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15 Best Day Trips from Dallas

Life in the Big D is fun, fast-paced, and a food-lover’s dream. But every once in awhile, it’s good to get out of the big city. These 15 day trips from Dallas will help you discover adorable historic towns, immerse yourself in nature, and get in touch with your inner cowboy.

Each destination is less than 3 hours away from Dallas, so you can spend time exploring instead of driving. 

Wide field of blooming Texas bluebonnets at sunset

Day Trips Less Than 1 Hour From Dallas

Fort Worth, TX

Fort Worth often gets lumped in with Dallas as one big Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. But you’d be mistaken if you thought the two cities were twin-like in activities and attitude. Like its nickname implies, Cowtown is Dallas’ country cousin, where you’re likely to see more cowboy hats than business casual attire. 

Drive 40 minutes west of Dallas and spend the day watching one of the two daily cattle drives (11:30 am and 4:00 pm) in the Fort Worth Stockyards, stroll through the Fort Worth Water Gardens, and grab a bite to eat at one of 30+ restaurants in Sundance Square.

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After a day spent exploring, two-step the night away at Billy Bob’s Texas, the world’s biggest Honky Tonk! It’s true what they say… everything’s bigger in Texas!

Visiting on a Friday or Saturday? The Fort Worth Stockyards hosts the world’s only year-round rodeo! 

If you’ve reached your cowboy quota for the day, enjoy a smoother side of the city with a cocktail and some music as you pay homage to the city’s deep-running jazz roots at the Scat Jazz Lounge. 

Driving Distance From Dallas

40 minutes.

Cattle drive at the Fort Worth Stockyards with a cowboy visible on a horse from behind. Fort Worth is one of the best day trips from Dallas tx

Denton, TX

Denton is the “lil d” to the “Big D” of Dallas. It’s an artsy college community with all the charm of small-town Texas just 45 minutes away, and is one of the easiest day trips from Dallas.

At the heart of the quaint city square sits the Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum, a free museum focusing on the town’s culture and history. Built in 1896, the courthouse was restored in 2004 according to the original blueprints and is an iconic symbol of the city. 

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While you’re here, enjoy the live music scene, bolstered by talent from the local colleges; support the burgeoning craft beer scene by visiting a local brewery; or watch a play at the iconic Campus Theatre, which opened in 1949 as a movie theater and was later reimagined as a performing arts facility.

Driving Distance From Dallas

45 minutes.

19th century courthouse in Denton Texas, a great Dallas day trip idea

Terrell, TX

Located just 40 minutes east of the city, Terrell is a great day trip from Dallas if you don’t want to spend too much time in the car. Developed as a railroad town in 1873, historic roots run deep. Visit the charming Historic Downtown District and admire the classic storefronts and hand-painted murals. 

Terrell is far from the Gulf, but scuba certified visitors can take a dive at Scuba Ranch, where you just might meet Sisco the Shark, the largest freshwater shark in the US. (Don’t worry… he can’t bite!)

From the depths of the lake, head to a high-flying adventure. Celebrate the bond between Great Britain and the US with a visit to the No. 1 British Flying Training School Museum. During WWII, British cadets were sent to flight training schools across the US, and Terrell’s school was the first and largest, graduating over 2,200 Royal Air Force and United States Army Air Corps cadets between 1941 and 1945. 

Driving Distance From Dallas

40 minutes.

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Greenville, TX

Once known as the “cotton capital of the world,” Greenville is now a charming small town that celebrates its historic roots. 

Shop in the Historic Downtown and take a step into the past. Read the historical markers to learn about the people and industries that once thrived in Greenville, and try to find the four buildings on the US Department of the Interior’s National Register of Historic Places list. 

Driving Distance From Dallas

55 minutes.

Red brick church in Greenville TX with stained glass windows

Canton, TX

On the weekend prior to the first Monday of a new month, head one hour east of the city, because Canton is the place to be! First Monday Canton is a flea market of epic proportions with more than 5,000 vendors selling everything from antiques to clothing to home decor.

Shopping works up an appetite, and Canton offers some of the best fried food outside the Texas State Fair! Munch on a giant turkey leg and red velvet funnel cake, then wash it down with some freshly squeezed lemonade.

Driving Distance From Dallas

1 hour. 

Table of goods for sale at a Texas flea market with turquoise and silver jewelry visible

Day Trips from Dallas Within 2 Hours or Less

Athens, TX

Just over an hour southeast of Dallas, Athens offers all the charm of a small town with the amenities of a big city. Most buildings in their historic downtown were built in the early 1900s and surround the 1913 Henderson County Courthouse, a 3-story Classic Revival style landmark. 

Nature lovers will feel right at home with a visit to Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, where you can see an operational fish hatchery and learn about native Texas fish. Get even closer to native fish when you scuba dive in Athens Scuba Park, where you can explore the wreckage of a 60′ Hawker 600 Jet, a Lockheed C-140 Jet Star, Clint Eastwood’s film crew’s triple-deck party barge and a DART bus.

Driving Distance From Dallas

1 hour, 15 minutes.

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Granbury, TX

Get wild in Granbury with a visit to Dinosaur Valley State Park! Walk in the fossilized footsteps left by dinosaurs and stand in awe of giant dinosaur replicas once displayed at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. 

Venture into more recent history with a trip to the Historic Downtown Square, Texas’ first downtown square listed on the National Historic Register.

Visit charming boutiques, historic landmarks, and Granbury’s own saloon! Learn more about the history of this Texas lakes and plains region town at the Hood County Jail Museum and Granbury Historic Railroad Depot. 

Driving Distance From Dallas

1 hour, 20 minutes.

Dinosaur footprint in stone in Dinosaur Valley State Park, Texas. A dollar bill is lying next to the footprint to emphasize size

Lake Texoma, OK

One of the largest reservoirs in the US, Lake Texoma was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers on the Oklahoma/Texas border. Although it attracts 6 million visitors each year, the sheer size of the lake ensures that you’ll be able to jet ski, water ski, fish, or simply relax far away from any crowds. 

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The region provides ample opportunities for horseback riding, hunting, hiking, biking, and camping for outdoor enthusiasts. When you’re done adventuring, nearby wineries and distilleries offer libations for the gastronomically-inclined! 

Driving Distance From Dallas

1 hour, 30 minutes.

Lake Texoma as seen from above with a rocky limestone shoreline

Waco, TX

Aside from being home to the Baylor Bears, Waco has recently become an enormously popular attraction for home renovation specialists and reality TV lovers.

Visitors flock to Waco to visit Magnolia Market at the Silos, owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper with hopes of running into the famous couple… or at the very least, fixing up their own home! 

All that shopping is bound to work up a thirst! Visit the Dr. Pepper Museum, celebrating America’s oldest soft drink. Book in for their Make-A-Soda experience or simply peruse the extensive soft drink memorabilia. 

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Embark on another once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at the Waco Mammoth National Monument, where you can sign up for a Dig Shelter Tour and see the bones of a nursery herd of Colombian Mammoths who died here approximately 65,000 years ago. When these bones were unearthed in 1978, they were the first discovery of its kind in North America! 

Driving Distance From Dallas

1 hour, 3o minutes.

Jacob's Well in Waco TX with a wooden path leading into a wooded area.

Tyler, TX

If you want to see the world through rose-colored glasses, hop in the car and head east to Tyler, the rose capital of America!

If you’re visiting in October, you’ll see the city in full bloom, with roses of every variety and color on display. Don’t miss the Tyler Rose Garden, which boasts 38,000 rose bushes over 14 acres! 

Tyler is also home to some of East Texas’ most unique craft beverages. Take a free, self-guided Thirsty Pines Tour to savor the local flavor while soaking in the Art Deco and neoclassical-style buildings, rolling hills, and rich ranchland of the region.

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When hunger hits, be sure to stop by Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ for live music and some of the best brisket and baby back ribs in East Texas! 

Explore the Pineywoods on foot with a visit to Tyler State Park. Thirteen miles of trails provide ample opportunities for birdwatching, fishing, and enjoying the scenery. Check out Whispering Pines Nature Trail, a one-mile loop built by The Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938, featuring pine trees, a wading pool, and a waterfall.

Driving Distance From Dallas

1 hour, 40 minutes.

Rose Garden in Tyler Texas in bloom, as seen from above

Davis, OK

For stunning natural beauty just two hours from Dallas, head north and cross the border into Davis, Oklahoma. Pack a swimsuit, because you’ll love visiting Turner Falls State Park, where you can take a dip in the swimming hole and stand in awe of one of the largest waterfalls in Oklahoma– the 77ft Turner Falls.

After you’ve cooled off, get the adrenaline flowing at the nearby 777 Zip, a 777-foot zip line toward Turner Falls for stunning aerial views of the park. 

When the weather is nice, take a hike through the Arbuckle Mountains. This ancient mountain range is the oldest formation between the Rockies and the Appalachian Mountains, so every step you take is steeped in history while you’re surrounded by natural beauty. 

Driving Distance From Dallas

2 hours.

Turner Falls State Park waterfall in Oklahoma with a pool visible on the right and the waterfall on the left of the photo

Dallas Day Trips Within a 3-Hour Drive

Possum Kingdom State Park, TX

Just over 2.5 hours west of Dallas, Possum Kingdom State Park may have a funny name, but the area promises serious fun for everyone. Possum Kingdom Lake boasts a variety of fish, and you can expect the aquatic equivalent of traffic jams on summer weekends with jet skis and boats galore.

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Don’t miss the Hell’s Gate party cove, where you can link up with your friends and spend the day in the sun or watch one of the best 4th of July fireworks shows in Texas! 

Out of the water, hiking trails boast 360° views over the picturesque cliffs of the Palo Pinto Mountains and Brazos River Valley. 

Driving Distance From Dallas

2 hours, 35 minutes.

Lake at Possum Kingdom State Park in Texas

Caddo Lake State Park, TX

Caddo Lake State Park is 2 hours and 40 minutes east of Dallas, but you’ll feel like you’ve entered an entirely different world. 

Explore the bayous, dotted with bald cypress trees draped with Spanish moss, and experience the pure serenity of nature.

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Hike the trails or paddle the waters in a canoe or kayak, but I don’t recommend swimming, since alligators have made their home in this lake! Who can blame them? With over 70 species of fish in the lake, fishermen aren’t the only ones excited to make a catch! 

Driving Distance From Dallas

2 hours, 40 minutes.

Caddo Lake in East Texas with cypress trees lining the lake

Broken Bow, OK

At nearly three hours northeast of the Big D, Broken Bow is the furthest destination on this list of day trips from Dallas. Forget all of your big city anxieties, and let the serenity of Broken Bow’s untouched beauty envelop you. 

Aquatic adventures abound as you canoe, kayak, or tube down Mountain Fork River or rent a SUP board on Broken Bow Lake. If you have a fishing license, you’ll enjoy casting a line in one of the stocked trout streams or catch-and-release trophy areas. 

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If you prefer land-based escapades, take a hike through Beavers Bend State Park, trot through the Ouachita Mountains on horseback, or ride around on an ATV through Broken Bow’s best trails. No matter the mode of transport, the views are guaranteed to be stunning! 

Driving Distance From Dallas

2 hours, 50 minutes.

flowing river in Beaver Bend State Park near Broken Bow Oklahoma surrounded by fall foliage

Jefferson, TX

Visit the 19th-century town of Jefferson where you’ll experience the beauty of historic homes, charming hotels, and over 100 historical landmarks as you make your way through town.

Prefer spooky over sentimentality? Jefferson is regarded as the most haunted small Texas town, and you can take a ghost tour to learn about its history, legends, and maybe even meet the long-departed residents. 

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Want to stay the night? The Kahn Hotel is one of the top 10 most haunted hotels in Texas… check in if you dare! 

Driving Distance From Dallas

2 hours, 40 minutes.

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