We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

90 vs 10 for the Texas section of a cross country drive

Los Angeles...
1 post
Save Topic
90 vs 10 for the Texas section of a cross country drive

Hi everyone,

We will be driving from Los Angeles CA to Gainesville FL in a few weeks. I know there is another thread on this trip, and have heeded advice about how to avoid traffic in Phoenix while planning our route, as well as other tidbits of info. We are two middle aged people moving with two dogs and a cat (I know). Clearly, getting out and seeing sights is not an option, but I would like to get a little taste of some of the places we will drive through. We figure with all the necessary stops we will probably have only 4-5 hours of actual driving time per day. I should add that while I would like to take back roads, my husband would prefer "just getting there," so I need to really sell/insist on any off the beaten path options I choose. One of those pertains to the chunk of Texas our trip will traverse.

Virtually everything I have read has said that from El Paso to San Antonio the 10 is about as dull as dull can get (unless one is an aficionado of the Texas landscape, and can spot the more subtle gradations of change). It sounds like the 90 has more interesting places to drive through and to spend the night. My question is whether the summer heat will make this slight diversion worth our while? Granted, it is going to be hot no matter what we do, but are the scenic advantages of the 90 as noticeable this time of the year? Or would you recommend we just plow through the 10?

Thank you in advance.


Level Contributor
1,131 posts
1 review
Save Reply
1. Re: 90 vs 10 for the Texas section of a cross country drive

Now that you mention it, I’d go with old US 90. You’ll add about 2 ½ hours hard driving time.

From LA to El Paso, I don’t know you’ll have good diversion options. This is a good one. There would be a more time consuming diversion in Louisiana.

You’ll stick with I-10 to Van Horn where you’ll pick up US 90. I’m sure you knew that.

You might enjoy checking out arty Marfa then staying in Alpine. It would work. I’d even consider two nights in Alpine with a daytrip down to Big Bend. Not sure what the cat with think of Big Bend, but I’m pretty sure there be some intriguing sniffing bonanzas for the pups.

Alpine is at almost 4,500 feet up and its summer weather is cool by Texas standards. Average July highs are just below 90. I wonder what the Antelope Lodge is like in Alpine. When I was down there I visited family who had moved there so can't say. I’ve only visited Big Bend in winter, but personally, I don’t think Texas heat is all that bad – it’s just hot. So what!

The Davis Mountains near Alpine and Armistead Reservoir near Del Rio will be interesting even if nothing more than seen from a car window driving through.

Incidentally, I don’t really think the I-10 drive between El Paso and San Antonio is boring as Interstate boring goes.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
26,898 posts
382 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 90 vs 10 for the Texas section of a cross country drive

I would do Hwy 90 along the coast of MS- it is a nice drive thru the Gulfport and Biloxi area.

I would drive I 10 between Houston and San Antonio- stop at Buckey's. Hwy 90 is a slow go along that area of Texas- lots of smaller towns and slow speed limits.

It has been several years since we traveled beyond San Antonio in Texas.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
6,399 posts
83 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: 90 vs 10 for the Texas section of a cross country drive

The better middle ground would be the 90 from Van horn to San Antonio... With yes, a overnight in Alpine... carracar

Aubrey, Texas
Level Contributor
10,527 posts
169 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 90 vs 10 for the Texas section of a cross country drive

Perhaps the most scenic drive in Texas is between Presidio and Lajitas along the Rio Grande River. If you have time it's well worth the detour from Marfa. From Lajitas go on to Big Bend National Park. This remote NP is one of the most scenic areas in the country. Chisos Mountains Lodge is the only lodging in the park. After Big Bend go to Marathon and on to San Antonio.

Wednesbury, UK
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
13,068 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: 90 vs 10 for the Texas section of a cross country drive

Second texhill's suggestion.

That's a great drive and NP if you have the time, US90 as above if you do not.

Uden, The...
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: 90 vs 10 for the Texas section of a cross country drive

We didnot find I10 that bad and it sure will be faster. Alpine is one option to stay for the night. Also is Gage hotel in Marathon or El Paisano in Marfa. 90 makes a nice detour though. If you stick to I10 maybe an overnight stay in Balmorhea.

Marina, California
Destination Expert
for Tucson
Level Contributor
5,702 posts
98 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 90 vs 10 for the Texas section of a cross country drive

I think if you've never driven on that stretch of I-10, then it'll be fine. There was a period where I made the Tucson - Houston drive a couple times per year, and I refused to take I-10 because it had gotten so boring. 90 is more interesting in terms of towns and the scenery is better, but those towns and the lower speed limit do add time. In the past, I've timed it adding only about an hour, but it may be more. Depends on how you drive and how much you stop. Alpine and Marfa are nice little towns though.

The temperature is not going to be that much different between the two. They're both in the desert, and it'll be hot regardless. I think I would take 90 if I were you because, with the pets, you're probably going to be stopping suddenly at least a few times, and that's much easier to do on US 90.

Houston, TX
Level Contributor
4,158 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 90 vs 10 for the Texas section of a cross country drive

I've done that drive more than once, and have gone both ways. Unless the idea of a night in Marfa or inside Big Bend National Park really appeals to you, I'd have to say for your trip I'd just go straight across on I-10. Yes, there are lots of stretches of nothing. Yes, parts of it can be boring. Same is true of the alternatives. Both have stretches that are interesting.

As mentioned, I-10 will be faster (do watch your speed; the police will also be doing that) in that you have no red lights and no cross traffic. Having said that, you will also be more limited in your (and I use the term loosely here) dining options--mostly fast food, mostly Sonic (eat in your car fast food, not my preferred method during a road trip), Dairy Queens, Subway and maybe some Tex-Mex food.

If you do opt not to use 10, I also second the route suggested by Texhills.

9. Re: 90 vs 10 for the Texas section of a cross country drive

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 16 July 2014, 05:18