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!
Getting Around Dallas and Beyond
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.
Half-day Trips from Dallas
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!
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!
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.
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.”
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.
Full-day Trips From Dallas
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!
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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Don’t Forget Your Dallas Travel Insurance
It’s good to get lost sometimes, but it’s also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.
There’s one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans… World Nomads!
Click the button below to get a quote on your insurance or read our in-depth review of World Nomads’ coverage. And then… let the shenanigans begin. 😉
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?
Bye for now, but not forever!
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