40+ Best Weekend Getaways from Dallas, Texas: Outdoor Adventure, Small Towns & More
December 2, 2021
If you are looking for a weekend trip from Dallas, look no further! The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is centrally located in the United States, so there is no shortage of weekend trips for a mini-vacation from the area.
This list of over 40 weekend trip ideas from Dallas includes tons of outdoor adventures, charming small towns, hiking trails and more!
Whether you are planning a weekend road trip with your significant other, friends or your family, use this list as a starting point for planning an epic adventure!
All trips on this list are under a 7 hour drive away and include recommendations on when to visit, where to stay, and things to do.
Fort Worth is a quick getaway from Dallas with so much to offer! While the city is most known for the iconic Fort Worth Stockyards and western culture, I personally love exploring the modern downtown area and the museums even more than the Stockyards. No matter how to spend your time, there is plenty to fill up a weekend of exploring in Fort Worth!
Where to Stay in Fort Worth
When to Visit Fort Worth
The Fort Worth Stockyards host the world’s only year round rodeo, so anytime of year is fair game, but I recommend avoiding the heat of the summer months. If you want to visit during a fun event, Mayfest takes place in early May and has live music and activities for the whole family.
Things To Do in Fort Worth
- Climb down into the unique and picturesque Fort Worth Water Gardens, a water fountain that you can explore from giant steps!
- If you love art, make some time for visits to the Kimbell Art Museum and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. The museums are very impressive!
- For the classic Fort Worth cowboy experience, the Fort Worth Stockyards are a must-visit! Here you can have a drink in a saloon, attend the rodeo and see the daily cattle drive.
- If you love street art, take a stroll through the colorful Inspiration Alley.
- The Fort Worth Botanic Garden is a beautiful place to explore the grounds and spend an afternoon.
Denison is a small town that hugs the border of Texas and Oklahoma. It is known for being the birthplace of former president Dwight Eisenhower but I have been impressed by the art scene, the vibrant downtown Main Street and the nature nearby.
Where to Stay in Denison
For a relaxing and peaceful stay, I recommend glamping at Paradise on Lake Texoma Resort Campground or staying in these beautiful Tiny Cabins on Airbnb. If hotels are more your speed, there are a variety of hotel options in Denison.
When to Visit Denison
Visit during the summertime or when it’s warm outside if you want to spend time swimming in Lake Texoma! Otherwise, anytime of year is nice to visit this area.
Things To Do in Denison
- Explore colorful Main Street and the many shops and restaurants. Visit the boutique 410 Collective for gifts and coffee, the Incubator Rail Yard food hall for a variety of food options and 1880 Ice House for patio seating.
- Eisenhower State Park is right on Lake Texoma and offers hiking, OHV trails and swimming. Rocky cliffs border the lake and make for beautiful scenery.
- If you like history, make a stop at the Eisenhower birthplace, where you can tour the home where Dwight Eisenhower was born.
- Waterloo lake regional park is another great park for hiking. Here you can hike to a cave or enjoy peaceful views of the lake.
Glen Rose is a charming small town that is home to one of my favorite north Texas state parks: Dinosaur Valley! During your trip to Glen Rose, you can explore the trails, swim in the Paluxy River and enjoy the peaceful scenery of the area.
Dinosaur Valley offers some of the best hiking trails near Dallas!
Where to Stay in Glen Rose
For a gorgeous and unique place to stay, be sure to check out Skybox Cabins. Their Birdhouse cabin is treehouse inspired and offers an amazing view. Note that Skybox Cabins are expensive and book up quickly, but there are also a variety of other hotels in Glen Rose to meet your needs.
When to Visit Glen Rose
Visit during warm weather to make the most out of swimming in the Paluxy River! April is also a fantastic time to visit to see the Texas bluebonnets.
Things To Do in Glen Rose
- Dinosaur Valley State Park has miles of hiking trails and is a great place to swim. You can also see real dinosaur tracks right along the Paluxy River.
- Explore historic downtown Glen Rose, where you’ll find the Somerville County Museum and a variety of shops and restaurants.
- Climb over giant boulders and go swimming at Big Rocks Park, located right next to town.
- Go on a safari at Fossil Rim, a wildlife center focused on conservation.
Tyler is a small city in the East Texas Piney Woods with a great mix of restaurants and cultural activities. In Tyler, you can enjoy the beautiful downtown, go hiking nearby and visit interesting museums and gardens.
Where to stay in Tyler
For a unique and local stay, check out Rosevine Inn Bed and Breakfast, a centrally located accommodation with breakfast included. If this doesn’t meet your needs, there are a variety of hotels in Tyler for any budget.
When to Visit Tyler
To see the Tyler Rose Garden in peak bloom, visit in mid-late May or October.
Things to do in Tyler
- Tyler State Park is an amazing hiking destination in North Texas. You can hike through the Piney Woods forest, go swimming or paddling in the lake and even explore some of the trails via mountain bike.
- Visit Kiepersol Winery and Distillery outside of town to enjoy a tasting on a farm or True Vine Brewing Company for craft beer served in a large outdoor patio space.
- Tyler Rose Garden is 14-acres and has over 500 types of roses and other plants. Visit in October to see the roses in bloom and to attend the Rose Garden Festival.
- If you are interested in planes, be sure to visit the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum.
For a relaxing and romantic glamping getaway, book a stay at the Getaway Cabins in Piney Woods. The cabins are located in a secluded, forested area and have beautifully designed interiors.
Getaway Piney Woods is perfect for a romantic getaway from Dallas! Actually, my partner proposed to me here!
When to Visit Getaway Piney Woods
Anytime of year is great for the Getaway Cabins, but I enjoyed visiting in the winter to get all of the cozy feelings!
Things To Do at the Getaway Cabins
- Spend time outside by the fire pit and make some s’mores.
- Explore the hiking trails on the property.
- Read a book or spend time journaling.
- Lock up your phone is their phone lockbox and connect with your partner or write a letter to your future self.
Waco is most known for the Magnolia Silos but there is a ton to do in this central Texas city! There is something for everyone, whether you’re looking for history, home decor, outdoor activities or great food. Waco can be an easy day trip from Dallas, but it’s worth spending an entire weekend to see more of what the city has to offer.
Where to Stay in Waco
When to Visit Waco
Anytime of year is nice to visit Waco, but I recommend avoiding the heat of the summer.
Things to do in Waco
- The Magnolia Silos are an iconic place to visit during your trip to Waco! Visit for a pastry and some shopping if you are a fan of the HGTV show ‘Fixer Upper.’
- Waco is home to an impressive collection of mammoth fossils! Visit Mammoth National Monument to learn about how the mammoths who roamed the area thousands of years ago.
- Did you know that Dr Pepper originated in Texas? Visit the Dr Pepper Museum to learn all about the history and to taste some unique soda flavors!
- If you enjoy hiking, visit Cameron Park for miles of trails and views overlooking the Brazos River.
Hico’s tagline is “Where Everybody is Somebody” and you’ll feel right at home in this welcoming small town. There are quaint shops, historic buildings and some beautiful murals around town.
Where to stay in Hico
Hico offers a beautiful glamping location at Off the Vine RV Park! The beautifully decorated trailers are the perfect place to relax and unwind.
When to Visit Hico
Anytime of year is nice to visit Hico, but spring and fall will offer the best weather for exploring.
Things to do in Hico
- Step back into western outlaw history at the Billy the Kid Museum.
- Explore the shops and restaurants in quaint downtown Hico. I recommend visiting 2nd Street Bakeshop for breakfast, Flacas Fitness & Brews for a smoothie and Hico Mercantile for a variety of gifts inside of an old Opera House.
Paris, Texas is a small town east of Dallas that holds the title of the second largest “Paris” in the world. The town has some beautiful architecture and some quirky attractions that make it a great place for a relaxing weekend getaway.
Where to stay in Paris
For a trendy place to stay in Paris, be sure to check out the 1st Street Lofts on Airbnb, the single bedroom lofts are beautifully decorated in an art deco style. For more options, there are a variety of hotels to choose from in Paris.
When to Visit Paris
Anytime is nice to visit Paris, Texas, but as with all of Texas, you may want to avoid the summer due to very hot temperatures.
Things to do in Paris
- Be sure to visit the iconic and humorous Eiffel Tower wearing a cowboy hat!
- Another quirky and hidden gem is the Jesus statue wearing cowboy boots in Evergreen Cemetery. It’s a unique and quick stop!
- Visit the beautiful Culbertson Fountain and take a stroll around downtown to discover the local shops and restaurants.
- For hiking nearby, take a drive out of town to Cooper Lake State Park or Bonham State Park.
Salado is a small town near Austin full of outdoor activities, wineries, history and more. There is plenty to do for a romantic weekend trip or weekend getaway with kids.
Where to stay in Salado
The Inn on the Creek is a historic hotel with beautiful Victorian architecture. It is right on the banks of the Salado Creek and includes a large porch and hammocks to relax outdoors.
When to Visit Salado
If you want to swim, visit Salado in the summer! For more mild weather, visit in the spring or fall.
Things to do in Salado
- See a glass blowing demonstration at Salado glassworks.
- Explore a unique variety of outdoor sculptures at the Salado Sculpture Park.
- Swim or hike to see beautiful waterfalls at Chalk Ridge Falls Park.
- Do a wine tasting at Salado Winery.
- Explore the businesses along the historic Royal Street District.
- See historic ruins from the 1800’s up close at the Salado College Ruins.
College Station is most known as the home of Texas A&M University, but has more to offer with nearby wineries and great restaurants. Stay at a unique lodge outside of town and explore the surrounding countryside a bit in addition to the city.
College Station is a great trip for the sport’s fan in your family!
Where to stay in College Station
7f Lodge has themed cabins inspired by world travel. You can stay in the Mexico cabin, the France cabin or even a cabin decked out for Texas A&M sport fans. So much detail and care has gone into the lodge and this makes for a truly unique and special stay.
When to Visit College Station
Anytime of year is nice to visit College Station. If you are interested in a Texas A&M football game, visit during the fall.
Things To Do in College Station
- Enjoy a winery outside of town at Messina Hof Winery or Peach Creek Vineyards.
- Visit Knox Wine Bar to have a drink inside of an art gallery.
- Enjoy local brews at the casual Blackwater Draw Brewing Company.
- Explore the university grounds or catch a football game at Texas A&M.
- Go hiking nearby at Somerville State Park, about 40 minutes outside of town.
Caddo Lake is on the border of Louisiana and Texas and is full of cypress trees with spanish moss. The lake is eerie and mysterious and perfect for exploring by boat. This whole area feels like nowhere else in Texas and is a must-visit spot only 3 hours from the DFW area.
Caddo Lake is one of most unique places in Texas and should be on everyone’s Texas nature bucket list.
Where to Stay in Caddo Lake
When to Visit Caddo Lake
Visit during the spring and fall for the best weather at Caddo Lake. You’ll see more greenery in the Spring, while the trees will be more of a reddish color in the fall.
Things To Do in Caddo Lake
- Gaze upon or kayak in Mill Pond at Caddo Lake State Park.
- Take a boat tour of the lake leaving from Uncertain, Texas. The guides know the lake well and can teach you about the wildlife.
- Explore the boutiques and restaurants in the town of Jefferson, which is full of antique shops and historic charm.
Broken Bow, Oklahoma is a wonderful getaway from DFW, known for a massive lake, cozy cabins and a variety of outdoor activities. This area has something for everyone and is great for kids and couples alike.
Where to stay in Broken Bow
There are many cute cabins in Broken Bow, I recommend searching for your perfect cabin on Airbnb.
When to Visit Broken Bow
If you plan on water recreation, summer is a great time to visit! Visiting in the fall is also a great time for fall foliage.
Things to do in Broken Bow
- Try your hand at kayaking over Class 2+ rapids on the Mountain Fork River. A variety of river outfitters are available for kayak rental and transportation up the river.
- Enjoy the hiking trails of Beavers Bend State Park. The Friends Loop trail is 1.5 miles and offers beautiful river views.
- Enjoy the wineries, breweries and restaurants in downtown Broken Bow. Options include Mountain Fork Brewery, Beavers Bend Brewery and Girls Gone Wine.
- Go kayaking, paddle boarding or swimming on Broken Bow Lake.
- Rent a jeep or ATV from Captains Hideaways and explore the off-roading trails in Ouachita National Forest.
- Go ziplining at Rugaru Adventures.
Austin, Texas is the capital city of Texas and has so much to offer! There is a great music scene, amazing food, outdoor activities and so much more. It’s a great city for a trip with friends and for anyone looking for a lively and fun city.
Austin is an amazing destination for a weekend girl’s trip from Dallas!
Where to stay in Austin
When to Visit Austin
Visit during the spring or fall for more mild and beautiful weather. If you love live music, consider visiting for the ACL music festival in early October.
Things to do in Austin
- Go swimming in the iconic Barton Springs.
- Go Paddle boarding or kayaking on Lady Bird Lake.
- Enjoy an aerial viewpoint at Mount Bonnell.
- Go shopping and enjoy the restaurants and bars on South Congress.
- Try as much delicious food as you can in Austin, especially when it comes to tacos and BBQ. A few spots that I recommend are Veracruz All Natural, Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ and Loro.
- Enjoy a fun outdoor patio space, such as Easy Tiger or Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden.
- For a unique and eclectic experience, visit Cathedral of Junk! This wild structure has been built with found objects over the course of many years. Be sure to call ahead to reserve a time and bring a donation.
Oklahoma City is a vibrant city that often feels overshadowed and forgotten because of cities like Austin. However, I find it to be an underrated city full of amazing art and history. The capital of Oklahoma has a lot going on and is great for either couples or families for a fantastic weekend trip.
I found Oklahoma City to be an underrated destination! If you love exploring cities, definitely add OKC to your list.
Where to stay in Oklahoma City
I love 21C Museum Hotels and the Oklahoma City one is my favorite location so far! It is located in a former factory and you’ll get to enjoy industrial vibes and modern art on every floor. If 21C isn’t for you, there are many more hotel options in Oklahoma City.
When to Visit Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City is great to visit year round! However, the fall and spring will provide the best temperatures.
Things to do in Oklahoma City
- Visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, a must-visit to learn about the Oklahoma City bombing that occured in 1995.
- Explore Factory Obscura: a large, interactive art exhibit! There are several rooms that create a unique and immersive art experience, where you can search for clues, touch the art and discover unique passageways. If you have been to any of the Meow Wolf locations, this is very similar!
- Enjoy some unique and quirky Route 66 stops like the Arcadia Round Barn and Pop’s Arcadia.
- Explore Bricktown for family fun like mini golf, local brews at Bricktown Brewery and more.
- Experience the beauty of Myriad botanical gardens, a botanic garden with amazing architecture. The glass, cylindrical building houses a tropical conservatory and there is an interesting LED lightshow at night.
The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge offers amazing hiking and wildlife viewing near DFW. The park is home to bison, prairie dogs, longhorn and other wildlife that you can easily see from your car. There are also amazing views and hiking trails for all difficulties.
Where to Stay in the Wichita Mountains
When to Visit the Wichita Mountains
Visit the Wichita Mountains in the spring or fall for the best weather!
Things To Do in the Wichita Mountains
- Enjoy the many hiking trails. I recommend The Narrows and the Forty Foot Hole trails for beautiful rock and river views.
- Visit the Quanah Parker Lake and dam.
- Look for wildlife as you drive and stop at the Prairie Dog town.
- Walk around and have a drink or snack in downtown Medicine Park.
- Drive to the top of Mount Scott for 360 views of the area.
Copper Breaks is one of the only Texas state parks to be named an international dark sky park, meaning it is amazing for stargazing! The park also has some great, short hiking trails and is a great place to relax in nature.
Where to Stay in Copper Breaks
I recommend camping inside of the park to experience the beautiful night skies! There are options for both RV camping and tent camping.
When to Visit Copper Breaks
Visit Copper Breaks during the spring or fall for the best weather.
Things To Do in Copper Breaks
- Admire the night skies when it gets dark.
- Hike the Juniper Ridge Trail and the Rocky Ledges trails.
- Bring a mountain bike and explore the biking trails.
- Participate in a guided ranger program.
Colorado Bend State Park is an amazing hiking and camping destination located in the northern part of Texas Hill Country. The park is most known for Gorman Falls, an impressive 70 foot waterfall, but is also an amazing place to swim in the summer months.
Where to stay at Colorado Bend
You can either camp inside the park or find a campsite or cabin nearby. The closest cabins to the park are located right outside the park at Bend General Store.
When to Visit Colorado Bend
Colorado Bend is great to visit in the summer if you plan on swimming! If you can’t stand high heat, visit during the spring or fall.
Things to do at Colorado Bend
- Hike the 3 mile moderate trail to see Gorman Falls.
- Hike the Spicewood Springs trail and go swimming in one of the picturesque swimming holes.
- Discover the other 30 miles of hike and bike trails that the park has to offer.
- Kayak in the Colorado River.
- Go on a wild caving tour (currently closed due to Covid-19).
Houston is one of the biggest cities in Texas and has so much to offer! It is most known for its NASA Space Center and ties to the oil industry, but is also full of many cultural institutions and unique activities.
Where to stay in Houston
When to Visit Houston
Houston is a nice winter destination because there are several great holiday activities around the city! If you can’t stand high temperatures, avoid the summer.
Things to do in Houston
- The Museum of Fine Arts has a beautiful collection of art spanning across 1000’s of years.
- Visit the Houston Space Center to learn all about the history of NASA space exploration. There are many immersive exhibits offered and you can get a behind the scenes look at locations like mission control on the tram tour.
- One unique Houston destination is the Art Car Museum, a museum focused on imaginative and elaborately constructed art cars.
- The Orange Show is an eclectic outdoor folk-art experience that features a pond, a stage, a museum and more made up of found objects.
- Essentially a branch of the Orange Show, the Beer can house is also worth visiting. It is a home made up of 50,000 recycled beer cans! Tours are available to learn about the unique attraction.
- Visit Discovery Green, an urban park that holds events and has something to offer for the whole family.
Buchanan Lake is a Texas Hill Country lake that is the perfect gateway to a variety of natural spots in the area. Explore the lake, hike in nearby Inks Lake or venture underground for a tour of Longhorn Caverns. This area has a great variety for those seeking both adventure and relaxation.
Where to stay at Buchanan Lake
The Painted Sky Inn is a beautiful place to stay right on the banks of Buchanan Lake. They offer cozy cabins and are the perfect place to watch the sunset each night.
When to Visit Buchanan Lake
Visit in the spring or the fall for the best temperatures. If you visit in the summertime, plan to go swimming!
Things to do at Buchanan Lake
- Go hiking and swimming at Inks Lake, a gorgeous Texas State Park. I recommend the Valley Spring Creek Trail, the Devil’s Backbone Nature Trail and the Pecan Flats Trail.
- Take a cave tour at Longhorn Caverns State Park, an impressive cave with a unique history just a few minutes away from Inks Lake.
- Have a drink at Torr Na Lochs Vineyard, a winery with an amazing view of Buchanan Lake.
- Take a Vanishing Texas River Cruise on Lake Buchanan and see birds, waterfalls and cliffs around the lake.
New Braunfels is a fun Texas Hill Country town where visitors come to float the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers, visit the Schlitterbahn Waterpark and enjoy the charming ambiance of historic Gruene.
Where to stay in New Braunfels
When to Visit New Braunfels
There are many water activities in New Braunfels, so visit in the summertime to enjoy the refreshing rivers!
Things to do in New Braunfels
- For family fun, visit the Schlitterbahn Waterpark, which is full of waterslides ranging from thrilling to relaxing.
- Enjoy a classic Texas Hill Country activity: river tubing! Many outfitters offer tube rentals and transportation shuttles for the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers.
- Visit Natural Bridge Caverns, where you can explore an incredible cave via a guided walking tour or by crawling through narrow caverns in a wild cave tour.
- Explore the shops and restaurants in Gruene, a charming and historic area. After some shopping, catch some live music at Gruene Hall, which is the oldest continually operating dance hall in Texas.
Quartz Mountain State Park is an Oklahoma park not far from the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The park is known for hiking trails, rock climbing and water recreation.
Where to stay in Quartz Mountain
When to Visit Quartz Mountain
Quartz Mountain is great to visit in the spring or fall for more mild weather.
Things to do at Quartz Mountain
- Explore the various hiking trails in the park, such as the Baldy Point trail, Cedar Valley trail and New Horizon trail.
- Explore via ATV in the 50-acre area for four wheelers open in the summer.
- Visit Quartz Mountain Fun Park for old-school amusement right outside of the park.
- Bring your mountain bike and explore the biking trails.
Dripping Springs is a small Texas Hill Country town in close proximity to beautiful natural locations along with wineries and distilleries. It is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing accommodation as a base and do some hill country exploring.
Where to stay in Dripping Springs
Havenwald is a cabin that feels straight out of a storybook, complete with stained glass windows and medieval touches. The property also has a Victorian cottage and is even building a castle!
When to Visit Dripping Springs
The spring and fall will offer the best weather, but really anytime of year is good for this area.
Things to do in Dripping Springs
- Do an olive oil tasting and tour the grounds at the impressive Texas Hill Country Olive Co.
- Shop, eat and drink in downtown Dripping Springs.
- Visit the nearby natural wonders of Hamilton Pool Preserve and Westcave.
- Hike and swim at nearby Pedernales Falls State Park.
- Enjoy sour beer and pizza on a farm at Jester King Brewery.
Mena, Arkansas is a small town surrounded by trails and natural beauty. The town has antique shops and is a charming place to visit and perfect to use as a base for exploring the nearby national forests and state parks.
Where to stay in Mena
When to visit Mena
Visit during the autumn months to see beautiful fall foliage!
Things to do in Mena
- Drive the Talimena Scenic Drive for amazing views and colorful trees in the fall.
- Explore the many hiking trails Ouachita National Forest.
- Explore nearby Queen Wilhelmina State Park, a park with amazing views.
Wimberley is a Texas Hill Country town with some of the best swimming holes in Texas. Wimberley also offers glamping, a vibrant downtown and hiking trails with great views.
Where to stay in Wimberley
I stayed in a Basecamp airstream Airbnb and absolutely loved it! Wimberley is an amazing place for glamping and enjoying the outdoors.
When to visit Wimberley
If you want to get the most out of the Wimberley swimming, visit in the summer or in late spring/early fall!
Things to do in Wimberley
- Jump into a fully-submerged cave at Jacob’s Well! Be sure to make a reservation in advance.
- Swim at the Blue Hole Regional Park, a swimming hole known for clear blue water surrounded by cypress trees.
- Explore the many shops and restaurants in downtown Wimberley.
- Visit some of the nearby Hill Country breweries and wineries. Check out Shady Llama for the chance to see llamas while enjoying a local brew!
- Hike to the top of Old Baldy for great views of the surrounding area.
Fredericksburg is one of the most iconic and popular Texas Hill Country towns, known for its German heritage and as a huge winery destination.
Fredericksburg is great for either a romantic trip or a girl’s trip!
Where to stay in Fredericksburg
When to visit Fredericksburg
Visit in April to see the famous Texas bluebonnets! (but expect crowds)
Things to do in Fredericksburg
- Take a winery tour along Highway 290! There are so many wineries, but some of my favorites include Signor Vineyards and Becker Vineyards.
- Hike to the summit of Enchanted Rock for amazing Hill Country views. Be sure to reserve a time slot in advance.
- Explore the many shops, restaurants and wineries on Main Street.
- Enjoy peach jam next to a pond full of lily pads at Das Peach Haus.
- Explore the nation’s largest working wildflower farm at Wildseed Farms.
Hot Springs, Arkansas is a unique town with a storied history, thermal hot springs and hiking trails. It is also home to Hot Springs National Park, the closest US National Park to Dallas! Spend a weekend exploring Bathhouse Row and enjoying everything the area has to offer.
Where to stay in Hot Springs
For a historic and centrally located hotel, look at The Waters Hot Springs, a neoclassical building within walking distance of the national park. For an extra unique stay, check out the Hot Springs Treehouses outside of town.
When To Visit Hot Springs
Visit during the fall to see fall foliage! Otherwise, anytime of year is nice for visiting Hot Springs.
Things to do in Hot Springs
- Admire and explore the various bathhouses on the bathhouse row. Be sure to check out the national park visitor center and Superior Bathhouse Brewery.
- Take a walk along the Grand Promenade and read the various plaques about the city’s history.
- Hike some of the many trails in the national park and take in the views at the Hot Springs Mountain Tower.
- Wander around Garvan Woodland Gardens and be sure to visit the Anthony Chapel and the Bob and Sunny Evans Tree House.
- Enjoy a traditional bathhouse spa treatment at Buckstaff or Quapaw Bathhouse.
While Hot Springs National Park is much different than most of the other US National Parks, it is the closest national park to Dallas! It is also the only US national park with a brewery inside of it.
San Antonio is the most visited city in Texas for good reason! With attractions like the riverwalk and the Alamo, there is something to do for everyone in this Texas Hill Country city. San Antonio is full of culture, delicious food and so much history.
Where to stay in San Antonio
There are many hotel and accommodation options in San Antonio. I recommend finding something centrally located and it’s a bonus if you can stay on the Riverwalk!
When to Visit San Antonio
San Antonio is beautiful around the holidays, when you can see the Riverwalk decked out in lights. Besides that, you’ll have the best weather in the spring and the fall.
Things to do in San Antonio
- Walk along the San Antonio Downtown Riverwalk or take a boat ride to see the surrounding shops and restaurants from the water!
- The Alamo is an iconic place to visit if you’re interested in Texas history. The site is free to visit with a timed entry ticket reserved in advance.
- While most people only go to the Alamo, I personally love visiting the other San Antonio Missions as well! There are four more missions that make up the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park. They are all unique with beautiful architecture and accessible via bike or by car.
- The San Antonio Japanese garden is free and quite impressive! It is a beautiful place for photography and full of waterfalls, bridges and exotic plants.
- The Pearl Brewery District is a vibrant area with a variety of restaurants and shops. On the weekends, you can visit a farmer’s market and sit on the lawn to enjoy your food!
Beaumont is a southeast Texas town that grew as a result of striking oil in the early 1900’s. Today, the city is full of art and culture and has several great natural areas to explore nearby.
Where to stay in Beaumont
There are several hotels in Beaumont, but I recommend the Holiday Inn Beaumont Plaza for a beautiful stay with great value.
When to visit Beaumont
Visit Beaumont in the fall or spring to avoid the high heat in the summer months.
Things to do in Beaumont
- Go kayaking and hiking in the nearby Big Thicket National Preserve.
- Visit nearby Texas state parks such as Sea Rim and Village Creek.
- Search for alligators from the boardwalks at Cattail Marsh Wetlands.
- Take in the beauty of the Shangri La Botanical Gardens.
- Stroll through the Antique Stores and other shops on Calder Avenue and look for murals in downtown Beaumont.
Galveston is an island located south of Houston with beaches, a quaint downtown and great nightlife. It makes for a fun vacation destination and is the perfect place to relax and enjoy views of the ocean.
Galveston is a great family-friendly destination to take your kids!
Where to stay in Galveston
There are a variety of hotels and bed and breakfasts around the island. Grand Galvez is one unique option if you’re interested in staying somewhere haunted!
When to visit Galveston
Like most places on this list, you’ll experience the best weather in the spring and the fall. Keep in mind that the most likely time to experience a tropical storm is in August and September, so you may want to avoid those months.
Things to do in Galveston
- Spend some time on historic Pleasure Pier, which is home to fun roller coasters and carnival games for the whole family.
- Explore the downtown area known as The Strand. I recommend stopping at MOD for coffee, La King’s Confectionery for ice cream or candy and getting a psychic reading done at The Witchery.
- Explore an aquarium or a rainforest inside of giant glass pyramids at Moody Gardens.
- Go paddling or hiking in Galveston Island State Park. (Be sure to bring bug spray!)
Tulsa is an Oklahoma city known for its art deco architecture, outdoor culture and great urban areas. The city is also a stop on Route 66 and a center for the oil industry.
Where to Stay in Tulsa
There are many hotels in Tulsa, but one unique spot I recommend is the Cedar Rock Inn for a bed and breakfast in an 1890 home.
When to Visit Tulsa
You’ll experience the best weather in Tulsa in the spring and the fall.
Things to do in Tulsa
- Enjoy art at the Gilcrease Museum and the Philbrook Museum of Art.
- Visit the Gathering Place, a park full of trails for both hiking and biking.
- Shop in a shipping container development at The Boxyard.
- Visit the unique Route 66 attraction, the Blue Whale of Catoosa, outside of town.
Caprock Canyons is a West Texas state park that is home to bison, prairie dogs and amazing hiking. The park has a remote feeling, amazing red-rock views and is a great destination for camping and backpacking.
Caprock Canyons is a great location for a beginner backpack trip - I did my first backpacking trip here and camped at the North Prong hike out campsite.
Where to Stay in Caprock Canyons
There are few accommodation options around the park, I recommend camping inside the park to get the full experience!
When to Visit Caprock Canyons
For the best temperatures, visit Caprock Canyon in the fall or spring.
Things to do in Caprock Canyons
- See the best views of the canyon from the Upper North Prong trail.
- Explore a unique cave on the Eagle Point trail.
- Take a scenic drive and look for bison and prairie dogs.
- Bring a bike to explore the nearby Caprock Canyons trailway.
Boerne is a Texas Hill Country town with a nice downtown area full of local shops and restaurants. There are also some great hiking spots and places to enjoy water activities nearby.
Where to Stay in Boerne
The Kendall is a historic hotel located in the heart of downtown Boerne. They offer several different rooms, including an old school house building!
When to visit Boerne
If you are interested in floating in the nearby Guadalupe River, summertime is a great time to visit Boerne! If you don’t like the heat, visit in the spring or fall.
Things To Do in Boerne
- Go hiking in the nearby Guadalupe River State Park.
- Go shopping on Main Street in downtown Boerne.
- Take a stroll in Cibolo Nature Center and Farm.
- Explore the Cave Without A Name.
Take a road trip to three very unique Oklahoma state parks, Gloss Mountain, Little Sahara and the Salt Plains! The Gloss Mountains are a small mountain range whose minerals mimic a shiny glass surface, Little Sahara is a 1,600-acre park full of sand dunes and the Salt Plains feature a saltwater lake and plains of salt.
Where to stay in Northern Oklahoma
Either camp in one of the parks or stay in a hotel in the nearby town of Alva.
When to Visit in Northern Oklahoma
Visit between April and October to dig for crystals in Great Salt Plains, but you may want to avoid this area during the highest heats of summer.
Things To Do in Northern Oklahoma
- Swim in the Great Salt Plains Lake, which has half the amount of salt as the ocean.
- Dig for crystals at Great Salt Plains State Park.
- Hike the Cathedral Mountain trail in Gloss Mountain State Park.
- Rent an ATV to explore the sand dunes at Little Sahara State Park.
Little Rock is the capital city of Arkansas and has some interesting historic sites, a vibrant river market and wonderful people.
Where to Stay in Little Rock
Explore the hotel options downtown to find one that meets your needs.
When to Visit Little Rock
Little Rock is nice all year round, but you’ll have the best temperatures in the spring and fall.
Things To Do in Little Rock
- Hike to the top of Pinnacle Mountain right outside of town.
- Visit the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum.
- Visit the North Central High School, an important landmark in the civil-rights movement.
- Eat your way through the Little Rock River Market.
- See the picturesque Old Mill, a water mill featured in the movie “Gone With The Wind.”
Amarillo is a fun city located on historic Route 66 that happens to be next to the second largest canyon in the United States! This area has so much to offer, whether you are interested in quirky roadside attractions or hiking among beautiful scenery.
Where to stay in Amarillo
For a unique experience, Palo Duro State Park offers glamping tents on the floor of the canyon! They also have campsites and cabins. If you would rather stay in Amarillo, there are several hotels with a range of prices and amenities.
When to Visit Amarillo
If you want to catch the Texas Outdoor Musical in Palo Duro, visit during the summer. For milder weather, Palo Duro is great to visit in the spring and fall.
Things to do in Amarillo
- Spray paint a car at the famous Cadillac Ranch.
- Explore the many hiking trails in Palo Duro Canyon. Hiking to Lighthouse Rock is a must!
- Get a refresher on Texas history at the Texas Outdoor Musical.
- Go antique shopping on historic route 66.
Fayetteville, Arkansas is a college town with a lot to do, from boutique shopping, to fun nightlife to outdoor activities nearby. There is something for everyone in this fun, Arkansas town.
Where to Stay in Fayetteville
For a unique hotel experience, stay in the Graduate Fayetteville, a short walk away from the University of Arkansas.
When to Visit Fayetteville
You will enjoy the best weather in Fayetteville in either the spring or the fall.
Things To Do in Fayetteville
- Enjoy the natural beauty at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks.
- Go hiking at nearby Devil’s Den State Park.
- Visit one of the many breweries in town, like Fossil Cove Brewing or Bike Rack Brewing.
- If you’re interested in aviation, visit the Arkansas Air & Military Museum.
Bentonville is a city in the Northwest corner of Arkansas known for being a mountain biking destination, having a world class art scene and being the birthplace of Walmart. The city has an amazing mix of both art and outdoor activities, and is great to visit for couples and families alike.
Where to Stay in Bentonville
Bentonville is home to one of the 21C Museum Hotel locations, meaning you can stay in a modern art museum! Enjoy the art on the ground level and a spacious and comfortable room upstairs.
When to Visit Bentonville
Bentonville is nice to visit year round, but visit in the spring or fall for the best weather.
Things to do in Bentonville
- Go mountain biking at one of the many trails around town. I recommend renting bikes from Spoke Adventures and exploring the Slaughter Pen trail system.
- Visit the many breweries around town, such as Bike Rack Brewing and New Province Brewing.
- See the amazing, free art at Crystal Bridges and The Momentary.
Mount Magazine is an Arkansas state park that is home to the highest point in the state. The park offers incredible views of the surrounding valleys and has several overlooks and hiking trails to enjoy. For more views nearby, Mount Nebo is another state park with amazing views and great trails.
Where To Stay in Mount Magazine
Mount Magazine Lodge is a beautiful building built in the “parkitecture” architecture. The rooms have large balconies where you can enjoy the view directly from your room.
When to visit Mount Magazine
Visit Mount Magazine in the fall for gorgeous fall foliage and cooler weather.
Things to do in Mount Magazine
- Hike to the tallest point in Arkansas, but do not expect a view here!
- Drive to all of the various overlooks in the park.
- Catch the sunset from the Mount Magazine Lodge.
- Hike the easy North Rim trail in Mount Magazine.
- Visit nearby Mount Nebo and hike the rim trail.
Garner is an incredible Texas Hill Country State Park known for caves, amazing views and the picturesque and refreshing Frio River.
Where To Stay at Garner
When to visit Garner
Visit during the summer if you plan to float the Frio River and want to feel refreshed, or visit in the fall to see some beautiful foliage.
Things To Do in Garner
- Hike to the top of Mt Old Baldy via a half mile strenuous trail.
- Climb down into a cave at Crystal Cave.
- Float in the Frio River.
Petit Jean was the first state park established in Arkansas and full of incredible beauty. See the impressive Cedar Falls, hike to natural bridges and caves and enjoy the many viewpoints around the park.
Where to Stay in Petit Jean
Stay at the cozy lodge inside of Petit Jean or camp inside the park.
When to Visit Petit Jean
Visit Petit Jean in the fall to see beautiful fall foliage. It is also great to visit in the spring and summer.
Things to do in Petit Jean
- Hike down to the base of 95-foot high Cedar Falls or see it from above a short walk from the parking lot.
- Hike the Seven Hollow trails, the Bear Cave trail and the Rock House trail.
- Visit the many viewpoints overlooking the valley, such as Stouts Overlook and the overlooks on Red Bluffs road.
- Visit Petit Jean Coffeehouse right outside the park.
Eureka Springs is a unique Arkansas town known for its historic Victorian architecture and natural springs. The waters were thought to have healing properties in the 1800’s and the town quickly rose in popularity as a resort town. Today, the town is a great destination for architecture, shopping and outdoor activities nearby.
Where to stay in Eureka Springs
For a unique and peaceful experience, check out Iris Hill Glamping right outside of town. If you want to be within walking distance of everything, there are several hotels and bed & breakfasts in town.
When to visit Eureka Springs
Eureka Springs is a beautiful destination for seeing colorful foliage in the fall.
Things to do in Eureka Springs
- Explore the many shops and restaurants in downtown Eureka Springs. I recommend Mud Street Cafe and the Balcony Restaurant & Bar in the Basin Park Hotel.
- Visit the gorgeous glass church Thorncrown Chapel.
- See some unique rock formations at Pivot Rock and Natural Bridge.
- If you’re interested in the paranormal, take a ghost tour at the Crescent Hotel.
- Visit the strange and fascinating Quigley’s Castle, a home where fossils, arrowheads, crystals and more adorn the outside walls.
Buffalo National River is an area of Arkansas with amazing hiking trails with scenic views, amazing hiking trails and is even home to elk!
Where to Stay at Buffalo National River
When to visit Buffalo National River
Visit in the spring if you are interested in paddling on the Upper Buffalo River!
Things to do at Buffalo National River
- Look for elk in the Boxley Valley Historic District. You are most likely to see them at sunrise and sunset!
- Hike the many trails in the area. I recommend the Centerpoint to Goat trail and the Lost Valley trail.
- Take in the views at the Grand Canyon of Arkansas.
- Go kayaking on the Buffalo River.
As you can see, there is no shortage of amazing day trips from Dallas, Texas! Whether you are looking to cool off in a Hill Country River, hiking in the Arkansas wilderness or explore an underrated Oklahoma city, there is something for everyone without needing to hop on a plane.
If you are also interested in taking a day trip from Dallas, I have another blog post that includes several more locations with shorter drive times!
Happy planning and feel free to reach out if you have questions!
For more inspiration for Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas travel, check out some of the articles below. Happy Exploring!
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