The Dallas–Fort Worth area lies at the northern gateway to Texas, just over an hour’s drive (in light traffic, of course) south of the Red River, which separates Texas from Oklahoma. You’ll need about four hours, however, to drive due east to the Louisiana state line and some 9 to 10 hours to make the long haul due west to the New Mexico state line. If you want to head down to the Mexican border, it’s about a 7-hour drive southwest to Laredo (Texas)/Nuevo Laredo (Mexico) and a 10- to 11-hour drive straight south to the towns of McAllen (Texas)/Reynosa (Mexico) and Brownsville (Texas)/Matamoros (Mexico).
Driving to other important and favorite destinations in Texas takes no small amount of time. Allow yourself a minimum of three hours to drive down I-35 to Austin, a little over four hours along I-35 to San Antonio, and four to five hours on I-45 to Houston. It’s about five hours along smaller highways to Lubbock and six to seven to Amarillo. A trip to Big Bend National Park, one of the greater wonders of Texas, is about a 10-hour drive.
Within Dallas–Fort Worth lies a significant web of freeways to learn. One of the trickier parts of the system is the dual naming of Interstate 35. As this major artery courses from north to south, it splits above the Dallas–Fort Worth area at Denton, with the half called I-35E running down through Dallas and the other, I-35W, running through Fort Worth. The two meet again to become one below the Metroplex at the town of Hillsboro leading toward Waco, Austin, and San Antonio. You also need to know that in Dallas, I-35E is called Stemmons Freeway, and in Fort Worth, I-35W is called the North Freeway north of downtown or the South Freeway south of downtown.
In Dallas, the other big freeways are I-635, known as LBJ Freeway, looping around Dallas from Mesquite on the east and northwest through North Dallas and Coppell to DFW Airport; Highway 183/121, called Carpenter Freeway, running from midtown to Irving; I-30, an east-west artery south of downtown called R. L. Thornton Freeway; Highway 75, connecting downtown with North Dallas, Richardson, Plano, and Frisco, called Central Expressway; I-45, reaching southward from downtown and called Julius Schepps Freeway; and Highway 161, a toll road extending from Irving northeast to Plano, called the President George Bush Turnpike. Another toll road is the all-important Dallas North Tollway, connecting downtown with North Dallas, Plano, and Frisco. If you work and play in or near downtown, you’ll get to know Spur 366, mostly called the Woodall Rogers, which connects I-35/Stemmons Freeway with Highway 75/Central Expressway.
Fort Worth is less complicated, although its current growth spurt could change that status. For now, I-30W, which cuts through the center of town and reaches west toward Aledo, is called the West Freeway; and I-20, which connects the south side with Arlington and Mansfield, is called Loop 820. Highway 183, reaching northeast from downtown to the airport through Hurst, Euless, and Bedford, is the Airport Freeway. Highway 121 runs from the Airport Freeway northward to Grapevine, Colleyville, and Southlake, and Highway 377 reaches southwest from Fort Worth to Benbrook and Granbury.