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9 Fun Vacation Ideas Near Dallas, Texas

By: Swena Kalra

Edited By: Scott Sidders

Updated on November 6, 2023

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Dallas, Texas - the home of the Dallas Cowboys, the birthplace of Tex-Mex, and the perfect starting point for a vacation filled with adventure, culture, and mouth-watering cuisine. But Dallas is just the beginning. The cities surrounding Dallas offer a plethora of unique travel experiences that will make your vacation unforgettable. From the charming towns of McKinney and Grapevine to the natural beauty of Cedar Hill State Park, there is something for everyone.

In this blog post, we'll share our top vacation ideas for those interested in exploring the cities near Dallas. We'll highlight what makes each destination unique and worth visiting and provide you with recommendations on how to experience each location best.

So buckle up, and let's get ready to explore the gems of North Texas!

1. Historical Exploration in Plano

Lake in Shops at Legacy in Plano, Texas

Plano, a picturesque city situated just 20 miles north of Dallas, is a hidden gem for historical exploration. From its naming to its urban development, Plano's history is rich and diverse. Visitors can explore the city's past through the Heritage Farmstead Museum or the Interurban Railway Museum - both offer a variety of exhibits and educational programs for people of all ages.

The Heritage Farmstead Museum is a must-visit for those who enjoy immersing themselves in history. Set on a historic farmstead, it is an interactive museum where visitors can participate in farm chores and outdoor games and take guided tours. The museum's Pioneer Camp is perfect for children, offering hands-on exploration of the historic farmstead. Additionally, the Frances Wells and Texana Collections located at the Haggard Library contain a wealth of historic photographs and documents that paint a vivid picture of Plano's past.

For those who prefer to stay overnight in historical settings, the 1891 Victorian-style house known as The Victorian House is a unique option. This house has been restored to its former glory, and visitors have the opportunity to experience life as it was more than a century ago. This is a perfect getaway for history buffs, romantic couples, or adventurous families.


2. Adventure in Glen Rose

Somerville County Courthouse in Glen Rose, Texas

Nestled just 75 miles from Dallas, Glen Rose is home to the famous Dinosaur Valley State Park, where you can walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs and explore their prehistoric world. Take a dip in the Paluxy River, explore the park's hiking trails, or simply relax and take in the stunning natural beauty.

But the adventure doesn't stop there! To make your stay in Glen Rose truly unforgettable, book a safari tent at Tres Rios Resort for a glamping experience like no other. Located just two miles from the town of Glen Rose, Tres Rios Resort is nestled at the confluence of three rivers, including the Brazos, Paluxy, and Squaw Creek. Wake up each morning to the sound of the river and enjoy stunning views from your private safari tent.

Tres Rios Resort offers a host of amenities and activities to keep you entertained during your stay. Take a dip in the pool, go hiking, or simply relax by the river. For the more adventurous guests, there's even a zipline course and kayaking available. Whatever your taste, Tres Rios Resort has something to suit everyone.

3. Tex-Mex Foodie Experience in Fort Worth

Fort Worth Stockyards Texas

The city boasts several noteworthy restaurants offering delicious Tex-Mex food that will tantalize your taste buds.

One of the most popular and beloved spots for Tex-Mex cuisine in Fort Worth is Joe T. Garcia's, which has been serving mouth-watering fajitas since 1935. The restaurant has lovely terraces and tropical plantings, making for a delightful ambiance that complements their fantastic food. Other notable Tex-Mex eateries in Fort Worth include Chuy's, Dos Molina's, El Asadero, and Esperanza's, to name a few.

If you're in the mood for something more upscale and contemporary, Mexican Sugar is the ideal restaurant. This restaurant offers a fusion of Tex-Mex cuisine with modern culinary techniques, making for a unique dining experience that you'll never forget.

After a satisfying meal, you can choose to grab a slice of pizza at Cane Rosso or go for a cozy stay at The Ashton Hotel, a boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown Fort Worth. And if you are in the mood for some shopping, the local area has plenty of boutiques and shops to explore.

4. Outdoor Adventure in Broken Bow, Oklahoma

Camping tents near a beautiful lake, campsite, adventure vacation concept. Broken bow lake, Oklahoma

Just a few hours' drive from Dallas, Broken Bow is nestled in the Ouachita National Forest and the Kiamichi Mountains, offering an eclectic selection of outdoor activities that are perfect for all ages.

Start your adventure with a road trip from Dallas to Broken Bow, taking in the unique attractions along the way. Be sure to check out Xcape Adventures and the AMC DINE-IN Mesquite 30 for some fun diversions. Once you arrive in Broken Bow, head straight to Beavers Bend State Park and get ready for some hiking, fishing, and water activities. The park boasts over 3,400 acres of natural beauty and includes Broken Bow Lake, perfect for kayaking, canoeing, or paddleboarding.

If you're looking for a more adrenaline-filled adventure, head over to Rugaru Adventures for some zipline and aerial adventure fun. Or, if you prefer a more laid-back activity, take a horseback riding tour with River Man Trail Rides.

When you're ready to wind down, there are plenty of cozy cabin rentals available in the area. From rustic to luxury, there's sure to be a rental that fits your needs. And don't forget about the amazing food options Broken Bow has to offer. Whether you're in the mood for barbeque, pizza, or some good old-fashioned comfort food, Broken Bow has it all.

5. Art and Culture in Denton

Victorian architecture of Denton County courthouse

Escape the hustle and bustle of Dallas and take a short road trip to Denton, where the creative energy of two major universities, vibrant arts scene, and innovative climate will rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul.

Denton is an art and cultural mecca, hosting live music performances nearly every night and at least one festival every month, giving you ample opportunity to immerse yourself in the city's rich artistic culture. Stay at one of the trendy hotels near Denton County Square, and you'll be in the heart of the action.

The city is best known for its annual Denton Arts & Jazz Festival, where music, dance, choral, drama, and visual arts converge to create one of the finest celebrations of the arts in Texas. For a glimpse of the city's vibrant history, the campus of the University of North Texas features the Texas Fashion Collection, which boasts a unique and impressive array of fashion collections from around the world.

To experience the city's history, head to the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum, which features historical artwork, family photos, and other artifacts that detail the rich history of the community as a whole. Denton also boasts the Greater Denton Arts Council, which is home to the Center for the Visual Arts containing the Meadows and Gough Galleries, where you can lose yourself in the magnificent works of local artists.

6. Wine Tasting in Grapevine

Historic Downtown Grapevine, Texas

Grapevine is home to 10 different wineries, each offering a unique experience for visitors. Many of these wineries offer tastings, tours, and educational classes. The largest winery, located in the heart of Grapevine, is a great place to start your wine-tasting adventure. You can take part in tastings, learn about the winemaking process, and even relax on the winery's patio with stunning views of the surrounding vineyards.

Grapevine's wine-tasting vacation is perfect for couples or groups looking for a weekend getaway. There are many hotels and bed and breakfasts in the area, offering a range of accommodations to fit every budget. You can also take advantage of Grapevine's many restaurants, cafes, and boutiques, all within walking distance of the wineries.

If you're a true wine connoisseur, you might be interested in attending one of Grapevine's many wine festivals. These annual events offer a chance to taste a variety of wines from across Texas and the world, as well as food pairings, live music, and other activities.

Overall, a wine-tasting vacation in Grapevine from Dallas is the perfect way to relax, learn about wine, and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Texas. With so many wineries, events, and activities available, there's never a dull moment in Grapevine.

7. Family Fun in Arlington

Arlington Texas Sports Complex

With a plethora of kid-friendly activities and attractions, Arlington is sure to please every member of your family.

Start your trip off right by staying at one of the many family-friendly hotels in Arlington, like the TownePlace Suites by Marriott or the Aloft Dallas Arlington Entertainment District. These hotels offer all the amenities you need to keep your family comfortable and happy during your stay.

Once you're settled in, it's time to explore all that Arlington has to offer. From thrilling amusement parks like Six Flags Over Texas to interactive museums like the International Bowling Museum, there's no shortage of exciting activities for kids of all ages.

Don't forget about the shopping! The Grand Prairie Premium Outlets features a variety of outlet stores and a food court, making it the perfect spot to take a break from all the adventure and grab a bite to eat.
Of course, no family vacation is complete without a little rest and relaxation. Take a break from the action with a picnic in River Legacy Park or a leisurely stroll through the beautiful gardens at the University of Texas at Arlington.

8. Nature Getaway in Tyler

Tyler County Courthouse

Escape to Tyler, a small city located about 100 miles east of Dallas, and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of Tyler State Park.

Tyler State Park is famous for its 64-acre spring-fed lake, 100-foot-tall trees, and historic structures. It's the perfect spot for fishing, hiking, or boating. You can even rent paddleboards or go for a swim in the crystal-clear lake. Take a hike on any of the 13 miles of trails that wind through the park, marveling at the scenery and wildlife that surrounds you.

When it's time for some rest and relaxation, book a night at the charming Rosevine Inn Bed & Breakfast. This unique stay is a world away from the busy hotels and noisy streets, offering a peaceful retreat amidst the beauty of nature. Wake up to the sound of birds chirping, and enjoy a freshly prepared breakfast before heading out for another day of adventure.

Tyler is also known for its magnificent rose gardens, so make sure to stop by the Tyler Rose Garden to experience the fragrant beauty of over 35,000 rose bushes. Take a stroll through the garden, snap some photos, or sit and relax in the peaceful surroundings.

9. Relaxation in Waco

The Brazos River, Waco Texas

This charming city offers a variety of ways to kick back and unwind, whether you're looking for a luxurious spa day or a peaceful nature walk.

For a truly indulgent experience, check out Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa. This top-rated spa offers a range of services to help you relax, from deep-tissue massages to rejuvenating facials. If you're looking for something more budget-friendly, try out Chinese Relax Station at Richland Mall, offering chair massage services in a calming environment.

If you're in the mood to get back to nature, take a stroll through Cameron Park or stay for a while and camp out in one of its beautiful campsites. You can also visit Live Oak Lake for a chance to unwind in one of their cozy cabins, nestled in a serene natural setting.

Of course, no visit to Waco is complete without a trip to the Magnolia Market at the Silos. This iconic market offers not only unique home decor and gifts but also a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere that's perfect for unwinding and browsing to your heart's content.

To truly relax, consider incorporating some contemplative practices into your stay. Try out Progressive Relaxation at Rod Hetzel, Ph.D., a meditative practice that reduces pulse rate, blood pressure, as well as stress levels. You can also check out the newly opened Modern Meditation 13, which offers modern techniques for deep relaxation.

With all of these amazing options, there's something for everyone when it comes to vacationing near Dallas. Whether you're looking for a kid-friendly excursion or an adult adventure, there are plenty of incredible destinations that are sure to provide a unique and unforgettable experience.

So grab your sunscreen and get ready for a trip full of thrill, relaxation, and memories that will last a lifetime. We wish you all the best on your adventure, have fun, and take care!

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