While living in Texas, I thought it would be a good idea to see what was “nearby” within driving distance and stumbled upon Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. It’s about a day’s drive from Austin. I’m a sucker for hot springs, and it turns out that the Ozark National Forest, Mountains, and lakes are also nearby. En route, the Talimena Scenic Byway was quite nice. On the way back, stopped in Tulsa, Oklahoma which is great. Dallas, TX and Denton, TX are great stops for lunch or to spend an afternoon or longer. You’ll also notice some optional side trips I considered but didn’t have time for, such as Memphis and parks.