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How hard is it to drive to Houston from Dallas/Ft Worth?

Melbourne, Australia
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How hard is it to drive to Houston from Dallas/Ft Worth?

Hi there,

we're visitors from Australia (hence with no idea of US distances) coming to Dallas for a few weeks in March / April with our kids and we have a couple of free weekends. We will have a car and wondered if it was an easy drive to Houston to go to the NASA Space Center? Can anyone local estimate for me how long would the drive would take - ie. is it a day trip there and back, an overnighter, or even too far to drive?

Thanks...

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knr
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1. Re: How hard is it to drive to Houston from Dallas/Ft Worth?

This is a very easy drive, about 3 1/2-4 hours down Interstate 45 South. Even NASA is off of I-45 on the south side of Houston. If you drove straight from Dallas area to NASA, I would say it's about 5 hours, depending on what day/time you were passing thru both Dallas and Houston.

I would definitely make it at least an overnight trip. There are many other things to see in the Houston area besides NASA that would hold your interests.

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2. Re: How hard is it to drive to Houston from Dallas/Ft Worth?

knr - thanks for the info. If you have any other suggestions for things to visit it would be appreciated (suitable for adults and kids - a 4 year old boy and a 6 year old girl?

Is NASA a full day thing?

Area accommodation recommendations as well would be great if you have any.

Thanks again...

knr
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3. Re: How hard is it to drive to Houston from Dallas/Ft Worth?

There are lots of hotels, I guess the best ones will be where you plan to spend the most time, and how long you plan to stay.

For things to see/do: Not too far from the NASA area, is the Challenger Seven Memorial Park. In addition to the memorial site, there is a playground and other things. Also, Battleship Texas State Historic Site, San Jacinto Battleground State Historical Site, this is where Texas won its independence from Mexico!

There are lots of museums in the museum district, south of downtown Houston. These include a hands-on children's musuem (which would be perfect for your childrens ages), contemporary and fine arts, photography museum, fire musuem, Natural Science and zoo.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo will also be in town, though ending in March 19th. If you happen to be here, that could be interesting for the kids.

For a large entertainment complex, further south in Galveston, is Moody Gardens. I only suggest you go to Galveston for this, if it interest you. The waters will be nothing compared to what I've seen come out of Australia. But there are lots of things to see at Moody Gardens.

For more information, you may want to look at these sites:

www.moodygardens.com

www.galveston.com (if you decide to go to Galveston, there are other historical places to visit, just not worth spending a whole lot of time)

www.houston-guide.com (for detailed info on the places listed above)

If you want to visit a waterpark, and it's warm enough when you visit, you may want to look into Adventure Bay, it is a more family friendly water park than some of the others.

Hope this helps. Let me know if I can be of further assistance!

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4. Re: How hard is it to drive to Houston from Dallas/Ft Worth?

knr,

I have to make the drive from Houston to Dallas often and the time of day you travel is important! If at all possible, you want to avoid rush hour in both Dallas & Houston. Try to leave Dallas on a Thursday, but if travel on Friday, try to leave no later than 10:00 am. The traffic on 45 after 2:00 on a Friday is terrible! If you are primarily interested in the Space Center, look at other post about a level 9 tour at the space center - it would be well worth it. Also, I would recommend staying at the Boardwalk Hotel in Kemah or the South Shore Harbour Hotel that are both very close to the space center and offer nice views of Clear Lake & the marina's. Also, the Kemah Boardwalk can be intersting. The spots previously mentioned, such as the San Jacinto Monument are only 20 minutes from these same hotels. If you want to sample some local flavor. try the Ragin' Cajun restaurant on NASA1 or seafood at the Monument Inn next to the San Jacinto monument, ironically oneof the best Italian restaurants in Houston is in Clear Lake, Frenchy's - it is very casual & affordable, but gets great reviews from critics.

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5. Re: How hard is it to drive to Houston from Dallas/Ft Worth?

I just wanted to reiterate what the last poster said about traffic being an important factor. Please don't read this bit of advice and ignore it - traffic in Houston can certainly affect how enjoyable a trip is - especially with young kids in the car.

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Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: How hard is it to drive to Houston from Dallas/Ft Worth?

Thanks for the heads up on the traffic team - I have to work during the week and this will be a weekend trip (there goes the L9 trip unfortunately horns... but the kids were too young anyway - maybe next time) - so would the recommendation be to go down later Friday night (post 5pm departure) or a really early start on Sat morning?

My only thought on the latter is that the kids will be really tired to go to the Space Center on that day, so unless we did that and went to SS on Sunday then straight back to Dallas (I have to be back Sunday night).

Any further thoughts welcomed... knr thanks for the great suggestions, will be having a look at these options for sure. You mentioned a water park, what's the weather going to be like in late March early April?

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7. Re: How hard is it to drive to Houston from Dallas/Ft Worth?

Oz,

Depending on where you are staying Dallas traffic doesn't die down until about 7:00 - if you are staying downtown the commute out of Dallas is much better, but still expect to get to the Clear Lake area between 11:00 & midnight. How many kids do you have, Southwest Fun Fares are so cheap & the flight is only 45 minutes from Dallas to Houston that you might consider to spend more of your time enjoying Space Center, etc. than on the road driving.

Also, if you do drive, be careful the police watch the highway between Dallas & Houston for speeding.

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8. Re: How hard is it to drive to Houston from Dallas/Ft Worth?

Hard to say what the weather will be like when you are down here. It's been a really mild winter this year. As you get closer to your arrival here you could check the local weather on t.v. or weather.com and type in Houston to get the forecast temperatures. The water parks should be open, because of Spring Break.

If you take the previous suggestion on flying down, Southwest will fly from Dallas' Love Field to Houston Hobby airport. But I think the time you would invest getting to/from airport, plus flight time would be about the same as if you just drove down. I would suggest you drive down in the evening, get a good night's rest (whether Houston area or maybe the Woodlands area- about an hours drive to NASA) then head out for a day of fun.

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Melbourne, Australia
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9. Re: How hard is it to drive to Houston from Dallas/Ft Worth?

OK y'all (how's my Texan) - we're here and planning to go this weekend to Houston, driving down Friday night. NASA is the primary destination, but will fit in another attraction/sight if time allows - opinions welcomed whether it's a full day thing at the Space Center or not (we are only planning to stay over the Friday night). Can anyone recommend a good cheap hotel close by (sub $100 would be great as we're already paying for the Dallas hotel for the same night as it's on a long stay rate).

Thanks...

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10. Re: How hard is it to drive to Houston from Dallas/Ft Worth?

I'd try Priceline 3-stars or higher in the NASA area. About 3 years ago, we got an Ameriasuite for $30.