That Texas Couple

30 Incredible Day Trips from Dallas

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If you are looking for fabulous day trips from Dallas, Texas , you are in the right place!

It is no secret that Dallas, Texas, is a popular tourist destination.  

Dallas boasts incredible food, world-class museums, and a great nightlife scen e. 

All of this is probably why so many people also call Dallas home. 

Let’s face it, though; sometimes you want to get out of the city and explore other areas. 

There is so much to do in the Lone Star State. From exploring historic downtown areas of the small towns to hiking in state parks !

That is why we put together this post of Dallas day trips !

We have lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area our entire lives, so we know something about getting out of the city!

Many of these day trips are about 1 hour and 2 hours away from Dallas, making them fun and easy ! You know you spend more than 2 hours just hanging out.

Luckily, most of these suggestions consistently make the list of the best places to visit in Texas also!

So grab your  road trip essentials  and explore this list of  day trips from Dallas .

*This post contains affiliate links.  By purchasing through these links, we get a small commission at no additional cost. That Texas Couple also participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.  As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Day Trips Less Than 1 Hour From Dallas


day hiking trips from dallas

About 1 hour west of Dallas, Texas, you will find the historic North Texas town of Weatherford, Texas, which makes for a fabulous day trip! 

Visitors can spend the day exploring the Museum of the Americas, which serves to educate on the American Indian population that was found throughout North America.

You can also explore Chandor Gardens and Chandor Mansion and the first Monday flea market if you happen to be in town that weekend.

The first Monday flea market takes place the weekend before the first Monday of the month.

Don’t miss your opportunity to grab homemade ice cream from the Malt Shop in Weatherford!

Read Next: 30 Awesome Facts About Texas (Know Before You Go)

ft worth dip kiss

Head about 1 hour west (less than 50 miles) of Dallas , Texas, to Fort Worth. 

Now, locals (like us) will tell you that there is a definitive difference between Dallas and Fort Worth. 

We consider Fort Worth to be the more laid-back North Texas town. LOL!

There are so many  things to do in Fort Worth  that you could stay busy for weeks.  Fort Worth offers great food, awesome museums, an amazing cowboy culture, and fun nightlife. 

Head to Fort Worth’s Sundance Square to enjoy great food, museums, shops, and live entertainment. Sundance Square is brimming with things to do.

Grab a coffee and sit by the fountains in Sundance Square to do some people-watching before having dinner.

Foodies will love visiting the West 7 th  Street area of the city, and history lovers will enjoy exploring the Fort Worth Stockyards.

While in the Fort Worth Stockyards, you can’t miss visiting ‘The World’s Largest Honky-Tonk’, Billy Bob’s.

Billy Bob’s is a Fort Worth legend and the perfect place for live music and dancing for the evening.

Now that’s the honky-tonk life!

There are lots of honky-tonk bars in the Fort Worth Stockyards, so if Billy Bob’s isn’t for you, then check out another one.

Outdoor lovers will love visiting the Fort Worth Water Gardens, Trinity Trails, the Fort Worth Zoo, or the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. 

Also, don’t miss the Kimbell Art Museum and the Fort Worth Modern Art Museum.

Fort Worth is one of the easy day trips from Dallas and a great place to spend Christmas in Texas as it comes alive during the holiday season!

Read Next: How We Travel With Only a Backpack

Cowboy Stadium

Located less than 1 hour (about 30 minutes) from Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas, the city of Arlington is the entertainment mecca of this area. 

Arlington has sports teams, theme parks, and wonderful outdoor spaces.

Adrenaline junkies will love visiting Six Flags Over Texas theme park and Hurricane Harbor Waterpark.

Sports fanatics will be home here since the Texas Rangers and the Dallas Cowboys call Arlington home. 

Read Next: The Ultimate 3-Day Yellowstone Itinerary

Canton and Canton Trade Days

cabins in Canton, Texas

Canton is just about 1 hour (about 50 miles) east of Dallas. 

Canton is best known for its monthly First Monday Trade Days, the largest flea market in the United States.

The trade days come to town the weekend before the first Monday of each month.

If you love flea markets, then Canton is the place to visit.

The Canton Trade Days flea market brings thousands of visitors to Canton each month. 

Don’t worry about missing the Trade Days; Canton has other attractions. 

You can visit Zip the USA and take part in one of the longest zip lines in Texas or get wet at Splash Kingdom Water Park. 

With Canton being just over 30 minutes from Dallas, it is one of the easy trips from Dallas !

If you want to stay overnight, there is a fun place you can try covered wagon camping in Canton!

Read Next : 20 Fun Things To Do In Galveston, TX

Ennis-The Official Bluebonnet Trail of Texas

Ennis bluebonnets

Head about 35 miles south of Dallas into Ellis County, and in just under 1 hour (about 30 minutes), you will find the small town of Ennis, Texas. 

We especially love to visit Ennis during the annual Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival every April. 

Here you can drive over 40 miles of trails riddled with the flower of the Lone Star State, the bluebonnet. 

It is truly a sight to behold, so bring your camera as it is a great place to see  bluebonnets in Texas and one of the unique day trips from Dallas.  

Read Next : 20 Fun Things To Do In Estes Park, Colorado

Chocktaw Oklahoma

Located in Durant, Oklahoma, Chocktaw Casino Resort is a quick 30-minute getaway from Dallas. 

Chocktaw not only offers all of the casino games you would expect, but they are also a AAA Four Diamond-rated hotel! 

Of course, they also offer live events and great food.

Denton courthouse

A short drive north from Dallas up I-35E and in just over 30 minutes will land you in the college town of Denton, Texas. 

Thanks to the colleges that call this area home, Denton boasts a good live music scene, a state park, museums, and more. 

The Denton Courthouse houses a museum, which rotates its exhibits frequently.

Denton Square has fun nostalgic shops, including a homemade ice cream shop!

Denton also has a thriving art scene and great outdoor activities, including museums, art galleries, Clear Creek National Heritage Center, and Ray Roberts Lake State Park.

This is another one of the easy trips from Dallas.

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Dallas Day Trips That Are a 2 to 3-Hour Drive

Davy crockett national forest.

day hiking trips from dallas

Head just over 2 hours east of Dallas, Texas, and you will be deep in the heart of East Texas.

While East Texas has lots to offer, one of the highlights is Davy Crockett National Forest. Yes, we have a National Forest in Texas!

Davy Crockett National Forest comprises more than 160,000 acres of East Texas woodlands.

This is a huge area of piney woods and one of the reasons that East Texas is referred to as ‘The Piney Woods.’

Davy Crockett National Forest allows you to enjoy miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, and designated horseback riding trails, making this one of the best day trips from Dallas .

Read Next: Best Time To Visit Yellowstone

Broken Bow and Beavers Bend State Park Oklahoma

Sunset in Broken Bow Oklahome

About 3 hours from Dallas sits Broken Bow and Beavers Bend State Park in Oklahoma.

Nature lovers flock to the town of Broken Bow as it is home to Beavers Bend State Park, one of Oklahoma’s top state parks.

You can stay in a cozy cabin in Broken Bow to call your home base while you explore the Gardner Mansion and Museum, check out the historic downtown, and sip some wine at a local winery.

Of course, as we mentioned above, Beavers Bend State Park is the biggest draw to the Broken Bow area.

Beavers Bend State Park is a piney woods forest area with miles of hiking trails, biking, boating, fishing, horseback riding, river float trips, and more.

Broken Bow and Beavers Bend State Park are some of the great trips from Dallas!

Lake Texoma

day hiking trips from dallas

Lake Texoma is in North Texas, just under 2 hours from the Dallas metroplex.

Lake Texoma is situated on the Red River between Texas and Oklahoma.

Covering more than 74,000 acres, Lake Texoma is one of the largest lake reservoirs in the United States.

Lake Texoma is a water paradise.

While visiting Lake Texoma, you can enjoy all the water activities like fishing, swimming, and canoeing.

In addition, the Lake Texoma area offers shopping, spa treatments, restaurants, and nightlife you can enjoy.

All of this makes Lake Texoma one of the best day trips from Dallas .

Read Next: 101 Travel Experiences For Your Couple’s Bucket List

Pedernales Falls State Park

water and rocks at Pedernales Falls

Pedernales Falls State Park is a gorgeous state park located about 3 hours from Dallas.

Visitors flock to Pedernales Falls State Park in the summer to escape the Texas heat by enjoying the Pedernales River.

In Pedernales Falls State Park, the Pedernales River flows over large outcroppings of limestone, creating the perfect environment to enjoy the falls.

Be careful ; the water levels vary according to rain and can get very swift .

Be sure and check the conditions before getting into the river.

Pedernales Falls State Park is a great place to camp, ride horses, do some geocaching, or relax!

This is one of the great day trips from Dallas!

Read Next: 15 Fun Things To Do In Hot Springs, Arkansas

Zilker is one of the best places to stay in Austin for families

Known as the Live Music Capital of the U.S., Austin is the place to be if you love live music. 

Austin also has a hip food and art scene, making it one of the best day trips since it is just 3 hours from Dallas to Austin!

There are so many  free things to do in Austin  that you could visit the city and spend very little money. 

You can spend the day touring the Capital Building, visiting an art museum, or enjoying nature without spending a penny!

If you decide to turn this day trip from Dallas into a weekend trip, then be sure to check out the  best places to stay in Austin  as well.

Austin is always one of the fun trips from Dallas .

Read Next: Taking the Naples to Capri Ferry: All You Need To Know

Davis, Oklahoma and Turner Falls Oklahoma

day hiking trips from dallas

Turner Falls is located in Davis, Oklahoma, near the Texas border, making it one of the best day trips.

Head about 2 hours north of Dallas to find the city of Davis and Turner Falls.

Turner Falls offers a gorgeous waterfall, multiple swimming areas, and even trails to explore. 

A visit to Turner Falls is fun for all ages. 

Spend your day enjoying the water slides or just lounging on the sandy beach at Turner Falls. 

Turner Falls also offers cabins and camping if you want to spend the night.

Just note that Turner Falls gets extremely busy on holiday weekends, so we always avoid visiting then!

day hiking trips from dallas

Located just over 2 hours from Dallas, Jefferson is well known for its historic homes that can be found throughout the city. 

Combine that with the museums, the Big Cypress Bayou, and the Texas charm of the city, and make it one of the great day trips from Dallas.

While visiting, you can tour some of the historic homes in the area or ride the Jefferson Historic Railway.

A major draw to this area is the Big Cypress Bayou, a series of wetlands at the edge of Caddo Lake.

The Big Cypress Bayou is said to have the largest variety of fish in any river in Texas.

People love to spend the day here fishing and kayaking.

Read Next: 20 Romantic Things To Do In Vegas For Couples

Lake Granbury is one of the things to do in Granbury TX

The lovely little lake town of Granbury, Texas, is just under 2 (about 1 hour and 30 minutes) from Dallas.

With a great little town square and a wonderful recreational lake, Granbury is the perfect place to head for a day trip in Texas.  There are so many  things to do in Granbury, TX  that you could stay busy for days!

Granbury has a great lake to enjoy. In addition, do some shopping around all of the cute boutiques, shops, and restaurants the Granbury Square. 

Arbuckle Wilderness-Oklahoma

day hiking trips from dallas

Arbuckle Wilderness Park is located in the beautiful Arbuckle Mountains in Davis, Oklahoma, about 2 hours outside of Dallas. 

This drive-thru safari park is definitely one of the best day trips from Dallas.

Arbuckle Wilderness is a treat located about 2 hours away from Dallas.

At Arbuckle Wilderness, you can enjoy feeding and interacting with their collection of exotic animals from the comfort of your vehicle.

Located on more than 200 acres and being open year-round makes a trip to Arbuckle Wilderness a fun time, anytime!

Read Next : 26 Fabulous Things to do in Eureka Springs

Glen Rose and Dinosaur Valley State Park

River Walk in Glen Rose Texas

Glen Rose is a great little town to visit for a day trip, especially since it is about 2 hours away from Dallas. 

Glen Rose boasts a unique history and an awesome Texas state park that is fun for explorers of all ages.

The biggest draw to this area is Dinosaur Valley State Park.

At Dinosaur Valley State Park, you can enjoy swimming in the cool waters of the Paluxy River, hiking over 20 miles of trails, and seeing some of the finest examples of dinosaur tracks in Texas.

Dinosaur Valley State Park is also home to miles of trails, and you can find horseback riding there.

Dinosaur Valley State Park is physical proof that dinosaurs once roamed in the Lone Star State years ago.

Of course, there are many other things to do in Glen Rose, TX, making it one of the best day trips from Dallas .

day hiking trips from dallas

A visit to Hico, Texas, is like a day trip back into Texas’ past. 

This charming little town is a fun and easy day trip from Dallas as it is under 2 hours (really, it’s about 1 hour and 30 minutes) away.

Hit up Hico’s downtown area to explore the many boutique shops and restaurants that line the street. 

You can check out Siloville. 

Visitors can climb inside the silo walls and participate in a zip-line and ropes course.  The area also has a great golf course and some fun outdoor recreation.

Read Next : 12 Awesome Things to do in Marble Falls

Salado is one of our romantic getaways in Texas and a great Texas small town

You can get from Dallas to Salado in just about 2 hours. 

Situated on the banks of Salado Creek, Salado is a great escape for those that love art, antiques, and small-town charm.

Make your first stop at the 1.5-mile stretch of Main Street in Salado. 

Here you will find numerous shops housing antiques, clothing, home goods, and works from local artists. 

You can also check out the Salado Sculpture Garden and the historic Stagecoach Inn and watch a glass-blowing demonstration! 

Lake Murray State Park

day hiking trips from dallas

Head about 1 hour and 30 minutes north of Dallas, and you will find the gorgeous Lake Murray State Park. 

This 12,500-acre park is more than half covered with Lake Murray.  

This state park is the perfect spot to enjoy some great outdoor activities. 

You can enjoy cooling off in the refreshingly clear waters of the lake or hike and bike on the many trails you will find on the state parklands. 

Waco-Magnolia Market and Dr. Pepper Museum

Waco, Texas

Waco has quickly gained popularity thanks to the popular HGTV couple Chip and Joanna Gaines thanks to their show Fixer Upper. 

While Fixer Upper has drawn many visitors to this Texas town, Waco has been popular far before. 

Located just over 1 hour from Dallas, Texas , Waco is an easy day trip!

Of course, you will want to visit Magnolia Market and get a cupcake from the Silos Baking Co.

Once you have your fill of Magnolia Market, check out Waco’s craft breweries, wineries, and even a distillery. 

While here, you can also explore the Dr. Pepper Museum and see the remains of a mammoth!

The Dr. Pepper Museum is a Lone Star State original (because Dr. Pepper was invented here), so don’t miss it!

Consider taking a bus from Dallas to Waco to save someone else’s driving.

This makes the trip quick and easy for you!

day hiking trips from dallas

Head about 2 hours west of Dallas to find the fun town of Dublin, Texas.

One of our favorite places in Dublin is Dublin Bottling Works and the Dr. Pepper Museum. 

When you visit, you can grab lunch at their 50’s themed soda fountain before taking a tour of the bottling factory and heading to the Dr. Pepper Museum.

While you are here, shop downtown Dublin’s fun and quirky shops, like Things Celtic.  This store took us back to our time in  Ireland . 

Marshall is about 2 hours outside of Dallas, so why not try it?

You know you are in for a treat if you visit a town with an annual Fire Ant Festival. LOL!

Visitors to Marshall can enjoy shopping at the boutique and specialty shops you will find downtown. 

While in this area, take in the historic 1901 Harris County Courthouse and visit some East Texas wineries like Walker’s Mill and Enoch’s Stomp ! 

Day Trips That Are a 3-4 Hour Drive

San antonio.

san antonio weekend

Known for its Mexican heritage and awesome Riverwalk area, San Antonio is another one of the best day trips from Dallas.

Like Austin, there are so many  free things to do in San Antonio  that you can spend as much or little visiting this Texas gem.

Of course, the San Antonio Riverwalk is a must-do. 

Here you can enjoy strolling along the river or taking one of the riverboat tours.

Of course, you can’t miss the national historic landmark in San Antonio, The Alamo. 

After touring the Alamo, we recommend you follow the San Antonio Mission Trail and visit the other national historic missions within 30 minutes of the Riverwalk.

In addition, try visiting the Japanese Tea Gardens and the Pearl Brewery area.

downtown Dallas skyline

Head about 3 hours and 30 minutes south of Dallas, and you will hit Houston, Texas.

Houston is one of the best day trips to experience incredible museums, great food, sports, and music.

You must visit the awesome Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, the world-famous Space Center Houston, and the Downtown Aquarium and catch a sports game at Minute Maid Park or NRG Stadium.

Of course, there are countless outdoor parks and green spaces to enjoy outside while visiting Houston.

Read Next: 70 Cheap Things To Do In Vegas That You Will Love

Colorado Bend State Park-A Texas Jewel

Gorman Falls Waterfall

Head about 3 hours southwest of Dallas, and you will find Colorado Bend State Park.

A trip to this Texas state park makes you feel like you have been transported to another world.

Colorado Bend State Park is home to Gorman Falls, one of the most beautiful falls in Texas.

Standing under Gorman Falls makes you feel like you are in Costa Rica, not Colorado Bend State Park in Texas!

In addition to Gorman Falls, Colorado Bend State Park is home to Spicewood Springs, miles of hiking trails, and even caves!

All of this makes Colorado Bend State Park one of the best day trips from Dallas.

Boerne shop

Boerne is one of the fun small towns outside San Antonio.

Visit the historic downtown and tour the shops before heading out into nature to enjoy the state park and caves.

Visitors can enjoy the beauty of the Texas Hill Country at the Guadalupe River State Park or the Cibolo Nature Center. 

One of the most popular things to do in the summer is to enjoy tubing the Guadalupe River at the Guadalupe River State Park.

Boerne also hosts two caverns, the Cave without a Name and Cascade Caverns.

Read Next : 36 Fun Things to Do in Colorado Springs

Wimberley-A Great Art Community

things to do in Wimberley TX

Wimberley, TX, is about 3 hours and 30 minutes southwest of Dallas. 

Located near Austin, this artsy community packs a big punch for such a  small Texas town . 

There are so many  things to do in Wimberley, TX ; deciding how to spend your day will be hard!

Wimberly has several swimming holes, including Jacob’s Well, Cypress Creek, and Blue Hole.

You can do a wine tasting at Wimberley Valley Winery or an olive oil tasting at Bella Vista Ranch while visiting as well. 

Shoppers and art lovers will love the town’s many art galleries and boutique stores and will definitely think this is one of the best day trips.

Read Next : 3 Steamboat Springs Hot Springs You Must Visit

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Marty and MIchelle at the Greeting From OKC mural

Oklahoma City is about 3 hours north of Dallas and packed with things to do. 

Oklahoma City has a fun entertainment area, many museums, and a great food scene.

Oklahoma’s Bricktown area has shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. 

If you are into street art, be sure and stop by the Plaza District and visit the Plaza Walls.

Oklahoma City is also full of museums. 

There is a State Firefighters Museum, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, and one of our favorite museums in this area, the Oklahoma Railway Museum.   

Another fun Oklahoma attraction is the Oklahoma elephant sanctuary, the Endangered Ark Foundation, which can be found in Hugo, Oklahoma.


Fredericksburg-day trips from Dallas

We love the small-town feel, German heritage, and many  things to do in Fredericksburg .

There are so many  wineries in Fredericksburg, TX , that you could easily spend a week or more just tasting wine. 

While in the area, you should definitely check out Enchanted Rock State Park. 

This giant pink granite boulder is perfect for a day hike and a picnic. Note, though, this is one popular state park, so make reservations.

Visit the National Museum of the Pacific War and the Pioneer Museum before shopping at the many shops on Main Street.

Final Thoughts on Day Trips from Dallas

There are so many day trips from Dallas that are within a 1 hour or 2 hours drive from Dallas !

We hope we have inspired you to explore the great areas within a short drive of the city! 

Comment below and tell us what to add to our trips from the Dallas list.

We still have lots of exploring in the great Lone Star State.

Happy Travel, friends!!

While You’re Here, Check Out These Other Texas Posts:

50 Awesome Texas Bucket List Experiences

15 Awesome Things to Do in Spicewood, TX

5 Great Road Trips in Texas

Eating Our Way Through Dallas’ Bishop Arts District

15 Fun Things to Do in Canyon Lake, TX

Romantic Getaways in Texas

Fabulous Lake Buchanan Cabins, RV Park, and Camping

25 Epic Things To Do In New Orleans

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day hiking trips from dallas

About the Author

Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through creative content creation and her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel and accompanying social media accounts.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

Monday 21st of November 2022

You didn't mention something cool about Murray Lake State Park. It has tons of buildings built in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps. This weekend we climbed up the Turner Tower, which was built by CCC/WPA with the intention of providing a weekend retreat for Oklahoma governors. It wasn't ever used for that purpose, but instead was opened as a museum. Today there is a museum of the WPA/CCC work at Murray Lake, as well as a mastodon skull and tusks shown there. Next to Turner Tower is a Nature Museum showcasing local wildlife. We had a great visit.


Friday 25th of November 2022

Thank you for the this, Suzie. We will definitely check it out on our next visit.

Lana Paredes

Wednesday 1st of December 2021

I’m doing a little online research trying to find a quick holiday getaway , feeling quite nostalgic having visited many of these places as a child. When much to my surprise, I scroll down to read about the author and it’s an old friend! Good memories all around!

Saturday 4th of December 2021

Hi Lana!! Oh my gosh! It is so great to hear from you! I am so glad that you found our little piece of the internet. Please reach out if you have questions or just want to chat!!

Saturday 19th of June 2021

I lived in Dallas for a few months in 2018 for an internship, and I wish I had more time to explore the nearby cities. There's so much to see down south!

Monday 21st of June 2021

There really is. Maybe you can come back and visit!

I had no idea there were so many cool day trips from Dallas! The bluebonnet trail would be so amazing in full bloom.

Yes! They are so beautiful. It truly is one of my favorite times of the year!

Jacqueline Le

Monday 22nd of March 2021

Did not realize Oklahoma City could be done as a day trip from Dallas. I'd love to knock that one off the bucket list next time I visit Dallas. Also, Hico sounds right up my alley I love things that look historic so I can pretend I'm in a wild west movie hah

You would definitely love Hico. Oklahoma City is about a 4-hour drive so it is a long day but can definitely be done if you don't mind that. :)

Urban Outdoors Logo

17 Scenic Hikes In & Near Dallas and Fort Worth For All Levels

By Kay Rodriguez

FYI: Some of our posts include affiliate links. When you make a purchase from one of these links, Urban Outdoors may receive a commission at no additional cost to you.

Updated November 17, 2022

The Dallas/Fort Worth metro area is not traditionally known for being a hiker’s city. Believe it or not, the metroplex has beautiful, forested hiking trails and parks for locals to explore! Some spots for hiking in Dallas and Fort Worth are even hidden within plain sight in the middle of the cities and suburbs. We’ve reached out to local DFW natives and compiled a detailed list of some of the best hikes in Dallas and Fort Worth!

Best Hikes In & Near Dallas and Fort Worth

Spring creek forest preserve trail.

  • Trail Distance: 1.1 mile out and back
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • How to Get There: Take President George Bush Turnpike and exit on North Garland Ave going west. The park is about half a mile down the road.

A small park located within the suburbs outside of Dallas, Spring Creek Forest offers some seclusion from the busy surrounding area. Find yourself inside a quiet overgrown forest. This trail is great for all skill levels. It features some paved portions and some unpaved paths. Take your dog with you as the park is dog-friendly! For a quick taste of hiking near Dallas, head to this park first.

  • Trail Distance: 7.7 miles out and back
  • How to Get There: Start on Houston Street in Uptown Dallas and end at Airline Road in Highland Park.

Easy but long, Katy Trail takes you through several parts of Dallas. This is one of the most popular and well-known hikes in Dallas and Fort Worth. Many locals call it the hidden treasure of Dallas. This trail usually has a good crowd and you can find many joggers and dog-walkers enjoying the trail during the evenings and on weekends. Highlights of the trail include wildflowers during the spring and several bars and icehouses near the American Airlines Center.

day hiking trips from dallas

Cedar Ridge Nature Center

  • Trail Distance: 2 to 5.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • How to Get There: I-20 to Farm-to-Market rd 1382 near Duncanville.

The preserve is a park located in Dallas that spans over 600 acres. It is adjacent to Cedar Hill State Park but boasts the better hiking trails of the two. There are 12 trails spanning in length from 2 miles to 5.4 miles. Cedar Brake Trail is the most popular. It is a 2.2 mile loop that features various elevation changes and offers beautiful scenic views of Dallas.

Local’s tip: The nature center is closed on Mondays but try to plan your trip during the middle of the week to avoid the crowds .

Colleyville Nature Center Trail

  • Trail Distance: 2.1 mile loop
  • How to Get There: Take Colleyville Blvd NE from Precinct Line Rd and turn left onto Mill Valley Dr.

Colleyville Nature Center Trail is an easy beginner trail that is excellent for kids and families. Dogs are allowed on leashes. This trail is especially beautiful in the springtime when the wildflowers bloom. Most of the trail is shaded. There are several ponds that allow you to see some local small wildlife. Overall a great taste of the simple outdoors in a suburban setting, and a spectacular hike in Fort Worth.

North Shore Trail

  • Trail Distance: 18 miles out and back
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • How to Get There: Take TX 121 to Grapevine Mills pkwy going SW. Turn onto Fairway Dr and the southern trailhead is on the left just after you pass the golf course on the right.

Looking for longer trails to go hiking near Dallas and Fort Worth? Look no further than Grapevine lake. This trail offers gorgeous views of the lake that will make you forget you are in the metroplex. Mountain bikers frequently share the trail. The best times to hike are early spring and fall since there is not much shade on some parts of the trail and the mosquitos can get annoying.

Local’s tip: End at the southern trailhead near sunset and you’ll be rewarded with a stunning sunset over a rocky shoreline.

Note: There is an entry fee to access this trail.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve Outer Loop

  • Trail Distance: 2.4 miles loop
  • How to Get There: Take the Dallas North Tollway near Hebron and then head west on W Parker Rd until the preserve entrance.

A great escape from the city, the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve has a few trails that feature natural wildlife and wildflowers. Follow the outer loop trail to see all the different parts of the park including creeks, plains, and a forest. This trail is moderately trafficked, especially on the weekend with lots of families.

Note: This park is closed from 5 am to 2 pm on Wednesdays due to maintenance.

day hiking trips from dallas

Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center West Loop

  • Trail Distance: 1.6 mile loop

While you are checking out the Cedar Ridge Nature Center, don’t forget to stop by the adjacent Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center . There is a short loop trail that features Texas wildflowers in the spring. This is a family friendly hiking trail near Dallas that has lots of benches for sitting down and enjoying the trees.

Note: The center is closed Sundays and Mondays and can also close after a rainfall. On Saturdays, leashed dogs are allowed.

Trinity River Audubon Center Trail

  • Trail Distance: 2.5 mile out and back
  • How to Get There: From Dallas, take I-45 S and then head east on E Ledbetter Dr. Turn South onto S Longacre Ln.

Bird watchers rejoice! The Trinity River Audubon Center is a nature preserve dedicated to the natural bird wildlife of the area. The park itself was recently constructed over an illegal dumping ground and converted into wetlands. The trail lets you see the wetlands, the Trinity River, and several forest paths. There is a mix of paved trails, dirt paths, and platform trails here. For a unique experience hiking near Dallas, stop by the Audubon center near sunset.

day hiking trips from dallas

Texas Buckeye Trail

  • How to Get There: Take I-45 S from Dallas and exit onto TX 175 going E. Exit onto Municipal St and then turn left onto Bexar St. The trailhead will be at the end of the road.

The Texas Buckeye Trail is named after the “Buckeye” trees located along the Trinity River. There is a paved trail but some parts of the hike will lead you through an overgrown path. This is a great trek to see local wildlife and to bird watch.

Piedmont Ridge Trail

  • Trail Distance: 1.3 mile out and back
  • How to Get There: Take I-30 E from Dallas and exit south onto N Jim Miller Rd. Continue until you see the golf course on your right. The trailhead is on the other side of the road.

Park at the golf club across the street and with a good pair of headphones or on a quiet day, you’ll forget you were in the city. This trail features a heavily wooded path with a small uphill ascent. It is sparsely crowded and is easily accessible off a busy street. This is a well kept secret for those hiking in Dallas.

  • Trail Distance: 6 mile loop
  • How to Get There: Take Present George Bush Turnpike to Central Expressway Northbound. Exit onto East Spring Creek Pkwy and the trailhead will be on the left.

Take a stroll in a peaceful park located in a suburb of Plano. This trial will take you on an easy, paved loop around a lake. At the end of the loop, you’ll pass by the equestrian area. This is a dog friendly park and there are plenty of activities besides hiking. The park boasts biking trails and zip-lining.

day hiking trips from dallas

Oak Cliff Nature Preserve

  • Trail Distance: 6.5 mile loop
  • How to Get There: Head south on I-35E and exit west onto W Illinois Ave. Turn left onto Pierce St to get to the trailhead.

The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve has some truly incredible natural scenery. Despite its location in Dallas, you’ll feel as if you are walking through a magical forest. The tress are covered with Spanish moss, and depending on the weather, you can see some truly amazing colors while hiking. The trail takes a lot of twists and turns and can sometimes be confusing. Our recommendation is to allow yourself to get lost as some of the prettier parks are within the woods.

Note: Due to weather conditions, this area is subject to seasonal closures. Visit here for updates on park closures.

Sansom Blue Trail

  • How to Get There: Take I-820 up to Lake Worth and exit onto Jacksboro Highway heading southeast. Turn right onto Roberts Cut Off Rd.

Take a hike near Lake Worth on a beautiful patch of rocks and boulders. Only a short distance from Fort Worth, this hike is one to remember. This trail is not well marked so prepare to do a bit of exploring on your own. We recommend hiking with some trekking poles and going during the day. Unfortunately this park is not very well maintained and previous hikers have complained of some trash at the start of the trail. Please be mindful of this and carry out any trash you may have.

Post Oak Preserve

  • Trail Distance: 1.5 mile loop
  • How to Get There: Take TX-175 southbound and exit onto Bowers Rd. Continue about about half a mile down the road until the trailhead.

This secluded trail on the outskirts of Dallas features a gorgeous small lake surround by overgrown foliage. The Post Oak Preserve trail is better hiked in the wintertime during the drier months. You’ll get a sense of being in a fairytale from the spooky looking trees and the constant chattering of birds.

Local’s tip: Bring bug spray during the warmer months and be mindful of snakes and coyotes in this area.

Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area

  • Trail Distance: 2.2 mile loop
  • How to Get There: Take I-35E up to Lewisville and exit east onto Jones St. From there head into the environmental learning area and the trailhead is over the creek.

The Lewisville Environmental Area features a raised platform hiking trail through the wetlands that take you through some beautiful scenery. Highlights of the trail include bountiful lily pads, red algae, and a cute gazebo on the water. We recommend bringing hiking boots as your feet may get wet!

Note: The Bittern Marsh Trail and the river are closed until the end of summer 2021. For updates on park closures, check here .

day hiking trips from dallas

Spring Creek Nature Center

  • Trail Distance: 4.5 miles total (varies based on path)
  • How to Get There: From PGBT, exit onto Waterview Pkwy towards UT Dallas and turn left onto W Renner Rd. The trailhead is just after crossing Central Exwy.

It’s easy to forget how close you are to the freeway when you’re in the nature center. A heavily wooded area just outside the University of Texas at Dallas, this hiking trail offers a distraction from the bustle of a busy lifestyle. Expect to see plenty of dogs on this trail. There’s a mix of paved and gravel paths here, as well as a crossing over a small creek.

Fossil Ridge Loop Trail (Cleburne)

  • Trail Distance: 4.1 mile loop
  • How to Get There: Take I-35W southbound to US-67 W until it turns into County Rd 1116. Follow this road and stay right onto County Rd 1225 and then head west on TX-21. Turn right a couple of miles down the road onto Park Road 21 to get to the park.

If you are looking to get completely out of Dallas and Fort Worth, head over to Cleburne. This trek features a gorgeous empty lake surrounded by quiet dirt paths. Head up a few steep paths along the Coyote trail to get some stunning views of over a small waterfall.

Additional Resources for Hiking Near Dallas and Fort Worth

What to bring.

  • Breathable hiking clothes – For warmer hikes, you’ll want to wear a sweat-wicking shirt and breathable pants, like these Patagonia hiking shorts for men and women . For cold-weather hikes, we recommend dressing in layers, including merino wool baselayers for men and women , a down puffer jacket for men and women , and a Northface waterproof outer shell for men and women (a must for hiking in Seattle). And don’t forget a pair of the best women’s and men’s hiking socks!
  • Trekking poles – You won’t need these for every single hike , but we suggest throwing them in your car just in case. We recommend the Black Diamond Trail Ergo cork trekking poles , which are lightweight, easy to transport, and durable.
  • Water bottle – Having water available at all times is a huge must. To limit disposable plastic, we recommend bringing your own refillable water bottle. We’re obsessed with Hydro Flask water bottles because they keep water cold for hours.
  • Sunscreen and bug spray – Sweatproof sunscreen and DEET bug spray can help you avoid sunburn and bug bites, two of hiking’s most annoying after-effects. Our favorite kind of sunscreen is Sun Bum , as it is free of harsh chemicals and safe for marine life, including coral reefs.
  • A brimmed hat or cap – The sun can be brutal in open hikes, so always pack a brimmed hat or cap for day hikes in the sunshine.
  • Emergency blanket and first aid kit – We’d strongly recommend bringing a first aid kit and a lightweight emergency blanket on every hike. Why? Because the unfathomable can happen, and it’s always best to play it safe.
  • Durable day pack – A durable day pack is the perfect spot to stash all your hiking gear. While any backpack will do, we recommend the Osprey Tempest 20 or the Talon 22 day packs because they’re comfortable and breathable for long hikes. For more information, check out our best day packs for any terrain guide.

Wondering what exactly you should pack for your next hike? Visit our Complete Day Hiking Packing List for our full list and our top gear recommendations.

Related Links & Resources for Hikes Near Dallas & Fort Worth

  • 15 Scenic Hikes in Houston that Outdoor Lovers Can’t Miss
  • The Ultimate Day Hiking Packing List
  • 55 Hiking Quotes to Inspire You to Get Outdoors
  • 15 Totally Spectacular Hikes in Austin for All Levels
  • 30 Practical Gifts for Hikers That They’ll Actually Use

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35 of the Best Day Trips from Dallas, Texas in 2024

January 7, 2024.

After four years living in Dallas, I’ve learned that there is so much to discover within a three hour’s drive. Welcoming tiny towns, beautiful parks, historic sights and more are waiting for you if you are willing to venture out of your neighborhood bubble.

I hope this list reminds you that opportunities to explore are everywhere and you might not have to travel far away to find your next adventure.

These day trips from Dallas are listed in order from closest to furthest when navigating from the city of Dallas.

A close up view of sunflowers with the Dallas skyline, including Reunion Tower on the right side, in the background.

Table of Contents

Weatherford, canton first mondays, go skydiving, dinosaur valley & glen rose, turner falls, daingerfield state park, jefferson + caddo lake, oklahoma city, colorado bend state park, wichita mountains wildlife refuge, dripping springs, final thoughts, day trips under one hour from dallas.

A large fountain area with steps leading down to the center. There are people walking across the various steps.

Fort Worth is an obvious but often overlooked destination near Dallas. The most iconic stop is the Stockyards: a historic district where you can watch the rodeo, drink in a saloon and experience a daily cattle drive.

Other great places to visit in Fort Worth include the Kimbell Art Museum , the Japanese Gardens and the Fort Worth Water Gardens . The Water Gardens are free and especially unique, as they are a large urban fountain that you can actually climb down into and explore (and stay mostly dry!).

After exploring the city, head to Joe T. Garcia’s for an iconic Tex-Mex dinner served on a gorgeous patio.

Lydia standing in a booth labeled "Mistletoe Booth" with a 25 cents price tag.

Grapevine is a charming small town centrally located between Dallas and Fort Worth. Main Street in Grapevine has so many shops, wineries and restaurants that you could spend hours stepping in and out of unique places. Some stops to make include the Messina Hof Winery , Main Street Bistro for brunch and the Grapevine Olive Oil Company to sample a wide selection of olive oils and balsamics.

You can also ride the Grapevine vintage railroad to Fort Worth or visit the House of Shine interactive museum to unearth your strengths, needs and more. Grapevine has also been nicknamed the “Christmas Capital of Texas” and is a great place to visit around the holidays.

The outdoor area of the Cowboys practice facility at the Frisco Star. There is a football field and a giant tv.

Frisco is another suburb north of Dallas and is a great area for sports fans. It is home to the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys, the Frisco Roughriders minor league baseball team and the FC Dallas soccer team.

If you’re a Cowboys fan, walk around the Ford Center Frisco Star , which is full of restaurants, official Cowboys merchandise and outdoor tv’s. If you time your day trip correctly, you can also catch a Frisco Roughriders game. The minor league games are a lot of fun and there is even a lazy river in the stadium!

If you are interested in rail transportation, spend your day in Frisco visiting the Museum of the American Railroad to see an impressive collection of rolling stock.

For a post-exploring treat, grab one of the best doughnuts in DFW at Detour Doughnuts , enjoy soft serve inside of a taiyaki cone (a Korean dessert) at Somisomi or enjoy a giant gourmet cookie from Cookie Society .

A treetop canopy course. There are wooden platforms around trees and various ropes going between the trees.

Plano is a large suburb located just north of Dallas that offers some of the best outdoor activities in DFW. I recommend hiking in Arbor Hills or climbing the rope course at Go Ape .

Go Ape’s aerial obstacle course is a very adventurous outdoor activity that includes testing your balance, ziplining from the treetops and more, all with the safety of a fall harness. After enjoying the outdoors, head to quaint downtown Plano or bustling Legacy West for dinner, shopping and drinks.

A close up look at Bluebonnets in Ennis, Texas.

Ennis is one of the best places near DFW to spot the famous Texas bluebonnets (the state flower of Texas)! Typically, the bluebonnets bloom throughout the month of April, and Ennis holds a bluebonnet festival during the third weekend of the month. During your visit, you can drive the bluebonnet trails, have a drink at Sugar Ridge Winery and pose for photos among fields of bluebonnets at the Meadow View Nature Park.

A photo of the Denton Courthouse in the Denton Downtown Square.

Denton is a college town with so much to explore. The city is located right next to the University of North Texas campus and has a charming and historic downtown square. During your trip, be sure to explore the downtown area surrounding the courthouse and stop into the various shops and restaurants.

LSA Burger is a great place for lunch, it’s an iconic spot on the square serving a variety of burgers with a strong Texas attitude. I also love shopping at Recycled Books Records and CDs for a huge selection of secondhand books, vinyl, movies and more. If you enjoy beer, be sure to stop at Armadillo Ale Works for a local brew in a large industrial space.

McKinney is yet another historic and beautiful small town located north of Dallas. Get a taste of the town by exploring the historic downtown area of McKinney and entering all of the wonderful shops.

Don’t miss Fair and Square Imports for home goods from all around the world and McKinney Hat Company for an authentic custom hat.

After shopping, visit Layered for brunch, Franconia Brewing Company for a beer or Hutchins for authentic Texas BBQ.

A blue fountain surrounded by green hedges and trees at Chandor Gardens.

Weatherford, Texas is a beautiful small town near Fort Worth. For hiking or rock climbing nearby, be sure to visit Lake Mineral Wells State Park , which has awesome rock formations surrounding a lake.

After a morning of hiking, visit The Full Cup for coffee and the beautiful Chandor Gardens to immerse yourself in tranquil gardens full of fountains and waterfalls. Weatherford also has a great downtown area to explore, complete with murals, shops and more.

A spillway with many layers of stones layering down to a pool of water.

Cleburne State Park is one of my favorite day hiking trips from Dallas. The park has great hiking trails that offer a bit of challenge in terms of elevation change. The park also has a lake, an historic CCC limestone spillway and Texas bluebonnets in the spring.

If you still want to explore after hiking, visit the small town of Cleburne. Here you’ll find a Gone with the Wind Museum , a Railroad Museum and a museum all about the Chisholm Trail . When you get hungry, visit Burger Bar , La Cima or the Garden of Eating Bistro for a great meal.

Canton is a great small town in the Texas Piney Woods if you love deal hunting! Be sure to schedule your day trip to Canton on the correct weekend of the month to shop at Canton First Mondays. This is the world’s largest flea market and typically occurs on the first weekend of the month.

Canton First Mondays is the place to find handcrafted goods, clothing, antiques and so much more. There are food vendors, farm animals and other activities, so you can easily make a day out of this event. Admission is free. Downtown Canton also has additional shops and restaurants nearby.

Day Trips Under 2 Hours from Dallas

Just over an hour from Dallas, you can have an exhilarating skydiving adventure at Skydiving Dallas 35 . They offer regular and high altitude tandem jumps and it’s a great place to go for first time skydivers.

A pond surrounded by trees in Purtis Creek State Park.

Athens, Texas is a small town east of Dallas offering a couple fun outdoor adventures. Visit the East Texas Arboretum for a beautiful garden display and go hiking at Purtis Creek State Park a few minutes outside of town. For a more exhilarating adventure, visit the New York, Texas ZipLine Adventures and fly from treetop to treetop while enjoying amazing views.

Standing on a beach with a cliff rising up at Eisenhower State Park.

Denison is located next the border of Oklahoma, a little over an hour from Dallas. The town has a lot to offer, from Dwight Eisenhower’s birthplace to a beautiful downtown Main Street.

For outdoor adventures, visit Eisenhower State Park and Waterloo Lake Regional Park . Eisenhower State Park has picturesque rocky cliffs right along Lake Texoma and includes a beach, hiking trails and OHV trails.

Waterloo is a great place to hike, rent kayaks and search for caves. One of the best places to eat in Denison is Incubator Rail Yard , a food hall with a variety of different restaurants and a bar.

A wall of flowers and various greenery at the Magnolia Silos.

Waco is a college town known as the heart of Texas. One of the most popular things to do in Waco is to visit the Magnolia Market at the Silos, which you may recognize from the tv show Fixer Upper. At the silos, you can shop for home goods, enjoy a cupcake at Silos Baking Co and more.

Other fun things you should do in Waco include learning about the history of Dr Pepper at the Dr Pepper Museum , seeing mammoth bones at the Waco Mammoth National Monument and going hiking in Cameron Park . For a great American dinner, check out Brazos Bar & Bistro , Union Hall or Jake’s Texas Tea House .

A corner in downtown Tyler with a red sign that reads "Tyler"

The city of Tyler is the largest city in Northeast Texas and has a lot to offer. Many are drawn to the town for the annual rose festival in the fall or the Azalea trail in the spring. Year round, visit the 14-acre Tyler Rose Garden to see over 500 types of roses and other plants.

Other things to do include exploring historic downtown Tyler, enjoying a cup of coffee at The Foundry , learning about trains at the Cotton Belt Depot Museum or learning about planes at the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum. After some exploring, enjoy a drink at a large patio at True Vine Brewing Company .

Right outside of town, you can also hike in Tyler State Park . The park features a pine-hardwood forest that surrounds a man-made lake. You can swim, kayak, hike, mountain bike or just enjoy the outdoors in this Texas State Park .

Granbury is a small town on the outskirts of DFW that is home to a city beach along the Brazos River, a historic downtown, breweries and more. Spend an afternoon swimming in Lake Granbury or hiking at the Acton Nature Center.

For a drink, visit Revolver Brewing for a beer and live music, or Barons Creek Wine Room for high quality Texas wine. If you like German food, also check out Ketzler Schnitzel Haus and Biergarten for traditional German fare.

A view of the Paluxy River from an overlook at Dinosaur Valley State Park.

Dinosaur Valley is one of my favorite hiking day trips from Dallas! However, the park offers more than great hiking trails: it even has real preserved dinosaur tracks right along the riverbank!

While visiting the park, you can enjoy the hiking trails, swim in the Paluxy River and of course, see the dinosaur tracks! I recommend the Overlook trail for an amazing view of the river and valley below. After hiking, you can also explore the small but charming town of Glen Rose.

Another adventure nearby is Fossil Rim , a non-profit wildlife center that is dedicated to wildlife conservation and the protection of endangered animals. There are over 50-species of animals including giraffes, cheetahs and emu. To visit, you can either drive your own car through the wildlife area or take a guided safari tour. Dinosaur Valley also makes a great day trip from Dallas for families.

A view of downtown Hico. Large red letters spell H-C-O with the intenion for you to stand in place of the I.

Hico ’s motto is “Where Everybody is Somebody” and you’ll feel right at home in the small town atmosphere. Start your day at 2nd Street Bakeshop or the Koffee Kup and then go shopping in some of the historic buildings. Blue Star Trading offers clothing, home decor and more in a restored building from the 1890s, and Hico Mercantile has a collection of vendors inside an 1895 Opera House. For drinks in town, enjoy a whiskey tasting paired with cheese at the Pecan Street Drink Shoppe or a glass of wine at Silver Spur .

A view of a waterfall from an overlook in Turner Falls.

Turner Falls is the highest waterfall in Oklahoma and just a couple hours north of Dallas. In the summertime, it’s a wonderful place to swim and relax next to the river. The park also has miles of hiking trails, caves and a quirky Rock Castle. Note that the admission to Turner Falls varies by season and is typically $16 per person in the peak summer months.

An eiffel tower replica with a red cowboy hat at the top.

Paris, Texas is a small town east of Dallas known for historic buildings, great food and most iconically, a miniature replica of the eiffel tower wearing a cowboy hat.

During your day trip, visit the town square and see the beautiful Culbertson Fountain, find Jesus wearing cowboy boots in the Evergreen Cemetery and learn about the local history in the town’s historic sights. When you get hungry, enjoy a pastry from Paris Bakery or street corn followed by gelato at Street Eats Paris .

Some colorful murals in an ally in Clifton.

Clifton is a small town with a population under 4,000 that has been nicknamed “The Norwegian Capital of Texas.” Learn the history of the area at the Bosque Museum , catch a show at the historic Cliftex Theatre and explore the historic downtown full of antique shops, galleries and restaurants. If you appreciate wine, stop in at the Red Caboose Winery for a tasting and a cheese platter.

Day Trips Under 3 Hours from Dallas

A set of green doors labeled Dublin Bottling Works.

Dublin, Texas is nicknamed the “Irish Capital of Texas” and there is evidence all around town with four leaf clovers, Irish shops and more. One of the best things to do in Dublin is to visit the Dublin Bottling Works . In this historic soda bottling facility, you can tour the bottling line, have a soda at Old Doc’s Soda Shop and see Dr. Pepper memorabilia at the Dr. Pepper Museum.

Another great place to visit is Veldhuizen Farm , where you can take a cheese making tour of a family run farm. During the tour, you will learn all about cheese making and finish with a cheese tasting paired with wine. Finally, visit Lucky Vines Winery and enjoy wine in a light and airy space.

Ruins of a former college at Salado. A tree grow in between the ruins of some buildings.

Salado makes for a great day trips from Dallas for couples! Salado is a small town north of Austin full of art, wineries and riverside views. Spend your day watching a glass demonstration at Salado Glassworks , swimming in the Salado Creek or exploring the Salado Sculpture Garden.

For a unique and quick stop, don’t miss the historic Salado College Ruins in town either. For drinks and food, visit Salado Winery , The Shed or Barrow Brewing Company .

A view of trees with colorful fall foliage in Daingerfield State Park.

Daingerfield is a small but very charming North Texas state park. Visit year round to enjoy the hiking trails, which total 3.6 miles and include lake views and forest scenery.

In the summertime, you can swim and paddle in the lake, while in the fall, the park has nice fall foliage. It’s a beautiful park that is perfect for relaxing in nature and packing a picnic lunch.

Georgetown is a town on the edge of Texas Hill Country known for its red poppies in the spring, beautiful town square and variety of outdoor activities. Hike to the gorgeous Crochet Garden Falls in Cedar Breaks Park, go swimming at the Blue Hole and explore underground at the Inner Space Caverns .

When you’ve worked up an appetite, visit the retro-feeling Monument Cafe or enjoy a farm-to-table experience at 2020 Market Scratch Kitchen & Bar .

Brownwood is a small town in central Texas with a lot to offer. Go hiking and enjoy the views in Lake Brownwood State Park , where you can see historic buildings built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, see wildlife and enjoy nature.

After exploring the park, head into Brownwood where you can eat in a train car at the Runaway Train Cafe, walk through an arch of books at Intermission Bookshop and enjoy the many murals that the town has to offer.

Caddo Lake with a relection of a blue sky and clouds on the water. Several trees are scattered across the lake.

Caddo Lake is a mysteriously beautiful lake right on the border of Louisiana. To visit, either head to the town of Uncertain, Texas and take a guided boat tour of the lake, or visit Caddo Lake State Park and rent a kayak to explore Mill Pond, a portion of the lake full of lily pads.

Just a few minutes away from the lake is the historic town of Jefferson, which used to be a major port city in the mid-1800s. In Jefferson, you can go on a ghost tour, explore the antique stores, get a view of the Howe Truss Train Trestle Bridge and more. Be sure to check out the Jefferson General Store for gifts and Kitt’s Kornbread Sandwich and Pie Bar for comfort food.

A dog swimming in the water next to Barton Springs. Several people are in the water or on the shore.

Austin has way more to offer than can be seen in one day, but if you don’t want to spend the night, a day trip is still a good option!

If you have only one day, I recommend checking out some of the Austin must-do’s like shopping on South Congress Ave, swimming in Barton Springs and eating tacos or BBQ. One of my favorite tacos spots in Austin is Veracruz All Natural , which has a few different locations around the city.

Lydia in the front of a tandem kayak on the Mountain Fork River.

Broken Bow is located in the southeastern corner of Oklahoma and is home to a large lake, cozy cabins and many outdoor activities. If you have one day, I recommend paddling down the rapids of the Mountain Fork River. The river has Class 2+ Rapids and ends with a three foot waterfall. It’s a very fun adventure that you can do on your own or in tandem with a partner. Many outfitters offer rentals but I had a good experience with Tippa Canoe.

After a few hours on the river, hike the 1.5 mile Friends Loop Trail in Beavers Bend State Park for beautiful views of the river and forest. Finally, end the day at one of the local restaurants like the Mountain Fork Brewery for pizza, burgers and beer.

Day Trips Under 4 Hours from Dallas

The National Memorial of the Oklahoma City Bombing. A black retangular arch reflect into a pool or water.

Oklahoma City is the capital of Oklahoma and is full of great activities, art and food. One must-see in Oklahoma is the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum . This museum commemorates the victims and heroes involved in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 and is an emotional and powerful place to visit.

If you love art, be sure to visit Factory Obscura while you’re in town, an impressive interactive art museum that is similar to the famous Meow Wolf in Santa Fe .

Finally, if you love architecture be sure to visit the Myriad Botanical Gardens , a greenhouse and park with a beautiful cylindrical glass greenhouse.

For food in Oklahoma City, visit Stitch Cafe for a delicious and fresh brunch spot and Cheever’s Cafe for a wonderful date night dinner. And if you have enough time, Bricktown is a great neighborhood for more restaurants, breweries and activities like mini golf.

The Gorman Falls waterfall in Colorado Bend surrounded by greenery.

Colorado Bend is a beautiful state park located at the northern edge of Texas Hill Country. The best things to do at Colorado Bend State Park include hiking to the famous Gorman Falls, a beautiful 70 foot waterfall accessible via a moderate 2.8 mile trail.

The park also has many more hiking trails including some that even lead to swimming holes. Other things to do in the park include renting kayaks and going on a cave tour. If you have time, Fiesta Winery is located not far outside of the park.

Walls of white-gray rocks on either side of a river in the Wichita Mountains.

The Wichita Mountains are located in Oklahoma and are one of the closest mountain ranges to Dallas. If you enjoy hiking, I recommend the 1.4 mile Forty Foot Hole Trail and the 2.7 mile Narrows Trail , both of which have beautiful rock formations with rivers that have carved narrow canyon walls.

For views without much hiking, be sure to drive to the top of Mount Scott for 360 views of the entire area, visit the Lake Quanah Parker Dam and stop at the prairie dog town. After outdoor adventures, head to Medicine Park for a meal or to cool off in the Medicine Creek.

The large alcove of Hamilton Pool Preserve. Water cascades over the rim and into the pool of water below.

Dripping Springs is an adorable Texas Hill Country town nicknamed the ‘Gateway to Texas Hill Country.’ Some of the best things to do in Dripping Springs include taking a tour of olive vineyards at the Texas Hill Country Olive Co , hiking to a grotto at Hamilton Pool Preserve and visiting the lush greenery at West Cave.

Also nearby, Pedernales Falls State Park is a gorgeous park to hike on a waterfall and see hill country views. For food in Drippings Springs, visit Rolling in Thyme and Dough for brunch, Crepe Crazy for lunch and Tillie’s for a high end dinner in a beautiful space.

A hallway with pink light designed by James Turrell inside the Museum of Fine Arts.

Houston is another city that deserves more than a day, but you can still cover a lot if a day is all you have! Be sure to visit one or more of the iconic museums in Houston, such as the Space Center Houston and the Museum of Fine Arts . For something unique and quirky, check out the Art Car Museum , which is full of wildly decorated cars and the Beer Can House , which is made of over 50,000 recycled beer cans.

Houston is also a great foodie destination and has food options from all around the world. Options include enjoying dim sum at Ocean Palace , high tea at Proper Rose Garden and an upscale Indian meal at Kiran’s .

Lydia jumping into a swimming hole with an underground cave at Jacob's Well. The photo is from above.

Wimberley, Texas is great for a summertime destination in Texas Hill Country. Make reservations at Jacob’s Well to jump into a submerged cave and Blue Hole Regional Park to swim under shady cypress trees.

If you visit during cooler weather, the short hike to Old Baldy is a great way to take in the Texas Hill Country views. For food and drinks in Wimberley, visit Shady Llama for a beautiful beer garden space, Community Pizza for great Italian food and Sugar Shack Bakery for a pastry and coffee.

As you can see, there is no shortage of day trips from Dallas and the surrounding area! For more inspiration for Texas travel, check out some of the articles below. Happy Exploring!

A Four Day Itinerary of Dallas, Texas

The Ultimate Texas Nature Bucket List

The Best Hiking Trails Near Dallas, Texas

40+ Things To Do in Texas Hill Country

Things To Do in the Texas Piney Woods

The Best Romantic Getaways from Dallas, Texas

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There is no shortage of great day trips from Dallas, Texas. This list includes hiking near Dallas, outdoor adventures near Dallas, cute small towns and more.

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27 Worthy Day Trips from Dallas: All Under 4 Hours!

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So, you’ve finally got a day to spare in Dallas, and you’re itching to explore. No worries! 

There are tons of fun day trips from Dallas that are just a short drive away, like walking in real dinosaur tracks at Dinosaur Valley State Park or literally stopping to smell the roses in the small town of Tyler. Texas is a big place, but all the spots on this list are less than 4 hours away and ranked by distance.

I understand how tricky it can be to choose the perfect spot when you’re short on time. I used to juggle corporate with weekend escapes that were always just a bit too far away.

Fortunately, adopting the van living lifestyle let me work full-time while going all over the West Coast. So, after exploring all the best of Dallas during my month+ Texas adventure, here are my top picks for places to visit near Dallas that are just a short drive away.

Easy Day Trips from Dallas: Less than 1 Hour

1. fort worth, texas.

Catherine Xu sitting at fort forth water gardens

Distance:  ~32 miles/30 minutes  Type:  Urban Best Time to Go to Fort Worth:  Spring or fall

Merging the nostalgia of the Old West with urban sophistication, Fort Worth is more than just cowboy boots and rodeos. The Stockyards National Historic District, with its cattle drives and Western saloons, is the heart of cowboy culture and the chance to two-step in Billy Bob’s Texas, the world’s largest honky-tonk. I personally went just to see the Fort Worth Water Gardens.

Fort Worth is worth visiting for its well-preserved history and art scene, and it is absolutely one of the quickest Dallas day trips to take. The city is a jewel for those wanting to experience the Texan bravado without straying too far from downtown Dallas. Also, if you’re an art aficionado, the Cultural District houses masterpieces by the likes of Warhol and Picasso.

2. Arlington, Texas

Aerial drone image of ATNT Stadium Arlington Texas USA, one of the closest day trips from Dallas

Distance:  ~20 miles/30 minutes  Type:  Entertainment Best Time to Go:  Year-round

Arlington is your go-to spot for thrills and spills. As the home of the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers, you can catch a game and soak up the electric atmosphere at AT&T Stadium or Globe Life Park. The energy at the stadiums is contagious, regardless of whether you’re a die-hard fan or just in it for the hot dogs and halftime shows. 

Nearby, the Six Flags Over Texas offers roller coasters galore for those who dare to ride!

3. Denton, Texas

Denton County Courthouse located in Denton, TX

Distance:  ~40 miles/45 minutes  Type:  College Town Charm Best Time to Go:  Spring or fall

Feel the youthful energy and quirky vibes of Denton, a small town with a big personality that lies just north of Dallas. Known for its vibrant music scene, it’s often referred to as “Little Austin.” The town square is sprinkled with vintage shops, cool cafes, and upbeat music venues.

If you’re someone who delights in discovering local artistry and musical talent, the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University always make sure there’s something happening. Don’t miss the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival if you’re around in the fall.

4. Canton (Canton Trade Days)

Cowboy souvenirs being sold

Distance:  ~60 miles/1 hour  Type:  Shopping & Cultural Best Time to Go:  First Monday of each month

Experience one of the largest and most famous flea markets in the world! The First Monday Trade Days are a massive event that consumes the small town of Canton each month.

Canton Trade Days is worth it for its sheer scale and variety. You’ll find everything from unique home decor to farm animals for sale at this flea market. It’s a treasure hunter’s dream with the added bonus of hearty Texas food and live entertainment. Plus, the friendly Southern atmosphere makes it as much a social occasion as a shopping spree.

Best Day Trips from Dallas: Less than 2 Hours

5. athens, texas.

Low angle view of a Texas flags laying among bluebonnet flowers on a bright spring day in the Texas Hill Country

Distance:  ~73 miles/1.25 hours  Type:  Nature & Adventure Best time to visit:  Spring or Fall

Affectionately labeled as the “Black-Eyed Pea Capital of the World,” Athens, Texas, is set in the lush, green rolling hills of East Texas. 

Dive into freshwater fun at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center where fishing and interactive exhibits make a splash with the entire family. The East Texas Arboretum showcases nature trails and beautiful gardens.

Cultural curiosity is also satisfied with historical landmarks like the Henderson County Courthouse and the Athens Scuba Park for those up for underwater exploration. After working up an appetite, savor the local cuisine with down-home eateries that serve up more than just black-eyed peas. Think succulent barbecue and sweet slices of pie that taste like Southern hospitality.

6. Granbury, Texas

Aerial view close up the Clock Tower on top of Hood County Courthouse in Historic Granbury Square, Texas, America. Traditional landmarks surrounded by unique boutiques, restaurants, bistro

Distance:  ~70 miles/1.25 hours  Type:  Historic Town & Lake Retreat  Best Time to Go:  Spring to fall

Stroll around the well-preserved 19th-century buildings of Granbury. It’s an attractive spot for those who appreciate history, architecture, and a slower pace of life.

With Lake Granbury at its doorstep, pull up for a day of boating, fishing, or chilling on a lakefront bench. Add to that a lineup of unique boutiques, wineries, and cozy eateries, and you’re in for a treat. 

Check out Granbury Opera House for a show, and the night-time Ghosts and Legends tour is a must for a spooky encounter with the town’s past residents. 

7. Waco, Texas

Texas Waco Magnolia Silos on a sunny day

Distance:  ~95 miles/1.5 hours  Type:  Eclectic Attractions & Heritage Best Time to Go to Waco:  Late spring or early fall

Before going, I used to only know Waco from that miniseries, but it really is a hidden gem for those looking for an authentic slice of Texan life. 

Why should Waco be on your go-to list? For starters, it’s home to the renowned Magnolia Market at the Silos, birthed by the visionaries Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” fame. Here, shopping, dining, and leisure converge, all set in a rustic, beautifully landscaped space. Here, you can sample some of the best food trucks in the area.

Learn something from the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum or the Dr. Pepper Museum, which is all about the nation’s oldest major soft drink. The Cameron Park Zoo has exotic animals, while the Waco Mammoth National Monument offers a jaw-dropping peek at the remains of mammoths that roamed the region thousands of years ago.

8. Tyler, Texas

Pink Roses With Smith County Courthouse in Downtown Tyler, TX in Background

Distance:  ~98 miles/1.5 hours  Type:  Roses and Outdoor Activities Best Time to Go:  Spring for the Rose Festival or fall

Dubbed as the “Rose Capital of America,” Tyler, Texas is a city renowned for its enchanting rose gardens and charming historic district. Wander through the Tyler Rose Garden to experience one of the largest public rose gardens in the U.S., home to thousands of rose bushes and myriad vibrant blooms. It is especially breathtaking during the annual Texas Rose Festival in October.

Other than roses, go visit the historic Carnegie Library, the Goodman-LeGrand House & Museum, the contemporary exhibits at the Tyler Museum of Art, or go chill by Lake Tyler.

9. Lake Texoma, Oklahoma

Lake Texoma House on some cliffs

Distance:  ~95 miles/1.5 hours  Type:  Water Recreation & Nature  Best Time to Go:  Early summer through fall

Straddling the border between Texas and Oklahoma, Lake Texoma is a massive reservoir, one of the largest in the United States, for fishing, boating, and windsurfing fun. It covers an impressive 89,000 acres.

Anglers from everywhere come to test their skills against this sought-after game, Striped Bass. But with over a hundred miles of shoreline dotted with scenic hiking trails, picnic areas, and campgrounds, Lake Texoma is a great spot to get into nature without venturing too far from the conveniences of the city.

10. Glen Rose (Dinosaur Valley State Park)

Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose,Texas showing Dino tracks over 100 million years old.

Distance:  ~80 miles/1.5 hours  Type:  Historical & Family Fun Best Time to Go : Spring and fall

Travel back in time at  Dinosaur Valley State Park  in Glen Rose, Texas, where you’ll find real dinosaur footprints preserved in the riverbed. Take a dip in the Paluxy River while keeping an eye out for these ancient tracks, or walk along the park’s hiking and biking trails.

For even more dino fun, visit Dinosaur World to see life-size replicas of various species and take part in interactive exhibits. At the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, you can drive through and see over 1,000 animals, including bison and giraffes, in their natural habitats. 

Nearby, there is another park filled with unusually large rock formations creatively named Big Rocks Park.

11. Mineral Wells Fossil Park, Texas

Dinosaur fossils etched in rock

Distance:  88 miles/1.5 hours Type:  Outdoor & Nature Best Time to Go : Year-round

For the young or young at heart,  Mineral Wells Fossil Park  is a great spot for fossil hunting and learning about Earth’s history.

The park is open to the public, and you can keep whatever fossils you find. The park is a treasure trove from the Pennsylvanian Period, meaning you can literally pick up fossils that are over 300 million years old. Just BYOT – bring your own tools.

12. Paris, Texas

Paris Texas Eiffel Tower on a cloudy day

Distance:  ~100 miles/1.75 hours  Type:  Quaint Small Town Charm Best Time to Go:  Spring for the annual Dogwood Festival

Just a short drive from Dallas is a charming town named after its French counterpart. Paris, Texas, boasts gorgeous architecture with a mix of Victorian and Art Deco styles. 

Take a tour of the Eiffel Tower with a replica built in Paris, or visit the Red River Valley Veterans Memorial to pay tribute to those who have served our country. And there’s an annual Dogwood Festival in spring, where you can see thousands of blooming dogwood trees throughout the city. 

13. Dublin, Texas

Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute. The museum is dedicated to being the finest museum in the world devoted to telling the story of the soft drink industry.

Distance:  ~122 miles/2 hours  Type:  Small Town Charm Best Time to Go:  Spring for the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration

Dublin, Texas, may be a small town, but it is known as the birthplace of Dr. Pepper. You can actually go taste the original formula at the Dublin Bottling Works. Take a stroll through the historic downtown area to admire its collection of murals, or stop by the Ben Hogan Museum to learn about the legendary golfer’s roots.

Dublin’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration is a total highlight, complete with a parade and plenty of Irish-inspired activities. And for a dose of outdoor adventure, head to nearby Lake Proctor for fishing and boating.

14. Davis, Oklahoma (Turner Falls Park)

Medium wide aerial shot of Turner Falls Arbuckle Mountains in Oklahoma

Distance:  ~130 miles/2 hours  Type:  Natural Landmark & Water Recreation Best Time to Go:   Summer for swimming

Turner Falls State Park  in Davis, Oklahoma, boasts the state’s highest waterfall, measuring at seventy-seven feet. This landscape set in the Arbuckle Mountains is filled with miles of trails, swimming, and photography. 

The waterfall isn’t the only attraction here; there are also caves, rock formations, and natural pools to explore. For those wanting to extend their stay, there are campsites and cabins available for rent. Plus, the nearby town of Davis offers a variety of restaurants and shops to complete your trip.

15. Texas State Railroad, Palestine & Rusk, Texas

Old train bridge in Texas surrounded by trees

Distance:  ~127 miles/2 hours Type:  Train ride and historical tour Best Time to Go : Spring through fall

Ride on the  Texas State Railroad , a historic train chugging through the piney woods of East Texas. The railroad has both vintage steam and diesel locomotives, with different themes for each car, such as the first-class First Lady or open-air coach Sunset Limited.

The trip includes a stop at an 1880s-style train depot where you can explore exhibits and watch a traditional train robbery reenactment. You can also opt for a themed ride, like the popular Polar Express during the holiday season or a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner train.

Dallas Day Trips: Less than 3 Hours

16. old zoo nature trails, cisco, texas.

The cages of an old abandoned zoo

Distance:  140 miles/2.5 hours Type:  Outdoor Adventure & Nature  Best Time to Go : Anytime except for during hunting season

Los Angeles isn’t the only place with an abandoned old zoo to wander around. If you’re up for some hikes in a unique spot, check out the Old Zoo Nature Trails in Cisco, Texas. 

Opened in the 1920s, the local residents were delighted to have some tourism come to their part of town. Despite its limited animal variety compared to today, people loved it. That is, until the zoo’s closure was triggered by a murder mystery involving a poisoned bear and suspicious deer deaths. 

Abandoned in the 1930s, a local nonprofit later transformed the site into a hiking trail. Visitors can still walk by the old enclosures, shelters, and staff offices, creating an eerie yet tranquil 1.5-mile track.

17. Austin, Texas

Lady Bird Lake in Austin Texas

Distance:  ~200 miles/3 hours  Type:  Urban & Foodie Adventures Best Time to Go to Austin:  Spring or Fall

Probably better for weekend trips than an Austin day trip, I was surprised by how much I loved this city! I’ve since gone back three more times, staying 2 weeks to a month each. It helps when one of your best buds just became a homeowner.

As the state capital of Texas, Austin is a young city filled with fun activities, music, and delicious food, especially Terry Black’s Texan BBQ. Stroll South Congress Avenue to see street art, boutique shops, and tasty food trucks. Watch the bats fly out from under Congress Avenue Bridge at sunset (best in summer months). 

And, of course, paddleboard Ladybird Lake or catch a live music show along Sixth Street (Dirty Six) or at one of the many music festivals throughout the year, such as South by Southwest (SXSW) or Austin City Limits.

18. Caddo Lake State Park, Karnack, Texas

Cypress trees at Caddo Lake, Texas

Distance:  168 miles/3 hours Type:  Water Recreation & Wildlife Watching Best Time to Go : Spring and fall

Caddo Lake  is a hidden gem in Northeast Texas, bordering Louisiana. This magnificent bayou is created by a 25,400-acre mix of swamps and ponds. Spanish moss hangs over bald cypress trees, and in winter, the moss turns silver, resembling long gray hair on the trees. Birds chirp, frogs croak, and alligators swim through the water. 

The lake’s rich history dates back to the pearl rush of 1910 when freshwater pearls were found in the mussels. The rush lasted three years until rising water levels made it hard to reach the mussels. Though the pearl seekers are gone, Today, most visitors journey by boat through the sloughs and ponds to fish, observe the birds, or search the murky waters for signs of its reptilian inhabitants.

Travel Tip:  Beware the alligators here!

19. Colorado Bend State Park

Gorman Falls in autumn. Colorado Bend State Park. Hill Country. Texas. USA

Distance:  ~186 miles/3 hours  Type:  Outdoor Adventure Best Time to Go : Spring and fall

 Located in the scenic Texas Hill Country,  Colorado Bend State Park  is over 5,000 acres of stunning landscapes, rivers, moss, and caves. The park is a popular destination for hiking, camping, and investigating the many caves within its boundaries. 

One of the highlights of the park is Gorman Falls, a 60-foot waterfall surrounded by lush greenery. 

20. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA cityscape in Bricktown at dusk.

Distance:  ~205 miles/3 hours  Type:  Urban Exploration Best Time to Go to Oklahoma City : Spring and Fall

Although it’s not in Texas, Oklahoma City is still a great option for a day trip from Dallas. The city has a rich history with the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, as well as the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, dedicated to the victims of the 1995 bombing.

For some family fun, visit the Oklahoma City Zoo or Frontier City amusement park. And Oklahoma is also quite famous for its barbecue joints. 

Dallas Day Trips: Less than 4 Hours

21. san marcos, texas.

starting river access point

Distance:  ~225 miles/3.5 hours  Type:  Water Recreation & Outdoor Adventure Best Time to Go to San Marcos : Spring to fall

Located halfway between Austin and San Antonio, San Marcos is another great spot for river tubing on the crystal-clear San Marcos River. Although tubing here is a bit far from Dallas, I can attest to how fun this is, even if we got caught in a lightning storm the day we went. 

After a day of outdoor fun, head to one of the many local breweries or wineries for some craft drinks. 

22. Pedernales Falls State Park

Texas Pedernales Falls State Park blue pool

Distance:  ~235 miles/3.5 hours  Type:  Outdoor Adventure Best Time to Go:  Spring and fall

Located just west of Austin, Pedernales Falls State Park is a peaceful retreat. The highlight of the park is the beautiful Pedernales River, which flows over limestone ledges and large smooth rocks.

Dive into the cool waters at the limestone falls, a local favorite for swimming and tubing, or lace up your hiking boots to explore trails that lead you to sunset views atop white cliffs.

23. Houston, Texas

Houston skyline at the Love Lock Bridge

Distance:  ~240 miles/3.5 hours  Type:  Cultural & Urban Exploration Best Time to Go to Houston : Spring and fall

As the largest city in Texas, there’s no shortage of things to do on a Houston itinerary. This is another city that shocked me. I spent three days running around trying to fit everything in and just couldn’t, so this city might be better left for a longer road trip.

If you don’t get to anything else, go see the Space Center Houston to learn about NASA’s space exploration missions, or go see the immersive art at Seismique or famous works at the Menil Collection. Although it’s just a centerpiece for a park, the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park is pretty darn cool too.

If you really want to spend another hour driving, you can reach the coast of Galveston Island. 

24. Wimberley, Texas

Colorful shop with artwork on display in the small Texas Hill Country town of Wimberley.

Distance:  ~230 miles/3.5 hours  Type:  Small Town Charm & Outdoor Adventure Best Time to Go : Spring and fall

For a peaceful day trip with small-town charm, head to Wimberley. This Hill Country gem is known for its quaint shops, art galleries, and beautiful scenery. Take a dip in the amazing-looking Blue Hole or hike to Jacob’s Well, an artesian spring that is actually a submerged cave system that divers have explored to depths of over 100 feet!

Try a new activity at the Wimberley Glassworks for a glass-blowing experience and some of the delicious local wines at one of the many wineries in town. 

25. New Braunfels, Texas

day hiking trips from dallas

Distance:  ~240 miles/3.5 hours  Type:  Water Recreation & Outdoor Adventure Best Time to Go to New Braunfels:  Summer for river tubing and water parks

Between Austin and San Antonio, New Braunfels is a popular summer destination for its two main attractions: the Comal and Guadalupe rivers. These beautiful bodies of water are a fun and popular way to beat the Texas heat with river tubing, kayaking, and rafting. 

You’ll see hordes of groups tie tubes together and float down the river, with packed coolers of beer and snacks. There’s also a city tube chute in town for a more intense experience.

If you’re more into traditional water parks, check out Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort or Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

26. Fredericksburg, Texas

Public library in Fredericksburg, Texas with limestone veneer

Distance:  ~249 miles/4 hours  Type:  Small Town & Wine Country Best Time to Go to Fredericksburg : Spring and fall for Oktoberfest celebrations 

Known as the heart of Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is a small town with a German background. Although best known as the Napa of Texas for its many wineries and tastings, you can also explore the historic Main Street or take a scenic drive to the Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. And try some German cuisine while you’re in town! 

During the spring, check out the beautiful wildflower fields, and in the fall, don’t miss out on their annual Oktoberfest celebration. I love bat caves, so there’s also a deserted railroad tunnel 10 miles away that’s home to up to 3 million bats if that’s something you want to see up close. 

27. San Antonio, Texas

the alamo in san antonio

Distance:  ~275 miles/4 hours  Type:  Historical & Family Fun Best Time to Go to San Antonio : Fall and spring

Now, this is starting to be a long drive, but San Antonio is a must-visit destination in Texas and a pretty small city good for one day . The city’s beloved River Walk is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, with its beautiful waterway lined with restaurants, shops, and entertainment. You can also visit the historic Alamo for a lesson in Texas history.

 For some family fun, head to SeaWorld San Antonio or Six Flags Fiesta Texas for roller coasters and water rides. And eat delicious Tex-Mex food while you’re in town!

Final Thoughts: Best Mini Road Trips from Dallas

Isn’t it wild how much there is to see just outside of Dallas? This list should guide you to some surprisingly fun spots like Canton Trade Days or lead you to natural gems like Pedernales Falls State Park. 

And if you’re eager to explore other parts of Texas, don’t forget to check out our other guides on the Lone Star State.

Before you Close That Tab…Where to Next in Texas?

I’ve stayed with friends and vanlifed around, about, and through much of Texas. If you’re looking for more information on the Lone Star State, check out these other destination itineraries.

  • One Day in Dallas Itinerary: Perfect First-Timers Day Trip
  • One Day in Big Bend National Park Itinerary for First-Timers
  • One Day In San Antonio Itinerary: What To Do In 24 Hours
  • Perfect One Day In Houston Itinerary For First Timers

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Catherine, a seasoned travel writer, has lived in 4 different states and explored 36 states and 28 national parks. After spending two years embracing van life, she's now dedicated to sharing her vast knowledge of day trips across America. Catherine's other works has been referenced in major publications like MSN, Self, and TripSavvy.

Enchanting Texas

48 Fun & Interesting Day Trips from Dallas, Texas

Have a long layover in DFW and looking for nearby day trips from Dallas?

Live in Dallas and need a short break from routine?

Discover our favorite Dallas day trips in this epic guide.

Dallas is a bustling city with an impressive skyline in the Lone Star State.

From Six Flags over Texas and the Fort Worth Stockyards to Oklahoma City and Lake Texoma, there’s something for everyone near Dallas!

Explore a small town in North Texas or sip wine in the Texas Hill Country wineries.

The options are endless!

Also Read: Best Things to do in Dallas

Best Texas cities & suburbs to visit on a day trip from Dallas

Looking for a way to escape Dallas but still want to enjoy urban attractions?

Plan a visit to one of these nearby Texan cities and suburbs to enjoy a relaxing day. 

Spend time in museums and art galleries and enjoy a fine meal on these urban day trips from Dallas.

Fort Worth is very close to Dallas, making it one of the perfect day trips from Dallas.

One of the major attractions in Fort Worth is the Historic Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District.

The Fort Worth Stockyards are filled with historic buildings, cattle drives, and mock shootouts.

Fort Worth also has many museums including the Modern Art Museum of Worth Worth, Kimbell Art Museum as well as restaurants, bars, and shops to explore.

Also Read: 20 Romantic Date Ideas in Dallas

Tarrant County Courthouse is downtown Fort Worth

Arlington is a city in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

It’s easily commutable from Dallas, and is one of our favorite day trips from Dallas for a variety of reasons.

Arlington is home to the University of Texas campus and the UTA Planetarium.

On a visit, kids can see a variety of interactive space themed exhibits and spot celestial objects through the telescope.

Watch a game at AT&T Stadium, visit one of the theme parks, go on a walking tour of the murals downtown, or see the Arlington Museum of Art.

If you’re looking for something outdoors, there’s plenty of fishing, boating, paddle boarding, and kayaking opportunities at River Legacy Parks, located on the banks of the Trinity River.

Denton is a great place to live because it’s so diverse.

The town is also one of the best trips from Dallas.

One of the best things about the city is that you can visit many different restaurants and find something for anyone’s taste.

The town has a lot of bike trails, parks, and festivals that happen throughout the year.

If you’re looking for arts and culture, there are many galleries in Denton, as well as an art museum.

You can also find historic homes in the Downtown area!

A highlight is the Old Alton Bridge, a historic iron truss bridge which makes for a charming photo op.

Frisco is a popular city in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, and there are so many things to do!

This is the perfect place for people who love nature and exploring.

There are a lot of hiking trails, parks and fishing opportunities at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve.

Downtown Frisco has plenty of history, charm, and activities to enjoy.

Museums such as the Frisco Heritage Museum and National Videogame Museum are great to spend the day.

The city also hosts festivals throughout the year, including a holiday lights festival in December.

Grapevine is one of the best day trips from Dallas for the entire family because it’s surrounded by kid-friendly attractions, wineries, shopping, and restaurants.

In the heart of Grapevine , you will find a walkable downtown district that features charming historic buildings, a vintage railroad, shopping, and restaurants.

The city also has plenty of outdoor attractions, including water activities such as fishing and boating.

Grapevine is famous all over Texas for its Christmas celebrations, making this one of the popular times to visit the city.

Also Read: Best Places to Spend Christmas in Texas

Highland Village

Located near Lewisville Lake, Highland Village suburb of Dallas has a lot of things to offer visitors.

One of the most popular attractions is shopping and the many lakeside parks.

Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking and fishing at Pilot Knoll Park or LLELA Nature Preserve.

Irving is a city just outside of Dallas, and has many fun things to do!

There are lots of museums to explore, such as the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which includes interactive exhibits about the life and career of George W. Bush.

The Irving Convention Center is also located in the heart of downtown Irving, and it has hosted many different events over the years.

If you’re looking for something artsy, Irving is home to multiple galleries and museums including the Irving Arts Center.

For the outdoor enthusiast, there are plenty of parks and fishing opportunities. 

Irving offers a variety of restaurants to try as well as shopping malls if you’re looking for something new.

Grand Prairie

Grand Prairie is one of the great day trips from Dallas if you’re looking for shopping and culture.

It is home to a variety of historic sites such as the Pioneer Museum, which is a favorite with kids.

Texas Motor Speedway, one of the most iconic race tracks in Texas is also located here.

Check out the Crockett Civic Center where you’ll find plenty of live music shows, games, and activities for people of all ages to enjoy.

Plano is one of the best day trips from Dallas.

The city is only a few miles from Dallas and it’s home to many fun things to see and do for both kids and adults.

Plano has a variety of attractions that will make you want to plan a whole day just for this city.

There are plenty of unique restaurants, theatres such as Arbor Theatre, as well as outdoor activities in Plano.

Also Read: 33 Best Day Trips in Texas

Southlake has a lot of things to offer visitors.

There are family-friendly activities such as shopping and dining, nature, and outdoor recreation.

Shopping in Southlake includes rodeo shops, unique boutiques, antique stores, art galleries, and more.

There are also many lakeside parks that provide fishing opportunities and hiking trails.

Visitors can also enjoy outdoor activities like camping, birding, photography, or biking.

Keller is a city in Tarrant County that offers visitors a variety of things to do.

Visitors can enjoy outdoor activities like biking, birding, hiking, and swimming.

Visitors will also come across many lakes and streams which provide fishing opportunities for the more adventurous travelers.

The town also has a lot of shopping and dining opportunities including Keller Farmers Market, Shannon Brewing Company, and art galleries.

There are also restaurants throughout the area that offer meals with an eclectic flare from burgers to pizzas to tacos.

The city of Glen Rose, Texas is one of the best day trips from Dallas for families with small kids.

Glen Rose has many family-friendly attractions and museums as well as a charming walkable downtown district.

The highlights are Dinosaur Valley State Park and Dinosaur World, which are beloved by dinosaur crazy kids.

The Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose offers more than 500 acres of natural beauty in four different areas.

Visitors can see all sorts of wildlife, including buffalo, bison, deer, prairie dogs, and more on a drive through safari visit.

Visitors also have the opportunity to meet with a variety of animals and learn about their adaptations.

Waco is located on the Brazos River and offers nature, outdoor recreation, and history.

The Brazos River winds through Waco creating a natural barrier between the city’s east and west sides.

Lively downtown Waco offers a variety of shopping opportunities as well as local art galleries.

Outdoor activities include tubing, canoeing, hiking, biking, and camping.

Take a cruise down the river or visit the famous Magnolia market at the Silos or…..

….see the mammoth skeletons at Waco Mammoth National Monument or,

tour the Dr Pepper Museum to spend a fantastic day in Waco.

The Dr. Pepper Museum is sure to be a hit with any fans of the popular soda!

The interactive museum explores the history and mystery of Dr. Pepper by telling its story in four parts: History, Mystery, Taste and Adventure.

Visitors can taste dozens of flavors at the “Taste Lab” and learn about the soda’s past at the Dr. Pepper Museum.

Magnolia Market, from the show Fixer Uppers, is known for its homespun apparel, flea market treasures, and excellent food.

Waco makes one of the best day trips from Dallas for all types of travelers.

Best Dinosaur Attractions to visit on a day trip from Dallas with kids

Did you know that the Lone Star State has many dinosaur attractions for the littles?

Many of them are located close to Dallas, such as Glen Rose and Bastrop.

Take the kids out on one of these day trips to learn about the prehistoric beasts such as T-Rex and see the dinosaur skeletons, tracks, and fossils.

Also Read: Best Dinosaur Attractions in Texas

Dinosaur Valley State Park

Dinosaur Valley State Park is located in the town of Glen Rose, the Dinosaur Capital of Texas.

The dinosaur tracks were formed in the Paluxy river bed several million years ago during Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

The fossil beds are considered some of the most significant of any kind in North America.

Dinosaur Valley State Park is a national treasure and favorite with all dinosaur lovers, making it one of the best day trips from Dallas.

It’s the only park of its kind where visitors can actually follow the trails and touch the preserved dinosaur tracks.

The park terrain is wooded and hilly with steep limestone cliffs. Other activities include biking, camping, and swimming in the river.

Dinosaur World, Glen Rose

The cool attraction of Dinosaur World in Glen Rose, Texas is not just for little kids.

The museum is one of the world’s largest indoor dinosaur attractions and features more than 40 life size dinosaurs in a natural environment.

Kids can learn more about the prehistoric creatures through interactive displays that teach them all they need to know about fossils and dinosaur life.

Visitors can also explore a museum onsite, view giant skeletons of some of the largest animals ever to walk the earth, and dig for dino bones!

Arlington Archosaur Site

The Arlington Archosaur Site is a fossil locality in the east Texas area.

It consists of a limestone outcrop containing the remains of terrestrial animals that lived about 195 million years ago during the early part of the Jurassic Period.

Visitors on this day trip can see fossils from some of the oldest mammals, crocodiles, and dinosaurs in North America.

Dinosaur Park, Bastrop

Dinosaur Park in Bastrop / Cedar Creek is the place where everyone in the family will have fun!

The kids can enjoy 2 miles of scenic nature trails, and the dinos will be waiting for them at the end.

Also Read: 21 Best Things to do in Bastrop, Texas

Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, McKinney

The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary, located in McKinney, Texas is one of the best Dallas day trips.

Located on several acres of forested land, the Heard Sanctuary is an excellent destination to spend time with friends and family while learning about nature and wildlife.

In the museum, kids can see dinosaur skeletons and fossils.

They can also see exhibits about ecosystems of North America, explore the Texas coastal area and more.

There are also picnic areas and boardwalk hiking trails through the sanctuary.

The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary is a fun-filled day trip from Dallas that can be enjoyed by all ages!

Waco Mammoth National Monument

Waco Mammoth National Monument is a national monument that is located in Waco, Texas.

The national park was created to preserve the remains of two American mastodons and Columbian mammoth.

The fossils were found around 60 years ago.

Visitors can view exhibits that show how these giants lived on earth.

Best Beach & Swimming Day Trips from Dallas, Texas

Looking to cool off and soak up the sun?

These are some of the best beach day trips from Dallas.

Joe Pool Lake Recreation Area

Joe Pool Lake is located in southwest Dallas County and is the perfect place to go swimming.

This is one of the largest lakes in Texas.

There are 3 boat ramps for watercraft, fishing jetties, and a swimming beach that is supervised during the summer time.

Lakeside Park in White Rock Lake

Lakeside Park at White Rock Lake offers beautiful scenery and a wide variety of outdoor fun for everyone.

This urban park has picnic shelters, an outdoor eating area and a half mile walking trail around the shoreline.

The White Rock Lake is a popular destination for boating, fishing and swimming.

Burger’s Lake, Fort Worth

One of Burger’s Lake’s highlights is its sandy beaches.

In the summer, they are a popular summer attraction with people who come to cool down and have fun in the water.

This lake has sparkling-clean water and is spring-fed.

The area has picnic tables, play areas, diving platforms, and more making it a must-visit place during the summer.

Ray Roberts Lake State Park Beach

Ray Roberts Lake State Park is a scenic destination with a sprawling park and clean beach.

It has campsites and boat slips, too.

The park provides boating, swimming and fishing opportunities.

Lake Texoma

Lake Texoma, located on the border of Texas and Oklahoma, is a fantastic day trip from Big D.

The main attraction of Lake Texoma is its vast size.

Lake Texoma has a lot to offer with 520,000 acres of water.

It also has 1,286 miles of shoreline, making it one of the largest lakes in Texas.

Visitors can enjoy boating, fishing, camping, trails for hiking and biking, bird watching, and ATV riding.

Lake Texoma State Park is full of opportunities for outdoor recreation and even makes a great weekend trip.

Cedar Hill State Park

Cedar Hill State Park is a large park with beach and water recreation.

The park has hiking trails, paddle boat rentals, canoe and kayak launches, picnic grounds and a playground.

Little Elm Park

Looking for a great place to swim and have fun in the sun?

Little Elm Park is on beautiful Lewisville Lake.

It is a popular swimming, water-skiing, and fishing spot.

Campers can enjoy camping by the lake, too!

Tyler State Park Beach

Tyler State Park is a popular destination for swimming, boating and fishing.

The park has a wide variety of activities available including camping, picnicking and hiking.

It is located in Tyler, Texas at the northern shoreline of Lake Palestine.

Rockwall & Lake Ray Hubbard

Rockwall is a great destination for visitors who love jet skiing, sailing, and watersports.

The lake covers several acres of water that are open to boat-racing, fishing and swimming in the summer.

There’s also beautiful Lakefront Park with picnic tables, playgrounds and walking trails.

Six Flags Theme Park, Arlington

Arlington is known for its Six Flags theme park.

It’s a fun place to spend the day with your family.

There are thrill rides, water parks and wave pools making it popular to beat the Texas heat.

Best Dallas Day Trips for nature lovers

Dallas is known as one of the most visited cities in America and has plenty of attractions.

But sometimes it’s nice to just get away from all that metropolitan noise and into nature where you can unwind with some peace and quiet.

Here are our favorite hiking, camping, biking, and birding destinations near Dallas.

Davis, Oklahoma

Davis, Oklahoma is a town that has a rich history.

It can be easily reached from Dallas via I-35.

In addition to exploring the rustic charm of this old Western town, visitors can enjoy some of the recreational opportunities Davis has to offer.

The most popular outdoor destinations here are Turner Falls Park and the stunning wilderness of Arbuckle mountains.

Located in Davis, Oklahoma, Turner Falls is one of the state’s most popular spots for family vacations.

The natural waterfall is 78 feet high and it is surrounded by several caves with trails that lead to different faces of the falls.

Turner Falls Park also has fishing opportunities, birding, wildlife viewing, and picnic areas.

The Turner Falls are especially beautiful during the spring when they’re at their peak flow rate.

During the summer, Turner Falls are popular for cooling off and splash fun.

Arbuckle Wilderness Park is great for hiking and all kinds of outdoor adventures.

If you’re looking for a day trip or even a weekend trip close to Dallas, this is the perfect place!

Also Read: Best Things to do in North Texas

Caddo Lake State Park

This is a great day trip for people who love the outdoors and exploring. 

Caddo Lake State Park is located in Piney Woods region in East Texas, and it’s the perfect place for families.

The park includes walking trails, kayaking and paddling trails, fishing, and a lot of wildlife.

Kayaking on Caddo Lake and Big Cypress Bayou is amongst the best kayaking trips in Texas .

The scenery of bald cypress trees and Spanish moss on the Big Cypress Bayou looks stunning at dusk or during fall.

If you want to extend the trip, you can enjoy camping facilities as well as cabins on the lakefront and spend time in nature.

Beavers Bend State Park, Oklahoma

Beavers Bend State Park, located in Broken Bow, is a great place for family fun.

Kids will love the natural attractions, including scenic drives through the pine forests and wildlife encounters.

There are also horseback riding opportunities just outside of the park as well as opportunities to go birdwatching.

If you’re looking for something more serene, there are plenty of trails to explore in the park that are perfect for hiking.

The Fall colors at Beavers Bend State Park in Broken Bow are spectacular.

The trees display a variety of colors: oranges, yellows, and reds, making Broken Bow one of our favorite fall day trips from Dallas .

Ennis, Texas is a small town just a few miles southwest of Dallas.

The Ennis Bluebonnet Trails are famous during the spring season when visitors can enjoy close-up views of the fields in bloom.

The city parks also have other scenic drives and trails, and are a favorite spot for fishing.

Downtown Ennis, you will find historic buildings, murals, charming shops, and more.

Visitors come from all over to enjoy the scenery and outdoor activities that Ennis has to offer, and it’s a great place for groups with varying interests to have a good time together.

Also Read: Best Places to see Bluebonnets in Texas

Davy Crockett National Forest

The Davy Crockett National Forest is located in Rusk County, Texas.

The forest was named after the Texas hero Davy Crockett, who died defending the Alamo in San Antonio.

There are many opportunities for visitors to experience nature while at Davy Crockett National Forest.

There are great hikes that cover a variety of terrains and distances, as well as horseback riding and biking opportunities.

Visitors can see amazing wildlife including deer, coyotes, wild boar, raccoons, river otters and more in the Davy Crockett National Forest.

Visitors will also come across many lakes that provide fishing opportunities as well as primitive camp sites for outdoor enthusiasts looking to camp in an isolated environment. 

Best Small Towns to Visit on Day Trips from Dallas

Dallas is surrounded by several charming small towns that offer a glimpse into Texas’s history.

These adorable downtowns are a haven for cultural travelers.

Visitors can wander their historic streets, look for antiques, revel in the old-world charm, and have lunch at a delicious mom and pop restaurant. 

Here are our favorite small towns near Dallas.

Canton, Texas

Canton, Texas is a wonderful day trip from Dallas. 

The town is most famous for First Monday trade days. 

It’s the largest outdoor flea market in Texas, and is amazing for hunting for one of a kind treasures.

Canton is also filled with historic buildings – several of them have been designated as historical landmarks. 

For a fun day trip from Dallas that allows you to learn a little about Texas history, Canton is one of the best places to visit.

Granbury, Texas

Another charming small town near Dallas is Granbury .

There are many historical buildings in the Historic Granbury Square such as the Hood County Courthouse, Jail Museum, Railroad Depot Museum and more. 

Visitors can stroll around and shop for antiques, or grab some barbecue at one of the local restaurants.

Terrell, Texas

Terrell, Texas is a wonderful small town in Hunt County.

This former railroad town prides itself on being a quaint and historic place

There are tons of year round events that celebrate the culture and welcome tourists every year. 

Visitors can dine at quaint restaurants or relax at one of the many bed and breakfasts that dot the small town.

Greenville, Texas

Greenville, Texas is a wonderful historic town filled with beautiful architecture and old time ambiance.

There are many great ways to experience Greenville such as the American Cotton Museum, the Greenville Farmers Market, and the Landon Winery.

Athens, Texas

Athens, Texas is a small town known for the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.

Here you can see the large collection of different freshwater fish species in tanks and exhibits as well as alligators!

There are several great dining options as well as unique shops to explore when in Athens.

Looking for something fun to do outdoors? Try ziplining or visit the Athens Scuba park.

The town is filled with history and classic architecture and makes a fun day trip from Dallas.

Rusk, Texas

If you’d like to escape to a completely different part of Texas, Rusk is the perfect day trip!

The town is known for its rich history and unique architecture. 

The primary attraction in Rusk is the scenic tour on the vintage steam train at Texas State Railroad to adjacent Palestine, Texas.

Palestine, Texas

Palestine, Texas is a great small town on the outskirts of Dallas.

During the Holiday Season, the Texas State Railroad conducts the Polar Express Ride from Palestine which is a hit with kids.

It has many attractions besides the famous Texas State Railroad ride.

In Palestine, you can visit the Museum for East Texas culture located downtown or take a tour of the historic buildings adjacent to the Anderson County Courthouse.

There are several antique stores as well as craft shops to explore while you are in Palestine.

Rusk, Palestine, as well as the railroad can be combined to create one of the best day trips from Dallas.

Salado, Texas

If you want to experience a small town with a truly unique culture then you need to visit Salado, Texas. 

This quaint little town is known for its artsy residents and upscale shops.

Salado is a wonderful place to window shop because it has a vast collection of interesting boutiques, galleries, restaurants, and wine tasting.

Visitors to Salado can spend an afternoon discovering this unique little town.

Jefferson, Texas

If you’ve always wanted to explore the attractions in the Piney Woods Region of East Texas , then Historic Jefferson is your best bet.

This quaint little town has several great historical buildings and a local downtown district that is perfect for shopping or dining.

Each year there are many events such as the candlelight tour of historic homes and the Christmas Parade.

Jefferson is also a great place to explore the scenic Caddo Lake.

If you’re looking for a quiet day trip from Dallas with lots of nature, this is the perfect place!

Best Major Cities to Visit on a Day Trip from Dallas

You can also visit major Texas cities on a day trip from Dallas including Houston, San Antonio and Austin.

Here are some of our favorite cities to visit on a day trip from Dallas.

Austin, Texas

Austin is the state capital of Texas and also one of the most popular cities in Texas.

You’ll find Austin has a unique “weird” culture that contrasts with Dallas’ corporate styled city.

There are tons of great things to see and do in Austin, ranging from visiting the sprawling University of Texas campus or checking out the funky live music scene.

San Antonio, Texas

If you’re looking for a big city feel in Texas then San Antonio is the place to be!

The Alamo and RiverWalk are two of the most famous attractions in this Texan city.

This city has a rich history and is also filled with unique cultural traditions.

There are many great hotels, restaurants and shopping opportunities as well as live music entertainment in the city of San Antonio, making it one of the best Dallas day trips.

Houston, Texas

Houston is a vibrant modern city and a great day trip from Dallas.

You can visit the Houston Space Center or see some more modern attractions such as The Medical Center and Downtown District!

This city has several large museums, art galleries and performing arts venues.

Also Read: Best Things to do in Houston, Texas

Galveston Island, Texas

Looking for a true beach vacation near Dallas?

Galveston Island is your best bet!

Popular Galveston attractions include museums, beautiful beachfront resorts, and seafood restaurants.

Galveston also has an historic district with some great shopping opportunities!

If you’re looking to explore Galveston, be sure and take the historic Seawall Boulevard tour.

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City makes an amazing trip from Dallas.  You can enjoy hiking, biking, camping or just sightseeing.

Popular attractions in Oklahoma City include  the Oklahoma City Zoo, The Myriad Botanical Gardens, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, and the Frontier City Theme Park.

The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum is a must visit for those who love arts and the rodeo.

Also Read: Best Road Trips from Dallas to explore attractions such as New Orleans, Denver, and even Big Bend!

The innumerable day trips from Dallas are a great way to relax and have a fun day within a short time.

Whether you like history and unique architecture or artsy shops and upscale boutiques, there is the perfect day trip destination waiting to capture your interest near Dallas.

From historic Jefferson to bustling Galveston Island, you can find great options for Dallas day trips if you’re seeking an escape from city life.

Which one would make a good day trip destination from Dallas for yourself? Let us know in the comments below!

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Best Hiking Day Trips From Dallas

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Seek one of the playful, thrillingly, modern, and rambling day trips from Dallas in a lively way. Stroll to the great Las Colinas Resort in the town. Get a chance to view southwestern living during one of the enticing Dallas Day Trips to feel its best living terrain. You can book your one-day trip from Dallas, and spot cirt halls, Dealey Plaza, and all within one-mile distance. Likely, spot the virtue of its more than 40 inviting sections across the Dallas land.

Moreover, the tourists can feel the positive tourist end of these special north Texas Day trips. This beautiful land is reimagined as the startling urban resort of Texas. In the Downtown, you may dine in and explore one of the best Places to Visit around Dallas. Partake in the lovely Day Trip to make the memories last forever. Indeed, move a couple of blocks away to reach the ideal locale to relish these enticing Romantic Day Trips from Dallas.

Want to learn more? Well, take a short walk and reach the best DART Station to enjoy Dealy Plaza, American Airlines Center, and so forth. Here is a 1-hour drive from Dallas, the tourists can access the playful and lively events in these best trips from Dallas. Later, scour the awesome resorts, and stunning sections, and visit Kitchen Serves. If you are an insightful explorer, you can admire American-style cuisine, drinks, and snacks too.

Romantic Day Trips From Dallas

You can scour on the charming and perfect Rooftop outdoor pools, Pavilion Pantry, and other favorite day trips. The town is surely one of the ideal spots which deserve a top rank in the list of amazing road trips from Dallas in Summer. Yet, the expert tour guide will cover you up to like the dynamic, stunning, and inviting downright. During your best Day Trip from Dallas, you may even add some enticing weekend trips too.

Look forward to one of the alluring and joyful spots in your one of the interesting Dallas Day Trips. The charming jaunt offers the chance to meet the merit of sparkling and great downtown to explore modern and lively living. On the other hand, the tour guide will escort you to meet the glory of the town on your North Texas Day trip. With Adventuremagzine, it’s wholly easy and great to join the ideal day trip to explore Places to visit around Dallas.

1-Hour Trip – Fort Worth Dallas

The alluring and glorious Fort worth is a metroplex that offers the best identical and great attitudes and drills for tourists. Reconnect with the ideal cowboy, nature, and inner of this charming historic town in your Hiking Day trips from Dallas Downtown. Indulge yourself in the serene nature and more pleasing 1 hour Drive from Dallas with family. Later, you can trek to the other spot within a 1-hour drive to see its luring parts.

Best Weekend Outing – Oklahoma

As this enticing downtown is close to other charming spots in the state, that’s it’s one of the best Day Trips from Dallas. However, stroll to the town’s startling part; Oklahoma for an inviting one-day trip from Dallas. Access the varied benefits of living in Dallas and you will surely love visiting it. The tourists can also drive to relish Louisiana and Oklahoma, North. Just believe us, you won’t like missing this Enticing Dallas Day trip.

Must read about Seek Romantic Rooftop Restaurants In Los Angeles

No doubt, this striking town is a superb place to join for lake-side unwinding and enjoying small-town vibes. In one of the great Hiking Day Trips from Dallas, the tourists can plan their picnics, and relish swimming, and Pier. You can scour the full-hour or half an hour plan to relish the recreational regions of North Texas. All the charming and thrilling drills here make it the ideal and superb spot to spend quality time with family.

Kimbell Art Museum

That’s not the end for sure, there is a lot more waiting for you in your best Day Trips from Dallas to trek with loved ones. Visit the best Kimbell Art Museum which is a 1-hour drive away from the list of trips from Dallas. You won’t miss this art museum at any cost, yet, in the Dallas Day Trips, it’s worth visiting. Here you will find a set of luring packs that combines the Velma Kimbell and the Key Kimbell Collection. It’s surely a fascinating way to relish one-day trips.

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Let's Roam Explorer

The 22 Best Day Trips From Dallas for Every Style of Adventure

Day trips from Dallas include historic villages, quirky roadside exhibits, and beautiful natural wonders! Find your next escape on our list.

day hiking trips from dallas

Dallas is one of the Lone Star State’s greats. It is a popular location for tourists and given the great food scene and world-class museums, but it is also well situated for some awesome side excursions. Day trips from Dallas include historic villages, quirky roadside exhibits, and beautiful natural wonders!

Texas is a big state, so to get anywhere you have to drive a little, but for the purpose of this guide, we have tried to keep our recommendations to less than 2 hours, 3 hours max! But, that still leaves a huge array of activities to choose from. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway, something active, or a historical learning trip, we have an adventure for you on the list. Let’s get to it!

Learn about the Lone Star State !

Let’s Roam offers several scavenger hunts in Dallas and its surrounding towns. For starters, let us take you on an art hunt in the Big D ! You’ll see sculptures and award-winning architecture, as you explore the cultural district with a series of trivia questions and photo challenges. Discover the area in a fun and unique way!

Day Trips From Dallas, Texas

The distances listed in this article are based on Google Maps driving estimates at the time of writing. Travel times may vary depending on traffics and the day and time you choose to travel.

1. Shopping and Surfing in Waco

Distance: 98 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr 40 mins

For the avid DIYer, there is no better day trip from Dallas than Waco. Waco is a charming city that has become a famous shopping location in the last decade because of HGTV’s Fixer Upper sensations Chip and Joanna Gaines. Their Magnolia Market is not only a solid place to get the modern farmhouse decor you crave, but it is has become a bucket list travel destination in its own right. The complex covers an entire 2-block radius and consists of two iconic silos from the 1950s. Whether you can afford anything at Magnolia Market might be debatable, but it is fun to peruse anyway.

Fixer Upper elevated Waco’s public persona, but it has always been a Mecca for vintage and antique shopping. Bring an empty vehicle, as you are sure to stock up on treasure in Waco. 

Waco is not only the home of Chip and JoJo. It’s also the home of the sweetest elixir on all the earth … the mighty Dr. Pepper. The Dr. Pepper Museum is located in the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Co. building where Dr. Pepper was manufactured in its early years. The factory was used from 1906-1960. The museum houses exhibits on the manufacturing process, vintage memorabilia, and a collection of former advertising campaigns from Dr. Pepper’s long history. 

Waco also has a really unexpected adventure complex for extreme watersports lovers. BSR Cable Park has a wave-generator pool capable of producing Hawaii-sized waves for landlocked surfers. They also have a full cable park offering all manner of high-flying, water adventures. For the less crazy, there is also a waterslide and lazy river. 

2. Beavers Bend State Park

​Distance: 180 miles

Travel Time: 3 hours

Beavers Bend State Park is located in Southeast Oklahoma, near the city of Broken Bow. Beaver’s Bend is a really long day trip, but sometimes you just need a quiet day in the woods! The park will give you plenty of room to stretch your legs after the long drive. The park offers ample options of cabins and resort rooms to stay in. Miles of trails traversing waterfalls and lakefronts are available, and watersports abound. 

Not only can you canoe or river raft on the Red River, but The Mountain Fork River also runs through the area, as well as the Broken Bow Lake. Swimming and watersports are popular on the lake, and Mountain Fork River is a great place for trout fishing. Just remember you need an Oklahoma fishing license and trout stamp. If you are looking for a more relaxing day, find a sandy beach around the lake and just enjoy the view. For an even better trip, make it a full weekend, and book yourself a cute cabin for a night or two!

​3. Safari in the “Wilderness”

Distance: 129 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr 55 mins

Arbuckle Wilderness Park is a great day trip for families. The drive-thru safari is located in Davis, Oklahoma, and features llamas, giraffes, emus, zebras, and rhino up close and personal. Warning, the roads in the park are gravel and can be a bit rough. You will traverse over 200 acres of land, so you might want to bring a truck or SUV if you have one. Special feeding programs allow you to get face to face with a few of the exotic creatures, which of course, the kiddos love! The park is open year-round and is surrounded by the beauty of the Arbuckle Mountains.

The Turner Falls Park is only a few minutes away and makes for a nice pairing!

4. Take A Train Ride

Distance: 116 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr 50 mins

The portion of the Texas State Railroad, stretching from Palestine to Rush, is about 25 miles, and the ride is so fun. The freight train is from the 1800s and departs from the vintage Palestine depot. Take a few minutes to review the historical information in the depot, both at Palestine and the ending destination of Rusk. The depots have interesting storyboards and great gift shops where you can score some period-specific souvenirs. 

The ride duration is 4 hours roundtrip. It chugs along through the Piney Woods and offers beautiful views all along the way. The train offers several classes of carriages from open-air bench seating to full-dining. The full package even offers a visit to the conductor’s cab. The daily rides depart at 11, but the company offers frequent special events and even some evening rides. A ride on the Texas State Railroad is both fun and nostalgic. It’s the perfect day trip from Dallas for train enthusiasts, little boys, and history buffs. You’re gonna love it!

5. Fort Richardson State Historical Park

Distance: 92 miles

Fort Richardson is one of the best day trips for history lovers. Built in 1867, on the eastern shores of Lost Creek, Fort Richardson was built for the unseemly task of subduing Native American Tribes of the Plains and keeping them in reservations north of the Red River. Not cool. The US army was responsible for settling north Texas and expanding the territory, keeping it out of the hands of Native tribes. The fort saw several skirmishes between the US army and frustration Native forces. The most expansive battle, the Battle of Palo Duro, took play in 1874

Today, the complex consists of more than 50 original structures, lovingly restored. Tours allow you to visit the morgue, officer’s quarters, bakery, magazine, and hospital, just to name a few. Guided tours are available, usually twice a day. 

Once you get your fill of sad history, head out to explore the land the way the Natives did on the hiking trails and wooded paths of Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway. 

6. Check Out The Culture Capital of East Texas

​Distance: 151 miles

Travel Time: 2 hrs 20 mins

Okay. Okay, so it is the self-proclaimed culture capital, but no bother, Marshall is great anyway. This small town is full of Texas charm. Marshal was a major hub of transportation throughout the 1800s. It now is home to the Texas and Pacific Railway Museum. The collection is located inside the Marshall Depot, next to the active Amtrak tunnel. It’s full of artifacts depicting the importance of the railroad and in particular the Marshall Depot over the course of its history, including its role in both WWI and WWII. 

A few other cultural sites to see in Marshal include the Harrison County Historical Museum inside the lovely courthouse. It sits in the middle of town, you can’t really miss it. Also, stop by the Michelson Museum of Art. This little art museum has a surprisingly impressive array of paintings, drawings, and lithographs.

From late November to January, Marshall comes alive with The Wonderland of Lights. This festival is strangely one of the biggest lights events in the USA! It’s really a heartwarming story. In 1897, Marshall was in the throws of the worse economic depression it had ever seen, and spirits were low. Newspaper editor George S. Smith had an idea. He envisioned that town square, beautiful courthouse, and every business strung with tiny lights and how magical it would be. A former resident of France somehow got their hands on the article, and they sent a $25,000 check to Smith with the message to make it happen. The festival has now grown to include a train ride, vintage carousel, ice skating rink, and a replica of Santa’s Village. While Marshal is always lovely, Christmas is definitely the best time to visit!

7. Lake Texoma

​Distance: 83 miles

Less than a 2-hour drive north of Dallas, Lake Texoma is a manmade reservoir, one of the largest in the United States, resulting from the Red River Dam. It sits on the border of Oklahoma and Texas, hence the name, and is populated with an endless array of campsites, golf courses, and resorts. 

The area has everything you would imagine in a lake resort. Canoeing, kayaking, sailing, and even scuba diving. It is a very popular place to fish for Striper, as the water has a high salt content. The area has many boutiques, spas, and restaurants to enjoy once you have had your fill of the water. Hikers enjoy the nearby Cross Timbers Tail, a 15-mile jaunt from Juniper Point Recreation Center that tracks along the coast of Lake Texoma. It’s rated moderate and offers a nice change from the busy shores and shops. While you could enjoy yourself for a day, consider booking a site and making it a weekend trip!

8. Arlington, Texas

Distance: 21 miles

Travel Time: 25 minutes

Arlington is a quick trip just west of Dallas proper and makes for a great day trip for sports lovers! Arlington is part of the larger Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, lying right between the two cities. It is home to both the Dallas Cowboys and the Texas Rangers. If you know anything about Texas, then you probably know that football is king! So, seeing a Dallas Cowboys’ game at the impeccable AT&T Stadium is a highlight for any sports lover. The venue also holds mega concerts when football season is not running. 

Spend a day hiking or biking in River Legacy Park, 1,300 acres of dense hardwood forest along the Trinity River. Visit Arlington Highlands for some upscale shopping, and spend the evening in Lincoln Square, Arlington’s center of nightlife and entertainment. 

Arlington is also home to Six Flags Over Texas and Hurricane Harbor Waterpark , so it’s also a great place for a day trip with the family. 

9 Hico, Texas

​Distance: 111 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr 45 mins

Hico is a cute little town southwest of Dallas that provides a relaxing day trip. The historic downtown is littered with boutiques, and there are beautiful biking trails along the Bosque River. It’s a relaxing place to escape the city and have a quiet day of shopping and romantic dinner. 

Hico also has some fun recreational sites and interesting historical sites. The Billy The Kid Museum is one of those interesting tidbits. For those that know the official story, you may wonder why Hico has a Billy the Kid museum. He was born in New York and died in a shootout with a sheriff in New Mexico … or was he? The official story is that sheriff Pat shot and buried the kid in 1881 in Fort Sumner, NM. However, there is no body in that grave. Legend has it that “The Kid” lived on and settled in Hico under the alias of “Brushy Bill” Roberts. It’s an interesting little museum, and it might just make you a believer!

Hico also has an inventive spot for climbers! Siloville is a climbing park that features rock walls and rope climbs both inside and outside of three giant grain silos. The park consists of a Ninja Warrior Course, a low ropes course, a bouldering gym, and even a zipline.

Cute downtown, good restaurants, cowboy conspiracy theories, and climbing adventures…what more could want in a Texas day trip?

10. Dinosaur Valley State Park

Distance: 90 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr 30 mins

Dinosaur Valley State Park is the land of the dinos and the perfect day trip for family adventures. It lies less than two hours southwest of Dallas in the town of Glen Rose. The park revolves around tracks found in the Paluxy River bed. We don’t know many little kids that don’t go through a dinosaur obsession phase. What could be better than hunting for real dinosaur footprints?! 

While hunting for dinosaurs is the main activity, the park offers lots of outdoor adventures too. Horseback riding is popular. You can bring your own horse (how very Texan!) or Eagle Eye Ranch Carriage Company offers guided trails rides and wagon rides. These guys are experts and will escort littles or inexperienced riders the whole way! 

There are over 20 miles of trails rated easy and moderate to explore. Kayaking the Paluxy is also fun when the waters are high, but this rarely happens unless there has been very recent rain. The Blue Hole is popular for swimming, a much appreciated cool off after all that adventure! 

11. Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District

Distance: 32 miles

Travel Time: 32 mins

You won’t even notice you have left the city when you head from Dallas proper to Fort Worth, but you will notice a change in pace. Fort Worth is known by Dallas residents as “Cowtown,” and for good reason. Fort Worth has thriving cowboy culture and is home to Billy Bob’s “World’s Largest Honky-Tonk” Billy’s is a destination all on its own. With huge parties, a full-southern kitchen with incredible food, live bull-riding, and plenty of two-stepping, it’s a great place to people watch and dance the night away after a busy day exploring.

Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District is the major draw for the area. Be transported back to days of the wild west, as herds of longhorn cattle are brought storming down the center of town, twice daily. They make their way down original brick walkways through the center of historic saloons and modern boutiques in historic facades. The area is certainly touristy, but it gives you a good idea of what living in a real wild west town would have been like. Special events like shootouts often happen in the streets, and even Santa shows up in cowboy boots here. Cowtown is a pretty perfect name.

After a morning herding cattle, head for Sundance Square and visit some of the great museums that Fort Worth has to offer. Grab a coffee or an ice cream and do some people watching by the incredible fountains. Stroll past the incredible modern installations at the Fort Worth Water Gardens. They are mesmerizing. Fort Worth also has a great botanical garden and a noteworthy zoo! It’s a wonderful adventure for the whole clan. While you can have a great day trip to Fort Worth, you will certainly be left wanting more. Plan to come back a few times to see all this beautiful city has to offer. 

​12. Cavanaugh Flight Museum

Distance: 15 miles

Travel Time: 20 mins

Just north of Dallas, the Cavanaugh Flight Museum offers the perfect getaway for aviation or military nerds. The museum is in the town of Addison and while traffic can be frustrating, it is usually an easy trip. The Cavanaugh collection is huge and includes warcraft from WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, and civilian aircraft. Tours are self-guided and aircraft is labeled with important information and interesting stories. 

It’s amusing to wander through the vintage aircraft and admire their beauty, but the real fun in this museum happens in the cockpit. Cavanaugh offers visitors the chance to climb behind the controls of a classic fighter Warbird and hit the skies. You will need an advanced ticket for this, but oh man is it worth it! 

The collection at Cavanaugh is almost exclusively functional. Most planes are kept in flying condition, and many of them fly frequently in their scheduled airshows and special events. It is definitely worth the short trip from Dallas.

13. Grapevine Jazz Wine Train

Distance: 22 miles

Travel Time: 25 mins

Grapevine is just northwest of Dallas Downtown. In fact, if you are flying into DFW Airport, you will land in Grapevine. As the name suggests, Grapevine is the wine region of North Texas. While there are several local wineries to indulge in a tasting or tour, the real standout is the Jazz Wine Train . 

Picture this. You and your boo, in your best getup, board a 1920s Victorian coach train filled with the soft sounds of the saxophone and the smell of fresh hors d’oeuvres. The ride is two hours of fine food, beautiful live jazz, and a sampling of wine from each of Grapevine’s tasting rooms! It is the best way to try out all the local specialties without hopping from tasting room to tasting room. It all comes to you, in one sumptuous place. 

The train has day time and evening journey and requires advanced booking. Get there early as boarding is strict and you will not be allowed on the train after boarding ends. There are several packages available at varying prices that will determine what food and seating you and your company enjoy. 

For its close proximity to Dallas, its uniqueness, and the pure nostalgia, we think the Grapevine Jazz Wine Train is the perfect day trip for a romantic getaway.

14. Greenville, Texas

Distance: 51 miles

Travel Time: 54 mins

Greenville is just an hour northeast of Dallas, but it feels a world away. Greenville is an amusing day trip for anyone interested in US war history or the cotton industry of the south. The quaint downtown has several buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is worth a walk around to explore the boutique and shops. Pay attention to the little plaques on the building facades for interesting historical facts about the structures.

While the town is cute, the main event in Greenville is the Audie Murphy American Cotton Museum . This unique museum is two-part. One half covers the life and memory of Audie Murphy. Audie was a small-town boy who registered willingly for WWII at the Greenville post office in 1942. In the next three years, Audie managed to become the most decorated war hero of WWII, winning every acknowledgment possible, including the Congressional Medal of Honor. The exhibit not only details Audie’s life and work but also several other war heroes and WWII history in general. 

The second half of the museum focuses on local history and the important (if controversial) legacy of the cotton industry in Texas. Greenville, and Hunt County in general, were a hub for the cotton industry. It even boasted the largest inland cotton press in the world, which is on display at the museum now.

15. Largest Flea Market In The World

Distance: 60 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr

Calling all bargain hunters! Canton Texas is your place for flea market shopping, and it is an easy day trip—just an hour east of Dallas. First Monday Trade Days happens each month on the weekend before the first Monday of a month. Yeah, that is a little confusing. Chew on that one for a minute. Anyway, the market usually runs from Thursday to Sunday. Whether it is the largest in the world is debatable, as the definition of “flea market” can be tricky. It is definitely the biggest in the United States though. 

The market covers more than 100 acres and features wares from over 6,000 traders. Pavillion after pavilion tote treasures of every imaginable category. Smart shoppers get there on Thursday, as it is less busy and less picked-over. It’s a bit of a maze, and as mentioned really big. So, if you find something you like, go ahead and buy it, because the likelihood of finding your way back to it is slim!

16. Tolar Windmill Farm

Distance: 76 miles

The Windmill Farm at Tolar is a quirky day trip from Dallas. The farm lies between the two small towns of Tolar and Granbury. The farm consists of a collection of 30 vintage windmills, gathered from local farms around the region. The windmills have been restored to perfection and all are in working order. They are gathering new windmills all the time and many are in the restoration process now. Park at the site and feel free to roam. There is a pamphlet available at the site to detail specifics on each windmill. Usually, many of them are in operation. The site is open for self-guided tours every day during daylight hours. 

The site is free, but donations for restorations and upkeep are encouraged. Should you happen to fall in love with the farm, which is highly probable, their bed and breakfast is a charming place to spend a night!

17. Tyler Municipal Rose Garden

The Tyler Rose Garden is a must-do road trip for flower lovers. The garden covers 14 acres, with 35,000 rose bushes of over 500 varieties. It is the largest rose garden in the United States (well of course, because everything is bigger in Texas)! Tyler has a long history of rose growing and is home to the Texas Rose Festival. The park is beautiful with multiple water features and stunning landscaping. The best part is that the whole place is free! 

Explore the gardens any time of year, but the peak bloom season for the roses is twice a year in October and late May. It is open from dawn until dusk and a wonderful place to spend a peaceful afternoon.

18. Oklahoma Casinos

Distance: 80 miles

Travel Time: 1 hr 20 mins

Oklahoma has a couple of claims to fame, Native American reservations and historical sites, and casinos! Southeastern Oklahoma has some great casinos that are within a day-trip range from Dallas. In Thackerville, the Chickasaw Nation owns and runs the Winstar World Resort Casino, which happens to be the largest casino in the world (guess in this case, things are bigger in Oklahoma)!  

The casino covers over 600,000 square feet of space and as you would imagine is loaded with amazing restaurants and a massive hotel. If you want to do some gambling, the Winstar is your closest and best. However, if it’s a bit much for you, there are smaller and just as awesome casinos all up the border of easter Oklahoma. It just depends on how far your want to drive.

19. Bar Hop In Austin

Distance: 196 miles

Travel Time: 3 hr 25 mins

Austin is the capital city of Texas and a haven for foodies and nightlife lovers. It admittedly is a long way for a day trip. However, it is a great city, with a totally different flavor than the rest of Texas. We would definitely recommend that you make this a long weekend trip, but you can have a great day in Austin if you want to take it on in a day. Start with a visit to the State Capitol building and a quick stop by the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum. Then head for Sixth Street District and begin your bar hop. Austin is home to the University of Texas and is the live music capital of the world, so it has a young, fresh vibe, and the nightlife is amazing! 

Let’s Roam can help you find all the best spots with our app-led scavenger hunt, “ Sixth Street Spree: Austin Bar Crawl .” We will take you and your friends on a competitive adventure, exploring Sixth street with a series of photo and trivia challenges that will keep you on your feet, without killing your buzz. Obviously, if you decide to go on a bar crawl, you should find a place to stay the night! 

Austin is much more than a party town. If you decide to stay a few days, make sure to check out some of the great museums. Our guide to the “ Best Museums in Austin ” will help you narrow it down. Between the museums and the nightlife, Austin is a great destination for a weekend getaway from Dallas.

20. Jefferson

Distance: 166 miles

Travel Time: 2 hrs 40 mins

Jefferson is a mecca for history lovers, with over 70 registered historical sites. Start with a visit to Jefferson Museum of History , the former Federal Courthouse and Post Office, dating back to 1888. The museum hosts an interesting collection of Caddo Tribal artifacts and Civil Ward memorabilia. Step behind the museum and explore the scale model of the Texas and Pacific Railway Depot from the early 1900s. 

Kids will love a ride on the Historic Jefferson Railway, a 40-minute locomotive chug through the Big Cypress Bayou, along Caddo Lake. Fishermen bring your poles because the assortment of fish in the bayou is unmatched anywhere. 

Jefferson also boasts the Gone With The Wind Museum , the Jefferson General Store, open since the 1870s, and Diamond Don’s Gator Pi t, where kids can get up close to alligators at feeding time.

21. Davy Crockett National Forest

Distance: 181 miles

Travel Time: 2 hrs 50 mins

The Davy Crockett National Rainforest leaves you in disbelief … disbelief that you are still in Texas that is. The Piney Woods is pretty far from the windswept plains of Texas that we all imagine when we think of the vast state. Leave early in the morning, as it is a long drive. Once you arrive, you will be treated with the complete relaxation that the forest offers. 

The forest covers 160,000 acres of East Texas land, mostly in Houston County. It features multiple streams, recreation areas, ponds, and lakes. There are more than 50 miles of designated trail riding routes, multiple hiking trails, quiet campsites, and fishing, boating, and swimming on the lakes. 

22. Turner Falls Park

Distance: 127 miles

Travel Time: 2 hrs 3 mins

Turner Falls Park rounds out our list of Dallas day trips. The waterfall is the tallest in Oklahoma, at 77 feet, and is truly stunning. It has a large swimming pit at the base and is a fun destination for an active day outside. Swimmers should always wear water shoes here and lifejackets are necessary for children. The area is slippery in general, even on the hiking trails, so be on guard. Make sure to view the falls from the top overlook at well. It’s a pretty short, manageable climb.

Turner park covers over 1500 acres and features natural rock caves and even a Rock Castle. It has bathhouses and multiple swimming areas with waterslides and diving platforms. Turner Park really is a full day of fun for nature lovers. 

We actually do not recommend staying the night here, especially if you have kids with you. On the weekend, especially, Turner Falls is busy and has become a bit of a party location.

Save For Later

Several travel guides out there suggest day trips to Oklahoma City and even San Antonio from Dallas. While these are amazing cities and are definitely worth a trip. At over 3 hours drive to Oklahoma City and more than a 4-hour drive to San Antonio, they are too far for day trips. This is especially true considering how much each city has to offer. You could easily spend 3-4 full days exploring these destinations!

Let’s Wrap It Up

Dallas is a great city and deserves a few days on its own, but don’t get stuck in the city. Get away from the chaos for a day and explore one of the small historic towns or get some fresh air in one of the beautiful parks. Let us know where you end up in the comments!

Should you decide to just stay in the city, no problem! We have you covered there too! Here’s our list of the “ Best Museums in Dallas ” to keep you busy on a rainy day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Since the city is perfectly positioned, there are several great educational day trips from Dallas . Check out the Fort Worth Stockyards, the Cavanaugh Flight Museum, or Dinosaur Valley State Park!

Dallas is a great city to explore! Take your date on a  fun-filled city scavenger hunt  or take a day trip and hop a ride on the Jazz Wine Train in Grapevine!

There are beautiful state parks that make  great day trips from Dallas ! Head to Turner Falls Park and swim under the waterfall, hike in the Davy Crockett National Forest, or enjoy Lake Texoma.

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Happy To be Texas

27+ Incredible Day Trips from Dallas, Texas (2024)

Whether you want beautiful national forests or quirky small towns, these day trips from Dallas are all wonderful options to spend a day away from the hustle and bustle.

Take the boat out on Whitney Lake or spend time browsing the antique shops in Waco.

Discover the history streets of Granbury, or head to Tyler to learn more than you ever knew you wanted to know about rose cultivation techniques (and seriously, it’s fascinating!).

You can choose options that are a bit closer by, like Fort Worth, or you can really venture out to further flung destinations like the Davy Crockett National Forest.

There’s a treasure trove of Dallas day trips options waiting for you, whether you want just one or you want options for the future so you can keep exploring the great state of Texas using Dallas as a base.

Let’s get going!


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How to get around Dallas

Like most of Texas, the best way to get around Dallas is to explore on your own by car!

If you’re visiting and need to rent a car, we highly recommend Discover Cars where they find you the best car rental deals from all of the competitors (has saved us so much money!).

1. Waco, Texas

day hiking trips from dallas

Waco , home to the famous Magnolia Market designed by Chip and Jo Gaines, has a lot more than just Fixer Upper history (though if you’re interested in that, this Fixer Upper tour is the best one!)

This bustling Texas town has everything from the esteemed halls of Baylor University to the electric atmosphere of a football game at McLane Stadium to a museum dedicated to the history of American soda!

There’s also plenty to do if you like the great outdoors, including walking the Cottonbelt Trail or exploring Brazos Park East.

Got kids with you?

The interactive exhibits at the Mayborn Museum Complex will keep them busy for hours, or you can enjoy the weather at the Cameron Park Zoo.

If you’re into shopping, Waco is home to plenty of the best antique shops, as well as Spice Village , an incredibly colorful market selling everything from knick knacks to home decor to Texas T-shirts!

Waco is relatively walkable, filled with culture, and a great place to go on a day trip from Dallas.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 32 minutes

2. College Station, Texas

day hiking trips from dallas

Football fans?

College Station is just the Dallas day trip for you.

College Station is home to Texas A&M , a giant university with a gorgeous campus and equally large stadium that plays home to Aggie football.

Really, College Station and Texas A&M go hand-in-hand, with most residents either being students, alumni, or otherwise related to the university.

Make sure to visit on a game day for the incredible tailgating opportunities (they’re super friendly!) or wander around the campus and check out all of the history, the superstitions, and the Aggie culture.

In fact, Kyle Field, where the Aggies play, is actually fifth largest stadium worldwide.

College Station is also home to the George HW Bush Presidential Library , as well as awesome barbecue places like C&J Barbecue .

It’s one of the longest day trips from Dallas, so you’ll want to get moving early!

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 2 hours, 48 minutes

3. Texarkana, Arkansas (and Texas)

day hiking trips from dallas

From Dallas, you can actually reach other states in a day trip!

Texarkana , so named because it combines Texas and Arkansas, is a fantastic place to go if you want to be in two states at once.

Downtown Texarkana is walkable and historic, and while you’re there you’ve got to head to the Ace of Clubs House .

This House, built in 1885, is shaped like a playing card club and is a must-see.

There’s also other things to do, like the Museum of Regional History and the Four States Auto Museum.

If you’re hungry, stop at Zapata’s for some incredible guacamole and margaritas or try Pecan Point Gastropub for the burgers that you’ll talk about the whole ride home.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 2 hours, 43 minutes

4. Cedar Creek Lake

day hiking trips from dallas

Want to get outdoors and into the fresh air?

Look no further than Cedar Creek Lake , the best day trip from Dallas for anyone looking to soak in the Texas sunshine.

If you do want to hit the water, you’ll feel at home here as there are plenty of boating and fishing opportunities as it’s the fourth largest lake in Texas.

The lake is usually home to catfish year-round, and bass more in the springtime.

If you want to be on the water without the fishing, you can also go swimming in the coves or rent water equipment like paddle boards, kayaks, and pontoon boats.

If you prefer to stick on the shore, that’s fine too, just bring a picnic and watch the world go by.

This is a great way to stretch your legs and leave the city for awhile!

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 7 minutes

5. Fort Worth, Texas

day hiking trips from dallas

Fort Worth is actually considered part of the Dallas metro area (hence the name “Dallas – Fort Worth” that is often used, but it is it’s own city as well!

It’s one of the closer Dallas day trips, which makes it super easy for families, and there’s one attraction here to rule them all: the Fort Worth Stockyards.

If you want to have a local show you around, this electric bike and BBQ tour is the best one in Fort Worth !

The Stockyards are a popular thing to do as it’s free to walk through them and you’ll feel the history of the cattle trade in Fort Worth as soon as you get there.

You’ll find saloon doors on every corner, lots of stores selling cowboy hats, and even the daily cattle walk through the streets.

Looking for some other options?

The Kimbell Art Museum has a wide European and Asian art collection, while the Fort Worth Botanic Garden is a great outdoor activity in Forth Worth on a nice day, as you can meander around the native plants and ponds.

When you’re hungry, stop by Panther City BBQ for some of the best smoked meats around or grab some burritos from Los Vaqueros.

There’s also the Fort Worth Zoo if you want to take the kids!

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 33 minutes

6. Wichita Falls, Texas

day hiking trips from dallas

At just about 2 hours from Dallas, Wichita Falls is a fantastic day trip from Texas that makes you feel like you’ve really embarked on a trip, but it’s over before you get too bored in the car!

You might not have heard of Wichita Falls before, but it’s a must-see if you like quirky history.

Perhaps the most important attraction is the “ World’s Littlest Skyscraper .”

Yes, you read that right.

The story goes that this “skyscraper”, at only 40 feet tall, was actually part of a swindle from the developer who created blueprints for a skycraper 480 inches tall.

When he proposed it to investors, they didn’t ask questions and just automatically assumed it was going to be 480 feet.

That’s the local legend, at least, and today there’s an antique shop in the building to check out.

There are also some other things to do in Wichita Falls, including dining at the Highlander Public House or Gypsy Kitchen & Bar (you’ll find them downtown).

Stop by the Kell House to explore this historic home that was built in 1909 and still has some original furniture, or visit the Museum of North Texas History which focuses on Native American culture as well as the oil and gas industry within the region.

There’s also a dog park and people park at Wichita Lake Park if you want to stretch your legs after getting out of the car.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 2 hours, 7 minutes

7. Texas Motorplex

day hiking trips from dallas

Want to experience the thrill of cars zipping past you?

Drag racing is the name of the game at the Texas Motorplex, and the 1/4 mile strip is known for breaking speed records.

It’s an award-winning place with past awards from the National Hot Rod Association and plenty of passionate fans.

You’ll find it near Ennis, Texas, and this is a great day trip if you’re attending one of the other events like bike racing, rodeos, or concerts that are held here.

There’s food and amenities on-site, so you can just pack yourselves in the car and spend time here on a day trip from Texas.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes : 39 minutes

8. Granbury, Texas

day hiking trips from dallas

It’s all about the history in Granbury , consistently rated as one of the best small towns in Texas.

Spend your time experiencing the incredible museums, meeting new friendly faces, shopping in the boutique stores or marveling at the gorgeous architecture around town.

If you’re looking for the heart of the town, you’ll find the most social activity and events in the Historic Downtown Square.

Getting hungry?

Stop by the Filling Station downtown for hamburgers and fries that can’t be turned down.

Granbury is both historic and casual, where every corner feels like home and there’s a real feeling of community.

If you want to class it up a bit, spend the day at the art galleries and wineries, sipping local wines and experiencing the tasting rooms.

You can swim at Granbury City Beach Park along the Brazos River, or you can head indoors to the Bridge Street Historic Museum (focusing on Granbury’s history through the lens of a Granbury family) or the Hood County Museum.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 17 minutes

9. Caddo National Grassland

day hiking trips from dallas

Spend your day in the great outdoors at Caddo National Grassland, one of the most wonderful Dallas day trips if you’re interested in getting lots of open space and taking part in outdoor activities.

Go trail riding on horseback, or spend the night camping there to extend your day trip into a weekend trip.

Take part in fishing, hiking, archery, or bird spotting and enjoy the peace and quiet you’ll find here.

If you can stay into the night before driving back to Dallas, you’ll see so many incredible stars, as the dark skies over the grassland make for a sky perfectly illuminated by stars.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 47 minutes

10. Davy Crockett National Forest

day hiking trips from dallas

Another day trip for outdoor lovers from Dallas, the Davy Crockett National Forest actually became a National Forest in 1936 and has been providing a family-friendly place to become one with nature ever since.

Put on your hiking boots and walk all around the forest, or go fishing in the lake or enjoy a swim at Ratcliff Lake.

It was named for none other than of course, Davy Crocket, an icon of the “wild frontier” and you can even go primitive camping if you want to really get back to the basics.

Hiking lovers will enjoy the view from the Four C National Recreation Trail, and you can even go horseback riding on Piney Creek Horse Trail.

Keep an eye out for that wildlife, including turkeys, deer, and woodpeckers!

Make sure to “leave no trace” of your visit and take trash with you when you leave.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 2 hours, 47 minutes

11. Lake Whitney

Lake Whitney

There’s nothing better than a day on the lake, and Lake Whitney is one of the best places near Dallas to do that!

Go kayaking on the lake for a peaceful, floating, endeavor, or take to the boat ramp and go boating across the lake (tubing, anyone?)

Lake Whitney is fed by the Brazos River, and there’s also camping options if you want to take in the campgrounds (for those who want a cabin, you’ll find them at McCown Valley Park nearby).

Pack some snacks and spend the whole day on the lake after pushing off at Cedar Creek Park boat ramp.

If you need any essentials, you’ll find them in the town of Whitney as they have grocery stores, an urgent care center, and even a sports bar if you want to catch a game before heading back to Dallas.

Make sure to practice water and boating safety for a great day out!

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 38 minutes

12. Angelina National Forest

day hiking trips from dallas

At almost 3 hours, it’s definitely a day trip from Dallas you’ll want to leave early for, but if you have explored more nearby areas, this is one to check out!

This national forest is where you’ll find your inner peace, get your steps in on the hiking trails, or reconnect with nature with over 100,000 acres of recreational areas.

Birdwatchers absolutely love this national forest, and fishermen can check out the incredible lake with lots of things to catch.

There are marked trails for hiking so you can plan out your day, and return to Dallas both happy and ready for a good night’s sleep!

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 2 hours, 53 minutes

13. Tyler, Texas

day hiking trips from dallas

The town of Tyler is fascinating for botanical lovers as well as families with kids!

This town holds the annual Rose Festival (dedicated to the one and only type of flower!) and you can visit the Tyler Rose Museum to learn more about the history of rose cultivation in the city.

There’s also the kid-friendly Discovery Science Place where the kids can immerse themselves in incredible exhibits that allow them to play pretend and learn more about the world around them, or you can head to the Cotton Belt Depot Museum which features the history of trailways in the area.

There’s also historic architecture, like the Goodman-LeGrand House.

If the weather is good, check out the Caldwell Zoo where you an spend the day seeing the animals and learning more about them from their keepers.

To finish off your day, head to Rick’s on the Square with incredible southern seafood that you’ll remember forever.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 35 minutes

14. Sam Houston National Forest

day hiking trips from dallas

Another national forest near Dallas, the Sam Houston National Forest is great for hiking and biking, and there are marked hiking trails for day hikes if you want to visit on a day trip from Dallas.

Find shady spots under the trees to eat lunch, or get out on the boat as there is a lake with great sunset views if the water is more your thing.

A lot of people don’t necessarily associated Texas with forests, but as we’ve shown, there’s a lot more than you would expect!

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes : 2 hours, 32 minutes

15. Eisenhower State Park (Oklahoma/Texas border)

day hiking trips from dallas

While Eisenhower State Park is on the Texas side of the border, you can see Oklahoma over the water!

This state park has wonderful, well-maintained hiking trails, as well as biking or walking trails that take you around the lake.

You can go swimming in the lake, or rent a boat to take out from the marina.

There’s a gift shop with the bare essentials if you need them and some souvenirs, as well as plenty of spaces to eat lunch if you want to camp out at a picnic table.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 26 minutes

16. Cooper Lake State Park

day hiking trips from dallas

Another state park that you can reach in a day trip from Dallas is Cooper Lake State Park.

It’s particularly known for its stunning flowers in the springtime, and they also have a great fishing area.

This is more secluded than some of the other state park options, so if you really want to get out in the wilderness and clear your mind, this is the place to go.

It’s also easy driving distance at just under an hour and 30 minutes from Dallas.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 27 minutes

17. Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area

Some people love going out into nature, but don’t need the paved nature trails that you’ll find in some state parks.

This area is a great glimpse into rugged Texas life, where you’ll find swamps, wetlands, and marshlands for miles.

It’s great for birdwatching, as well as other wildlife spotting (keep an eye out for the pigs!)

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 31 minutes

18. Georgetown

Georgetown Texas

Where can you find “the most beautiful town square in Texas?”

Right here in Georgetown , south of Dallas!

Take a casual stroll through historic downtown and view its Victorian architecture, including the Old Williamson County Jail and the courthouse dating back to 1911.

Get your dose of vitamin D on the waters of Lake Georgetown, a 1200-acre lake known as one of the best fishing areas in the region and a great place for boating, water skiing, fishing, camping, and swimming.

Georgetown Texas

If swimming holes are more your style, make a splash at Blue Hole Park!

Open from 5am – 10pm, this scenic lagoon on the South San Gabriel River is a preferred summer wading spot for locals!

End your day trip with a tour of Inner Space Cavern , a vast “living” cave with hundreds of stalactites and ever-changing formations, and one of the best-preserved caves in Texas!

Driving distance from Dallas: 2 hours and 31 minutes 

19. Round Rock

Round Rock Texas

Boasting the largest indoor water park in the country – Kalahari Resorts and conventions – Round Rock, Texas is one of the most fun day trips from Dallas there is!  

This 1.5 million square foot resort includes 30 waterslides, 20 pools, restaurants, an indoor adventure park, and artisan style retail outlets.

You could spend an entire day in Round Rock and never have to leave the resort!

But you’d be missing out if you didn’t experience the rest of what the city has to offer – like legendary 2lb donuts from Round Rock Donuts , a Round Rock Express baseball game at the 11,000+ capacity Diamond Dell stadium , and the annual downtown festivals!  

Round Rock express

Before you leave, head over to Chisholm Trail Crossing Park to see the city’s namesake – a round rock jutting from the waters of Brushy Creek.

This rock indicated a low point in the water where settlers would cross with their wagons.

If you look closely, you can even see the wagon ruts in the rocks!  

Driving distance from Dallas: 2 hours and 40 minutes

20. Bend, TX

Big Bend Texas

Bend is a great city for enjoying the great outdoors!

Located on the Colorado River, fishing is one of its main attractions.

Take a self-guided tour to Gorman Falls, a 70-foot waterfall (one of the best waterfalls in Texas ,) swim in Spicewood Springs, or tour one of the more than 400 caves in Colorado Bend State Park.

(Be prepared for a 3-mile round trip hike over rough, rocky terrain to see the beauty of Gorman Falls!)

Swim, bird watch, play volleyball and canoe at Sulphur Springs Camp !

Driving distance from Dallas: 3 hours

21. Sam Houston National Forest

Sam Houston National Forest

About 2 hours south of Dallas, you’ll find Sam Houston National Forest, one of only four national forests in Texas.

The 128-mile long Lone Star Hiking Trail makes this a perfect hiking day trip from Houston.

The area’s mild climate means hiking is possible year-round!

Camp in one of three developed campgrounds offering showers and restrooms and proximity to hiking and biking trails and lake recreation.

Rent canoes and paddleboats at Double Lake, a 24-acre lake perfect for swimming, fishing, and picnicking along the shores.

Find convenient boat access at Scott’s Ridge Day-Use Area, a public boat ramp on Lake Conroe.

Fishing is plentiful in Lake Livingston, and with the right permit, hunting deer and small game is also an option.

Driving distance from Dallas: 2 hours and 37 minutes

Lake Conroe

As the fastest growing city in Texas, and bordered by Lake Conroe and state and national parks, Conroe, Texas is one of the best day trips from Dallas to find city life and scenic views all in one spot!

Boating, fishing, and watersports abound in the 22,000 acres of Lake Conroe.

Bring your own boat, hire a guide, or rent a boat from the many options available in the area.

Lakeside dining is plentiful and a great way to end a day trip on the lake.

If you’d rather stay on land, downtown Conroe is the place to be!

Entertainment, restaurants, antique shopping, breweries, theaters, and a unique arts scene bring the community to life!

Plenty of live music has earned the city the designation of Music Friendly Community by the state of Texas!

Driving distance from Dallas: 3 hours, 2 minutes

23. Nacogdoches

Nacogdoches Texas

There’s no better place for an old-fashioned day trip than Nacogdoches, the oldest town in Texas!

Stroll leisurely through the red brick streets of historic downtown or hike miles of trails that once served as trade routes for Native Americans.

Sip your way through the city on the Wine, Whiskey and Brew tour, antique and dine through downtown at any number of family-owned shops and restaurants, or enjoy the outdoors at various parks, rivers, creeks, lakes, and sports venues.

History lovers will appreciate the historical landmarks and museums that trace the history of Texas and Nacogdoches.

Families can come together at the many family-friendly attractions, like Camp Tonkawa Springs RV Park, Splash Kingdom waterpark and Ellen Trout Zoo.

However you’re looking to unwind, you can find it here in Nacogdoches!

24. Abilene

From historic houses to storybook character statutes all around town (it is the Storybook Capital, after all!), Abilene is a wonderful day trip from Dallas, Texas.

Attend a concert put on by the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra, visit the 1910 Swenson House for a history tour, or check out the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum to learn about the heroism of this World War II divison.

Kids will fall in love with the animals at the Abilene Zoo, art lovers will enjoy the Grace Museum, and everyone will dig into a steak dinner at Lytle Land and Cattle Company to finish off your day.

Driving distance from Dallas: 2 hours, 42 minutes

25. Possum Kingdom Lake 

Possums Kingdom Lake

Located in Caddo, Possum Kingdom Lake is a 17,000 acre reservoir on the Brazos River. 

With 310 miles of shoreline, scenic coves, and clear blue water Possum Kingdom Lake is one of the nicest lakes in Texas. 

Swim in one of the many beaches. 

Near the dam, scuba dive as you explore caves and cut-outs with views up to 100 ft. 

Possum Kingdom Lake

Fish or swim at Hell’s Gate between the two 90-ft tall cliffs.

Rent boats to water ski, wakeboard, or go tubing with views of the picturesque cliffs and rocky bluffs at Possum Kingdom Lake State Park.

Hike along trails that wind you up along the rolling hills and limestone canyons and be surrounded by the untouched wilderness (be sure to hike to the top of the 90 ft cliff to see the breathtaking view!) 

See how many of the 280 species of birds you can spot. 

Driving distance from Dallas: 2 hours, 39 minutes

26. Lewisville Lake

day hiking trips from dallas

For an idyllic and peaceful retreat, check out Lewisville Lake, just to the north of Dallas.

Visit the Tribute Shoreline Nature Trail, which has wonderful winding pathways through natural scenery right along the lakeshore (it’s relatively flat, so an easy path to walk).

Check out the pristine beach shores (bring a picnic to maximize your time out of Dallas), or head to Sneaky Pete’s, which is right on the water and features everything from incredible Americana food to volleyball courts.

If you want a golfing day out from Dallas, you can also check out the Stewart Peninsula Golf Course, one of the best in the area.

Driving distance from Dallas: 35 minutes

27. Wichita Falls

Wichita Falls

When you find yourself looking for day trips from Dallas, make sure to check out Wichita Falls!

When American settlers arrived in this area in the 1860’s this falls were a prominent feature of the landscape and the city itself was named for it but just 10 years later, a massive flood destroyed the water feature.

Have no fear though, just 100 years later, in the 1970’s, the waterfall was restored and now stands at 54 ft high and recirculates at 3,500 gallons of water per minute!

The falls themselves are visible to south-bound traffic on Interstate 44 but if you’re looking for a more natural experience, make sure to visit the nearby River Bend Nature Center which features nature trails and exhibits all about the surrounding area.

Driving distance from Dallas: 2 hours, 5 minutes

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17+ Exciting Day Trips from Dallas, Texas (2024)

From enchanting state parks to historic small towns, these day trips from Dallas are all fantastic ways to spend a day away from the big city streets.

Go boating on Texas’ best lakes or spend a day shopping at Magnolia Market in Waco .

Stay closer to home by visiting somewhere nearby like Fort Worth, or pack everyone up early to reach further flung destinations like Texarkana or even San Antonio (here’s how to get back from San Antonio to Dallas the fastest).

If you’re in the San Antonio area, be sure to check out the best places to eat !

Or if you’re headed to Houston on a solo trip , head on over to our ultimate travel guide.

Whether you’re interested in shopping, nightlife, natural scenery or off-the-beaten-path sites (ever heard of the World’s Littlest Skyscraper?!), these Dallas day trips should definitely be added to your Texas itinerary.

For each destination, you’ll find the approximate driving time in minutes so you can decide if it’s a day trip for you, and you’ll also find the best sights and places to eat so you can just get in the car and go, knowing we’ve pointed you in the right direction!

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day hiking trips from dallas

1. Fort Worth, Texas

While Fort Worth is actually part of the Dallas – Fort Worth metro area, it is about a 33 minute drive from downtown Dallas and an easy Dallas day trip if you’re not wanting too long of a drive.

Visit the Fort Worth Stockyards, where you’ll be transported back to the time of a thriving cattle trade with saloon doors on every corner and plenty of cowboy boots in the store windows.

A cattle drive at Fort Worth with bulls walking down the road and a cowboy on a horse

If the weather is nice, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden is a wonderful way to spend the day, wandering past the ponds and plants and soaking in the sunshine.

Art lovers will fall head over heels for the Kimbell Art Museum with its extensive Asian and European art collection.

Grab a bite to eat at Panther City BBQ, known for their smoked meats and Southern sides at reasonable price, or try some of the Tex Mex that is so famous in the area at places like Los Vaqueros near the Stockyards.

On a budget?

This guide to the best free things to do in Dallas and Fort Worth will help you keep the costs down.

Exteriror of the Meadows Museum Dallas Fort Worth

If you’re looking for a day trip from Dallas for families, Fort Worth is also a great choice as you can spend the day at the Fort Worth Zoo, home to over 7,000 animals.

Bring their swimming suits to take advantage of the Safari Splash water play area!

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 33 minutes

2. Waco, Texas

While Waco has been known for many different things in its history, some tragic and some uplifting, today it is a perfect day trip from Dallas for couples who are interested in home renovation, college football, and antiqueing!

Perhaps the most famous thing to do in Waco is a visit to Magnolia Market, the destination dreamed up by Chip and Joanna Gaines from the hit HGTV show, Fixer Upper .

day hiking trips from dallas

At Magnolia Market, you’ll find everything from plenty of outdoor space to hang out with your family and play lawn games to a thriving store with plenty of home decor and Magnolia Market merch (demo day, anyone?) to a bakery with the best cupcakes you’ll ever eat.

You can also eat at their restaurant, Magnolia Table, and there is a tram (okay, it’s basically a golf cart) that will take you to other areas of Waco as well.

day hiking trips from dallas

Visit Waco on a Baylor gameday to see some of the most enthusiastic sports fans in all of Texas, or if you’d like something a bit more low key, spend your day checking out the wonderful array of antique shops in the city.

There is also a Dr. Pepper Museum for any soda lovers, as well as the Cameron Park Zoo for some outdoor fun.

If you want an authentic Waco experience, get some coffee from Common Grounds Waco, a coffee shop with rustic decor that draws locals for live music and great talks.

This is also a great day trip from Dallas in the winter as there is plenty to do inside, so it doesn’t matter what the weather feels like doing.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 32 minutes

3. Wichita Falls, Texas

Ready to see the World’s Littlest Skyscraper?

That’s right, the Newby-McMahon building is the source of local legend as this “skyscraper” only stands 40 feet tall.

The building dates back to 1919, and local stories have it that the developer drew up blueprints for a skyscraper 480 inches tall, and the investors didn’t bother to ask questions and assumed he meant 480 feet.

day hiking trips from dallas

It was the swindle of the century, and today you can visit an antiques shop in the building.

Wichita Falls also has plenty of other (non-swindling) activities, including the Museum of North Texas History where you can learn about Native American culture and the history of the oil & gas industry.

Visit the Kell House, dating back to 1909, to take a walk through a period home and see what life would have been like back in the day, or take a walk through Wichita Lake Park (also including a dog park!).

day hiking trips from dallas

Stand-out restaurants include The Highlander Public House and Gypsy Kitchen & Bar, both downtown.

Get some drinks from Wichita Falls brewing company which has an awesome selection of beers and some of the best pizza in the area.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 2 hours, 7 minutes

4. Texarkana, Arkansas (and Texas)

Texarkana state line

Not only can you take a day trip from Dallas to other parts of Texas, but you can reach other states!

If you’ve ever been curious about a city that spans two states, Texarkana is the place to go as half is in Texas and half is in Arkansas.

Check out downtown Texarkana where you’ll find the Ace of Clubs House, a house built in 1885 that’s actually shaped like a playing card club.

The Four States Auto Museum is a must-do for car lovers, and there’s also the Museum of Regional History which uses a 19th century office building to teach locals and visitors about the history of Texarkana and beyond.

Lake Wright in Texarkana

For great food, stop by the Pecan Point Gastropub (try the burger and duck fat fries!) or Zapata’s for authentic Tex Mex food.

If you’re wanting to explore other parts of Arkansas, this is a great in-between point on a road trip from Texas to other Arkansas destinations like Hot Springs or Fayetteville.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 2 hours, 43 minutes

5. Texas Motorplex

racing at Texas motorplex

Located near Ennis, Texas, the Texas Motorplex is one of the best places to watch drag racing for anyone who loves the thrill of fast cars.

They’ve won plenty of awards from the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) for the quality of the venue, and there are regular races on, including championships.

The quarter mile strip often breaks speed records and there are also other events hosted here like concerts, bike racing, rodeo events and even monster truck events.

With concession stands and a restaurant on-site, you don’t have to worry about where you’re going to eat, and it’s close enough to Dallas that you can be there in less than an hour.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes : 39 minutes

6. Cedar Creek Lake

sunset at Cedar Creek Lake

One of the best day trips from Dallas for outdoor lovers is Cedar Creek Lake .

Not only is it the fourth largest lake in Texas, but it has everything from fishing to boating to the opportunity to just sit on the shore with a picnic.

The history of the area dates back to 1835, and people have been enjoying the water and natural scenery since then.

If you like to fish, you’ll find the lake teeming with catfish and white bass, with the bass being more prevalent in the spring and catfish being year-round.

Five marinas offer excellent boating opportunities, as well as plenty of coves where you can go swimming and enjoy the Texas sunshine.

If you don’t have your own boat, you can also rent kayaks, pontoons, paddle boards and waterskis.

There’s really nothing better than a day at the lake, especially when you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Dallas.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 7 minutes

7. Tyler, Texas

Rose Garden in Tyler Texas

Known for its rose cultivation, Tyler, Texas is a gorgeous place to explore on a day trip from Dallas.

Start at the Tyler Rose Museum, where you’ll learn about the history of the Rose Festival and plenty of memorabilia from the rose cultivation history in the city (they really, really like roses).

If you prefer other types of history in addition to…well, floral, visit the Cotton Belt Depot Museum to learn about the history of trailways in the area or the Goodman-LeGrand House with Civil War-era furnishings.

sunset in Tyler, Texas

Got the kids in tow?

Try the Discovery Science Place, an interactive children’s museums with everything from a giant ship to a pretend doctor’s office where your child can put on the stethoscope and pretend to be the one in charge!

Drop by the Caldwell Zoo for an afternoon of family fun, or get a bit more sophisticated at the Tyler Museum of Art.

buildings in Tyler, Texas

For Southern food you’ll remember forever, visit Rick’s on the Square with southern seafood and steaks that’ll rock your Texas-loving world.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 35 minutes

8. Angelina National Forest

Angelina National Forest

It’s a hefty drive, but a fantastic hiking day trip from Dallas.

The Angelina National Forest has over 100,000 acres of recreational area and is the perfect option for camping, hiking, or finding peace in nature.

Angelina National Forest

Go birdwatching to spot the abundant local wildlife, or bring your tent and use one of the secluded campsites to reconnect with family and friends.

There’s also a beautiful lakefront with fishing opportunities, and plenty of marked trails so you can set off on an adventure and still make sure to end up back at your car at the end of the day.

Angelina National Forest

Go early in the morning and leave late to make the most of the day, as the drive can eat up quite a bit of time if you don’t plan correctly.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 2 hours, 53 minutes

9. Davy Crockett National Forest

Davy Crockett National Forest

There’s nothing like embracing the wild American scenery at the Davy Crockett National Forest , named for a historic figure and legend in American culture (you’re probably singing “king of the wild frontier” in your head right about now!)

The forest became a National Forest in 1936 with the help of FDR, and ever since then it has been a family-friendly place to camp, hike, fish, practice outdoor sports like archery, and get back to the basics in life.

If swimming is your thing, there is a swimming beach at Ratcliff Lake, or stick to dry land as you go hiking on the Four C National Recreation Trail.

Davy Crockett National Forest

Horseback riding is popular on the Piney Creek Horse Trail, and primitive camping is available in the forest in secluded locations.

Look out for woodpeckers, deer, turkeys, and more wildlife who call this gorgeous place home.

Visitors find the campgrounds clean and quiet, and the sunrises within the park are stuff of legends so don’t sleep in!

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 2 hours, 47 minutes

10. College Station, Texas

Aggie Tower in College Station Texas

There’s no beating around the bush.

If you’re visiting College Station, Texas on a day trip from Dallas, there’s a 99% chance that the reason you’re there is for an Aggie game!

Texas A&M is a popular and well-loved university across much of Texas, and you’ll find the beautiful campus and the giant stadium for the Aggie football team in College Station.

This is a university town through and through, with plenty of student hang out spots and sports options.

The Aggies play in Kyle Field, the fifth largest stadium worldwide (it’s always bigger in Texas!) and Texas A&M fans descend on College Station every game day.

Aggieland - Kyle Stadium

If you’re looking for other things to do before or after the game, or maybe are on a college visit, check out the George HW Bush Presidential Library or get some Texas barbecue from C&J Barbecue off Wellborn Road.

Also don’t miss a fresh donut from Donald Donuts, because there is nothing that college students love more than donuts so why not join in on the fun?

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 2 hours, 48 minutes

11. Lake Whitney

Lake Whitney Texas

To the southwest of Dallas, water babies will find their oasis in Texas, Lake Whitney.

This is where the Brazos River flows into Lake Whitney , and there are so many boating, kayaking, camping, and state park options that you’ll be spoiled for choice.

Go camping at Lake Whitney State Park with its spacious campgrounds and water views, or base yourself at McCown Valley Park where you’ll find family-friendly camping and a few small cabins for those who don’t love the tent life.

Head to the Cedar Creek Park boat ramp or the Lake Whitney marina for all of your boating needs, and enjoy days spent out on the lake without a care in the world.

There are plenty of places to buy essentials nearby, including the town of Whitney which has everything from a sports bar to auto shops to hardware stores and an urgent care center.

It’s easy driving distance from Dallas and a great way to get out on the water.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 38 minutes

12. Granbury, Texas

Granbury Town Square at Christmas

This historic Texas town makes a great Dallas day trip for those interested in historic architecture, great museums, plenty of friendly faces and boutique shopping to please even the most obsessed shopaholics.

Head to the Historic Downtown Square for vibrant festivals and social life, as well as down to earth restaurants like the Filling Station (the hamburgers are a must-eat).

You’ll find art galleries, wineries, and memorabilia shops all within just a few minutes walk from each other.

Stop by the Hood County Museum for a historic tour of an old jail, or try the Bridge Street Historic Museum which focuses on one Granbury family and their role in greater Granbury society.

Granbury street Texas

Granbury City Beach Park offers some space to swim and sit on the sand while soaking in the rays along the Brazos River.

It’s really not surprising that Granbury has been consistently voted as one of the best small towns in Texas!

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 17 minutes

13. Eisenhower State Park (Oklahoma/Texas border)

Eisenhower State Park

Located in Texas, but on the water border between Oklahoma and Texas, Eisenhower State Park is a fantastic day trip in Texas for hiking (check out this helpful full guide to Eisenhower State Park !)

The park is well-maintained and there’s a great trail around the lake for walking or biking (over 6 miles!).

There are also lots of picnic tables, as well as swimming options and a marina with boats for rental in case you prefer life on water to life on land.

Eisenhower State Park sign

Don’t forget to check out the enchanting cave area, as well as the gift shop with a few essentials and some memorabilia!

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 26 minutes

14. Caddo National Grassland

Caddo National Grassland

Whether you’re into hiking, fishing, archery or just wildlife watching, the Caddo National Grassland is a fantastic Dallas day trip!

It’s quiet, with only the sounds of the rustling of squirrels in the distance, and there are picnic tables so you can enjoy your food in between fishing and hiking.

Trail riding is available for those on horseback and the camping areas are clean and well-maintained.

Even more exciting for those willing to stay until late are the dark skies over this area, allowing you to see so many bright stars that are invisible over the brighter lights of Dallas.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 47 minutes

15. Cooper Lake State Park

Cooper Lake

This secluded state park is a great place to get some fresh air with easy walking trails and some beautiful flowers and plants to watch bloom in the Spring.

There is camping available to those who want it, but day trips are just as fun for fishing or walking around the area.

South Sulphur River

While Dallas does have some city parks, being able to drive to somewhere so open and free and untouched by too many human hands is a fantastic way to clear your mind and reconnect with your travel companions.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 27 minutes

16. Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area

If you want nature in Texas, but prefer the “rugged” method instead of paved nature trails, Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area is for you.

Here, you’ll find plenty of open space for birdwatching, fishing, hiking and hunting.

There are wetlands, swamps, marshlands and more in this vast area, and you’ll be sure to spot wildlife like reptiles and pigs and other animals that you might not usually see in nature parks.

The rangers are friendly, the views are gorgeous, and the air is clear, so what are you waiting for?

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes: 1 hour, 31 minutes

17. Sam Houston National Forest

Sam Houston National Forest

As one of the very astute reviews on this Dallas day trip states, “It’s a forest. It has a lot of trees.”

And yes, there are lots of trees here, but also lots of room for hiking, biking, camping and even boating if you have your own boat.

It’s a popular getaway for Texas A&M students, not too far from College Station, and the sunset from the lake is seriously stunning.

Hiking trails are also an option for a day hike, and it’s a great area for nature lovers within a day’s drive from Dallas.

Distance from Dallas, in driving minutes : 2 hours, 32 minutes

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Day Trips From Dallas

The Best Day Trips From Dallas

day hiking trips from dallas

For those looking for a fun day trip from Dallas, this guide has several options for you to choose from. Dallas is within a few hours of stunningly pretty state parks, charming cities, and a string of postcard-worthy small Texan towns just waiting to be explored.

Fort Worth: World-Class Art and Cowboy Culture

TripSavvy / Vincent Mercer

First up, the most logical day trip from Dallas is Fort Worth. The true flavor and history of Texas are embodied in this vibrant city, which became famous during the open-range cattle drives of the 19th century. Today, the main draw is the Stockyards National Historic District, where cowboys, cattlemen, and outlaws used to roam. The city is also home to several world-class art museums, including the Kimbell Art Museum , the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth , and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art .

Getting There: Just 30 minutes west of Dallas, Fort Worth is easily accessible by car or bus .

Travel Tip: In addition to soaking up art and exploring the Stockyards, take a moment to walk around the Water Gardens if you’re downtown—this modernist, urban oasis of pools and water features is a marvel.

Beavers Bend State Park: Enjoy a Weekend in the Great Outdoors

Nestled in the scenic mountainous region of southeast Oklahoma, Beavers Bend State Park is a wonderful weekend getaway if you’re craving a dose of nature. Crystal-clear waters and lush, hilly terrain make this state park a nature lover’s dream. There’s plenty to do here, including hiking, biking, fishing, boating, water skiing, canoeing, horseback riding, and more. Spend the night at Lakeview Lodge , one of the park’s many cabins, or at a tent or RV campsite. 

Getting There: Take Highway 75 north to exit 45; the journey takes about three hours. 

Travel Tip: Make time for a glass of wine at Girls Gone Wine , an adorable winery in Broken Bow. After a long day at the lake, there’s no better way to unwind.

Denton: Explore a Culturally-Rich Texas Town

Less than an hour from Dallas, Denton boasts a spectacular live music scene and a lively culture all its own. Home to two major universities (the University of North Texas and Texas Woman’s University), this bustling college town is loaded with cool boutiques, breweries, bars, galleries, and restaurants, along with a plethora of up-and-coming musicians who perform around town.   

Getting There: You can take the DART to get to Denton if you’re not up for the drive: Take the Green Line to the Trinity Mills station in Carrollton, transfer to the A-train, and take the A-train to the Downtown Denton Transit Center.

Travel Tip: For a real treat, head here for either the Denton Arts & Jazz Festival or the Denton Blues Festival .

Caddo Lake State Park: A Maze of Natural Wonders

Caddo Lake State Park is located roughly two and a half hours from Dallas, but the drive is well worth it. This is one of the state’s most popular parks, for good reason. With its thick bald cypress trees dripping with Spanish moss, alligators (yep!), and maze of sloughs and pools, Caddo Lake has an eerie, gothic beauty that’s unlike other parts of Texas. Caddo Lake, the largest naturally formed lake in Texas, has over 50 miles of paddling trails that can be explored by canoe or kayak. Visitors can also experience the Pineywoods on more than 13 miles of trails. 

Getting There: Caddo Lake State Park is about three hours east of Dallas, via I-20.  

Travel Tip: Apart from getting out on the water (which is a must), don’t miss the Whispering Pines Nature Trail, a historic trail built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938 that passes through mixed hardwood-pine woodland.

Dinosaur Valley State Park: Follow the Footsteps of Ancient Beasts

It may be tough to believe, but dinosaurs used to roam just west of the Dallas metroplex. At Dinosaur Valley State Park, visitors can follow the real-life, fossilized dinosaur tracks along the banks of the park’s Paluxy River. The prints are preserved in stone and are visible at five different locations along the river. 

Getting There: Drive along I-35 S towards Waco and continue on US-67; the park is about an hour and a half from the Metroplex. 

Travel Tip: Hikers will rejoice at the 20-mile network of interconnected, mixed-use trails in the park, the longest of which, the Cedar Brake Outer Loop, takes you on a looping tour of the terrain atop limestone ridges.

Canton: A Small Town With Substantial Charm

Charming Canton has a slew of small-town treasures—like America's largest flea market—just waiting to be discovered. The incredibly walkable city is perfect to explore on a quick trip from Dallas.

Getting There: Canton is just an hour’s drive from Dallas, along US-80 and I-20.

Travel Tip: Plan your visit around First Monday Trade Days, the biggest continually operating flea market in the country, which takes place Thursday through Sunday before the first Monday of every month.

Austin: Experience the Weirdest City in Texas

Austin may be located just three hours from Dallas, but the city’s cultural landscape is vastly different from that of the Big D. Come here to experience the food, the music, the culture, and the weirdness—see the bats on Congress Avenue, take a dip in Barton Springs, hike along the Greenbelt, and peruse galleries on the East Side. 

Getting There: Austin is about four hours south of Dallas, via I-35.

Travel Tip: Avoid visiting during any of the major festivals (like South by Southwest or Austin City Limits) when the city is swarming with tourists.

Possum Kingdom State Park: Scenic Nature and Aquatic Beauty

Larry D. Moore / Wikimedia Commons /  CC BY-SA 4.0

Another mega-steamy Texas summer got you down? Possum Kingdom State Park is the perfect place to cool off. Located roughly one hour northwest of the Metroplex, the park caters to those who love the water, though there are also plenty of hiking trails. Scenically situated in the rugged canyon country of the Brazos River Valley and the Palo Pinto Mountains, this 1500-acre state park is on the west side of Possum Kingdom Lake. Visitors to the park can scuba dive, swim, snorkel, and go boating or fishing in the cool, clear waters. 

Getting There: It’s a scenic jaunt along I-30 to Possum Kingdom Lake; the journey should take you around three hours. 

Travel Tip: Aside from water sports, the rolling hills that surround the lake are home to several great trails, including the popular Lakeview Trail, the Longhorn Trail, and the Chaparral Ridge Trail, all of which offer magnificent views of the park

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Ratcliff Lake in the fall in the Davy Crockett National Forest, Texas

30 Best Day Trips From Dallas

If you live in Dallas or just visiting the Big D and want to get out of the city, a day trip is the perfect way to explore the surrounding country and see some real Texas.

Although there is a lot to see and do in Dallas , getting out of the city is a great way to explore the smaller towns around Texas, see spectacular nature and relax away from the hustle and bustle of the big city.

For those who want to go on a longer drive and explore places further away, check out our list of the best road trips you can go on from Dallas .

Our day trips from Dallas include charming small Texan towns, great cities to explore, National Forests and State Parks, quirky museums and even trips across the border into Oklahoma.

Here's our list of the 30 best day trips from Dallas in order of the time it takes to get there.

day hiking trips from dallas

1. Visit the Cavanaugh Flight Museum

30 minutes from Dallas (16 miles)

A classic colorful plane at the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison, Texas

A great museum for those who like flying is in Addison - only about half an hour up the Dallas North Tollway from downtown. The traffic here can be unpredictable so allow as much as an hour if you're coming during the morning rush hour.

The Cavanaugh Flight Museum has one of the best collection of military aircraft spanning time from World War I to World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and other conflicts.

Alongside the airplanes, there are some aircraft engines you can look at and a few random exhibits including military vehicles and some regular cars from the 30s and 40s.

For those who like adrenalin pumping through their veins, the museum offers flight experiences in classic fighter and bomber aircraft from different time periods. You have to book in advance but it's an awesome thing to do as part of your visit.

2. Stroll through the Stockyards National Historic District in Fort Worth

30 minutes from Dallas (32 miles)

Fort Worth Stockyards Historic District street in Fort Worth, Texas

Fort Worth and Dallas have basically merged into one city in all but name. The Dallas - Fort Worth metro area that also includes Arlington has a lot of great things to do, but given Fort Worth has a huge amount going for it in its own right, a day trip from Dallas is well worth it if you don't want to go too far.

A quick drive down the I-30 will take you from the 9th to the 13th largest city in the United States. Head to the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District which is where you'll want to spend most of the day.

This neighborhood may feel a little touristy, but it is a genuine historic part of Fort Worth that comes with cattle going through it (yep!), cowboys and a rodeo that is worth timing your day trip for.

Once you've explored the quirky shops in Stockyards, you can check out the Fort Worth Zoo or the Botanic Garden.

Finish off the day by going to Sundance Square which is where dozens of the city's best restaurants all sit right next to each other offering you the perfect dilemma for where to have dinner.

3. Try the best of local wine in Grapevine

35 minutes from Dallas (23 miles)

Main Street in Historic Downtown Grapevine near Dallas, Texas.

The historic city of Grapevine sits on the edge of its namesake lake and right next to the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport so if you're flying into the city, you are basically in Grapevine when you land!

It might not be as well known or popular as the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth or Arlington within the metro area, but this plays to its advantage - Grapevine is quieter and has more of a local feel about it.

The city's name gives away the main reason you should come here. Local wineries offer tours and tastings - make sure you draw lots for who will be the designated driver, or stay the night locally! There are some wine rooms in the town if you want to combine it with dinner.

An alternative dinner option is the Jazz Wine Train which is part of the 1920s Grapevine Vintage Railroad. If you're not sure what this is, the clue, again, is in the name. You get to have your dinner onboard the classic train while listening to local jazz!

4. Go ghost hunting in Terrell

35 minutes from Dallas (33 miles)

Colonel Green and His 1899 Automobile mural in Terrell, Texas

Terrell is a quiet and relaxed town just outside Dallas that is known for two things: its ghosts and the World War II era flying school.

If you love ghosts, the town has an official ghost walk that tells you all about the local spirits on Saturday nights as you walk through downtown Terrell.

For a more immersive experience, the Thrillvania Haunted House Park just outside Terrell runs themed events in haunted mansions at weekends.

Don't just turn up in the evening though, the historic downtown area is great for a daytime walk - some of the buildings have intricate murals and there are some interesting and unusual shops to pop into.

If classic military aircraft is your thing and you've already been to the Cavanaugh Flight Museum on the other side of Dallas, the famous World War II flying school has a small museum that is open from Wednesday to Sunday.

This is where the British pilots trained during the war before heading back and taking part and there is a lot of information about what it was like to go through the training program at the time.

5. See the historic Courthouse in Denton

45 minutes from Dallas (40 miles)

The Courthouse building on Denton Square in Denton, Texas

The I-35 will take you from Dallas to Denton, northwest of the city. It's a good idea to set off a little later in the morning to avoid the morning traffic - it can get heavy from around 7 a.m. adding half an hour or more onto your journey.

Get breakfast in Dallas and then set off at around 9:30 a.m. and you can be in Denton in as little as 40 minutes.

The center of Denton is designed around the Courthouse-on-the-Square. The courthouse was originally built in 1896 but today houses some Denton County offices as well as a museum about local history, culture and the background of different immigrant groups that settled in the area.

Denton Square is where everything that goes on in the city seems to happen. Expect to see locals meeting up, some social activists or performers and visit the local restaurants and shops to get some lunch and an ice cream.

The Clear Creek Heritage Center and Ray Roberts Lake State Park are both just outside the city and great places for a few hours relaxing in the nature.

Visit these in the afternoon before heading back to Dallas driving around Lewisville Lake on the way back.

6. Spend the day in historic McKinney

45 minutes from Dallas (33 miles)

Stores in downtown McKinney, Texas on a sunny day.

The small town of McKinney may be just over 30 miles from downtown Dallas, but it is a massive difference between the two and McKinney has a real identity of its own rather than just being a commuter town.

The town was voted as the Best Place to Live in America by Money Magazine in 2014 and the city's lifestyle has led to it growing fast since then - in 2019 it was the 6th fastest growing city in the United States according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Take a stroll down Main Street and you'll see some great local independent shops, buildings that date back to the 19th century and small restaurants and bars that are perfect for sipping coffee sat at a table outside.

The Historic Downtown has more old buildings and piles on the charm and just a few blocks further south is the Chestnut Square Historic Village where 10 restored historic buildings going back as far as 1854 are open to the public and actors dressed in costume will give you a feel for what McKinney was like 150 years ago.

All of these areas are very walkable - your best option is to park the car for the day and explore the city on foot to make the most of the wide sidewalks and the many opportunities to pause to sit down for a drink or lunch.

7. Walk the streets of Greenville, Texas

50 minutes from Dallas (52 miles)

Main Street of Greenville, Texas - a short day trip from Dallas

if you're looking to escape the busy streets of Dallas and want to spend the day somewhere where the pace of life is a little slower and the vibe is a bit more relaxed and local, then Greenville is less than an hour up the I-30 to the northeast of Dallas.

The main attraction in town is the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum. This unusual museum has two halves that cover very different topics - the first is dedicated to Audie Murphy who was the most decorated American soldier in World War II. There's a number of exhibits related to him and World War II in general.

The other half of the museum is all about the history of the local cotton industry which was the main earner for local settlers when Greenville was first established in 1852.

Although Greenville does not have as much of a historic status as other cities in the area such as McKinney (#7 above), there are plaques around the city telling you about the importance of some of the buildings and the history feels more intertwined with the everyday life today.

Having said that, the historic downtown area has a number of buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and this is the where will find some interesting the local shops and restaurants.

8. Go to the largest flea market in the world in Canton

55 minutes from Dallas (60 miles)

The First Monday Trade Days flea market in Canton, Texas has been running since 1850.

Canton has become famous for the First Monday Trade Days - a huge flea market that takes place over the weekend that comes before the first Monday of the month (which sometimes means it happens at the end of the previous month).

This 4-day market takes place from Thursday to Sunday and is the largest in the United States and quite possibly the world depending on your definition of what a flea market is!

The site is spread over 100 acres and there are pavilions where more established traders set up shop through to small stalls with over 6,000 traders turning up every month.

You can find anything from socks to bespoke car parts in the market and if you have a choice, Thursday and Friday are quieter and you're more likely to find stuff you want - a top tip is that if you do find something you want, buy it there and then because you will either forget where the stall was and never find it afterwards or the item will be sold by the time you come back.

9. Relax by the water in Lake Whitney State Park

1 hour 15 minutes from Dallas (77 miles)

The stunning sunset at Lake Whitney, Texas

Lake Whitney is a small State Park sitting on the edge of the lake it is named after and if you want a day out by the water, it's not far to come making for a great day trip.

The park has a number of different camping options and many visitors come and stay overnight - if you get here early on the Saturday, you may find less people about. A weekday would be even better if you have the time.

There are two short (1 mile) hiking trails that are more of a gentle walk than a hard hike. The roads that run through the park offer a lot more space to walk, especially along the lakefront.

The park is clean and the water is good for both fishing and swimming when the weather is good. Given how close it is to Dallas and the fact that not much goes on in the evening, you can easily enjoy everything the park has to offer in a day and get back in time for dinner.

10. Visit the quirky town of Sulphur Springs, Texas

1 hour 15 minutes from Dallas (79 miles)

The Hopkins County Courthouse building and Celebration Plaza in Sulphur Springs, Texas

Sulphur Springs is an 80-mile drive up the I-30 from Dallas. The road goes right past Greenville (see #7 above) which you can add to your itinerary if you want to stop along the way.

Not that you'll need to add more things to do - there is plenty to see in Sulphur Springs starting with the Hopkins County Courthouse building that is right in the center of the city on Celebration Plaza.

The amazing building that uses unusual materials like pink granite is a functioning courthouse hosting everything from court cases to passport applications and you are free to enter and walk around to see what it's like on the inside.

The square around it is where many of the city's events happen and also where you'll find one of the most odd public restrooms ever. There are two glass restrooms right on the square and if you use them, you can see everything around you through the glass walls.

Luckily enough, the glass is mirrored on the outside so nobody can see in, but it's a very odd and somewhat unsettling way of using restroom facilities.

The Southwest Dairy Museum and Education Center is about one and a half miles from the County Courthouse and is a really interesting museum about the dairy industry with interactive exhibits that go as far as milking a cow. You can grab an ice cream at the end of your visit in the museum's diner.

11. The Windmill Farm at Tolar

1 hour 20 minutes from Dallas (76 miles)

One of the classic windmills at The Windmill Farm at Tolar, Texas

One of the more unusual day trip options from Dallas is the Windmill Farm near Tolar. Head down Highway 377 out of Dallas and the Windmill Farm is just off the Highway between the towns of Granbury and Tolar.

Follow the signs to the farm and you can drive in to have a look at the windmills - there is a road that takes you through them or you can park up and walk around to get a better view.

Entry to the farm is free and you even get a leaflet which tells you a bit about the individual windmills and their history. Donations for upkeep are welcomed and you should definitely contribute if you're visiting.

There are about 30 classic windmills which were all originally working for different farming and industrial purposes. The windmills have been meticulously restored and aggregated from across the local area and are all within a relatively small area.

The farm is open every day during daylight hours and has a well reviewed bed and breakfast on site if you want to spend the night.

12. Visit the Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose

1 hour 25 minutes from Dallas (80 miles)

Preserved dinosaur footprints in the Dinosaur Valley State Park, Texas

Glen Rose is a small town about 90 minutes' drive from Dallas that has a surprisingly large amount of things to do and see - perfect for a day trip out.

The town itself is worth stopping in - the Historic Courthouse Square is the focus of this small town with the Courthouse building dating back to 1893.

Outside Glen Rose, there are a number of different parks you can visit including the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center where some of the most endangered African animal species are preserved including cheetahs, red wolves and the black rhinoceros.

The Dinosaur Valley State Park is a must for your itinerary - the park has some of the best preserved animal footprint fossils in the world and you can see how big their footsteps are as mud they walked through in and around the Paluxy River has turned to stone.

The park has life-size dinosaurs to add to the experience but best of all there is a great selection of hiking trails which weave all the way through the park and are perfect for an hour or two of walking through nature.

13. Go antiques shopping in Waco

1 hour 30 minutes from Dallas (95 miles)

Waco's Dr Pepper Museum in the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building.

Waco is a located south of Dallas, about halfway along the I-35 to Austin.

The main thing to see in Waco is Magnolia Market which is a 2-block shopping complex including a large store in a converted historic grain barn.

You can't miss it as the infamous two large 1950s silos mark the spot and the silos have become something of an Instagram-worthy attraction in their own right in recent years.

Magnolia Market is owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines who became famous for their Fixer Upper TV show - you might spot them around since they have stopped filming the show to focus on other ventures!

If you've watched their show, you'll know that Waco is a huge Mecca for antiques - there are dozens of amazing antique stores here so drive the truck if you want to bring back something for your home.

The Dr Pepper Museum is another amazing place to visit, especially if you are a fan of the soft drink.

Dr Pepper was invented and first produced in Waco and the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building that houses the museum was the first purpose-built factory that manufactured Dr Pepper from 1906 to 1960.

There are 3 floors of amazing exhibits from the long history of the drink including amazing exhibits about the manufacturing process and classic advertisement posters.

14. Visit the Municipal Rose Garden in Tyler, Texas

1 hour 30 minutes from Dallas (98 miles)

The 14 acre Municipal Rose Garden in Tyler, Texas

If you like flowers, the Municipal Rose Garden in Tyler is an absolute must visit and given it's only 90 minutes away from Dallas, it's an easy day trip to see the biggest rose garden in the United States.

There are 14 acres of gardens that have some 40,000 rose bushes here with every type of rose plant imaginable somewhere in the area.

There's even experimental new types of rose bushes that have been specifically engineered that go through testing here - the local experts see how the plants behave over a 2-year window before releasing the new rose varieties to the public.

The Rose Garden has given Tyler the proud title of the Rose Capital of America and since it opened in 1952 has expanded its collection of roses year after year.

There are some rose bush varieties here that date back to the 1860s in the Heritage Rose and Sensory Garden. You can easily spend a few hours walking around here and seeing the great variety on display.

15. Try your luck at the casinos in southern Oklahoma

1 hour 35 minutes from Dallas (92 miles)

The large Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant, Oklahoma lights up at night.

If you want to play cards or see whether it's your lucky day at the slot machine, but you don't fancy the 18 hour drive to Las Vegas, all you need to do is drive across the Oklahoma border.

There are two options that both take about an hour and a half to get to from Dallas. Given that gambling is unlikely to be legalized in Texas any time soon, both are in southern Oklahoma.

The WinStar World Resort Casino is in Thackerville, about 80 miles north of Dallas and with around 600,000 square feet of combined casino floor space it is not only the largest casino in the U.S., but the whole world. It is owned by the Chickasaw Nation which is a large Native American nation based in Oklahoma.

There are loads of restaurants and a huge hotel to boot if you want to stay the night. To give you an idea of the casino's size, just the poker room alone is 19,000 square feet and has 55 tables!

The Choctaw Casino is the other option - owned by the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, it is a little bit further but is less busy as a result with most Texans heading for WinStar instead.

It is much smaller than WinStar, although at around 220,000 square feet of gaming space it is still in the top 10 biggest in the world and larger than most of the huge casinos along the Las Vegas Strip.

16. Go fishing on Lake Texoma

1 hour 40 minutes from Dallas (89 miles)

A man going kayaking in Lake Texoma at Eisenhower State Park, Texas

Lake Texoma is a large reservoir that was made by putting a dam across the Red River in 1944 and flooding several valleys in the area.

Today Texoma on the Texas-Oklahoma border is a popular place to come and relax for residents of both states - there are 2 state and 52 USACE-managed parks surrounding the lake as well as 26 resorts and endless campsites and golf courses.

Red River and the lake sit in an area that used to be the bed of a sea that lay on the border between Oklahoma and Texas thousands of years ago. As a result, the river is unusual in the fact that its water has a high salt content and is not fresh.

This has meant that fish that are normally only found in seawater thrive in the river and striped bass is the most prized of the over 70 different types of fish that are found in the lake.

You may find that some of the campgrounds and facilities in the area have seen better days. If you're just coming for the fishing or to have a picnic by the lake, Texoma is the perfect place to come but if you're looking to stay longer and camp overnight, you might want to opt for a different park area.

17. Learn history at the Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site

1 hour 40 minutes from Dallas (93 miles)

The marker in Fort Richardson State Historical Park in front of the Interpretive Center

If you love history and want to learn more about post-Civil War Texas, Fort Richardson is less than two hours away from Dallas and is the perfect day trip for you.

Fort Richardson was built in 1867 at the frontier of the territories occupied by the U.S. Army and played a key role in the defeat of the Comanche and Kiowa. After the Texas panhandle area was secured by the army, the fort was eventually abandoned in 1878.

Almost 100 years later, the disused fort was partially restored and reopened as the Fort Richardson State Historic Park in 1973.

Today a few of the over 50 original fort buildings have been restored - you can visit the hospital, morgue, officer's quarters, guard house, bakery, powder magazine and a commissary.

Tours run twice a day at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays and you are free to walk around yourself at weekends. Entry to the park is just $3 per person so this is a budget friendly option!

To add to the experience, two replica barrack buildings were constructed as well.

Make sure you explore the State Park that surrounds the fort and the Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway - the trails here are great and usually very quiet.

18. Drive around the scenic Lake Murray State Park, Oklahoma

1 hour 45 minutes from Dallas (104 miles)

Trees lining the shoreline of Lake Murray in Lake Murray State Park, Texas

Getting to Lake Murray from Dallas is pretty straight-forward - hop onto the I-35 and keep on going for about 100 miles - the lake will be on your right!

Located in southern Oklahoma, Lake Murray State Park is the perfect place to unwind and get away from it all for a day.

Every kind of outdoor activity you might want to do, you can do here - from driving ATVs to fishing to hiking to horseback riding. The lake has a number of great swimming spots and there is a golf course. For the less serious players, there's even mini golf by the Lake Murray Resort.

Given there are few things I like more than a great drive, this lake has one great feature that not many others do - Highway 77S loops all the way around the lake and driving the 25 miles around is a great way to see different parts of the park.

There are small roads that dart off the route towards the lake so you'll have plenty of opportunities of getting closer to the water when you want to stop.

19. Ride the Texas State Railroad in Palestine, Texas

1 hour 50 minutes from Dallas (119 miles)

The steam engine of a train that is part of the Texas State Railroad in Palestine, Texas

The 25-mile train track between Palestine and Rusk (both in Texas) sits on the site where a 19th century freight train railroad operated until 1921.

The Palestine depot is just past the town of Palestine along U.S. Highway 84, about 2 hours southeast of Dallas.

Everything about the State Railroad screams history - the depot building has storyboards and information about the history of the railroad and make sure you get out at the other end to see the Rusk depot. Both have small shops where you can get interesting period clothes or a souvenir.

The train ride itself takes 4 hours for a round trip through Piney Woods and you can choose anything from an open air wooden bench carriage through to the Presidential Car - obviously for a different price!

If you really want to get the ultimate experience, $250 buys you the Engine Ride Along where you can go in the steam engine cab. You'll need to book in advance and pass background checks and as there's only one space, it might not be the most sociable way to spend the day with your family or friends!

The trains usually depart at 11 a.m. but there are a lot of special events, additional times and some evening train rides if you want to spend the night or get back to Dallas very late! Check the full schedule at the official Texas State Railroad website .

20. See the waterfall at Turner Falls Park, Oklahoma

2 hours 5 minutes from Dallas (128 miles)

Turner Falls in Oklahoma on a bright summer's day.

Turner Falls in Oklahoma is 77 feet tall and shares the title of the tallest in Oklahoma with a waterfall in the Natural Falls State Park. It'll take you over 2 hours to get here from Dallas - the I-35 runs all the way.

The park has been a popular weekend getaway destination for some time and as a result, I wouldn't recommend staying the night. There have been repeated reports of trash being left uncollected, loud music and a disorganized campsite.

However, if you're just coming for the day - the falls are a great sight and you can climb up to the overlook to get a better view down as well.

You can swim and walk through the creek area but beware that you'll definitely need water shoes and life jackets are compulsory for children.

Take a lot of care in and around the park - the water can be very cold and deep and swimming here can be dangerous if you're not careful. Some of the hiking trails have sharp rocks and steep drops as well - don't rush things on your way around.

Coming in the middle of the week and getting here early is one way of avoiding the crowds and getting a decent parking spot - it can get pretty busy later on and at weekends so set off nice and early from Dallas.

21. Go on a safari at the Arbuckle Wilderness Park

2 hours 5 minutes from Dallas (130 miles)

Deer walking close to the car at the Arbuckle Wilderness State Park in Oklahoma

If you want to see deer, bison, donkeys, llamas, giraffes and even a rhino right up close and without having to get out of the car, head to the Arbuckle Wilderness Park in Oklahoma.

This is a safari park type of location - you drive along the roads through the park and the different areas are home to different animals that the park contains.

There are hundreds of animals spread throughout the park but to get around, you'll have to drive along gravel and unpaved roads. It can be pretty bumpy - I wouldn't recommend you bring your sports car to look at the exotic animals. An SUV will work a lot better with navigating potholes.

Remember to stay in the car at all times and be careful not to get too close to the animals or annoy them. A donkey kick can make for an expensive panel replacement if you provoke the animal.

If you're making the 2-hour drive up, note that Turner Falls (right above at #20) is a 3-mile drive down the road, so you may well want to combine the two into one big day trip from Dallas!

22. Spend a day in the water at Possum Kingdom State Park

2 hours 15 minutes from Dallas (134 miles)

View of the lake from rocks above at the Possum Kingdom State Park.

The time to come to Possum Kingdom State Park is when the weather gets hot from late spring onwards - the park sits along the edge of Possum Kingdom Lake and the best way to spend the day is get out on the water.

Fishing for bass, swimming, boating, canoeing, snorkeling and even scuba diving are available so take your pick!

Although the State Park only covers a small part of it, Lake Possum Kingdom has over 300 miles of coastline and the jagged shape means there are lots of rocky coves and scenic spots to stop and relax.

In the afternoon you can have a go on water skis or go tubing - the fresh clean water in the lake make it an absolute blast!

There isn't quite as much to do on dry land - there is a grand total of 2 trails with one being half a mile and a 1.4 mile Lakeview Trail that has a shortcut for those who don't want to walk the whole way round (which is officially the third trail).

That doesn't matter though, because you can still enjoy the scenery walking along the lakefront roads and there is so much to do on the lake for the whole day.

23. Dive into Texan culture in Marshall

2 hours 15 minutes from Dallas (151 miles)

Harrison County Courthouse and a town square in Marshall, Texas

Marshall is a 150 mile trek east from Dallas and is the place to come if you're looking for small town charm.

The locals have self proclaimed Marshall to be the Cultural Capital of East Texas and there are a few cultural sights to explore. The Harrison County Historical Museum is inside the huge County Courthouse building in the middle of town.

A major transport hub in the 19th century, Marshall is also home to the Texas and Pacific Railway Museum and you can visit the Michelson Museum of Art and the Starr Family Home State Historic Site.

But ticking off the museums is not the only reason to come to Marshall. The Wonderland of Lights is a Christmas-themed lights festival that starts in late November and runs through December. It's one of the biggest light festivals in the United States and well worth coming for during the festive season.

Along with the lights, the town gets decorations all over, Christmas horse-drawn carriages and an ice rink!

24. Slow down time in Jefferson

2 hours 30 minutes from Dallas (167 miles)

The blue 1951 Chevy pickup parked outside the Jefferson General Store in Jefferson, Texas

Jefferson is a historic city where life is a little slower and relaxed than in the Big D. The best way to explore the city is to take a stroll through the historic downtown area or go on a short boat ride along the Big Cypress Bayou that runs through.

There are a few interesting museums to pop into - the Jefferson Historical Museum tells the town's story, Gone With The Wind Museum is dedicated to the famous book and the stories it tells and you should go to the Museum of Measurement and Time for a quirky exhibition of clock mechanisms and other things that measure anything and everything.

The Historic Jefferson Railway is fun if you have kids - you get to go on a short railway ride with a stop at the Diamond Don's Gator Pit where you can see alligators being fed.

Jefferson is famously called the Bed and Breakfast Capital of the U.S. If you want to spend more than a day and combine it with a trip to Caddo Lake and maybe a stop in Marshall (which is a very good itinerary for a weekend!), then you are spoiled for choice with local lodging options.

Some of the boutique hotels have very creative and unique rooms - amazing for a 1 or 2 night break.

25. Discover beautiful swamps and bayous at Caddo Lake

2 hours 35 minutes from Dallas (168 miles)

Bald cypress trees growing out of Caddo Lake on the Texas-Louisiana border.

Louisiana bayous and swamps may feel like a different world when you are in the middle of Texas, but you can go and see a real Southern marsh at Caddo Lake on a day trip from Dallas!

Caddo Lake sits on the border between Texas and Louisiana, a few miles further than Marshall (#23 above). Take the I-20 all the way to Marshall and the Caddo Lake State Park is just a little further towards the State line.

For $4 per adult entry fee, you get the opportunity to see the natural beauty of the swamp with tall bald cypress trees growing straight out of the water and the fluid mix of land and water everywhere you look.

The appropriately named Big Cypress Bayou flows right past the State Park and into the lake and you can hire anything from a small kayak to a boat to go around the lake.

There are steamboat tours that can add to the experience - these stop at little lakeside towns and can make for a relaxed afternoon on the water.

Both, Marshall and Jefferson (#24 above) are very close to Caddo Lake and you could combine your visit with a stop in one of the historic towns for brunch or dinner before heading back to Dallas.

26. Go to the Texas capital - Austin

2 hours 45 minutes from Dallas (195 miles)

Skyline of downtown Austin, Texas from across the Colorado River on a sunny day.

Austin is a long drive down the I-35 from Dallas - the drive will take about 3 hours if you stop once along the way and it's a pretty long way to come for a day trip, although I've done this exact drive myself before and it wasn't all that bad.

Some other recommendations for day trips from Dallas recommend going to the Texas Hill Country, see the cowboy towns of Bandera and Fredericksburg and go to some of the local wineries or even tell you to go to San Antonio.

While all of these are great places to go to and I heartily recommend them as a road trip destination, they are just too far to go to and come back from in one day, so Austin is as far south as this list goes. Check the link in the intro for longer road trip routes from Dallas.

Austin is the capital of Texas and is a very different city to the other major hubs in the State. Austin has a large student population and with that comes a rich and vibrant night life and music scene and great food options.

Austin is a very liberal city within a highly conservative State - to get a sense for its culture you can start by visiting the very impressive State Capitol building and then stop by one of the many great museums. The Bullock Texas State History Museum is a very good option and is only 3 blocks from the Capitol building.

Zilker Park on the south bank of the Colorado River is a perfect place to chill in the afternoon in a natural pool filled with perfectly clear (and cold!) spring water.

27. Davy Crockett National Forest

2 hours 45 minutes from Dallas (180 miles)

Ratcliff Lake in the fall in the Davy Crockett National Forest, Texas

Davy Crockett National Forest is part of the Piney Woods part of Texas which is quite different to the rest of the State. There's no hills, deserts or dusty plains and instead you get lush pine forests, ponds and lakes.

If relaxing in the wild forest and hiking along trails through it for a day sounds like a good idea, then you can get down to the National Forest in under 3 hours if you beat the rush hour traffic in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.

The Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area is the best place to come if you're just here for the day - there's plenty of things to do, good parking and easy trails through the woods with benches and places to stop along the way.

Being over 2 hours from all the major cities, Davy Crockett National Forest is quieter than other parks in and around Dallas and so you can switch off the phone and lie on the grass underneath a tall pine tree without crowds of visitors next to you.

28. Angelina National Forest

2 hours 50 minutes from Dallas (169 miles)

Boykin Springs are one of the sights in Angelina National Forest

The Angelina National Forest stretches along the length of the Angelina River, Sam Rayburn Reservoir and Neches River in east Texas and is a large protected area where you can do almost every outdoor activity you want.

As with much of this part of Texas, most of the forests are pine and although the forest starts further north, you may want to drive down to the area around Sam Rayburn Reservoir as this is where a lot of the things to do can be found and the nature is richer.

Boykin Springs are another 40 minutes further south between the southern end of the reservoir and Neches River and great hikes along the natural springs that cascade down the rocks.

The Sawmill Hiking Trail is the most popular in the forest - it's over 5 miles long but is relatively easy and has great views of springs and the National Forest along the way.

It's definitely a long drive to get here, but the driving through the forest is part of the experience which makes it worthwhile despite the distance.

29. Beavers Bend State Park, Oklahoma

3 hours from Dallas (180 miles)

A lake in the Beavers Bend State Park, Oklahoma in the fall.

Beavers Bend is a state park in the southeastern corner of Oklahoma near the border with Arkansas and centered around the Broken Bow Lake.

I mentioned that Davy Crockett National Forest and Angelina National Forests are far from major cities and Beavers Bend takes it one step further with a solid 3 hour drive from Dallas, 3 and a half hours from Tulsa and 4 hours from Oklahoma City.

Given the distances, not too many city dwellers make it out to Beavers Bend for a day trip so the park remains relatively quiet even during weekends with perfect weather so if you want to go hiking away from it all and enjoy some beautiful scenery, the 3-hour drive up to Oklahoma is definitely worth it.

There are some beautiful driving roads through the park and if you like a great driving road, take a few random turns and see where you get to!

All the usual water-based activities are here on the Broken Bow Lake from fishing (remember you need an Oklahoma license!) to water skiing.

30. A day trip to Oklahoma City

3 hours from Dallas (206 miles)

A canal in the Bricktown neighborhood in Oklahoma City in the evening.

Oklahoma City is the capital of the State of Oklahoma and its largest city. You can get here from Dallas in about 3 hours - the I-35 runs from one downtown to the other so there's not many turns you'll have to remember to take!

The city has traditionally had associations with cowboys and oil rigs, but today Oklahoma City is developing a funky vibe that goes much further than that.

The Bricktown neighborhood is right at the heart of Oklahoma City and is a vibrant mixture of converted brick wharehouse buildings, beautiful canals and the Bricktown River Walk Park.

Bricktown has seen a large number of restaurants and bars spring up in recent years and this is where you should grab lunch and an early dinner before heading back - otherwise you'll be eating very late back in Dallas.

Make sure you stop at the Oklahoma City National Memorial which pays tribute to those who perished and those whose lives were affected in the 1995 bombing.

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Home » North America » USA » 10 Fun-Filled Day Trips to Take from Dallas | 2024

10 Fun-Filled Day Trips to Take from Dallas | 2024

They say that everything’s bigger in Texas, and Dallas does not disappoint. This glittering city is far from dusty cowboys and 80s oil tycoons in Stetsons. Dallas is a modern city, with sophistication and style pulsing through its streets.

Within a short drive you can find quaint towns, sprawling nature, and all the warm hospitality you can handle. Set off under your own steam to explore, or book a guided tour for all the insider insights and convenience they offer.

Here are some great day trips from Dallas that promise a memorable and fun day away from the heart of town. Check them out!

day hiking trips from dallas

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Getting Around Dallas and Beyond

Half-day trips from dallas, full-day trips from dallas, final thoughts.

The thriving city of Dallas is easy to get around and explore. The city has a network of highways that resembles a carelessly discarded tangle of spaghetti when seen from above. For getting around quickly, you will find using the robust public transport system more straightforward and less daunting.

  • Light rail is a great way to get around, both in the city and outlying areas. A regional day pass will set you back around $12. The Green Line and Orange Line are ideal for day-trippers heading out of the city.
  • Similarly, there’s an extensive bus system to make getting around the city and beyond a cinch. At first glance, it can seem a bit overwhelming to navigate the scale of things, but Google Transit can help you find the best route.
  • Car rental is an option for extensive day tripping, but be warned. Like most cities, the traffic can be formidable. Navigating the many overpasses and freeways can be stressful for first-timers.
  • Taxis and rideshares like Uber are a stress-free way of getting around. Sure, you can’t escape city traffic, but you’re free to look out the window and enjoy the view. For longer distances, consider other options as prices can rack up quickly.

Visitors to Dallas with a free morning or afternoon can try and fit in an easy, breezy half-day tour from Dallas. You can visit something a little different from the buzzing city, but just a short drive away!

Half day Trip to Fort Worth, Dallas

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Widely (and mistakenly) considered Dallas’ twin city, Fort Worth is far more relaxed and slow-paced than the high-energy Dallas. Just 40 minutes from Dallas, Fort Worth is a treasure trove of historical and cultural experiences.

The city invites you to enjoy strong cowboy culture against a modern background. This is one day trip from Dallas that you won’t want to miss!

On Fridays and Saturdays, visit the Fort Worth Stockyards for some year-round rodeo action. Another top attraction is the Texas Cowboys Hall of Fame. Check out twice-daily cattle drives and the world’s biggest Honky Tonk.

All cowboy-ed out? Visit the Modern Art Museum and various museums or visit the beautiful Fort Worth Water Gardens. Evenings can be spent exploring the city’s jazz roots at one of the clubs and cocktail bars in town. Consider staying in Fort Worth for even more fun!

Suggested trips: Fort Worth 4-Hour Tour and Billy Bob’s Honky Tonk Dinner

Half day Trip to Denton, Dallas

Denton oozes small-town charm, but is filled with attractions. This is one of the shortest day trips from Dallas, only one hour outside of the city.

Explore Denton’s history and culture at the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum, and catch a show at the Campus Theatre. The city has two universities, so there’s a thriving live music scene and an upcoming craft beer scene to try.

Music fans, in particular, should consider visiting during the 35 Denton Music Festival and Denton Arts and Jazz Festival. Anytime you visit, you can expect great food and drink at various local restaurants and eateries.

Head out to the Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center for a day in nature. Go hiking along the more than 10km of trails , or enjoy a day of fishing and boating at Ray Roberts Lake State Park, one of Denton’s most popular outdoor spots.

Half day Trip to Terrell, Dallas

The historic railroad town of Terrell is a quick 40-minute drive from Dallas, and a great place to visit if you have a few hours free. There’s plenty of history to explore, enough to warrant a full-day trip from Dallas if you have the time.

The downtown area is charming, with plenty of classic building facades and hand-painted murals. You’ll also find many well-preserved Victorian and Revival era homes.

History buffs will definitely want to check out the Terrell Heritage Museum and the No. 1 British Flying Training School. The latter was the first, and largest, flight training school in the US during WWII.

Of course, any place with a lot of history also accumulates its share of spooky stories and ghost tales. Thrillvania Haunted House Park features three haunted houses on 50 spooky acres. This popular attraction operates seasonally in October.

Pop in at Scuba Ranch on Clear Springs Lake for something a little different, and certainly unique. This spring-fed freshwater lake offers some incredible underwater attractions and wildlife. It is the home of Sisco the Shark, the “largest freshwater shark in North America.”

Day Trips in Dallas Greenville

Greenville used to be known as the ‘cotton capital of the world’, and still maintains its small-town charm and pastoral vibe.

A guided tour through the town will unravel the area’s history as you pass the many historical markers and sites. The Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum offers some interesting exhibits from the turn of the century. It brings to life the sordid history of the area.

Downtown you’ll find a range of unique shops, loads of great food, and the award-winning Landon Winery. You can even enjoy a quiet moment in the Heritage Garden of Hunt County. The vacant lot has been lovingly tended into a beautiful green space by volunteers.

On Saturday mornings, stop by the Greenville Farmers market for all the fresh produce and locally made items you can imagine. Come hungry, and expect to enjoy plenty of friendly banter with locals and stall owners.

Within two and a half hours of the city, you can enjoy some pretty memorable Dallas day trips. Escape the pace of the city for smaller towns and beautiful natural settings for a day, or longer if you choose. You definitely aren’t wasting your awesome place to stay in Dallas by heading out for the day!

Day Trip to Waco, Dallas

One of the most popular day trips from Dallas lies just an hour and a half from the city. Waco is a smallish town in central Texas, and home to some pretty cool things to see and do.

The one we’re most excited about it is the Waco Mammoth National Monument. Not only can you see the actual bones of a nursery herd of mammoths who perished here around 65,000 years ago, but you can sign up for a Dig Shelter Tour.

Another must-see attraction is the Magnolia Market at the Silos. The market is owned by the reality tv couple Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper, and is a great place to shop for home décor bits and pieces.

The Dr. Pepper Museum is one of the quirkier attractions in Waco . It’s where the popular soft drink was bottled between 1906 and the 1960s. Check out the various exhibits, which include an old-school functioning soda fountain! Don’t forget to stock up on Dr. Pepper merch at the gift shop.

Suggested trip: Waco Texas and Magnolia Market at the Silos

Day Trip to Tyler, Dallas

Tyler’s most prominent claim to fame is its flowers – it is the rose capital of America after all. The Tyler Rose Garden is over 14 acres in size and home to more than 38,000 rose bushes. A visit in October will be when you will get to see all the flowers in bloom. But it’s not all roses, the springtime will yield a dazzling display of azaleas, tulips, wisteria, dogwoods, and more!

History buffs have plenty to see with the American Freedom Museum, the Goodman Museum, and the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum.

You can enjoy the outdoors at Tyler State Park. Go fishing, swimming, and boating on the spring-fed lake. Don’t miss out on the scenic trails with a hike or bike, or simply grab a shady spot and enjoy a peaceful picnic.

For an extended outdoor stay, try some glamping at the Happy Pine Cone .

Day Trip to Jefferson, Dallas

This pre-civil war town has quaint streets and historic landmarks, located just two and a half hours from Dallas.

You can tour Jefferson’s historic homes, which are now mainly operating as B&Bs. A walk through the town will unravel past stories, as will a visit to the Jefferson Historic Museum.

Enjoy fresh air and scenery along The Port Jefferson History and Nature Center Trails. The easy trail is popular with visitors and locals, offering lovely views along the way.

Extend your stay in this charming town with a night or two at The Steamboat Inn . You can wander the antique shops and boutiques, as well as explore the Big Cypress Bayou riverboat.

Do it for the ‘gram and stop by the Mittie Stephens Mural and the Golden Era Mural for an epic social-media-worthy shot.

Day Trip to Grapevine, Dallas

Midway between Dallas and Fort Worth, Grapevine is a beautiful, historic town. The charming town is just a 20-minute drive from Dallas, an ideal day trip for those short on time.

It should come as no surprise that a town named Grapevine would produce wine. There are a variety of local wineries to visit along the well-known Urban Wine Trail. Visit in September to check out the annual GrapeFest – the most extensive wine festival in the Southwest.

From the well-preserved Historic Main Street and its many eateries and shops, to experiencing 19th-century farm life and the historic Nash Farm, there’s something for everyone in Grapevine.

Lake Grapevine is perfect for a day outdoors. Relax on the shoreline, head off on one of the many wilderness trails, or enjoy skiing, swimming, and sailing on the lake.

In addition to various museums, relive the past of the Grapevine Vintage Railroad with a ride on an authentic 1920s Victorian coach.

Suggested trips: Food, Wine & History Tour

Turner Falls Park, Oklahoma

Day Trip to Turner Falls Park Oklahoma, Dallas

You can cross the state lines into Oklahoma to explore Turner Falls Park. A two-hour drive will have you leaving bustling Dallas behind, and heading into the most enchanting wilderness setting.

The park covers 1500 acres of natural beauty, including Oklahoma’s tallest waterfall, hiking trails galore, a spring-fed creek, and many mysterious caves. A beautiful surprise is the remains of a walk-in castle constructed in 1930. Now overgrown, it makes for interesting exploring.

Tucked below the famous Arbuckle Mountains, three natural caves have become valuable classrooms for naturalists. Make sure to keep an eye out for local wildlife species, including whitetail deer and wild turkey, to name a few.

Why not stay overnight in the park? There is camping, RV camps, and quaint rustic cabins if you’d like to extend your Dallas day trip.

Day Trip to Granbury, Dallas

A visit to Granbury is an easy day trip from Dallas. It’s just an hour and a half to get there, and well worth it.

The historic town is a trip back in time with the Hood Country Jail Museum and the Hood County Courthouse. Go even further back with the nearby Dinosaur Valley State Park to see fossilized dinosaur footprints.

Granbury is home to the famous Doll House Museum, which features 6000 dolls from around the world. Let’s not forget the thriving local wine scene and breweries. Enjoy delectable food at one of the many restaurants on the Historic Granbury Square, or set off on a fun Segway tour.

Lake Granbury offers a great day out on the lake, including fishing, boating, jet skiing, or paddleboarding.

Suggested trip: Granbury Wine Tour

day hiking trips from dallas

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The modern city of Dallas is a popular tourist destination for visitors to Texas. It’s a sight to behold with its glass-fronted skyscrapers and tangle of highways. It isn’t the cowboy country many tourists imagine when they think of Dallas.

If you’re visiting this metropolis and want to see a bit of cowboy country and exquisite natural settings, a quick day trip from Dallas can offer you just that. There are a variety of experiences, including oodles of history, food, culture, and outdoor adventures.

What better way to explore and make memories than on a mountain bike tour through Fort Worth? Or perhaps on a Segway as you cruise the streets of Greenville?

day hiking trips from dallas

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Texas Travel 365

cedar hills one of the best day trips from dallas

14 Best Day Trips From Dallas Worth The Effort

August 29, 2021 //  by  Texas Travel 365 //   Leave a Comment

If you are looking for ideas for day trips from Dallas, then you’ll want to check out this list. Dallas is in North Texas and conveniently located to plenty of cool things to do. Whether you are looking to escape the city and explore nature or simply enjoy another city, there is something for you on this list.

We’ve broken up the trips into three categories. There are day trips near Dallas that are less than an hour away, between an hour and two hours away, and then over two hours away. With a few options under each category, you’re sure to find a Dallas day trip to perfectly fit your needs.

Texas is a very large state with tons of culture and a pretty unique history. All near Dallas you’ll find small towns, large cities, and state parks that are full of interesting attractions. You don’t have to travel far to experience completely different cultural experiences and traditions. That’s what makes Dallas one of the best ‘home bases’ for your day trip adventures. So, let’s take a look at 14 best day trips from Dallas that are absolutely worth the effort.

The Dallas skyline at twilight from the view of the river. The skyline is all lit up and the sky is mostly pink and purple with some blue. The sky and the skyline is reflected in the river.

Dallas Day Trips Between 0-1 Hours

Oak cliff nature preserve.

The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve is actually located right in the middle of Dallas. So this is one of the best day trips from Dallas if you don’t actually want to travel too far.

You won’t have far to travel at all. The nature preserve is 121 acres of beautiful and lush green space. This is one of the best things to put on your Weekend In Dallas Itinerary!

It’s hard to believe that it is right in the middle of Dallas’ urban area. At the preserve, there are plenty of hiking trails. They total over 8 miles, so you’ll have plenty of space to explore. Like most parks it is open from dawn until dusk, so you can easily spend all day there.

The hours also allow you to explore the park outside of the Texas heat if you’d like. While you’ll hike you can bird watch as well as admire the local plants and other wildlife. It is a getaway from Dallas when you want a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

A woman with long hair riding a bike on a pathed trail. The trail is surrounded by green trees and grass. In the distance there is a bridge and you can see a field with trees in it. It is one of the best day trips from Dallas.

Plano is just 25 miles North of Dallas and is one of the best places to visit close to Dallas. It is especially awesome for history lovers. There are plenty of things to do there if you have an interest in learning about Texas history.

One of the most visited spots in Plano is The Heritage Farmstead Museum. At the museum, you’ll be able to walk through what is essentially a living history museum. A living history museum is one where a large area has been restored and there are often people in period clothes walking around and explaining different parts of the area.

At the Heritage Farmstead Museum, there is a restored 19th-century farm. You can see original tools and farm equipment as well as a recently restored schoolroom. Plano also has a Railroad History Museum, and the Southfork Ranch. The Southfork Ranch is a fun part of Texas history as it is where many scenes from the hit series ‘Dallas’ were filmed. For a little bit of history and a lot of fun, consider Plano for your next Dallas day trip.

A sailboat sculpture that is just the sails. The sails are white and there are red metal bars connecting the sails. The sculpture is on a grassy lawn and has a sidewalk leading up to it. There some trees nearby.

Cedar Hill State Park

About 24 miles south of Dallas is the Cedar Hill, State Park. There is an entry fee of $7 for adults to enter the park. It is a daily fee and kids under 12 get in the park for free. Cedar Hill Park is a perfect day trip from Dallas if you want some outdoor adventure.

The park is over 1,800 acres of beautiful Texas landscape. You’ll find plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore. Cedar Hill is also located on the shores of Joe Pool Lake, which is a 7,500 lake in Texas. On the lake, you can enjoy swimming, boating, and there is even a trail around the lake.

It is also a great place for a picnic with you and your family. Another popular activity at the park is geocaching. You can find several fun little treasures and leave your own while geocaching in Cedar Hill. The park also is home to the Penn Farm Agricultural Center where you can learn more about Texas farming practices.

A narrow dirt trail surrounded by tall grasses and skinny trees. The trees kind of curve around and are covered in yellow and green leaves. It is one of the best day trips from Dallas.

Just 35 minutes West of Dallas is its ‘sister city, Fort Worth. The city began to thrive in the late 19th century. That is when it became a trading post for cowboys on the Chisholm Trail. Fort Worth was a very important trading post that was on the end of the trail at the time. Since then, it has only grown and continues to be an important Texas city.

What makes it such a fun day trip from Dallas is that it is full of things to do. It’s so close to Dallas but so different in terms of things to do and just the atmosphere in general. One of the things visitors to the city enjoy most is the Cowboy heritage in the city.

At the Fort Worth Stockyards, you can see traditionally rodeos which is something very unique to the American South and South West. The Stockyards are also home to the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame and Museum, which celebrates the women who were just as integral to the expansion of the West.

If that isn’t your speed, Forth Worth is also a vibrant city where you can explore the Kimbell Art Museum. There are also boutique shops, a varying selection of restaurants, and more. It’s one of the best places to visit close to Dallas.

An aerial view of Forth Worth, a city just outside of Dallas. There is a river running through the city, a bridge with arches on it, and a typical city skyline. Near the river there are a lot of grassy areas and trees. It is a sunny day.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

The Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is located in Plano. The 200-acre park is a great place to escape and get to enjoy the beautiful Northern Texas landscape. The park is open most days from 5 am to 11 pm, but the hours can change depending on if maintenance is needed in the park. So before you plan your trip, make sure the park is open.

There are of course extensive hiking and biking trails where you can explore the natural wildlife of Texas. If you want to bring a picnic, there are several pavilions you can either rent or use if they are vacant. One of the best parts of the park is the observation tower. When you climb up the observation tower you’ll get to experience stunning views of the city of Plano. It is one of the best day trips from Dallas if you want to enjoy the area’s natural landscape.

A paved trail surrounded by trees. The trees have curving branches and very few leaves on them. You can see some pink flowers on a few of the trees. There is some tall green grass and green shrubs.

Day Trips Between 1-2 Hours From Dallas

At just under an hour and a half outside of Dallas, Waco is a city on the rise thanks in part to the popular HGTV show ‘Fixer Upper’. Chip and Joanna Gaines have helped make a name for Waco and while there you can check out the space they call ‘The Silos’. But there are plenty of other things to do in Waco that make it one of the best day trips near Dallas.

The Waco Mammoth National Site is home to some of the biggest Mammoth fossils that have been found in the US. Or you can walk across the oldest bridge in Texas that is still standing, the Waco Suspension Bridge, or take a walk in beautiful Cameron Park.

The city also has several museums including the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum and the Mayborn Museum Complex. There are tons of fun and unique things to do in Waco and that’s what makes it such a fun getaway from Dallas.

A view of the river and bridge in Waco. The bridge has a white tower like entrance and there are ducks on the river. There is a grassy area with some trees near the bridge. It is a sunny day with big fluffy clouds. One of the best day trips from Dallas.

Longview is 2 hours away from Dallas, but you need to take I-20 to get there. Because I-20 is a major highway, there is occasional traffic, so keep that in mind when planning your Dallas day trip. In Longview, you’ll find plenty of unique activities to enjoy.

If you’re traveling with the family, consider heading to Thomas Falls Outdoor Adventure and Event Center. There are lots of fun things to do like zip-lining, a waterfall slide, and fun adventure challenges in the water or in the mud. It’s an activity your family is sure to remember. The town itself also has some wonderful restaurants, a winery where you can sample wine, and a growing art scene.

In the Summer, there is also a Hot Air Balloon Festival that takes place right outside of Longview. You can participate and take a ride in a hot air balloon. If you don’t want to do that, you can also just admire the hundreds of colorful hot air balloons as they rise and float in the Texas sky. It is a really cool thing to see and experience, even if you aren’t in one of the floating balloons.

Looking up at two hot air balloons in the sky. The sky is very blue with some scattered clouds. The balloons are chevron patterned in yellow, orange, and red.

At just over an hour and a half outside of Dallas, Tyler is a fun day trip from Dallas. Tyler is known as the center for rose cultivation in the country and during blooming season, you can easily see why. The Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is bursting with color when the roses start to bloom. Peak blooming season is typically October, so plan your Dallas day trip then if you want to see them in full bloom.

If you aren’t able to visit Tyler during the peak season, you can still learn about its rose history. At the Tyler Rose Museum, you’ll learn about the city’s annual Texas Rose Festival. The Texas Rose Festival takes place in Tyler on the third weekend of October every year. It is three days of nothing but beautiful rose blooms and festival activities. It’s one of the best times to plan a getaway from Dallas to Tyler.

One of the rose gardens in Tyler Texas. There are rose bushes neatly in groups around a stone walkway. There is also a stone arch way that leads to more garden area and a fountain. The roses are barely blooming in pink and red. There are trees around the park.

Dr. Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute

The Dr. Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute is about an hour and a half south of Dallas in Waco. The museum is one of the most fun day trips from Dallas for many reasons. While you’re there you’ll get an opportunity to sample sodas that are either in testing or are a part of the weird and wonderful family of wacky sodas. You can also make your own unique soda in a bottle that is bottled and signed with your name on it.

You’ll also be able to tour the museum where you can learn about the history of Dr. Pepper. The museum itself is in the original 1906 Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company building. It is where Dr. Pepper was first created and bottled. There is also the Free Enterprise Institute Museum that teaches school children how to develop, produce, and then market their own ideas. Both are very unique ways to explore and learn about the history of the soda industry.

The exterior of a 20th century building. It is a creamy color and has arched windows all along the top. There is an arched doorway and behind it you can see a building that says 'Dr. Pepper'. It is one of the best day trips from Dallas.

Day Trips From Dallas Over 2+ Hours

Dripping springs.

Dripping Springs is a little over 3 hours south of Dallas. It is a really popular stop on Texas road trips because of the Dripping Springs Falls. The Dripping Springs is located in the Texas Hill Country and is known for its beautiful natural wonders, like the falls. The town of Drippings Springs is near the state capital, Austin, and is a very charming small town in Texas to explore.

There are famous Vodka Distilleries, wonderful restaurants, and a thriving downtown area. If you want to see the Dripping Springs Falls, then you’ll want to go to the Hamilton Pool Preserve. The Hamilton Pool Preserve is a really cool spot to go swimming and get a break from the Texas heat. With so much to do and see, Dripping Springs is a fun day trip from Dallas.

A dripping waterfall over a rocky cliff. It is falling into a greenish pool of water and there is a large rock overhang around the pool. There are some dead trees near the pool.

Austin is the Texas state capital, so it naturally has plenty to do. It is three and a half hours south of Dallas, so but it’s worth the longer drive. You’ll quickly find that you wish you had a few days to spend in Austin , but you can easily see a lot of the city in just one day.

While there, there are a few things you’ll definitely want to try to see. You can take a tour of the State Capitol and learn more about Texas and Austin’s history. There is also the Mexic-Arte Museum which has a large collection of Latin art that you can explore. If you want to learn more about Texas, head to the Bullock Texas State Museum.

Austin is also becoming known for its thriving art scene and downtown district. You’ll definitely want to take a stroll down Sixth Street. There are a ton of entertainment venues, restaurants, and art galleries all in one fun area. Depending on what portion of the street you are in, you’ll get to experience a totally different Austin ‘vibe’. It is truly a fun place to visit close to Dallas.

An aerial view of the Austin skyline. There are bridges going over a large river and you can see cars on them. There are lots of tall buildings, green space and trees near the river, and the sky is very blue.

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area

The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is 4 miles southwest of Dallas. The State Natural Area is easily one of the best-hidden gems of Texas . The park is full of large and small and totally unique rock formations. One of the best parts of the park is the massive and ancient pink dome.

At the park, you can hike, bike, and even camp if you want to make it an overnight trip. If you do, you’ll most likely have an amazing opportunity for stargazing if it is a clear night. The unique rock formations are the source of a lot of local legends as well, so make sure you learn about those while you’re there. The Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is also a photographer’s dream, so make sure you pack extra batteries or a charger for your camera or phone.

An image of two large uniquely shaped rocks with the Milky Way in the sky behind them. The rocks are somewhat in shadow.

Jefferson is a quaint small town in Texas that is about two and a half hours outside of Dallas. The town of Jefferson was built before the Civil War and still has a lot of the original architecture in the city. It is also important to remember that a lot of these pre-Civil War homes would have been built by enslaved people. They are beautiful to look at, but please keep that in mind when visiting the town. ‘Old-world’ charm looks beautiful and lovely, but it often comes with a dark and not lovely past.

You can take a walking history tour and see historic buildings, churches, and homes. Many of them were built in the years before and after the Civil War. So you’ll get a unique insight into how the area changed during that time. Many of the historic homes you can also tour inside and see what they would have looked like when they were originally built and lived in. The town has over 100 historic landmarks, and many of them are also on the National Registry of Historic Places.

The town itself also has a lot to offer besides historic buildings. There are unique shops, restaurants, and some scenic streets that are postcard-worthy. If you are looking for a small town to explore, Jefferson is a perfect option for your next getaway from Dallas.

A large brick building in the town of Jefferson. It is very tall in the middle with two wings coming off the side of it. There are lots of windows on the building. There are trees and a small lawn in front of the building.

Houston is another one of Texas’ major cities and is just over 3 hours outside of Dallas. If you love museums, you’ll love Houston. There is a Museum District where you’ll find some of the most interesting museums in the state, and maybe even the country. Houston also has a large historic district with 19th-century homes and buildings as well as a thriving theater district.

For day trips from Dallas that focus on history and culture, Houston is a perfect spot. You can learn all about the area and its local history. Stop at any of the museums, the Houston Grand Opera, or take a guided audio tour of the city’s Downtown District. Houston is also home to the Space Center Houston, one of the most interesting museums in Texas.

The Space Center Houston is a museum dedicated to the extensive history of space travel. There you’ll learn all about the United State’s space program, NASA. You can touch a real moon rock, step inside a replica space shuttle, and learn about the future of the space program. It is also where real-life astronauts train for future missions in space. Some days if you go to the Astronaut Training Facilities on the grounds you can even see real astronauts doing various training activities. Houston is without a doubt one of the best day trips from Dallas.

The skyline of Houston Texas. There are lots of skyscrapers. You can also see a large park with trees all around it and a large green space in the middle. It is a sunny day with a few clouds in the sky. One of the best day trips from Dallas.

As you can see, Dallas is perfectly situated for some really awesome day trips and even weekend getaways. If you need a break from the city or simply want to explore a different kind of city, there are definitely fun day trips from Dallas you can find. Each place or activity has a unique history that makes it absolutely worth the drive, whether it’s a 20-minute drive or a 4-hour drive.

view from one of the best trails for hiking in Texas

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Relocating to DFW

11 drivable day trips from dallas.

Summer is in full swing and we’ve rounded up some fun day trips just outside Dallas! No road trip is complete without starting and ending with a clean car so make sure to go to Carnation Auto Spa to get your car road trip ready!

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Ham orchards.

Ham Orchards

This peach paradise has been open since 1979 and features five orchards with over 10,000 peach trees, two blackberry patches, and an adorable Market Store. Stop by to grab some juicy peaches to take home, and don't forget to try their famous peach-flavored ice cream and peach pulled pork BBQ! Learn more.

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This family-owned 23-acre farm offers fun activities like alpaca yoga, candle making, and even a Walk-A-Paca experience! Plus, you can shop homemade products using ingredients grown on the farm including lavender, honey, and more! Temporarily closed as of June 2024, check their website for updates .

Aubrey, TX |  Directions


Choctaw Casino & Resort

If you're looking for a fun weekend getaway, Choctaw Casino and Resort is a perfect escape. Enjoy thousands of slot machines, a variety of table games, a resort-style pool, multiple dining options, entertainment venues, a spa, and more!

1.5 hours from Dallas

Durant, OK | Directions


Did you know dinosaurs used to roam around Dallas-Fort Worth, along an ancient ocean?! Head to this incredible state park to walk in real-life dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy River bed! Spend the day hiking, picnicking, camping, swimming, fishing, biking, or even horseback riding.

Glen Rose, TX | Directions

This 1,800-acre ranch houses over 1,000 animals in a free-range setting for visitors to observe exotic and endangered animals! Visitors can see giraffes, zebra, goats, antelope, and more on the 7-mile drive-through safari. Check out our recent experience .  (Featured header image)


This Texas favorite was founded by the iconic Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of the HGTV show Fixer Upper! Enjoy the market, bakery, garden, and adorable food trucks, and restaurant. Don't forget to snap a few Instagram pics!

Waco, TX | Directions


Mineral Wells State Park

Experience healing mineral water, explore historic sites, and enjoy outdoor activities like hiking and fishing! We recommend the Penitentiary Hollow hike , which has amazing scenery and unique rock formations. Be sure to make a reservation, the park often reaches capacity fairly quickly!

Mineral Wells, TX | Directions

This premier surf destination has a state-of-the-art artificial wave system, and you can even take surf lessons! There are also massive waterslides, a cable park, and a lazy river. Our go-to is to hit the beach bar and spend the day chilling at their private beach!


This 1,500-acre park is home to Oklahoma’s largest waterfall, standing at 77 feet tall! Plus, visitors can explore miles of trails, caves, campsites, and more. Pro tip: get there early, as they only let a certain number of people in the park each day!

2 hours from Dallas

Davis, OK | Directions

Situated on the border of Texas and Louisiana, Caddo Lake is one of Texas’s only natural lakes! The State Park offers 25,000 acres of beautiful bayous, with a fishing pier, boat ramps, cabins, and more.

3 hours from Dallas

Karnak, TX | Directions

Carnation Auto Spa

One of the most important parts of a road trip is cleaning your car before and after! Carnation can help you get your car road trip ready with their team of experts! They do such an amazing job plus they offer great deals on their monthly wash plans!

Get unlimited washes FREE for one month when using our code DALLASITES101 after signing up for a wash plan!

Multiple DFW locations | Find a location


McKinney Falls State Park

12 Watering Holes Throughout Texas To Beat This Summer Heat

Port Aransas Beach

Six of the Best Beach Towns in Texas

Fossil Rim Giraffe

19 Unique Road Trip Stops in Texas You May Not Know About

Bygone Hotel Wimberley

Your Guide to Wimberley, Texas

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Some Of Earth's Oldest Mountains Are Only A Day Trip From Dallas


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  • Wichita Mountains, over 500 million years old, showcase Earth's ancient past.
  • Unique granite formations offer hikers a glimpse into the world's geological history.
  • Road trip from Dallas to see ancient mountains is a surreal experience, must-visit.

What are the oldest mountains in the world? Some might consider the Andes among the oldest, but according to the latest estimates, the Andes are only 25 million years old . How about the Alps? They're a little older at 44 million years old . In the grander scheme of things, these mountain chains are relatively young in their formation. No, for the real old mountain chains, you'd have to look somewhere else. Some of the oldest mountains in the world are right outside of Dallas.

The Wichita Mountains were named after the local Native Americans who dwelt here, but the mountains themselves date back more than 500 million years. Among the many unique things to do in Dallas is to take a road trip to the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma and experience their grandeur. Imagine setting foot in the hills that saw the passing of dinosaurs 500 million years in the past. That's an almost surreal feeling for most. Let's see what makes this day trip so awesome and what visitors can see on their way there.

The Wichita Mountains: An Ancient Geological Marvel

The wichita mountains are a geologically significant spot.

The Wichita Mountains are not just any range; they are among the oldest mountain ranges in the world, formed around 525 million years ago. These ancient formations provide a unique glimpse into Earth's distant past, predating even the dinosaurs. The mountains are primarily composed of granite, rhyolite, and other volcanic rocks, indicating their volcanic origins. For those looking at underrated hikes near Dallas , the trails up here are some of the best.

Geologists and nature enthusiasts find the Wichita Mountains fascinating for their complex geological history. The area showcases a variety of rock formations and landscapes, offering insights into the processes that shaped our planet's surface over eons.

Three Weekend Trips From Dallas Worth Hitting The Road For

A weekend getaway from Dallas will leave one refreshed. And these three destinations are some of the region's gems.

How To Get From Dallas To The Wichita Mountains

Dallas is a day trip's drive from the wichita mountains.

How does a traveler visit some of the oldest mountains in the world? Starting from Dallas, the trip to the Wichita Mountains covers approximately 180 miles, making it a perfect day trip destination. Travelers can take the I-35 North route, which offers a scenic drive through North Texas into southern Oklahoma. The drive usually takes around three hours, providing plenty of opportunities to enjoy the changing landscapes.

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge: A Nature Lover's Paradise

The wichita mountains offer wildlife, epic views, and more.

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is a must-visit destination within the mountain range, spanning over 59,000 acres. It is home to diverse wildlife, including American bison, elk, white-tailed deer, and over 240 bird species. Visitors can also explore the refuge's numerous hiking trails, which offer stunning views of the mountains and valleys.

The refuge also boasts several picturesque lakes, such as Lake Jed Johnson and Quanah Parker Lake, perfect for fishing, boating, and picnicking.

Cultural And Historical Highlights Of The Wichita Mountains

Native american heritage abounds in these iconic mountains.

Aside from being some of the oldest mountains in the world, the range has significance to the pre-Columbian tribes that lived here. The mountains were named after the Wichita tribe , who historically inhabited the region. The area is rich in Native American heritage, with several sites of cultural and archaeological interest.

Visitors can learn about the history and traditions of the Native American tribes at the Museum of the Great Plains in nearby Lawton, OK. Visiting the museum is one of the underrated things that travelers to Oklahoma can enjoy while exploring the beautiful small towns in the area . The museum features exhibits on Native American culture, early settlers, and the natural history of the region.

Best Time To Visit The Wichita Mountains (And Seasonal Tips)

The best time to visit the wichita mountains is in fall or spring.

The Wichita Mountains can be visited year-round, but the best times to visit are during the spring and fall seasons. During these periods, the weather is mild, and the natural scenery is at its most vibrant. Spring offers blooming wildflowers, while fall brings stunning foliage.

Spring, summer and autumn are all great seasons for hiking. The temperatures can get out of hand quickly, so being aware of the weather forecast is crucial to enjoying a trip out here.

Visitors should be aware of the summer heat, which can be intense, and winter conditions, which may bring occasional snow and ice. It’s always best to check the weather forecast and plan accordingly to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Hiking Some Of The Oldest Mountains In The World Is Worth A Day Trip

This three-hour trip is more than worth it.

It's not every day someone gets to see some of the oldest mountains in the world. Those who visit Dallas are in for a rare treat. The mountains might not be as tall as Everest, but they've been around for quite a while. When these peaks were young, dinosaurs still roamed the land.

Today, they are a lot lower than they once were — the result of millions of years of erosion. Yet walking on the bones of this range is like reaching back in time and touching the past in a way that's hard to describe.

Have you ever traversed the Wichita Mountains? What was it like?


  • Top Sights In Texas

10 EPIC Day trips from Dallas, TX | Off-the-beaten Path and Popular Destinations

Dallas is one of the most popular metropolitan areas in Texas. It is a bustling city with a lot to offer to its residents, a rich history, and a diversified culture that attracts newcomers daily. Although it can be hot and humid in the summer, there are plenty of things to do in Dallas. You can go shopping at world-renowned malls, watch a Cowboys game at AT&T Stadium, or visit one of the city’s many museums.

Day trips from dallas, places to visit from dallas, dallas day trips ideas

There are a lot of things to do in Dallas, but if you’re looking for a change of scenery, there are plenty of places to visit near Dallas, as a day trip. Whether you’re looking for natural beauty or historical landmarks, these destinations have something for everyone. So, load up the car and get ready for an adventure.

1. Top day trips from Dallas

1.1 forth worth, texas.

If you’re looking for an amazing place to visit near Dallas, I recommend Forth Worth . The city is well-known for its cowboy culture, but at the same time it’s a very modern destination.

Day trips from dallas, places to visit from dallas, dallas day trips ideas

If you like art, I recommend visiting the Cultural District which is home to many museums and cultural spaces such as the Will Rogers Memorial Center, Dickies Arena or Casa Manana. Other tourist attractions worth visiting in Forth Worth include the Stockyards National Historic District, the Forth Worth Water Gardens and many others.

Distance by car – 40 minutes

1.2 Beavers Bend State Park, Oklahoma

Beavers Bend State Park is one great example of natural beauty near Dallas. This incredible natural park is located only 3 hours away from Dallas and is well worth visiting if you’re looking for beautiful views, fresh air and exciting outdoor activities.

Day trips from dallas, places to visit from dallas, dallas day trips ideas

Visitors can hike or bike the park’s many trails, paddle the river, go fishing, or take a scenic drive through the forest. There’s also an excellent playground for kids and some cabins and lodges available for overnight stays.

Distance by car – 3 hours

1.3 Athens, Texas

Just one hour south of Dallas lies Athens , Texas – a small town with a lot to offer for those searching for the best day trip from Dallas. It is a pedestrian-friendly city that is easy to explore on foot.

Day trips from dallas, places to visit from dallas, dallas day trips ideas

There are numerous fascinating boutiques and galleries in the downtown area and the town also has a thriving farmer’s market where you can buy everything from clothing and crafts to fresh produce and baked goodies. There’s usually some kind of live entertainment or show going on as well, such as petting zoos and livestock displays.

Also, Athens Scuba Park is a must-visit destination in the town. This park features a lake with plenty of interesting creatures to see, making it perfect for diving beginners and experienced divers alike.

Distance by car – 1 hour 10 minutes

1.4 Turner Falls State Park, Oklahoma

Turner Falls State Park is a must-see for everyone searching for spectacular Dallas day trips. It’s located in Davis, Oklahoma, and is suitable for a fun and family-friendly getaway outside of Dallas, in the middle of the Arbuckle Mountains. It’s easy to spend a whole day there, with plenty of hiking routes, picturesque vistas, and a 77-foot waterfall to enjoy.

Day trips from dallas, places to visit from dallas, dallas day trips ideas

The park offers plenty of options for recreation, including hiking and nature walks, fishing, kayaking, and camping. There are other restaurants around if you feel hungry or thirsty.

Distance by car – 2 hours

1.5 Davy Crockett National Forest, Texas

One of the best places to visit near Dallas is Davy Crockett National Forest which offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. The forest is home to a diverse range of plants and animals, making it a fascinating place to explore.

Day trips from dallas, places to visit from dallas, dallas day trips ideas

The forest has many recreational facilities that are suitable for a family outing. There are playgrounds, pavilions, and group picnic areas available to reserve. It also offers miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian riding routes. In some places of the forest, hunting is also permitted. Swimming, boating, and fishing are major attractions on the 45-acre lake.

Distance by car – 2 hours 40 minutes

1.6 Houston, TX

Houston is one of the best day trips from Dallas you can’t afford to miss if your goal includes experiencing the highlights of what this city has to offer. There are world-class museums, delicious restaurants, and exciting nightlife options. In addition, Houston is home to some of the finest shopping in the country.

Day trips from dallas, places to visit from dallas, dallas day trips ideas

The Houston Museum of Natural Sciences is a must-see for any visitors to the city. The museum has something for everyone, with exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to outer space. An observatory and a butterfly’s sanctuary are also available.

Also, explore Space Center Houston, a hidden gem with tons of space-themed fun and interactive exhibits that the whole family will enjoy. You may also catch a game while in town; Minute Maid Park and NRG Stadium are both excellent venues for sporting events.

Good to know – If you have the time, I recommend spending one night in Houston and returning to Dallas the next day. The drive is quite long and there’s a lot to explore in Houston.

Distance by car – 3 and a half hours

1.7 Glen Rose, Somervell County

If you’re looking for exciting activities nearby Dallas, consider driving to Glen Rose Somervell County . This charming small town is home to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. With 1,700 acres of stunning landscapes to explore, you’ll be able to see a variety of animals in their natural habitat.

Day trips from dallas, places to visit from dallas, dallas day trips ideas

Dinosaur Valley State Park is also located in this area which can be an interesting attraction for the whole family. This park is home to some amazing geological features, including a valley filled with dinosaur tracks. You may also head to Dinosaur World, which offers a variety of activities and exhibits for visitors of all ages. Step into a world of prehistoric creatures and learn about their history and how they lived.

Distance by car – 1 and a half hours

1.8 Palestine, Texas

One of the best day trips from Dallas is a just a short drive away from the city and it’s called Palestine. Take a stroll down Main Street and you’ll find an array of local businesses, from restaurants to art galleries. Hiking, geocaching, and ATV riding are just a few outdoor activities that can be enjoyed in this area. You can also explore Palestine’s four lakes, perfect for boating and fishing, as well as picnic areas and trails.

Day trips from dallas, places to visit from dallas, dallas day trips ideas

Palestine also has many historically significant sites, including the Palestine Railroad Depot and the Anderson County Courthouse. The town is also home to two annual events, the Paletown Christmas Parade and the Texas Bluegrass Festival. So come on over to Palestine and discover everything this wonderful town has in store for you.

1.9 Whitney, Texas

A trip to Whitney, Texas is a must-do for any nature lover. The area is teeming with wildlife, and there are plenty of hiking and biking trails to explore. Enjoy fishing, bird watching, and picnicking in Lake Whitney State Park. With over 22,000 acres of land to explore, you’re sure to find the perfect spot to relax and take in the stunning views.

Day trips from dallas, places to visit from dallas, dallas day trips ideas

Also, head to Brazos Street Market which is an open-air market. It has something for everyone, from Texas BBQ and lives music to arts and crafts. There’s also a playground for the kids, making it the perfect place to spend one of your best day trips from Dallas.

1.10 Waco, Texas

If you’re looking for the best places to visit from Dallas, you have to explore the beautiful town of Waco . If you’d like to try some alcoholic beverages, you can visit some of Waco’s wineries, distilleries or craft breweries.

Day trips from dallas, places to visit from dallas, dallas day trips ideas

However, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Waco is the Doctor Pepper Museum. Find out everything about this world-famous beverage. I also recommend visiting the Mammoth National Monument. This is the perfect place to learn more about the fossils found in the area.

Distance by car – one and a half hours

2. Where to stay in Dallas

If you’re planning to spend a few days in Dallas, I have the best hotels for you. I’ve been searching for incredible hotels in Dallas and these are my recommendations:

  • Budget – Fairfield by Mariott – good location and facilities, a good choice for those looking for value for money
  • Mid-Range – Hotel ZaZa – excellent location, friendly & professional staff, excellent amenities and spacious rooms.
  • Luxury – Thompson Dallas – exceptional hotel with luxurious rooms and exquisite services, breakfast is included.

Good to know: When traveling abroad, I always recommend having travel insurance. It’s better to be safe than sorry. To find out more about travel insurance, I recommend Safety Wing .

3. Is taking a day trip from Dallas a good idea?

It’s always fun to visit a new place and what could be better than doing it without having to drive very far? A day trip can be the perfect way to get out and see something interesting while saving money when traveling. Especially if you feel trapped in a rut and don’t know how to get out, it’s time to have some fun.

Taking a day trip will also allow you to spend time with your family and friends. You’ll feel better getting some fresh air and sunshine while enjoying the crisp, clean air. There are plenty of worthwhile destinations right near your home if you know where to look. If you are from Dallas, put an effort into seeing different locations and learn new things. You should record your journey, then create a YouTube video about it and give it a captivating intro to get viewers to watch it to the end.

Don’t forget to take a break from your everyday routine and experience something new. It can be close to home or farther away, as long as it offers an opportunity to explore, learn and have fun. A day of getaway can help you relax and unwind from your daily activity.

If you have any questions about these awesome places to visit from Dallas, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section below. May the travel bug bite you!

Pin it for later!

Day trips from dallas, places to visit from dallas, dallas day trips ideas

Aurelia Teslaru is a professional travel blogger and the writer behind Daily Travel Pill. With a 4-year experience as a travel writer and photographer, Aurelia only shares travel guides about destinations that she visited.

She has been to more than 40 countries during the past 10 years and aims to explore 50 countries before turning 30 years old. Aurelia is a digital nomad who transformed her passion for travel into a lifestyle. Read more about her here .

To follow her adventures, check out her Instagram and Facebook pages!

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Lone Star Travel Guide

19 Best Weekend Getaways from Dallas (Fun Road Trip Ideas!)

Planning a quick escape from the city and looking for the best weekend getaways from Dallas?

From small towns to state parks to funky cities, we’ve rounded up the best road trips from Dallas (or Fort Worth) here!

With one exception, each of these Dallas weekend getaway ideas is located between 3 and 8 hours from Dallas, making these destinations ideal for trips that last 1-3 nights away (if you’re looking for destinations a bit closer to Dallas, check out our guide to the best day trips from Dallas here ).

Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway, a weekend full of family memories, an adventure with friends, or even a solo escape, one of these weekend getaways from Dallas is no doubt right for you.

View of Lake Austin From Mount Bonnell, one of the most popular things to do in Austin TX

Some links in this post may be affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more detail.

Best Cities for Weekend Getaways from Dallas

The capital of Texas and self-proclaimed Live Music Capital of the World is the perfect weekend trip from Dallas for those looking to keep things just a little weird.

Take a dip in one of Austin’s many nearby natural swimming holes , go hunting for street art on South Congress, tour the Texas State Capitol Building, watch the sunset at Mount Bonnell, escape to the Texas Hill Country for the day, and of course enjoy plenty of nightlife!

With a huge variety of fun things to do, Austin is perfect for travelers looking for a great mix of city fun and outdoor adventure.

Driving Distance from Dallas

Skyline of Austin Texas as seen over Lady Bird Lake. Austin is one of the best weekend getaways from Dallas tx

New Orleans, LA

Featuring some of the best food, music, and culture in all of the country, having a city as incredible as NOLA reachable as a road trip from Dallas is definitely something to take advantage of!

While you’re there, be sure to enjoy Bourbon Street, but get off of it, as well: NOLA is more than just its incredible partying (though the partying does indeed live up to the legends).

Consider visiting the Garden District, taking a ghost tour, visiting the nearby bayou, taking a steamboat cruise, and of course, eating plenty of excellent food, from po’boys to beignets, during the course of your weekend getaway in New Orleans .

7 hours, 45 minutes.

Bourbon Street in NOLA as seen from above at night. New Orleans is one of the best road trips from Dallas!

San Antonio, TX

As the most-visited city in all of Texas, San Antonio knows how to show visitors a good time, and it is absolutely one of the best weekend getaways from Dallas!

Be sure to visit the famous Alamo, as well as the rest of the San Antonio Missions.

All five missions, including the Alamo, are recognized together as a UNESCO World Heritage Site–the only UNESCO site that exists in Texas!

You’ll also want to sample the Riverwalk, of course, as well as visit the San Fernando Cathedral, go shopping at the Historic Market Square and in La Villita, and visit one of San Antonio’s incredible museums.

When driving from Dallas to San Antonio , you’ll also find plenty to do along the way–if you have time, consider adding a pitstop in Waco or Austin to your trip!

Exterior of Mission Concepion, one of the best photography locations in San Antonio TX

Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City may not be what you immediately think of when considering getting away from Dallas for a weekend, but this smaller city to the north offers a surprising number of things to see and do!

Consider visiting the Bricktown entertainment district, checking out the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, strolling through the beautiful Myriad Botanical Gardens, and paying your respects at the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

Head a bit north of the city, and you’ll quickly find yourself on Route 66, with quirky roadside attractions like the Arcadia Round Barn within easy reach.

3 hours, 15 minutes.

White lettering spelling out OKC in the foreground with a Ferris wheel in the background in OKC

Houston, TX

As the 4th-largest city in the USA, Houston is positively packed with interesting things to do, starting with its most famous attraction of all: the incredible Johnson Space Center!

Once you finish up at the Space Center, though, there’s still plenty to see in Houston, including several parks to visit, an enormous number of museums and art galleries, and plenty of delicious food to eat–Houston is home to one of the best (and most diverse) food scenes in Texas!

Want to squeeze in a quick trip to the beach?

With some careful planning, you can enjoy some time on the sand in Galveston into your weekend in Houston!

3 hours, 30 minutes.

Houston Texas skyline on a sunny day. One of the most interesting facts about Texas is that Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the USA

Located on the Arkansas River–and more importantly, along Route 66–Tulsa is an unexpectedly fun place to spend a weekend!

This unexpectedly charming city is complete with Art Deco architecture, plenty of interesting museums (don’t miss the stunningly beautiful Philbrook Museum of Art), and the fun Blue Dome District.

Want to see some classic Route 66 quirkiness while you’re there?

The famous Blue Whale of Catoosa is just outside the city!

4 hours, 30 minutes.

Tulsa Oklahoma skyline on a sunny day, one of the best dallas road trip ideas

Nature-Focused Road Trips from Dallas

Palo duro canyon state park, tx.

The second-largest canyon in the USA is reachable as a weekend trip from Dallas–and it’s one of the coolest places in all of Texas!

While you’re there, be sure to soak in the excellent views from the top of the canyon, drive the park loop road, and hike a couple of trails. Most importantly, be sure to hike to the Lighthouse formation!

It’s the most famous formation in the park for good reason.

Kate Storm standing in front of the Lighthouse in Palo Duro Canyon TX

Colorado Bend State Park, TX

Want to feel like you’ve left Texas behind… without actually leaving Texas?

Staring up at 70-foot Gorman Falls can definitely have that effect: this stunning living waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Texas, and looks more like it belongs in Hawaii than in the Lone Star State!

Come to Colorado Bend State Park for hiking, swimming, and beautiful views in the heart of Texas.

Gorman Falls in Colorado Bend State Park, one of the best waterfalls in Texas

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, NM

Located in southeastern New Mexico, Carlsbad Cavern is one of the most impressive caves in the USA.

It’s one of the most unique weekend getaways from Dallas!

While you can tour the main cavern, including the aptly-named Big Room, in a single day, with some extra time you can also add some more hiking in the Chihuahuan Desert to your trip… or you can combine your Dallas road trip to New Mexico with our next destination in this guide.

7 hours, 15 minutes.

Big Room of Carlsbad Cavern in New Mexico, a fantastic Dallas road trip idea

Guadalupe Mountains National Park, TX

Set just south of the New Mexico border in west Texas–only half an hour from Carlsbad Caverns National Park–sits the beautiful Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Here, you can find the four highest peaks in Texas and some excellent hiking , making it another fantastic option for weekend getaways from Dallas.

If you happen to be planning your road trip in the fall, Guadalupe Mountains National Park also happens to be home to some of the prettiest fall foliage in Texas !

Rocky peak in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, one of the best couples trips in Texas

Lake Texoma, TX/OK

Located right on the Oklahoma/Texas border, Lake Texoma is a doable day trip from Dallas but definitely deserves to be called out in any guide cataloging road trips from Dallas, as it’s absolutely one of the most popular weekend getaways for locals.

Popular for fishing, swimming, boating, and hiking, Lake Texoma is a fun outdoor getaway for the whole family!

1 hour, 40 minutes.

Sunset over Lake Texoma, one of the best dallas weekend getaway ideas

Hot Springs National Park, AR

Aptly named Hot Springs National Park is the perfect Dallas getaway destination for those looking for a relaxing weekend away, complete with a soak in a thermal spa!

Located in an urban setting surrounded by shops, restaurants, and more, Hot Springs offers a fantastic mix of natural highlights and small-town charm.

Nine historic bathhouses line Bathhouse Row, where visitors flocked to enjoy the local hot springs in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, two of which you can still take a soak in today!

Small waterfall in Hot Springs National Park AR, one of the best road trips from Dallas Texas

Broken Bow, OK

As the gateway to beautiful Beavers Bend State Park, Broken Bow is one of the best weekend getaways from Dallas for those looking for a quiet retreat into nature near a small town.

While in Broken Bow, you can go canoeing on the lake, take a hike, stay in a cozy cabin, and enjoy a relaxing trip that feels worlds away from the city.

flowing river in Beaver Bend State Park near Broken Bow Oklahoma surrounded by fall foliage

Best Small-Town Weekend Trips from Dallas

Fredericksburg, tx.

Located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg is definitely one of the best weekend getaways from Dallas!

Featuring plenty of nods to its German heritage, a beautiful downtown packed with shops and restaurants, great antiquing, and–most famously of all– plenty of easily accessible wineries to choose from, Fredericksburg is a fantastic change of pace from Dallas.

The town is also easily accessible to plenty of hiking (including Enchanted Rock ) and other beautiful small Texas towns (like Luckenbach , Johnson City , and Wimberley ).

4 hours, 15 minutes.

Wooden door opening to an antique store in Fredericksburg Texas. Antiques are some of the best souvenirs from Texas

Round Top, TX

The tiny town of Round Top, Texas, is best known for its antique shows … but you can shop thousands of antiques, meander through a small town, and enjoy the famous (and delicious) pies at Royers Pie Haven year-round on a Dallas weekend getaway to Round Top!

Don’t miss Henkel Square Market or Rummel Square while you’re there!

And, if you’re into unique roadside stops on your road trips from Dallas, don’t miss the charming nearby St. Martin Catholic Church, which is considered the smallest Catholic church on Earth!

3 hours, 45 minutes.

henkel square market in round top texas, one of the cute towns in texas

Long known as the home of Baylor University, Waco has become one of the most popular road trips from Dallas in recent years for a very different reason: the opening of Magnolia Market, owned by Chip & Joanna Gaines of HGTV fame.

Even beyond the immensely popular Silos, though, Waco has plenty to see!

Consider also stopping by the Dr. Pepper Museum, enjoying Baylor’s beautiful campus, and checking out the Wooly Mammoth National Monument during your visit.

1 hour, 30 minutes.

Jacob's Well in Waco TX with a wooden path leading into a wooded area.

Jefferson, TX

The small town of Jefferson, Texas, combined with nearby Caddo Lake State Park, makes one of the best and most diverse Dallas getaway ideas (for the lovebirds out there, it’s arguably one of the most romantic getaways from Dallas, too).

The best things to do in Jefferson itself include antiquing in the historic downtown center, shopping at the famous Jefferson General Store, staying in one of  the many bed and breakfasts  that the town is famous for, and learning about Jefferson’s railroad history–touring Jay Gould’s opulent private rail car is a great place to start.

From there, head to Caddo Lake, where you’ll find a very different side of the Lone Star State–one dotted with giant cypress trees that drip Spanish moss and leisurely canoe rides.

This isn’t a lake for swimming–the alligators who live in the lake are best avoided–but it is utterly beautiful, and a fantastic road trip from Dallas for those looking to leave city vibes behind entirely.

sign advertising pralines sodas ice cream coffee in front of the jefferson general store, one of the best jefferson attractions

Branson, MO

Tucked into the Ozarks, Branson is a (polarizing) regional favorite, with a distinct flair that draws in visitors from surrounding states–including people looking for fun road trips from Dallas!

Branson is known for its live entertainment and shows (typically with a country music twist), its easy access to Table Rock Lake, and for being the home of Silver Dollar City, an amusement park that’s a favorite of families visiting the area.

Chapel of the Ozarks in Branson Missouri as seen from above with lake visible in the background

New Braunfels, TX

For a fairly small town, New Braunfels is positively packed with things to do, from the beautiful Gruene Historic District (home to the iconic Gruene Hall), to floating the river, to visiting Schlitterbahn, to touring the incredible Natural Bridge Caverns.

Whether your ideal weekend getaway from Dallas includes natural beauty, dancing the night away, or one of the best theme parks in Texas, you’ll find it in New Braunfels!

3 hours, 40 minutes.

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21 Best Day Trips From Fort Worth – Under 2-Hour Drive

Dinosaur Valley SP is one of the best day trips from Fort Worth. (Two Worlds Treasures)

If you are looking for the best day trips from Fort Worth, Texas, you’ve come to the right place. Below is a list of cities less than 2 hours drive from Fort Worth. It’s simple; leave in the morning and return in the evening. It is ideal for solo, couple, or family travelers who visit Fort Worth, even the city residents.

My family and I enjoy exploring Texas from our home, about 30 minutes south of Fort Worth. Like most families, we are part-time travelers. It means we can only go somewhere far when the holidays arrive. We spend our weekends exploring the cities surrounding Fort Worth.

So, in alphabetical order, here are the best day trips from Fort Worth you can take next time you are in the city.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links meaning I receive commissions for purchases made through those links at no cost to you. Please read my Privacy Policy for more information.

Best Day Trips From Fort Worth That Are Under 2-Hour Drive

Acton is a small town located less than an hour southwest of Fort Worth. Acton State Historic Site, Texas’s smallest state park, is located here. It is the burial site of Elizabeth Crockett, Davy Crockett’s second wife. It is only 0.01 acre in size.

Acton Nature Center is about 1.8 miles from the historic site; a lovely spot for some peace in nature. With wildflowers blooming and monarch butterflies covering the garden, spring is the best time to visit.

Granbury is approximately 15 minutes from Acton. Continuing a trip from Acton to Granbury makes a great one-day trip from Fort Worth.

Distance: 45-minute drive to the southwest.

Elizabeth Crockett burial site, Davy Crockett's second wife. (Two Worlds Treasures)

If you enjoy shopping or strolling through a flea market, Canton is your destination. It is home to the world-famous First Monday Trade Days, America’s largest flea market.

This market has everything, from rare antiques and collectibles to furniture, home decor, arts and crafts, plants, tools, animals, clothing, jewelry, and various foods. It takes place every month from Thursday to Sunday before the first Monday, and dogs are welcome.

Canton’s First Monday Trade Days is a huge event. During Trade Days, some people spend their weekends here. For us, a day trip is sufficient. We can always return for another, especially when the weather is nice.

Canton is one of our favorite Fort Worth day trips. Don’t forget to bring your s hopping cart with you. 

Distance: 2 hours to the east.

canton_texas_two worlds treasures

I think you must visit the birthplace of the famous fruitcake from Collin Street Bakery . They also serve a variety of delicious cookies and pastries. When the weather warms up, you can enjoy them outside.

Of course, C orsicana has more to offer than just the bakery . Pioneer Village is a fun place to start your visit. You will learn about Corsicana’s history and the famous people who were born here. (Did you know Wolf Brand Chili originated in this city?) Do the Bronze Tour in conjunction with the downtown historic walking tour.

During your day trip to Corsicana, you can also visit museums and parks, take a driving tour, and go on the House of Prayers Tour.

Distance: 1 hour and 30 minutes southeast.

Mural at Corsicana, Texas. (Two Worlds Treasures)

The majority of Dallas’ attractions are in Central Dallas. There are four districts in the vicinity: Downtown, Uptown, Design District, and Deep Ellum. 

The downtown district is expanding all the time. There’s a lot to do and see here, and it’ll take a lot of walking. In the West End District, you can immerse yourself in Dallas history. Some of the attractions in this area include the Old Red Museum, JFK Memorial Plaza, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, the Reunion Tower, and the Giant Eyeball. You will find rows of restaurants, high-end stores, and the Dallas Farmers Market.

Uptown District is linked to the north by Klyde Warren Park. It is a vibrant district with shopping, restaurants, and nightlife options. Attend a Dallas Mavericks or Dallas Stars game at Victory Park or visit the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. These are some things to do that interest visitors of all ages.

The Design District is the place to go if you enjoy arts and antiques. A slew of upscale art galleries and antique shops are located here, next to high-end interior design showrooms.

You can end your visit with a cup of coffee or a meal at one of the district’s restaurants. Choose from burgers and BBQ to home cooking, Thai, Mexican, and Italian dishes while you sip a glass of wine or cocktail.

Deep Ellum District is a hotspot for live music, cool bars, and casual eateries at night. It also hosts art and street festivals. You can find colorful murals, Traveling Man sculptures, and vibrant graffiti here. Start your day trip to Dallas in the morning and end in one of the nightclubs. Or, start late in the afternoon and finish with breakfast in the morning before heading home. It is here where you’ll find the famous Pecan Lodge BBQ. 

When you have an out-of-town company, it’s easy to say that Dallas is one of the most popular destinations for day trips from Fort Worth.

Distance: 50 minutes to the east.

dallas_day trips from fort worth_two worlds treasures

Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States, was born in Denison. You can visit the original two-story house where he was born. The National Park manages the House, which is open from Tuesday to Saturday, and on Sunday afternoons. 

E isenhower State Park is another popular attraction in Denison. Summertime activities include hiking, fishing, camping, and swimming. Visit Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for migratory birds and an excellent location for wildlife photography.

You can also visit wineries and distilleries in Denison. To name a few, Homestead Winery, Ironroot Republic Distillery, and Hidden Hangar.

Because Denison is the furthest destination from Fort Worth, you may need to leave early in the morning.

Distance: 2 hours to the northeast.

denison_texas_two worlds treasures

Denton is a college town known for its vibrant music scene. But it does not mean you have to wait until the Denton Arts and Jazz Festival to visit.

Begin your day trip by visiting the Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center. It has over ten miles of family-friendly hiking trails that take you through different habitats, including wetlands and bottomland forests. You can even schedule a hike with a Master Naturalist if you have five or more people in your group. Isn’t that amazing?

Then, for lunch, proceed to Courthouse Square. There are numerous restaurants to choose from, but they recommend that out-of-towners visit LSA Burger Co. for both the burgers and the views. Denton Square is lovely, and the best view of the square is from the rooftop of LSA Burger. The burger joint also has a rotating mural wall where local artists can display their work. It’s a great Instagram background!

After lunch, visit the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum, open from 10 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Denton County Historical Park, a few blocks south, is home to the Bayless-Selby House Museum, the Quakertown House Museum, and the city’s Welcome Center. It is a historic Denton structure. All of these museums are free to the public.

You can go mural hunting if you prefer street art. Local artists display their work on the sides of old buildings and in secret coves around the square. Perfect for Instagram.

Of course, there are boutiques and antique stores around the squares, and the big purple bookstore across the Courthouse has a vintage book collection. When you need a break, get some ice cream or a snow cone and sit by the Courthouse and people-watch. Alternatively, go to one of the nearby coffee shops. In addition, there are more beer taps in town than musicians.

If you know the story of the goatman, you must end your visit to the Old Alton Bridge in the late afternoon.     

Distance: 45 minutes to the north.

denton_texas_murals__two worlds treasures

To visit Dublin, all you need is a car with a full tank. Dublin Bottling Works is, without a doubt, the most crucial attraction in this small town. They provide tours of their historic bottling facilities and the W.P. Kloster Museum.

V eldhuizen Cheese is one place that visitors seem to overlook. They offer cheese and farm tours in their location between Dublin and Stephenville. It is a one-of-a-kind experience for your day trips from Fort Worth.

Dublin is also the birthplace of golf legend Ben Hogan. Visit the Ben Hogan Museum if you want to learn everything there is to know about him. Other museums that are worth visiting in Dublin include the Rodeo Heritage Museum and the National Health & Public Safety Museum.

Before you leave the Irish Capital of Texas, stop at Things Celtic to pick up some Irish souvenirs.

Distance: 1 hour and 30 minutes southwest.

Dublin Bottling Works in Dublin, Texas. (Two Worlds Treasures)

Spring is the best time to visit Ennis when Bluebonnet carpeted the suburb in April. Visit during the week to avoid crowds. Don’t forget to download the Ennis Y’all mobile app, which includes a Bluebonnet trail map and information on local restaurants, shops, hotels, and events.

Ennis is stunning in the spring, and it’s no surprise it is designated as the Official Bluebonnet Trail of Texas.

Another event not to be missed is the National Polka Festival, which takes place every Memorial Day Weekend in May. It would be fantastic if you could plan your day trip from Fort Worth during these times!

Distance: 1 hour southeast.

Bluebonnet in Ennis, Texas. (Two Worlds Treasures)

As the Dinosaur Capital of Texas, the number one thing to do in Glen Rose is visit Dinosaur Valley State Park . It is a place to see dinosaur prints and you can also step on or swim with it. Miles of hiking trails are waiting for you here also.

Right before the park is Dinosaur World, where your young Paleontologist will be fascinated by more than 100 life-size dinosaurs roaming around 20 acres of land.

If you dream of a safari in Africa, the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose is the closest to your dream. Giraffes, rhinos, cheetahs, zebra, wildebeest, and bongo are some wild animals you will see during the safari.

G len Rose has so many attractions for you to explore , and don’t forget to stop downtown to shop and eat. It is also a place for the Somervell Historic Courthouse and historical architecture.     

Distance: 1 hour to the southwest.

day trips from fort worth_glen rose_two worlds treasures

Voted as the #1 Best Historic Small Town by USA Today in 2019, you can’t go wrong with your day trip to this small town southwest of Fort Worth. Park your car around downtown Historic Granbury Square, and start your day exploring the area.

Historic buildings surround Granbury Square, and in the middle of them is the iconic Hood County Courthouse, built in 1890-1891. There’s a museum in the courthouse that you can visit every Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The historic buildings around the courthouse house more than 40 boutiques, specialty stores, restaurants, bars, and even an Opera House built in 1886.

Walk one to two blocks from the square to see the Hood County Jail Museum, a Doll Museum, and a Historical House with a Log Cabin inside it. It’s pretty cool. Then walk to the other side of the square, and you will arrive at Lake Granbury Beach.

When you need a break, stop at a pie place, ice cream parlor, bar, brewery, coffee shop, or winery around the Square. Or, take a free trolley ride that begins and ends at the Visitor Center. I took a trolley ride to rest my feet from walking, and I wasn’t disappointed. The trolley is a shuttle for Bed & Breakfast and hotel guests to and from the Square. So, I saw some of the beautiful Bed & Breakfasts, hotels, and old houses in town.  

Before you leave the town, you might want to join the Ghosts and Legends Tours. In this tour, you will hear about the legends of historic Granbury and probably come face to face with the Lady in Red, the Faceless Girl, and Indian Joe. Then end your trip with the best-fried   catfish or barbecue in Granbury .      

granbury_best day trips from fort worth_two worlds treasures

It’s a place to experience a historic small-town charm. Park your car, walk around to shop, eat, admire the vintage murals, find a perfect art piece, and take a fun picture with the Hico sign.

The city has a variety of restaurants to satisfy your appetite for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can choose Hill Country style BBQ, traditional Italian food, fresh farm-to-table cuisine, or delicious Mexican food.

If you like outdoor activities, don’t forget to visit Siloville Climbing Gym. One-of-a-kind climbing experience where the owner converted a grain silo to wall climbing – inside and outside. A walking trail meanders along the Bosque River, and Meridian State Park is around 30 minutes from town.

Distance: 1 hour 20 minutes to the southwest.

day hiking trips from dallas

Hillsboro is rich with local history and historical sites. It’s a perfect spot for history enthusiasts. Hill County Courthouse, MKT (Katy) Depot, Hillsboro City Library, and Hill County Cell Block Museum are some of them. Don’t miss it while in the downtown area.

Hillsboro City Library has a unique story. It is an adaptation of the Foundling Hospital for Children of Florence in Italy. Brunelleschi built the hospital in 1419, marking the birth of Renaissance architecture in Florence. Google the hospital, and you will see the similarity.

You must visit the Texas Heritage Museum at Hill College if you have an interest in Texans during war times. You will learn a lot about the history of Texans in the Civil War, WWI, and WWII. There are exhibits on Audy Murphy, the Vietnam War, and the Weapons Gallery.

Outdoor lovers, Lake Whitney State Park is only 15 minutes from town. It’s a favorite destination for water sports enthusiasts during the summertime. Visitors like fishing, boating, water skiing, swimming, and cliff jumping in and around the lake. It is also one of the favorite destinations for day trippers from Dallas.

Distance: 50 minutes to the south.

hillsboro_day trips from fort worth_two worlds treasures

A little over an hour northeast of Fort Worth is Jacksboro. It is the destination for Texas frontier history enthusiasts. Explore the grounds and buildings of Fort Richardson, established in 1860, at the Fo rt Richardson State Park & Historic Site . Then hike or bike the Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway.

Then stop at Jack County Museum to learn about local history. Its location is in one of the oldest houses in Jack County. Built in 1882 with materials freighted in by wagon from Jefferson, Texas, and paid for with $20 gold pieces.

Distance: 1 hour 15 minutes to the northeast.

Fort Richardson at Jacksboro, Texas. (Two Worlds Treasures)


If the story of Quanah Parker always intrigued you, then a day trip to Mexia and Groesbeck is for you. Old Fort Parker in Groesbeck was the beginning of the story of Quanah when the Comanches captured Cynthia Ann Parker (Quanah’s mother) in May of 1836.

F ort Parker State Park is located in Mexia, around 3 3-mile or 6-minute drive from the Old Fort. Birds are abundant, and the sunset looks spectacular from the pier. Kayaking along the Navasota River is one of the activities that visitors enjoy in the park, besides hiking/biking, fishing, or swimming and geocaching.

Other places to visit are the Confederate Reunion Grounds State Historic Site in Mexia and the Limestone County Courthouse in Groesbeck.

Don’t forget to stop at Tehuacana on your way back to Fort Worth. This small town is the highest point between Dallas and Houston, and was nominated for the state capital of Texas several years ago!

Distance: 1 hour 45 minutes to the south.

Old Fort Parker in Groesbeck, Texas. (pic. by Two Worlds Treasures)


One of the best places to do natural rock climbing in North Texas is Penitentiary Hollow in L ake Mineral Wells State Park , just around 4 miles from downtown Mineral Wells. It is a park for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and stargazing. We like to set up our tent in one of their campgrounds on Friday night and leave on Sunday morning.

Another outdoor activity in Mineral Wells that you shouldn’t miss is digging for fossils at the Mineral Wells Fossil Park. And you can take them home with you. You can use the fossil reference sign near the entrance to identify the type of fossils you have discovered.

We discovered a lot of crinoids here. If it’s your lucky day, the Dallas Paleontological Society might have an activity here. You can learn more about fossils from them.

Mineral Wells is a small town, so don’t forget to stop at the downtown area. You can shop at one of the boutiques, furniture stores, and antique shops. Or, stroll along the street level of the famous Baker Hotel and read about the attractions and history of Mineral Wells and The Baker Hotel.

If you like outdoor activity, this is one of the best for your day trips from Fort Worth. You can also bike from the Lake Mineral Wells SP to Weatherford.   

Distance: 1 hour to the west.

mineral wells_outdoor enthusiast_two worlds treasures

Muenster is a Germantown in North Texas. It’s famous for Fischer’s Meat Market where you can find German sausages, bratwurst, cheese, dry goods, and more.

The Apricot Strudels from Bayer’s Bakery are people’s favorite. Don’t forget to bring some home.

It may not be big like Fredericksburg in the Hill Country, but you can find German food, cute stores, and a museum in town.

The best times to visit are during Germanfest on the last weekend in April and Oktoberfest on the first weekend in October.

Distance: 1 hour 20 minutes to the north.

As of today, Strawn is a sleepy town a little over an hour east of Fort Worth.

There is only one restaurant in town: Mary’s Cafe. It is open every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 9.30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and is famous for its Chicken Fried Steak.

One of the film locations for Sheridan’s The Lawmen: Bass Reeves was in Strawn. You can see the sets in the downtown area.

The town will see more visitors once the Palo Pinto Mountains State Park opens.

Distance: 1 hour 15 minutes to the east.

day hiking trips from dallas

Thanks to the Fixer Upper home improvement TV show, Waco climbed rapidly to the top 3 destinations in Texas. Even people from Australia came to Magnolia Market to see what Chip and Joanna had for them in the store.

Of course, there is more to see and do in this city. Do you know that Columbian mammoths used to roam in this area approximately 67,000 years ago? Head to Waco Mammoth National Monument to see “in situ” fossils and learn about them. Our family has been there at least four times over the past two years.

If you want to learn about Texas Rangers, stop at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. A note for you, this is not about the baseball team, but the law enforcement. So, you will see lots of guns and badges here. If Dr Pepper is your favorite soda, you must visit the Dr Pepper Museum.

Cameron Park has plenty of trails and playgrounds for outdoor enthusiasts. Don’t forget to climb Jacob’s Ladder with its nearly zigzagging 100 steps to the top. Or, for something lighter, visit the Suspension Bridge & Cattle Drive Sculptures, and stroll along the Waco Riverwalk.

Waco also has several wineries, distilleries, and breweries. Surprisingly, there is much to do and see besides the Magnolia Market.

Distance: 1 hour 20 minutes to the south.

best day trips from fort worth_waco_two worlds treasures

One of the most photographed courthouses in Texas is the Ellis County Courthouse in d owntown Waxahachie . Built in 1895, the courthouse’s architectural style designed is the Richardsonian Romanesque. With its turrets and spires, and the pink granite and red limestone used for the building, the courthouse looks like a fairy tale palace.

Like other small towns in Texas, you can see beautiful and unique buildings around the courthouse square. These late 1800s to early 1900s buildings are home to specialty stores, restaurants, businesses, an art gallery, and a museum.

Grab a self-guided walking tour brochure from the Visitor Center inside the Museum. Just follow the arrows, and you will find yourselves fascinated by the history of the city and the old buildings around the square. If you want to do some shopping, do it while you do the walking tour. After all, some stores and restaurant locations are in old buildings.

Waxahachie also has several colorful and beautiful murals which you can find while doing the walking tour. But best of all is the oversized heart sculptures. You can find more than ten heart sculptures at various locations throughout the downtown area and Getzendaner Park. They also have a Love Lock fence one block east of the courthouse.

In the late 1880s, Waxahachie was one of the prosperous cotton producers. As a result, beautiful Queen Anne and Victorian homes with their ornate “gingerbread” trim line the road to the downtown square. You can see them on your way to the Square or take the self-guided driving tour brochure to learn more about the houses. Every year on the first weekend of June, the city conducts a Gingerbread Trail Home Tour.

Remember “The Munsters” 60’s sitcom show? You can find a replica of the house here in Waxahachie. The owner designed and built it based on the footage of the show.

If you like biking or hiking, you can start your day trip in the city by visiting G etzendaner Park . It has a separate trail for bikers and hikers, where you will find interesting things along the trail. I like hiking here.

To end your day trip, take a Wa xahachie Haunted History Tour that starts at 8.30 p.m. from the Courthouse Square on most Saturday nights. It will last around 2 hours, depending on the number of participants in the tour.

Distance: 1 hour to the southeast.

waxahachie_texas_two worlds treasures


Located between Fort Worth and Mineral Wells, Weatherford is home to two beautiful gardens. Chandor Gardens, which was designed and inspired by formal English gardens, and Clark Gardens, which was featured on HGTV’s “Great American Gardens.”

Weatherford is also the home of the First Monday Trade Days, held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before the first Monday of each month. You will find farm animals, tools, antiques, collectibles, home decor, clothing jewelry, and so much more at this market. Our son was excited when he found a vendor selling Lego pieces here.

When you drive to the downtown area, you will be welcomed from afar by the Parker County Courthouse. It stands tall in the middle of downtown, surrounded by antiques, boutiques, and specialty stores on one side. The Farmers Market is not too far from here, where you can find Weatherford’s famous peaches. My favorite time to visit the Farmers Market is the Fall season when all kinds and sizes of pumpkins decorate the areas.  

Distance: 40 minutes to the west.

weatherford_texas_two worlds treasures

A must stop when you drive on I-35 between Fort Worth and Waco for… kolaches. Of course, that’s not the only thing you can do in West.

Next time you drive by this Czech heritage capital of Texas, go a few miles to the historic downtown area. Visit the History of West Museum, where you will learn about this town, from the arrival of the first settlers in the 1850s, the railroad, farming & ranching, military veterans, the Czech and German immigrants, and the West Fertilizer Company explosion in 2013. It’s free, and the volunteers are friendly.

The West Depot is now home to a railroad museum and information center. You will find information and old photographs of the railroad and its connection to the West community.

A stop at West can easily make it on your way to Waco.

Distance: 1 hour to the south.

day hiking trips from dallas

There are cities we still have to visit for day trips from Fort Worth. I will add them to the list after we visit those cities.

If you’d like to spend more time around Fort Worth, don’t worry. I’ve covered you with the best of Fort Worth photo spots . Put on your boots and cowboy hats, and you’ll get the best pictures for your next Christmas card or social media feed.

In the meantime, please pin and share this post with your family and friends who plan to visit Fort Worth. Or, if you live in the Fort Worth area, it is time to explore these cities. Traveling does not have to fly or drive for hours during vacation time. You can do it on the weekend.

Let me know your favorite day trips from Fort Worth by leaving a comment below. I will check it out if it’s not on the list yet. Remember. It has to be 2 hours or under 2 hours.

the best day trips from fort worth_texas_two worlds treasures

Thank you for sharing this:

Umiko Buhl is a travel blogger and the founder of Two Worlds Treasures. She travels around Texas to neighboring states and around the country with her family and dog from their family home in the south of Dallas/Fort Worth. Originally from Indonesia, she tries to go home every 2-3 years to spend time with her families and friends while exploring Indonesia. Her mission is to share her honest reviews of places she visited.

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Thank you for this amazing piece on day trips from Fort Worth; I love your writing style and feel every line of your writing.

Hi Leonie! I’m glad you enjoy reading this article. I hope you find it useful, too.

  • Pingback: Fun and FREE Things to Do in Glen Rose, Texas You Cannot Miss!

I loved reading about your day trip experience in Fort Worth. Your descriptions really made it come alive for me. Happy travels!

Thank you! And have a wonderful travels to you, too!

I had no idea that the Fort Worth area is so exited, and there are so many attractions and places to see. I would love to visit Canton First Monday Trade Days, Denton, and Dublin for sure. It would be great to see gardens in Weatherford.

There are so many things to see around Fort Worth. Canton First Monday Trade Days is one of my favorite.

Wowee, there is a TON to explore near Fort Worth! We’re big time day trippers when we’re home as well.

Isn’t it a wonderful things to do?

Texas is high on my bucket list, feels like there’s just so much to do! You’ll find me in Denton mural hunting and Granbury for its number one ranking! I do love a good historic town 🙂

You made the best choices. 🙂

Such a big list of places to see and in great detail. I’d love to visit Canton, Flea Markets are always such fun and this sounds like a good place to find something unique 🙂

Yes! You can always find everything in Canton. I like that place.

This is one of the plus points of the pandemic this year- it’s really given us all a chance to explore our own regions. You are soo lucky to have soo many cool little towns on your doorstep! I really like the look of Waxahachie and Hico. 🙂

You are right! And we can do it in a safe way by visiting during the week, wearing masks, and keep our social distances.

Wow, I would love to go to Canton and check out the flea market, as well as the historical town of Granbury. Also my brother lived in Waxahachie for awhile, first time I’ve seen it mentioned in a travel article so that’s fun! Great list here.

Canton is our favorite flea market. There’s always something new every time we went there. We also visit Granbury and Waxahachie frequently. I just like Texas’ historic downtown vibes there.

Wow, thanks so much for sharing! This looks like such a great trip! I’ve bookmarked this so I can use it for tips when I’m planning my next weekend get a away!

The list is really great.

Thanks for collating such a travel list. much appreciated.

So pretty! I am getting ready to go to Texas in May. So I will see if I can make a pit stop at any of these locations!

Let me know if you need more info about Texas.

This is a great option for anyone living int his area. I have a cousin who lives in Denton and really loves it. I may have to visit her one day and take a couple of day trips.

That’s great!

I’ve never been to Fort Worth but so happy to know theres so many day trips to take from this point. I only know of Waco because of Chip & Jo’s show on HGTV, I would would love to visit there some day.

We’ll be happy to have you here. 🙂

I like road trips. I would love to take road trips during summer.

I’ve never explored Texas before, but I am totally up for going now! And I have an awesome guide to follow now 🙂

Amazing that there’s so many places to go to from Fort Worth in such a short drive!

I would love to visit Glen Rose and Weatherford. I always hear about great places to visit there. I am going to have to plan a trip there soon.

I have never been to Texas before. But, there are so many wonderful choices to choose. I would love to see the Old West!

Wow lots of beautiful places in Texas I love the beautiful structures in WEATHERFORD. Awesome photos!

I love reading your posts. It’s always full of things to do in every place you’ve been to. These are guides that will really benefit people.

I like the variety of views. Its good to break some daily routine eh?

So true, although not too many people take the opportunity.

I’ve been a fan of the Fixer Upper show. It’s always made me want to visit TX. This post made me want to go even more. Might be a trip we’ll be taking as a fam this summer.

That will be great!

There are so many options that I’ve never even thought about. While I’ve been to Dallas and Denton, I’d love to head over to Canton, Glen Rose and Granbury one of these days. The history alone would grab me.

You will love it there! Let me know when you come here. I can help you more with your visit.

Maybe ONE day I will go back to Texas. I was there in 2017 for a quick weekend for the Superbowl – in Austin – and had some GREAT bbq!

Texas will wait for you!

These are great bits and pieces about fort worth! You’ve done an amazing job collecting all these information.

this is a good road trips I will save this cuz I live in San Antonio Texas and this is a great way to explore more about Texas

That’s great! You can always contact me if you have more questions about Fort Worth and the surrounding area. I will be more than happy to help you.

I have only ever flown in and out of Fort Worth, looks like it is worth scheduling some stopover time – I love that a hotel is called the Nutt House!

Yes! You must make come and stay for a few days. So much to see and do here.

I’m a huge fan of road trips and day trips! It’s been awhile since I’ve visited Texas, time for another visit — including my bucket list stop of Magnolia Silos.

I haven’t really explored Texas that much but we would definitely love to visit Glen Rose. My kids are fascinated with dinosaurs. So, it would be exciting to visit the Dinosaur Valley State Park.

These are great suggestions. Such a great list. This is one of our favorite day trips from Fort Worth. If you like arts and antiques, the Design District is your place to go.

Thanks for this comprehensive post. I’ve saved it for our eventual trip to Texas!

Let me now if you need more information.

Waco definitely has been put on the map thanks to Fixer upper, but i love the history the area offers!! Pinning for a future trip to Texas!

It truly is more than the Magnolia Market. Let me know if you need more info.

These little towns look like great day trips from Fort Worth. It’s an area I would like to explore.

And I’m a bit sad because most of the people I know don’t know about any of these small towns.

These look like such great day trips from Fort Worth, Texas! I’d love to visit Waco some day!

This is a great post with plenty of suggestions for people to visit places of interest that are reasonably close to Fort Worth. The flea market would be high on my list, I’m sure it’s interesting to browse the stalls. Glen Rose would definitely be interesting to visit and see what the dinosaurs left behind. I’ve never visited Texas.

I hope one day you will find yourself here. 🙂

These are great suggestions if one every find themselves in this area! Texas is one of my favorite places to visit….thanks for featuring so many option!

You are welcome!

There are so many options there! We are planning a RV trip to the west part of USA. But we are unsure if something there is suitable for our family. So it is nice to see that something could be interested by our kids as well.

I’m glad you bumped into this post. Yeah, U.S. are not NYC, LA, or Las Vegas only.

Very nice blog on day-tripping from Fort Worth. In your blog you have described the Canton market which one is the largest flea market in America and away from just a 2-hour drive from Texas. I love the market because I love antique collectibles and other arts and crafts availability over there. I would put the name for my next travel destination.

It’s one of my favorite. Sometimes we came home with a small thing, but we always enjoyed our time there.

I love traveling for history and these day trips from Fort Worth seem to have an abundance of history and culture. Granbury seems like the perfect choice for me by virtue of being voted at the Best Historic Small Town. I would also love to go check out Canton for the largest flea market. That seems like an exciting choice.

I was surprised on my first visit to these towns. I didn’t expect to see the history, but that’s what I found.

I’m not a big shopper so Canton probably isn’t the place for me but I’d love to explore the art galleries and museums in Dallas though. I’m a big fan of street art so I’d be happy finding all the colourful murals in Denton, I’m not familiar with the goatman story, I’m curious to know! I’d be well up for the hiking trails in Dinosaur Valley State Park and taking in the nature. A great selection of trips from Fort Worth!

Great ideas here and even though I haven’t been to Fort Worth it is on the list. I also want to check out Dallas and Waco, as I have heard so much about them but never heard of the other places before. Now you have given me some more food for thought and I think I need a few extra days to check out these hidden gems. What the heck is that eye thing outside the building in Dallas? :O

Haha… It is actually part of the exhibition in Chicago in 2007. After it collected lots of dust and put it in a storeroom, a Dallas hotel owner bought it and installed it at the yard across the hotel to attract people attention. And it works.

It has been a lot of time since I was last in Texas. And missed Fort Worth entirely. So great to know there are also good day trips from Fort Worth. Hubby would definitely want to visit the flea market in Canton on First Monday Trade Days. He would probably spend the whole day. I am sure that visiting Denton for the Arts and Jazz Festival in April would be a lot of fun to plan. And we would have to see Granbury if it was voted the Best Historic Small Town. And a visit to Waco would be essential since we do watch Chip and Joanna on tv!

Glad to see someone who missed Fort Worth. Canton and Granbury are always our favorites. Sometimes we didn’t buy anything from Canton. Just strolling from one vendor to another vendor, and of course for a funnel cake. 😉 I can’t wait to see Chip and Joanna’s new project to be open to the public. I hope one day you will turn to North Texas again during your travel.

Wow, so many great options within a relatively short drive from Fort Worth…great list! I’d have to say First Monday Trade Days in Canton and exploring Granbury would be among my first stops, I love getting lost in history! (It must be such an unusual sight to see a cabin within a house. It’s hard to even imagine.)

You chose two of the best stops, which are also our favorites. We’re thinking about going to Canton this weekend, since it’s the First Monday Trade Days.

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