Need a break from the bright lights, big city atmosphere of Dallas? Consider one of these day trips (up to three hours from downtown Big D) to experience the state’s history, antiques scene and best natural destinations.
Less Than an Hour from Dallas
Fort Worth, Texas
Thought you fly into DFW (Dallas-Fort Worth), don’t forget about Fort Worth in the jumble of the metroplex. This country city deserves its own attention. Nicknamed Cowtown, Fort Worth is just 40 minutes west of Dallas and home to cattle drives at the Fort Worth Stockyards, the Fort Worth Water Gardens and numerous renowned restaurants in Sundance Square. On the weekends, head to the Stockyards for the rodeo, or head to the Scat Jazz Lounge for live music and a cocktail.
Accessible within 40 minutes of downtown Dallas, Terrell makes for a great, quick day trip. There’s a ton of history to soak up here in an original railroad town from 1873. Checkout the storefront and hand-painted murals of the Historic Downtown District. There are a couple unique opportunities here to make for fabulous weekend memories – visit the Scuba Ranch where you can meet Sisco the Shark, the largest freshwater shark in the United States. Or, visit the No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum to learn about the British cadets who were trained here alongside United States Army Air Corps cadets between 1941 and 1945.
Another stop for history buffs, Greenville was once called the “cotton capital of the world.” Visit the Historic Downtown, reading the various historical markers that illuminuate visitors on the people and industries of Greenville’s heyday. There are four buildings here on the National Register of Historic Places.
If you’re a flea market fan, don’t miss Canton, one hour east of the city. Visit on the first Monday of any given month for the massive flea market with more than 5,000 vendors. Shop ‘til you drop for antiques, clothing, home décor and more. Then, fill up on Canton’s traditional fare, including giant turkey legs, red velvet funnel cake and freshly squeezed lemonade.
Within Two Hours of Dallas
While you’re still far from the Gulf, there’s another scuba opportunity in Athens at the Scuba Park. Take a gander underwater at native fish, the wreckage of a Hawker 600 jet, a Lockheed C-140 Jet Star and Clint Eastwood’s film crew’s triple-decker party barge! Visit the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, or spend more time on dry land in the historic downtown, where you can see the Classic Revival-style 1913 Henderson County Courthouse.
Dinosaur aficionados will love Dinosaur Valley State Park close to Granbury, Texax. There are fossilized footprints here, as well as gigantic dino replicas leftover from the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. In the historic downtown, you’ll find charming shops, a salon, the Hood County Jail Museum and the Granbury Historic Railroad Depot.
Lake Texoma, Oklahoma
If you’re seeking a weekend day trip where you can get wet and have fun in the sun, head to Lake Texoma on the Oklahoma/Texas border. The US Army Corps of Engineers created the massive reservoir and today millions of visitors descend upon the glittering lake every year for waterskiing, swimming, fishing and relaxing. There’s horseback riding, hiking, biking, camping, wine tasting and more. The area is large enough that despite its popularity, you’ll be able to find a quiet spot to enjoy.
Green thumbs should set their sights on Tyler, the rose capital of America. Visit in October to see the city awash in roses of every variety and color. The Tyler Rose Garden, with 38,000 buses over 14 acres, is the city jewel. For more flora – and maybe some fauna of the feathered kind – head to Pineywoods at Tyler State Park. Follow 13 miles of trail for birdwatching, fishing opportunities and simply being at peace in nature. Short on time? Walk the 1-mile Whispering Pines Nature Trail with pine groves, a wading pool and a waterfall.
Those seeking a natural retreat for the weekend can drive just two hours from Dallas to Davis, Oklahoma. Cool off in the swimming hole at Turner Falls State Park and marvel at the 77-foot Turner Falls. Take a spine-tingling turn on the 777 Zip, a 777-foot zip line toward the falls with great aerial views of the region. Need more activity? Hike through the ancient Arbuckle Mountains, the oldest range between the Rockies and Appalachians.
Within Three Hours of Dallas
Possum Kingdom State Park
The whole family will love a day trip (or whole weekend) at Possum Kingdom State Park, where you can spend hours swimming, fishing, jetskiing and boating. If you’re boating, join up with other in the Hell’s Gate party cove – the 4th of July fireworks display is one of the state’s best. Break a sweat before swimming with a hike to views of the Palo Pinto Mountains and Brazos River Valley.
Caddo Lake State Park
From bustling Dallas to bayou city, a Caddo Lake State Park day trip takes you to a land of bald cypress trees, Spanish moss, quiet spots for canoeing and kayaking and – perhaps – an alligator or two. Anglers love the lake for its more than 70 species of fish.