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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

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.

Arlington

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

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

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

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

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

Fort Worth is one of the best day trips from Dallas.

Plano, Texas 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.

Southlake

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

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.

Glen Rose

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

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.

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

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.

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!