 4 feet 9 inches, must ride in child safety seats. Fines may be levied for failure to use safety belts and child safety seats.

Auto Insurance

A motor vehicle may not be operated in Texas unless a policy of liability insurance is in effect. Evidence of insurance must be furnished when requested by a police officer.

Don’t Mess with Texas

For more than 35 years, the Don’t mess with Texas® campaign has been reminding motorists to keep our highways litter-free. Don’t mess with Texas is a registered service mark and trademark owned by the Texas Department of Trans­portation. dontmesswithtexas.org

Climate

Texas is a large and diverse state; climate conditions can vary from one end to the other. Its terrain includes arid desert mountains, high plains, limestone hills, rich farmland, grasslands, marshes, and deep forests. The state enjoys generally mild winters, though snow and ice can occur in the Panhandle. The summers are generally hot. In July, the average daytime high statewide is almost 96 degrees. Average annual rainfall varies from less than 10 inches in far West Texas to more than 50 inches in parts of East Texas.

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A field of wildflowers

Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area near Marble Falls. Photo by Will van Overbeek.

Accommodations

Consider making your stay in Texas even more memorable by selecting from some of the more unique options for lodging.

You can opt for a trailer at El Cosmico in Marfa or stay in the former Pearl Brewhouse at Hotel Emma in San Antonio. If you are planning far enough in advance, consider staying several days at Indian Lodge in Davis Mountains State Park or one of the Roosevelt Stone Cottages at Chisos Mountains Lodge in Big Bend National Park. You might even decide to make your whole vacation into a stay at a dude ranch or nature preserve. Perhaps a few nights of luxury at The Joule Hotel in Dallas or The San Luis Resort in Galveston might be preferred.

You can read about other interesting places to stay in Texas Highways magazine, texashighways.com. Search under Destinations for a curated list of places to stay in the state’s most popular cities and towns. For a guide on camping, visit texashighways.com/camping.

Additional accommodations are found through traveltexas.com/plan-a-trip. Scroll down and click on hotels, resorts, and B&Bs; campgrounds; or guest ranches. Then enter the city where you plan to stay to find available options.

You also can call the Texas Travel Information Center travel counselors at 800-452-9292 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time for suggestions.

Passenger Train

Amtrak, the nation’s passenger train service, offers three lines that run through Texas. For information and reservations, call 800-USA-RAIL or visit amtrak.com.

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Bus Lines

These bus companies have scheduled service to and within the state:

Airport Information

Mexico

If you are planning to cross into Mexico during your stay in Texas, consider a stop at a Texas Travel Information Center or a Texas border city’s chamber of commerce or convention and visitors bureau for useful tips. Information for crossing into Mexico can be obtained from a Mexican consulate or by going to visitmexico.com. For information regarding the process to enter or reenter the United States, visit cbp.gov/travel.

Before going, learn as much as possible about Mexico and use common sense during the trip. Visit the U.S. Department of State to see any applicable Travel Alerts and Tips for Traveling Abroad.

More Resources

Brewster County Tourism Council https://visitbigbend.com

East to West Tourism
https://easttexasguide.com

North East Texas Tourism Council https://visitnortheasttexas.com

Red River Valley Tourism Association https://redrivervalley.info

Rio Grande Valley Partnership
956-968-3141 • https://rgvpartnership.com

Texas Association of Campground Owners
817-426-9395 • https://texascampgrounds.com

Texas Association of Convention & Visitor Bureaus
940-999-1002 • https://tacvb.org

Texas Bed & Breakfast Association 979-836-5951 • https://texasbb.org

Texas Coastal Bend Regional Tourism Council
361-241-7323 • https://txcoastalbend.org

Texas Hotel & Lodging Association 800-856-4328 • https://texaslodging.com

Texas Travel Alliance
512-328-8842 • https://ttia.org