The Best Houston to Nashville Road Trip

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  • Houston, TX
  • Texarkana, TX
  • Memphis, TN
  • Nashville, TN
  • Roadside assistance
  • Cheap insurance
From Houston to Lake Livingston, Memphis to Nashville, this itinerary has you hitting all the best places as you turn a 12-hour drive into a multi-day road trip.
Gearing up for a jaunt through the heartland? Don’t miss the opportunity to turn a Houston to Nashville road trip into an adventure. You’ll see alligators, indoor jungles, hot springs, and genuine heaps of Americana.
And you’re in luck, because the car insurance comparison app Jerry has already put together a guide of must-visit stops along the best route from Houston to Nashville, taking all the stress out of planning.
Itching to get going? Here’s what you need to know.
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Start in Houston

If you don’t live in Houston, it’s worth sticking around a while to enjoy H-town before hitting the road.

What to do

Take a leisurely day to enjoy the city. Rothko Chapel, an octagonal building in the Museum District, features 14 original paintings by Mark Rothko himself and is the perfect spot to soak up some culture.
Of course, you’d be remiss to visit the capital of space exploration without seeing Space Center Houston. The NASA Tram Tour is included in admission and offers a behind-the-scenes look at human space exploration.

Where to eat

If you’re just waking up in Houston, it’s time for breakfast! For something unique, head over to Pondicheri, an Indian-inspired breakfast spot that specializes in gluten-free and vegetarian options— the masala eggs with breakfast avocado salad is a good pick.
If you prefer more standard American breakfast fare, try Snooze. You can order classics like pancakes and bacon as well as more creative dishes like breakfast pot pie.
1950s era mission control consoles preserved at Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston, Houston Texas

Houston to Texarkana

289 miles, 5 hours
The first leg of your journey will take you right to the border of Texas and Arkansas. Any good American road trip needs a couple of breathtaking nature stops, and Eastern Texas has plenty of excellent choices.

What to do

About 1.5 hours into your drive up Highway 69, you’ll reach Lake Livingston, one of the largest lakes in the Lone Star State. Lake Livingston is gorgeous and a great opportunity to take a walk. Be ready to spot some alligators and make sure to follow all the park rules around alligator safety.
Lake O’ The Pines covers about 18,700 acres and is completely surrounded by massive pine trees. It’s another awesome spot to get out and go for a quick walk (or even a swim—there are no alligators to worry about!).
Once you arrive in Texarkana, catch a show at the historic Perot Theatre or take a tour of the 1800s Draughon-Moore Ace of Clubs House.

Where to eat

If you get hungry during your drive, stop in Carthage and visit the Texas Tea Room or Milano’s.
Before winding down for the night, get a bite and something to eat at Texarkana local favorite Redbone Magic Brewing, featuring wood-fired pizza and hand-crafted burgers and wings.

Where to stay

There are plenty of hotel options in Texarkana, including most major chains. The Wyndham Garden is an affordable pick for a restful night of sleep.
Fishing boats docked at a forested island on Lake Livingston
Lake Livingston, Texarkana, Texas

Texarkana to Memphis

277 miles, 4 hours 30 minutes
Today you’ll be driving straight through Arkansas. While you could definitely spend more time exploring the state, Memphis is a destination you want to save time for.

What to do

We recommend leaving Texarkana early to get to Buckstaff Bathhouse. The Bathhouse is located next to a huge hot spring along the Ouachita River and has been a luxurious soaking destination for more than one hundred years. If you feel like getting pampered, try their facials, manicures, pedicures, and massages.
Once you reach the storied birthplace of rock and roll, there are plenty of options to see and do.
Graceland, the former residence of Elvis Presley, is the second-most visited building in the United States for a reason. The colonial-style mansion is full of rock and roll memorabilia and even features a private airplane that Elvis kept on the grounds.
Located right next to the Mississippi River, Beale Street is the prime destination for Memphis tourists. The street is full of everything from historic jazz halls, famous tourist attractions, blues-themed nightclubs, and incredible restaurants. It’s hard not to find something interesting while walking on Beale!
If you have more time, take a tour of Sun Studios, visit the Memphis Zoo, or stroll around the Memphis Botanical Gardens.

Where to eat

After a relaxing stop at the Buckstaff Bathhouse, head to a nearby restaurant for a classy lunch. Steinhaus Keller and The Avenue at Waters Hotel are good options.
In Memphis, head to Alfred’s Restaurant and Bar or B.B. King’s Blues Club for live music while you eat. The next morning, visit 50’s throwback diner Arcade Restaurant for breakfast.

Where to stay

After you’ve had a fun night on the town, stay at The Peabody, a famous hotel listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch the iconic resident ducks walking through the lobby.
Pro Tip If you want to do as the locals do, keep an eye out for flyers along Beale Street. You’ll find plenty of events and shows to enjoy while you’re there!
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Neon lights indicate the abundant Memphis nightlife on Beale Streets
Beale Streets, Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis to Nashville

212 miles, 3 hours
The first part of your drive will take you right to the city of Jackson—and you should definitely listen to Johnny Cash’s album “Folsom Prison” to put you in the mood. From there, it’s onto the home of country music.

What to do

Take a break in Jackson to see Rusty’s TV and Movie Car Museum— they’ve got the DeLorean from Back to The Future and much more! If you’d rather take a walk outside, Cypress Grove Nature Park is a beautiful chance to get out.
Country music fans will especially love Nashville, but there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy.
Yee-haw partner! The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum features over 2.5 million artifacts, two massive floors of gallery space, and the historic RCA Studio B where countless country classics were first recorded.
Standing right in the middle of Nashville’s Centennial Park, the Nashville Parthenon is a full-scale recreation of the one in Athens, Greece. The inside features a 42-foot gilded sculpture of the Greek goddess Athena and a permanent display of historic American paintings.
The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center has a sprawling atrium and features over 50,000 tropical plants arranged in gardens meticulously maintained by a team of 20 full-time horticulturists. The area is also filled with shops, restaurants, and attractions, making it almost too easy to spend a whole day walking around the premises.

Where to eat

For a bite to eat in Jackson, hit up the rustic-chic dining room of The Blacksmith Restaurant for a truly inspired burger and cocktail.
When in Nashville, you’ve got to eat hot chicken—and there’s no better place to try it than at 400 Degrees. If you’re in the mood for some homestyle southern cooking, Big Al’s Deli offers up incredible dishes like fried catfish and spicy shrimp and grits.

Where to stay

If you’re looking to splurge, stay at the aforementioned Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.
For something a little more budget friendly, the Hilton Homewood Suites is ideally located and has an indoor pool. Or try one of the many unique Airbnbs in the city!
People taking photos of the reconstructed Greek Parthenon in Nashville Centennial Park
Nashville Parthenon, Nashville, Tennessee

Why you need roadside assistance

Even the best-planned road trip runs the risk of a breakdown—and you don’t want to spoil a whole day just by locking your keys in your car.
To make sure your trip doesn’t become a disaster, it’s important to have good roadside assistance. With Jerry’s roadside assistance program, you get free lockout assistance, battery jumps, gas refills, and even Uber credits for emergency rides. Plus, it’s only $6.99 a month!

Finding cheap car insurance

And before you head out, you’ll also want to ensure you’ve got the right car insurance coverage—and Jerry can help you with that, too!
If you want cheap car insurance quotes fast, get Jerry. A licensed broker that offers end-to-end support, the Jerry app gathers affordable quotes, helps you switch plans, and will even help you cancel your old policy.
“I thought my previous insurance rate was the best I could get, since I have a luxury SUV. After Jerry found me quotes, I ended up paying only $80 a month for the same exact coverage. I’ll be shopping for auto insurance through Jerry from now on!” ––Petra S.
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