2020 is certainly The Year of the Road Trip! And if you and your family live in Dallas, you might be very interested in fun Day Trips from Dallas! I’m defining a day trip as a destination within 100 miles of Dallas. So basically, about a 90 minute car ride there, and a 90 minute car ride back to Dallas. No hotels or overnight stays required!
Day Trips from Dallas
Texas is a big ol’ state, y’all. In many parts of the country, a 100 mile radius of a major city could land you in entirely different states! But not Texas! We always laugh when we talk about taking a road trip: the longest part of the trip is just simply leaving our state.
To give you context about distances, it’s 230 miles from Dallas to Houston, it’s 275 miles from Dallas to San Antonio, 200 miles from Dallas to Austin, 625 miles from Dallas to El Paso, and 380 miles from Dallas to Amarillo. Yup. It’s a big big state!
So, Day Trips from Dallas that fall within 100 miles are going to include lots of small towns. And I think that is AWESOME! I love a fun small town! Sometimes more than the big cities. Small towns have so much character and charm. Less traffic. More meringue-topped pies. Let’s check out some of my favorite attractions near Dallas!
Best Things to do in Ft. Worth
Of course we must start with Ft. Worth, when we talk about day trips from Dallas. Ft. Worth is 30 miles west of Dallas. My mother grew up in Ft. Worth, and I’ve spent a lot of time there. And like many cities, it has changed a lot over the years. It’s nick-name is “Cow Town”, because of the Ft. Worth Stockyards. But, Ft. Worth is not just cowboy boots and ten-gallon hats. It has a VERY vibrant arts scene! Here’s my recommendations:
- Ft. Worth Stockyards: The Fort Worth Stockyards is a historic district that is located in Fort Worth, Texas, north of the central business district. A 98-acre portion encompassing much of the district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Fort Worth Stockyards Historic District in 1976. Lots of restaurants, shopping, and bars.
- Ft, Worth Cultural District: The Amon Carter Museum of American Art, the Kimbell Art Museum, the Modern Art Museum of Ft. Worth are just a few examples of the outstanding collection of museums and opportunities for cultural enrichment in Ft. Worth!
- The Ft. Worth Zoo: An exceptional Zoo, not far from the Cultural District. Remember it’s REALLY hot in Texas from June-October, so plan your visit accordingly!
Best Things to do in Waco
It used to be that when folks thought about Waco, they’d think Baylor University, or maybe the singer Pat Green. Today, it’s all about Chip and Joanna Gains! Waco is 95 miles south of Dallas.
- Magnolia Market at the Silos: is a shopping complex that encompasses two city blocks in downtown Waco, Texas. It is marked by two 120’ high silos, built in 1950 as part of the Brazos Valley Cotton Oil Company. There’s shops, a garden center, food trucks, and LOTS of people! Owned by HGTV “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Joanna Gaines.
- Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum: This museum disseminates knowledge and inspires appreciation of the Texas Rangers, a legendary symbol of Texas and the American West. Visitor can experience exhibits, artifacts, artwork and archives relating to the Texas Ranger service.
- The Dr. Pepper Museum: We Texans love our Dr. Pepper! Built in 1906 by architect Milton Scott, the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company was the first building dedicated to the manufacturing of Dr Pepper. Creating a Dr. Pepper Museum was the vision of a few devoted enthusiasts of both Dr. Pepper and its history. The Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company became the Dr. Pepper Museum in 1989, then the Dr. Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute in 1997. Today it is the Museum’s largest artifact and a tribute to the imagination and talent that fueled Dr. Pepper’s success throughout the years.
Fun Locations West of Dallas
Once you venture past Ft. Worth, Texas becomes wide open spaces, filled with thousands of interesting small towns! Two of my favorites within 100 miles of Dallas are Granbury and Glen Rose!
- Granbury is 80 miles southwest of Dallas. The Granbury Town Square is historic and adorable, and is filled with great antique shops, restaurants and diversions. Don’t miss the Granbury Opera House and the Hood County Jail and Museum.
- Glen Rose is south of Granbury, and 80 miles west of Dallas. It’s known for Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. Visitors can take a self-guided 7 mile tour, and see live animals, many typically found in the plains of Africa. Another popular attraction is Dinosaur Valley State Park, where visitors can find dinosaur tracks, camp, picnic, hike, mountain bike, swim, fish and paddle in the river, watch for wildlife, look for a geocache, ride your own horse, or visit the interpretive center.
Best Things to Do in East Texas
I’ve written two Blog Posts on East Texas Day Trips from Dallas. I love Eat Texas, and my family, and Will’s family, have ties going back to the early 1900’s in East Texas. You can learn more about fun things to do in towns like Tyler and Athens, which are within 100 miles of Dallas, by clicking here. And, you can learn about fun places to pick fresh berries, especially blueberries, by clicking here.
Southeast Texas Attractions
- Corsicana: If you are a fan of Netflix, then you likely watched the hit documentary series “Cheer”, following the nationally ranked 40-member Navarro College Bulldogs Cheer Team from Corsicana, Texas, as they prepared to compete in the National Cheerleading Championship held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida. Well, there’s more to Corsicana than cheerleaders (and they are AWESOME….by the way!). Any visit to Corsicana, which is 65 miles southeast of Dallas, should include a stop at the famous Collin Street Bakery, known for amazing fruitcake. Yes….fruitcake can be amazing. Historic downtown Corsicana is darling, And, I can also highly recommend a stop at the Uniquely Yours Village for lunch and shopping, which I detailed in this Blog Post.
Fun Places to Visit North of Dallas
- McKinney: Just 36 miles north of Dallas lies McKinney, Texas. This charming town has changed DRAMATICALLY in the last 10 years, and the population is booming! But, Historic Downtown McKinney is a wonderful place to spend the day! There’s fun shopping, a vibrant arts scene, food tours, and history tours, and so much more!
- Prosper: I’m including Prosper for one specific reason! My good buddy Mike Pettis owns The Gin, serving up the most delicious food, live music, and a strawberry cake that will KNOCK YOUR SOCKS OFF. Worth the 40 mile drive north of Dallas, I promise you!
All right. Feel inspired to experience one of these many day trips from Dallas? I sure hope so! And be sure and let me know YOUR favorite spots, within 100 miles of Dallas! I’m ALWAYS up for a road-trip!!!
Tags: Antiques | Athens | Corsicana | Dallas | Day Trip | East Texas | Ft. Worth | Glen Rose | Granbury | McKinney | Prosper | Road Trip | Texas | Texas History | Texas State Parks | Tyler | Waco | West Texas
Mary, this is the best quick reference guide for Day Trips! I’m excited to get out of town and explore then sleep in my own bed! You are the best!
You MADE my day friend! Thank you for your kind comment!!!! xoxo
Mary…Add in Abilene. The National Center for Children’s Literature is there. It’s a great spot and usually has kid friendly activities scheduled on weekends. The town is called the “Storybook Capital” because of all the sculptures around town from beloved children’s books. Also their downtown has some neat history as well as outdoor vendors – usually weekends.
Hey Laura! Thank you so much for the recommendation! I have not been to Abilene in years! Clearly I need to plan a visit!
Fantastic list of day trips from here in Dallas. Forgot about Fossil Rim… definitely somewhere I want to take my kids to experience. Thank you for the reminder.
YES! Thank you for mentioning Fossil Rim! GREAT place to visit!!!
Tyler is a nice spot with a charming zoo in case the kids are not into roses!
I agree! Great place for a family outing!