Dallas is situated in upper East Texas. It’s a bustling city, known for its cultural sights and the downtown area. If you’re from Dallas and you’re looking for some attractions outside the noisy city, look no further.
Of course, Dallas has a lot to offer. But, is there anything more exciting than just getting on the road and travelling somewhere new? Somewhere with a completely different pace of life, with lakes, wine, barbeque, or even theme parks? You no longer have to wonder. In this article, you can set your eyes on the 15 best road trips from Dallas, from the ‘bigfoot’ lake to the best brisket.
Beavers Bend State Park
Dallas is a booming city, but its upper east location means it’s also surrounded by beautiful natural country. Beavers Bend state park is situated in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. On the road, it’s just under three hours, with plenty to see on the way!
It has a lake and a nature centre and is perfect for sightseeing. There are waterfalls and forests, with the opportunity to go boating on the lake, too. There’s also the ‘Foggy Bottom’ restaurant where you can stop off for a swamp inspired bite!
Fort Worth is less than an hour’s drive from Dallas and is visually similar. It’s not as vast, but it has lots of cultural activities such as museums and live music. Fort Worth is excellent as a short road trip for outdoor activities such as canoeing and mountain biking.
There are several classical ‘Texan’ activities such as a ‘Texas Honky Tonk Dinner’ at renowned restaurant Billy Bob’s. Alongside, there is Fort Worth Zoo and the National Historic District. The historical district embodies Western heritage like no other, and there is a twice-daily cattle drive through the district.
Dallas Museum of Art
If you’re looking for a stimulating and eye-opening experience, the Dallas Museum of Art might interest you. It’s located in the art district of downtown Dallas, which is bustling with other cultural exhibitions within the opera house and symphony center.
It’s a great option for a half-day trip and is one of the largest Art Galleries in America. Exhibitions range from ancient artefacts and artworks to modern pieces from around the world. It’s a brilliant place to broaden your horizons and get some cultural exposure.
If you like barbeque, Lockhart may be the next place on your road trip list. Lockhart is known for being the food capital of smoked meats in Texas (see also ‘15 Amazing Things To Do In Lubbock During Your Vacation‘). It’s a three-hour drive from Dallas driving through Waco and Austin. Stopping in Waco, you can go to the Dr Pepper Museum and take a walk along the Brazos River.
When in Lockhart, check out Kreuz market and try their smoked sausage. If you’re not satisfied, the number one barbeque in Lockhart is Black’s BBQ. Located on North Main Street, the family-owned restaurant opened in 1932. Here, you can eat to your heart’s desire with their signature smoked brisket and ribs.
Lake Caddo is a three-hour drive from Dallas, and it’s definitely worth it for the views. It is a 25,000-acre lake on the border of Louisiana and is surrounded by cypress trees. In Caddo Lake state park, there are rustic cabins and a campsite for you to pitch your tent.
On the lake, there are canoe and kayaking trails, as well as boat rides. The cypress trees add a swampy and peaceful feel to the lake, and it’s unsurprising that there have been so many bigfoot sightings here! The lake is also perfect for fishing, although beware of alligators!
Need a beach getaway and road trip all in one? Look no further than Galveston. Galveston is situated on the South coast of Texas and is a four hour drive from Dallas. The route takes you through Houston, where you can certainly stop off at a restaurant or take a stroll around the city. Galveston is a barrier island on the gulf coast, meaning the temperatures are hot, and the water is blue!
Stewart Beach is the place to be in Galveston, and you can rent chairs and umbrellas for your relaxing getaway. There is also Galveston state park, where you can pitch a tent and sleep on the beach! There are a good amount of restaurants and shops, including beach hut style restaurant ‘The Spot’ where you can order fresh seafood and tacos.
It’s a perfect warm weekend getaway.
Houston is the second major city in Texas, with a surplus of activities and events to enjoy. The drive from Dallas to Houston is just over three hours and is pretty much a straight road down toward the coast.
However, if you’re feeling adventurous you could customise your route, discovering quaint towns and beautiful scenery. For example, Old Town Spring, located outside of Houston. If you’re wanting a short day trip, the antique shops and restaurants will certainly satisfy you on your way to Houston.
Houston is famous for its space center which is home to NASA’s mission control. There is a fine art gallery where exhibitions are held. There are also wildlife parks, racecourses, water parks, observatories and a gator park. Houston really does have it all!
Glen Rose is a quiet city Southwest of Fort Worth and is perfect for trips away with family and friends. It is just over an hour by car and is home to unique parks. Glen Rose is known for its wildlife and national parks and has many to offer. Firstly, there is Dinosaur Valley State Park, where there are preserved dinosaur fossils and tracks!
There is also Fossil Rim Wildlife Centre, which houses over 1,000 endangered animals and has a safari. Here, you can see bison, cheetahs, giraffes, wolves and rhinos, all from around the world. You can feed the animals in the safari, and they may even try to stick their heads in your car!
Canton is perfect for a short day trip, being only 30 minutes away from Dallas. Canton is a fun town East of Dallas, and it is thought to have the largest flea market in America. People swarm to Canton, but it is never too busy.
There are quaint shops and cafes in Canton as well as several bed and breakfasts in case of an overnight stay. The flea market spreads over 100 acres, and is held every week! The market originates from the 1850s and is still as popular now. The small town of Canton makes a quaint yet exciting road trip getaway.
Fredericksburg is South of Dallas and an hour away from San Antonio. It is a small city, with Germanic roots dating back to the 1800s and housed the first generations of German settlers in the city. It’s referred to as Texas wine-country due to its culture in wine-tasting (particularly French wines), and the 100 wineries and vineyards.
The city is surrounded by hills and beautiful European-inspired buildings and is regarded as one of the most romantic places to be. There is a wine shuttle that picks you up every 10 minutes, taking you to the best wineries in the area. There is lots to do, mostly centered around wine-tasting, however, there are activities for those who don’t drink.
This includes the National War Museum, featuring lots of artefacts and educational resources. Additionally, Main Street is perfect for a walk around, with a good amount of cosy restaurants and bars. There is also a pioneer museum, public gardens, and an enchanted rock area.
Arlington is a lively city, less than an hour’s distance West of Dallas. Arlington has an excellent amount of shopping centres, parks and theatres. It’s big on sports – with the AT&T football stadium and the globe life park.
There is also an E-Sports/Expo centre, and more notable Six Flags theme park. The city is popular because of Six Flags and the theme park’s water park. Thrillseekers – Arlington may be the place for your road trip.
Lake Texoma is situated on the cusp of Oklahoma, north of Dalla and is one of the biggest lakes in America. There are lots of activities to do there, including horse trails, golf, fishing, hunting and biking. There is the Eisenhower State Park in the area, making it an excellent location for people who can’t get enough of the outdoors.
There is also Fort Washita which is a historical military fort that you can explore. The lake is approximately 89,000 acres, with over 500 miles of shoreline! On a map, you can see the vastness of the lake and all the shoreline, making it a brilliant place for all types of boating and fishing. It has a marina with several hotels and resorts for the more adventurous.
Davy Crockett National Forest
This forest is over 160,000 acres, with endless trails and activities. It’s a great place to take a road trip as a family, or with a group of friends. There is the Mission Tejas State Park nearby, offering camping and trails in the Pineywoods.
There is also Ratcliff lake, where you can go boating and kayaking. There is the Piney Creek horse trail which stretches over 50 miles. The lake is safe and amazing for swimming as it is 45 acres. This national forest is huge, and a great place to have a picnic with your loved ones.
San Antonio is a vibrant city, South-West of Dallas. It takes less than three hours to get there by car, and it is an excellent place for a day trip. The drive there goes through some excellent towns already listed, and the scenery is great too. San Antonio is known for its Spanish roots and is regarded as the Mission City. It is known for its Spanish colonial missions and is a popular place for historians to visit.
The city has lots of history, including the Alamo Roman Catholic mission, a building riddled with bullet holes from the battle of 1836. There is also Mission San Jose, which is a beautiful church that is over 250 years old. There is the Texas Ranger Museum which represents the Old West, including a fully functioning saloon surrounded by taxidermied animals!
There are ghost tours too, something which attracts a younger crowd to the exciting city. The main attraction could be regarded as the River Walk. The River Walk is a pedestrian city park that is below street level, with Spanish influences and an amazing atmosphere. Here, there is an abundance of restaurants, bars and music venues that are sure to brighten your day.
There is also a boating experience for less than $15 that takes you through the city’s river, catching a glimpse of the bright city and beautiful buildings.
Caverns of Sonora
Lastly on the list, is the Caverns of Sonora. This is situated in West Texas and is a five-hour drive from Dallas. However, if you can handle the drive, it’s perfect for a weekend getaway. It’s situated away from big cities, taking you through the mountains and peaceful atmosphere on the way. It is renowned as one of the most beautiful caves in the world.
The attraction is popular because of the calcite crystals which have a rare purity. It is a national landmark and has facilities for camping and guided tours. The caves are over two miles long and humid with little places to have something to eat, so the caves are only for the most adventurous! But, there are plenty of restaurants and hotels in Sonora!
Texas has a lot to offer. Dallas is a great location for all of these destinations to be day-trips and weekend trips. There are cities, swamps, beaches, forests and theme parks all within a single road trip. These are just a small handful of places that make the best road trips. With all of the different activities and attractions available no more than 5 hours away, you’ll be sure to enjoy your trip in the state.