15 Exciting Day Trips from Dallas, Texas

Dallas offers a lot of places to visit and things to experience, but, if you are a local or have passed through several times before, you may be looking for something new. If you have a car and a sense of adventure, you’ll be able to unlock some really awesome day trips from Dallas!

This post will help you discover some of Texas’ best towns, ranging from 30 minutes to 4 hours of drive time from Dallas.

Some destinations on this list will be great for a full day of fun while still being able to return home before dark.

Others are a little further out, but they are totally worth visiting nonetheless. For the ones that take about 3 hours to get to, you may want to consider taking a weekend trip where you book a hotel or go camping for a night or two.

You might even consider visiting multiple destinations in one go and turning your adventure into a multi-day road trip. That’ll be a ton of fun as well!

Continue reading to discover the best day trips from Dallas that you can visit.

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1. Austin, Texas

Approximately 3 to 3.5 hours away from Dallas

Austin - Best Day Trips From Dallas Texas

Austin is commonly referred to as the music capital of the world. It also bears the fun slogan of “Keep Austin Weird.”

With such fun titles, it’s no wonder travelers flock to visit Austin for themselves! While it may not be as big as the Texan cities of Dallas, Houston, or San Antonio, Austin still holds many awesome urban adventures within its city limits.

This vibrant city is home to a wealth of activities and attractions, from world-class museums and galleries to outdoor adventures and live music venues. Whether you’re looking for culture, music, or world-famous BBQ eats, Austin has something for everyone. Here are just a few of the many things to do in this great city:

  • Visit the Texas State Capitol: This beautiful building is the seat of state government and one of Austin’s most iconic landmarks. Guided tours are available, or you can explore the grounds on your own.
  • Check out the LBJ Presidential Library: This world-renowned library and museum is dedicated to the 36th president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson. It’s a must-see for history buffs and presidential enthusiasts.
  • Explore the University of Texas at Austin: Take a stroll through the picturesque campus of this world-renowned university, or tour one of its many museums and galleries.
  • See the bats at Congress Avenue Bridge: Every evening, hundreds of bats emerge from under the Congress Avenue Bridge to go in search of food. It’s a truly amazing sight!
  • Enjoy some live music: Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World,” so it’s no surprise that there are plenty of places to enjoy a good concert. Whether you’re into country, rock or anything in between, you’ll find a venue to suit your taste.
  • Family Business Beer Company: If you are a fan of Supernatural, then a visit to the Family Business Beer Company is in order.  Jensen Ackles (he played Dean Winchester) is one of the owners.
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: 284 acres of spectacular views! There are different types of gardens, including themed ones and some even designed for children.
  • Go on a Best of Austin Tour with a local guide
  • Go on an “Austin in a Nutshell” bike tour
  • Take a Haunted Austin Walking History Tour

2. Beavers Bend State Park and Broken Bow, OK

Approximately 3 hours away from Dallas

Broken Bow - Best Day Trips From Dallas Texas

If an outdoorsy adventure is more your style, you cannot go wrong with a visit to Beavers Bend State Park and Broken Bow in Oklahoma.

Let’s first start with Beavers Bend State Park. This expansive park is a wonderful place to spend a day or two away from the hustle and bustle of Dallas, Texas. There are many things that you can do, including hiking, horseback riding, biking, fishing, boating, and ATV riding. Alongside its hiking trails and fishing spots is an 18-hole golf course.

Another great destination in the area is Broken Bow, Oklahoma. This small town is situated in the midst of beautiful forests and mountains, just 15 minutes away from Beavers Bend State Park, making it the perfect place to enjoy nature and civilization at the same time.

Within the town, check out some of the local shops and restaurants. Broken Bow has a number of unique shops and eateries, so take some time to explore them all.

Day-trippers can then visit Broken Bow Lake, a gorgeous spot perfect for a picnic, fishing or just enjoying the views. You can then hop back into the car for the Talimena Scenic Drive. This scenic byway offers gorgeous views of the Ouachita Mountains!

Traveling with friends? Just 10 miles from Broken Bow you can visit Girls Gone Wine, a winery in Hochatown. A visit here will grant you a free wine tasting and the opportunity to browse the gift shop.  There is no need for reservations as you just come in and sign up for the tasting.

3. Big Cypress Bayou, TX

Approximately 3 hours away from Dallas

Big Cypress Bayou is known for its scenic beauty and recreational opportunities. This amazing bayou is perfect for boating, sightseeing, and spending time in the great outdoors!

Visitors can take advantage of the many parks and trails along the bayou or go fishing, canoeing, or kayaking. There are also several restaurants and cafes located along the bayou, making it the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat.

Due to their being American alligators in the water, you will not want to swim here.  Be sure to check out the Ramsar Caddo Lake Wetlands Visitor Center on your way in.

Once you’re at Big Cypress Bayou, the best way to experience the area is to take a boat tour.  Big Cypress Tours offers boat tours 7 days a week and their 24-foot pontoon boat can comfortably seat 8 guests. If you have a larger party, you can let them know ahead of time and they can accommodate you.  These tours take your through the bayou and last about an hour and 15 minutes.

Captain Ron’s Swamp Tours also offers tours lasting 1.5 hours.  You will enjoy the sights of the bayou on a 28-foot pontoon boat.  You can finish off your trip with lunch at the Big Pines Lodge Restaurant. One nice thing about Captain Ron’s is that if you have a well-behaved pup, it is welcome to come on the tour with you!

4. Dinosaur Valley State Park

Approximately 1.5 hours away from Dallas

Dinosaur Valley State Park - Best Day Trips From Dallas Texas

Ever thought to yourself–“I want to go where the dinosaurs roam”? Well, you can! Seriously though, Dinosaur Valley State Park offers you the ability to walk among real dinosaur footprints!

This unique state park is home to some of the best-preserved dinosaur tracks in the world. Visitors can hike, bike, or even take a horseback ride through the park to see the amazing fossils for themselves.

Depending on the water level, you can see actual dinosaur tracks up close and personal. There’s also a great visitor center where you can learn all about the dinosaurs that once roamed this area. After your educational adventure, go to Kona Ice and the small gift shop to get some frozen treats to cool off from the hot Texas sun.

Whether you’re a budding paleontologist or just looking for a fun day out with the kiddos, Dinosaur Valley State Park is definitely worth a visit.

And if seeing the dinosaur tracks at the state park wasn’t enough, you can visit Dinosaur World after to see life-size statues of various dinosaurs.  There is also an extensive gift shop that you can visit for your dinosaur enthusiast.

Before ending your day trip, visit Fossil Rim Wildlife Center–this exciting drive-through zoo can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own car.  Alternatively, you can take a guided tour and see parts of the center not available to car drivers.

5. Fort Worth, TX

Approximately 30 minutes away from Dallas

Fort Worth - Best Day Trips From Dallas Texas

Just an hour’s drive from Dallas, Fort Worth is a great destination for a day trip from Dallas. It’s quite possibly one of the easiest day trips to make! The city is known for its rich cowboy culture and its lively stockyards.

Whether you want to see the daily cattle drive or to visit the stockyards, there are plenty of great things to see and do in Fort Worth, including visiting the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District, exploring the Kimbell Art Museum, and checking out the Fort Worth Zoo.

With over 7,000 animals, Fort Worth Zoo is an amazing zoo to visit, rivaling the Dallas Zoo in sheer terms of size and animal caretaking. Fort Worth Zoo also has a waterpark for younger kids to play in on hot summer days.

If you want to spend the day enjoying pristine garden views, look no further than Fort Worth Japanese Garden. Here, you’ll feel worlds away as you wander the Japanese garden and see over 1,200 beautiful koi fish.

6. Grapevine Jazz Wine Train

Approximately 30 minutes away from Dallas

Looking for an ultra-convenient day trip from Dallas? Why not travel back to the 1920s with a Jazz Wine Train?  On this super unique wine train tour, you will get to enjoy live jazz music aboard a train to the 1920s, while also indulging in wine and desserts!

This 2-hour train ride is the perfect date night.  There’s nothing more fun than tapping your feet to the live music while sampling different wines.  The Grapevine Vintage Railroad also offers themed rides for the holidays, such as the North Pole Express.

If you’d like to make it a family getaway, consider staying at Great Wolf Lodge – Grapevine, featuring the oh-so-fun Great Wolf Lodge Water Park! You won’t need to worry about the weather when you take your family to this massive, indoor water park.  From water slides to wave pools, you will find something to suit every family member.

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7. Hico, TX

Approximately 1 hour 45 minutes away from Dallas

If you want to escape the big city, look no further than the charming, small town of Hico, Texas. Known for its western heritage, Hico is a great place to visit if you’re looking to experience a bit of Texas history. Whether you’re looking for history, nature, or just some good old-fashioned fun, Hico, TX has something for everyone.

First off, start by exploring Hico’s Historic Downtown. This downtown area is full of historic buildings and charming shops along Main Street.

For the history buffs and kids, visit the Hico Railway Museum, a great place to learn about the history of the railroad in Texas. The museum features a variety of exhibits, including a caboose and locomotive.

From there, make your way to the Billy the Kid Museum. Billy the Kid was an outlaw and gunfighter of the American Old West, who killed eight men before he was shot and killed at the age of 21. Here you can learn about the controversy between Billy the Kid and Bushy Bill.  Were they one and the same person?  Or was Bushy Bill lying?  Visit the museum and decide for yourself!

Before heading back to Dallas, make a stop for last-minute treats at Hico Popcorn Works, a family-owned business that offers a trip back to yesteryear. This shop offers fudge in 19 flavors and popcorn in 42 flavors or colors, with the ability to customize for special occasions as well.

8. Lake Texoma, TX

Approximately 1.5 hours away from Dallas

If you are looking to get away from the city, Lake Texoma may have what you are looking for.  Lake Texoma offers an abundance of horse trails, fishing, golf, hiking, and many other activities. There are also several great restaurants and bars located around the lake!

You can visit Fort Washita Historic Site and Museum, a historic fort that only operated for 23 years near Lake Texoma.  You can tour the structures of the forts, and experience reenactments throughout the year.

In nearby Denison, you can visit Compass Rose Brigantine Tall Ship, a replica of an 1860’s wooden brigantine.  They offer a variety of ways to tour this ship, from private sails to day trips planned around the history of the ship.

9. Lake Whitney State Park, TX

Approximately 1.5 hours away from Dallas

Lake Whitney - Best Day Trips From Dallas Texas

Looking for something fun to do near Dallas, Texas? Check out Lake Whitney State Park! Just a short 1 to 1.5-hour drive from the city, this state park is perfect for a day trip or weekend getaway. This park was opened in 1965 and has both woodlands and grasslands.

The park offers plenty of activities for outdoor lovers, including hiking, biking, fishing, and boating. There are also several scenic picnic areas where you can relax and take in the beautiful views.

Whether you are looking to do some geocaching, fishing, or hiking, Lake Whitney State Park will have what you are looking for.

If the weather is dreary or you are seeking something unique, you can head over to Brazos Street Market.  This indoor shopping center is a large flea market with separate booths.  You pay after shopping, so there is no pressure to buy as you browse!

If you want excellent BBQ ribs, look  no further than Hooten Holler’n BBQ. This BBQ joint has a wide assortment of meals, with daily specials and extremely reasonable prices.

10. Oklahoma City, OK

Approximately 3-3.5 hours away from Dallas

Oklahoma City Dinosaur Valley State Park - Best Day Trips From Dallas Texas

Oklahoma City is the capital of Oklahoma, but still only a day trip away from Dallas.  Oklahoma City is full of great things to see and do and is the perfect city to visit no matter what type of adventure you’re looking for. There are many, many family-friendly or date-night-worthy activities for you to get into!

For history buffs, be sure to check out the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. This moving memorial honors the victims, survivors, and rescuers of the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

Other great attractions in Oklahoma City include the Myriad Botanical Gardens, which feature beautiful gardens, an interactive children’s garden, and a butterfly house, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (which celebrates the American West); and the State Capitol Building, which offers tours of the historic building.

If you love history or have a child that loves firetrucks, Oklahoma State Firefighter Museum is the perfect day trip destination for you.  There is a large emphasis on the history of firefighters as well, including a wall filled with fire department patches from around the world.

If you’re looking for some outdoor fun, head to Lake Thunderbird State Park, where you can swim, fish, hike, and more. Or, for a different kind of outdoor adventure, check out the caves at Alabaster Caverns State Park.

And most interestingly–did you know that America has a pigeon museum?  It does. It’s the American Pigeon Museum and Library in Oklahoma City! This unique museum describes the military history of pigeons, the history of racing pigeons, and goes over the many different types of pigeons.

11. Turner Falls Park, OK

Approximately 2 hours away from Dallas

Turner Falls - Best Day Trips From Dallas Texas

To the north of Dallas is Turner Falls State Park, a little gem of a park that’s over 1500 acres large and has so much to see.  Whether you want to go hiking or to visit Oklahoman history, this is the outdoor space for you.

There is a 77-foot tall waterfall for you to enjoy–one of the tallest in all of Oklahoma! The park also offers hiking, picnicking, swimming, and camping, making it a great spot for a day trip or weekend getaway.

If you’re looking for a little more adventure, consider renting a canoe or kayak to explore the scenic river that runs through the park. Or, take a hike to one of the many lookout points to enjoy breathtaking views of the waterfall and surrounding landscape.

Before leaving Oklahoma, be sure to stop by Bedre Fine Chocolate, located just a 10-minute drive from the park. You can stop here to see how Bedre Fine Chocolate makes their chocolate, as well as purchase some to enjoy or take home.  They also offer samples for you to try.

Lastly, pay a visit to Forgotten Wheels a free museum that allows you to see many different cars and bicycles.  If you enjoy Harley Davidson motorcycles, they have an extensive collection of vintage ones.

12. Waco, TX

Approximately 1.5 hours away from Dallas

Waco Texas - Best Day Trips From Dallas Texas

Just an hour’s drive from Dallas, Waco is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are plenty of things to do in Waco, from visiting the Baylor University campus to exploring the Magnolia Market at the Silos. Don’t forget to stop by the Silos Baking Co. for a baked treat or two while you’re here!

The Magnolia Market shopping complex is located in downtown Waco, where you can search for a multitude of unique home décor items. And if you’re a fan of reality TV, you can even take a tour of some of the sites from HGTV’s Fixer Upper!

While you’re here, do not miss the Dr. Pepper Museum. This museum showcases the many items related to the start of Dr. Pepper. There is a toy train that will delight children. If you don’t do the tour, you can still enjoy ice cream at their ice cream parlor as well.

13. Waco Mammoth National Monument, TX

Approximately 1.5 hours away from Dallas

The Waco Mammoth National Monument is a fascinating U.S. national monument in Waco, Texas. The site protects the remains of a herd of Columbian mammoths that died approximately 65,000 years ago in a flood.

The Waco Mammoth Site was discovered in 1978 by two brothers who were looking for arrowheads in the area. In 2015, the site became the first national monument in Texas!

Today, visitors flock from all over the country to gaze upon the mammoth bones. Don’t miss the Waco Mammoth National Monument’s Dig Shelter, showcasing 6 Columbian mammoths’ remains.

Just a few minutes away, make a stop at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, where you can enjoy the history of the Texas Rangers.  This museum will give you details on how the Texas Rangers were formed, as well as information on the Lone Ranger, Walker Texas Ranger, and even Bonnie and Clyde.

14. Waxahachie, TX

Approximately 30 minutes away from Dallas

Quite close to Dallas is Waxahachie, a small town with a thriving community.  This is the perfect stop for some relaxed shopping and good eating.

Perhaps the best-known thing about Waxahachie is its annual Scarborough Renaissance Festival! This renaissance festival rivals the famous Texas Renaissance Festival held outside of Houston.  It is a huge, seasonal event that features everything from live mermaids, trained cats, sword swallowers, and everything in between!

On a normal day, you can’t miss a stroll down Historic Downtown Waxahachie. This charming downtown area is lined with beautiful Victorian buildings, unique boutiques, and great restaurants. Be sure to stop by the Ellis County Courthouse, which is one of the most photogenic buildings in town!

From there, visit the Ellis County Museum. This museum is dedicated to preserving the history of Ellis County. You’ll learn about the area’s Native American heritage, the founding of Waxahachie, and the city’s Victorian architecture.

For those who want to spend a little time outdoors, take a scenic walk along the Waxahachie Creek Nature Trail. This nature trail winds through the woods and along Waxahachie Creek and is a great place to take a quick hike.

Looking for a meal before heading home? The Doves Nest Restaurant has got you covered. This restaurant is located in a gift shop, where you can browse different vendors before or after you dine.  It also offers unique and tasty Southern American dishes!

15. Weatherford, TX

Approximately 1 hour away from Dallas

Being just 1 hour away from the city of Dallas, Weatherford is quick getaway for the day.  This city served as the inspiration of the Western-themed TV miniseries Lonesome Dove, so naturally, you can come to enjoy the history of this western city.

If you are up for a gentle hike, the grounds of Chandor Gardens are truly spectacular.  These gardens feature a 30-foot waterfall and various fountains, surrounded by Chinese architecture.

Visitors can also spend the day exploring the Museum of the Americas, a museum dedicated to educating the public on Native American culture. This hidden gem of a museum offers 5 rooms full of unique artifacts and items from South, Central, and North America.

The National Vietnam War Museum is another highlight of Weatherford. There is a small indoor museum, but the outside is truly remarkable to see with its various war artifacts on display. There is also a Vietnam Memorial Garden to pay your respect to those that lost their lives, as well as various gardens with paths for you to reflect on the war.


And this concludes this post on the best day trips from Dallas, Texas! Whether you are looking for a date night or an opportunity to brush up on your history, a fun family outing or a multi-day Texas road trip, there is something for everyone on this list!

I hope you were able to find the perfect destination for your next adventure!

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