12 Family-Friendly Day Trips to Escape Dallas, Texas

Whether you call Dallas your home or are just visiting for the weekend, there are many incredible weekend getaways to have some time outside of the big city. If you are looking for a day trip or a more extended road trip, the Lone Star State has an adventure for you! From small towns to the Texas Hill Country to larger cities, our list of the best day trips from Dallas is sure to spark your wanderlust.

Exploring Dallas, Texas

Affectionately known as the lovely "Big D," Dallas presents a booming hub for business, foodies, culture, and opportunity. It is the 9th largest city in the USA and the 3rd largest in Texas, with over 1,200,000. In addition, D-town is the working place of 21 Fortune 500 companies and a handful of professional sports teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Stars, and the Texas Rangers.

Dallas is also home to over 200 golf courses in the city, the larger-than-life 'Big Tex' at the Texas State Fair (which sadly burned down in 2012 but has been rebuilt to all of its glory). The Galleria Dallas also houses the tallest indoor Christmas tree (in the country)!

12 Family-Friendly Day Trips from Dallas

1. Fort Worth (Duh)

Fort Worth may even be confused with Dallas from someone who is not a Texan. Nope-it is its own city with character, charm, and plenty to do. Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) was actually a misnomer from 1971 when the airport of the same name was founded.

Located 32 miles west of Dallas, "Cowtown" is a place of pure country bliss. Head to the famous Fort Worth Stockyards, where you can watch one of two daily cattle drives, or head to the world's only year-round rodeo (on the weekends only). Another favorite is two-stepping at Billy Bob's Texas, which is the world's biggest Honky Tonk!

2. Boating on Lake Texoma, Oklahoma

Nestled 88 miles (about 1.5 hours) north of Dallas, Lake Texoma is a fantastic escape for nature lovers to spend some time outside! Built by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Texoma is one of the most enormous reservoirs in the country, attracting six million visitors every year.

The lake is 139-square miles, and the area is popular for boating, kayaks, horseback riding, biking, hunting, hiking, and camping. If you visit, you will see why this is one of our favorite day trips from Dallas.

3. Chip and Joanna Gaines in Waco

Situated 1.5 hours south of Dallas, Waco is a beautiful place to spend a day or a weekend. Known initially for Baylor University and the Dr. Pepper Museum, Waco changed drastically once HGTV's Fixer Upper became a smashing hit.

Residents Chip and Joanna Gaines have successfully made the charming college town a nationwide destination. Visitors now come from all over to peruse the silos, gardens, Magnolia Market, and to have a bite at the Magnolia Table restaurant.

4. Keeping It Weird In Austin

Texas' state capital boasts a live-music mecca with incredible BBQ, tacos, outdoor recreation, history museums, the Texas Longhorns, and cute neighborhoods perfect for shopping and people-watching. Take the 3.5-hour drive to Austin, and you will not be disappointed.

5. Explore The Canton Flea Market

Sixty miles east of Dallas lies Canton, home to one of the larger flea markets you'll ever see. Over 5,000 vendors sell things from clothing to home decor to antiques to eccentric art to everything under the sun. The First Monday Trade Days flea market occurs every month on Thursday through Sunday preceding the first Monday of each month.

6. Dig Up Dinosaur Valley State Park

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You can find Dinosaur Valley State Park one hour southwest of Dallas in Glen Rose, Texas. This is an incredible place to bring the kiddos or dinosaur-lovers as you can walk in their ancient tracks, dig for artifacts, and explore 20 miles of trails. If you are into camping, reserve a site, bring the kayaks, and have a grand 'ol adventure.

7. Rock Out In Denton

If Dallas is the "Big D," then Denton would be the "Lil D."

This lovely town boasts an artsy vibe complete with live music, the University of North Texas, and its historic downtown. Just 45 minutes from Dallas, Denton is an easy trip for those needing a break. Grab a bite, catch a show, and tour the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum, a free museum that breaks down the town's history. Don't forget to get lost in Recycled Books before you head home!

8. Zip-Line Turner Falls Park

Nestled 130 miles north of Dallas, in Davis, Oklahoma, Turner Falls Park is a nature lover's dream. The park provides epic swimming holes, Turner Falls (the largest waterfall in Oklahoma), and a 777-foot zip line that boasts soaring views of the surrounding area. The park also showcases the Arbuckle Mountains, which is the oldest formation between the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains,

9. Smell The Roses In Tyler

Ninety-seven miles from Dallas is the East Texas town of Tyler, known as the Rose Capital of America. Surrounded by the piney woods, Tyler offers its famous rose garden, Tyler State Park, and the Thirsty Pines Tour. Visit in October and witness the rose garden in full bloom, with over 38,000 rose bushes spanning over 14 acres.

10. Hunt Ghosts In Jefferson


This 19th-century town is nestled a 2.5-hour drive from the city, thriving with historic homes, lovely hotels, and over 100 historical landmarks. Jefferson is also known to be one of the most haunted small towns in the state, and paranormal-loving folks travel from around the region to learn about the legends and history of the town. Jefferson is also where the Big Cypress Bayou resides, a beautiful series of wetlands that make up a section of the giant Cypress forests in the entire world.

11. Go Fishing In Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Broken Bow is Beavers Bend State Park, which sits in the alpine region on the shores of Broken Bow Lake and Mountain Fork River. Discover the hiking trails that meander through pine and hardwoods, ride your bike next to the lake, try your luck at fishing, or spend a few days camping at one of the designated sites.

12. Spend A Night In The Lufkin Woods

A staple of East Texas, Lufkin comprises 12 counties and is known for its dense forests, its annual heritage festival, and ample outdoor recreation. The area's main attraction is the Davy Crockett National Forest, which boasts over 160,000 acres of woodlands, wildlife, water, and more. As a result, Lufkin is easily one of our favorite day trips from Dallas.

Have you day-tripped to any of these Dallas-area spots? Share your trip on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!

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