Texas Road trips : Favorite Family Getaways near Dallas

Dallas is many hours from nice beaches, National Parks and the mountains, but there are still plenty of choices for a Texas weekend getaway.  Over the years we have been on a quite a few Spring Getaways near Dallas, after all we have lived here for over 20 years.  Here are some of our favorites getaways including a few kid friendly resorts near Dallas that are a vacation in itself.  While you can go on these Texas road trips any time of the year, Spring is really an amazing time for a Texas Road Trip since the sides and medians of the highways are blooming with bluebonnets and other wildflowers.

Day trips from Dallas

Just a short trip from Dallas these towns are perfect for a day trip.  From dinosaur footprints to Tulips and Lavender to Cowtown culture and cattle drives, there is no shortage of things to do in DFW and surrounding areas.

Outside Suburbia -Texas Tulips in Gainsville

Pilot Point

Spring is usually when we North Texans begin searching for bluebonnet fields to take our spring pictures, instead head to Texas Tulips in Pilot Point for your Easter or Spring pictures. It’s a European floral paradise right in the heart of North Texas with rows upon rows of yellow, white and pink tulips blossoming. Owners Pieter and Petra Koeman, who are originally from the Netherlands, brought a piece of their home to Texas by opening Texas-Tulips.

Fort Worth

There is plenty to do in Dallas’s twin city of Fort Worth. From visiting the Stockyards to Sundance Square, there are plenty of  experiences for the entire family.  Walking along the red-brick streets, people-watching will keep visitors busy for hours. The cattle drives are held daily at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. along Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards National Historic District.  Fort Worth is a perfect day trip from Dallas.  Kids will love the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History (fwmuseum.org). The world-renowned Kimbell Art Museum ( kimbellart.org) that displays art from antiquity to modern times and the Fort Worth Modern Art Museum that presents modern art in a gorgeous setting.  You will need more than one weekend to get through everything Fort Worth has to offer.  Don’t miss the Japanese gardens, it is one of the best place to see cherry blossoms in DFW.

Glen Rose

Glen Rose is best known as the home of Fossil Rim, a 1650-acre wildlife preserve with over 100 exotic, threatened and endangered animals that roam freely in the Wildlife Center pastures. The self-drive through the preserve is up to 9.5 miles long and can take three hours to complete – it is an unique Safari experience in the Southwest.  Glen Rose is also home to some excellent golf courses, good bluegrass music, and Dinosaur Valley State Park where you can hike and bike on scenic trails.   At the Dinosaur valley State Park you can trace the footprints left by dinosaurs in the bed of the Paluxy River in what is believed to be the edge of an ancient ocean million of years ago.

Bluebonnets, the Texas state flower

Ennis

Ennis known as “The Bluebonnet City” has some of the best bluebonnet patches and is only a 45 minutes away depending on traffic. Come Spring the Ennis Garden Club details out the best wildflower viewing areas for the eager photographers, making it easy to find those photo spots. Ennis is the best place to take photos of Bluebonnets, the Texas State flower.  Ennis is also home to the Texas Motorplex, drawing in annual crowds in over 500,000 fans, it is one of the finest racetracks in the nation. Races are held almost every weekend from February to November.

Tyler

The Azalea and Spring Flower Trail in Tyler is a 10-mile long Trail guiding visitors through neighborhoods of quaint brick streets, historic homes and residential gardens filled with blooming azaleas, dogwoods and tulips.  The Azalea and Spring Flower Trail usually runs from mid March to April.  Plan a trip this weekend and you might even spot an Azalea Belle or two, the official greeters of the Azalea Trail dressed in antebellum gowns.

Lavender Ridge Farms, a Lavender Field near Dallas #Lavender in #Texas

Gainesville

Lavender Ridge Farms is located 8 miles east of Gainesville, Texas. It is a beautiful hour drive through the country side with farms and open skies that we Texans love. Originally a strawberry and melon farm in the 1920’s & 1930’s, Lavender Ridge Farms opened in 2006 as a lavender, cut-flower, and herb farm. Run by siblings Jerry Ware and Jane Dane, the land here has been in the family for over 150 years and will be for many years to come. Apart from the lavender they also have a variety of perennials and lots of birds and humming birds visiting. It is a small farm where you can pick your own lavender; shop for herbs, vegetables, botanicals and enjoy some lavender cheesecake at their cafe.

 

Family Weekend Getaway near Dallas

The following state parks and cities are a few hours drive away from Dallas and are great for family vacations in Texas.  The Big Bend National Park is a 8 hour drive away and you would need more than a 3 day weekend to cover it, only including it here for reference.

Enchanted Rock State Park, Texas - Weekend Getaways near Dallas - Photo by OutsideSuburbia

Enchanted Rock State Park

Enchanted Rock in the Hill Country of Texas is 250 miles away and perfect for a weekend road trip from Dallas.  If you leave early enough on a Friday, you can get to Fredericksburg in about 4 hours and hike up the Enchanted Rock State Park Saturday morning.  Enchanted Rock State Park‘s massive pink granite dome has drawn hikers and rock climbers to scale its magical rock formations for years. Enchanted Rock covers approximately 640 acres and rises approximately 425 feet above the surrounding terrain to an elevation of 1,825 feet above sea level. It is the largest such pink granite monadnock (an isolated rock, mountain or hill) in the United States. Folklore of local Tonkawa, Apache and Comanche tribes believe in magical and spiritual powers of the rock and that is where it gets its the name ‘Enchanted Rock’ from. You can head to a resort in either Fredericksburg or San Antonio after the hike to spend the rest of the weekend.

Lighthouse Peak Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Photo credit: Texas Parks and Wildlife

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Also called the Grand Canyon of Texas, the Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the country.  It lies in the heart of the Texas Panhandle, about 5 hour drive from Dallas.  We are yet to make it here, hopefully will happen this year. Palo Duro Canyon State Park is rugged, beautiful and colorful. Explore the canyon by foot, mountain bike, horse or car and they have more than 30 miles of hiking trails in the park. On the way stop at Caprock Canyons State Park to see the bison roam the plains.

Stargazing in Big Bend National Park - Outside Suburbia

Photo credit : Mike Mezeul II

Big Bend National Park

With over 800,000-acres and diverse terrains of river, desert, and mountains Big Bend National Park in Texas deserves a visit.  Big Bend National Park encompasses the largest protected area of the Chihuahuan Desert in the United States and nestles in a curve of the Rio Grande River between the U.S. and Mexico.  It is after the bend in the river that the park was named after. I’m kind of embarrassed to say that I’m yet to brave the 9 hour road trip from Dallas to visit this remote National Park. However, many of our friends have been and our favorite photographer regularly conducts workshops there.  This is one his photos from the Big Bend National Park. The park is huge, remote, isolated and the light pollution is so less that you are guaranteed dark skies and starry nights.

Beavers Bend Oklahoma

Beavers Bend State Park Oklahoma

Just a scenic 3 hour drive from Dallas, Beavers Bend State Park and the area around the picturesque lake Broken Bow is perfect for a weekend in the wilderness. You can enjoy hiking, canoeing, fly fishing during the day and spend your evenings in luxury cabins with cabin chefs and even arrange for in cabin massages during your getaway at Beavers Bend Oklahoma. Located on a bend of the huge Broken Bow lake, Beavers Bend is one our favorites places for a quick getaway from Dallas and have made the trip several times over the years.  From Girls trip to a family weekends getaway, you can’t go wrong here! If we don’t plan our travels in advance, we seem to always end up here for a last minute getaway from Dallas, where else can you enjoy unplugged cozy and lazy cabin mornings and pine scented backyards.

Amarillo

Amarillo is a bit of a drive from the major cities in Texas, but well worth it. You can make your mark with spray paint at the famous Cadillac Ranch.  Drive to nearby Palo Duro Canyon to see the Grand Canyon of Texas.  Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument is not too far from Amarillo.  We have not made this trip yet and is on our to do list.

Texas State Capitol - Austin - Photo by Outside Suburbia

Austin

From shopping on funky South Congress Avenue to stand-up paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake and seeing live music, there is always plenty to do in the capitol of Texas. Once the sun begins to set, line up on the Congress Avenue Bridge to witness a staggering 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats fly into the night sky from beneath the bridge, which takes place nightly from spring through fall. Explore the Texas State Capitol Complex at the Texas Capitol Visitors Center and visit the University of Texas at Austin if you have a high schooler like us.  From BBQ to Tex-Mex to funky food trucks, Austin food scene is diverse and can’t be missed.

Fredericksburg

This popular German town is located in the Hill Country and is great if you like to browse in the many small shops, listen to live music, sample a wide variety of wines. If you like wine, you’ll love Fredericksburg!  It is home to more than 20 wineries and second only to Napa. The Texas Hill Country is actually home to over 45 wineries and vineyards and Fredericksburg is the epicenter of the Hill Country wine region. There are more than two dozen wineries and tasting rooms located in Fredericksburg. If you are visiting during Spring make time for some wild flowers – Wild Seed Farms the nation’s largest wildflower farm located just outside Fredericksburg. During the blooming season, it’s a sea of red, blue or yellow along HWY 290. You can walk the pathways that wind through the magnificent fields – perfect for a spring getaway near Dallas.

Houston

Houston, needs no introduction.  If you make your way here for a Texas weekend getaway, you must see the Space Center Houston. There were two tram choices – Houston Mission Control or Astronaut Training.  We have been on both, the kids enjoyed the astronaut training where you get to visit the buildings on campus, with stops at the astronaut training facility and the Saturn V rocket.  We also make time for visiting Kemah Boardwalk for some fun rides and arcade games. The Houston Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Natural Science are good places to explore and exercise those brain cells. Galveston is a just an hour away and you can easily add it as a day trip from Houston.

Alamo, San Antonio, Texas - Family Getaways near Dallas - Photo by OutsideSuburbia

San Antonio

San Antonio is one of our favorite destinations for a Texas Road trip – we have been to this underrated city in Texas a few times and every time there is always something new to discover.  With all there is to see and do in San Antonio, you may want to save it for a long weekend or Spring break week.  Just North of the city, stop by the Natural Bridge Caverns, the largest known commercial caverns in the state of Texas. Formed by an underground river and later discovered and preserved, this attraction is full of history and discovery for families to enjoy. Plus, just outside, take a drive through the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch for up-close encounters with animals.  Within the city limits of San Antonio you have The Riverwalk, Fiesta Texas, the Alamo, Seaworld, San Antonio Zoo, Six Flags and The Pearl, like I said earlier you can spend an entire week here and makes for a fantastic Spring getaway from Dallas.

San Marcos

If you are driving from Austin to San Antonio, you can’t miss a shopping spree at The San Marcos Outlets. It is not only the largest outlet center in the United States, but you won’t find many of these luxury designer or brand outlets anywhere else in Texas. There are 260 stores and amazing some discounts here. Be sure to visit downtown San Marcos. Locally-owned shops, restaurants, bistros and shopping – you are sure to find unique gifts, trendy boutiques, cool art, vintage clothing, one-of-a-kind jewelry.

Waco

You will most likely drive through Waco on the way to Austin.  Plan for a day here since there is plenty to do. For most people the first stop in Waco is the Magnolia Silos.  Owned by HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines,  the silos has shops, bakery and plenty of photo ops.  Stop at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum that honors the white-hatted lawmen, Dr Pepper Museum which tells the story of the popular soft drink invented here (also check out Dublin Dr Pepper Bottling Plant, below) and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame that spotlights distinguished Texas athletes.  Stop by Collin Street bakery located in interstate 35 for some famous Texas pecan bread and fruit cakes, you can thank me later or you can ship me some of that bread!

Near Wimberley, Texas - Spring getaways near Dallas - Photo by Outside Suburbia

Wimberley

Located on the Blanco River and Cypress Creek, Wimberley offers a lot of outdoor recreational activities like swimming, fishing, camping, hiking, natural walks and horseback riding. One very popular spot is the swimming hole known as the “Blue Hole“. Located in Jacob’s Well Natural Area the Blue Hole is an artesian spring that releases thousands of gallons of water a day and is the second largest fully submerged cave in Texas with the deepest part of the cavern system at 140 feet deep. The downtown area in Wimberley is quaint with a number of shops, artists’ galleries and cute restaurants. Don’t miss a visit to Wimberley Glassworks is known worldwide for its beautiful hand blown glass art and lighting pieces. You will find many nice houses along the river – cabins, bed and breakfasts and other nice accommodations. There are wineries and olive groves in the area, making it yet another perfect little town for a weekend getaway from Dallas.

Dallas

Last, but not the least, is Dallas.  We live here and love exploring the different area during weekends. There are quite a few posts on the blog about our weekend day trips Outside Suburbia exploring Dallas. From the Dallas Museum of Art to Sixth Floor Museum and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science there is lots of fun things to do in Dallas with kids.  Don’t miss tulip season at the Dallas Arboretum and make time to catch a Texas sunset at the White Rock Lake. We love brunch at one of the many eclectic places in Bishop Arts district and marveling at the Deep Ellum murals.

Family Resorts in Texas that are Perfect Vacation Destinations

Covering over 267,000 square miles from the Great Plains to the beaches of the Gulf Coast, “The Lone Star State” is huge and full of attractions and has plenty of things to see and do. However, sometimes the best vacation involves taking things at a slower pace and allowing yourself to be pampered without having to travel great distances to take part in activities. And that is why you check into one of these kid friendly resorts, that are a vacation destinations where everything you want right at your doorstep.

Hyatt Regency Lost Pines - A Texan Destination Resort

Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and Spa

Hyatt Lost Pines resort nestled between Austin and Bastrop in the Hillcountry adjacent to McKinney Roughs Nature Park, an 1,100 acre wilderness area.  It is a beautiful resort that has perfected blending wilderness and luxury. The hotel featured comfortable rooms, luxurious amenities, and on-site recreation, activities and entertainment that would keep the kiddos engaged. They have bikes to explore the property, archery and trap shooting, big lazy river pool, a championship-level golf course and a Texas sized Spa.  At the end of the day you can go stargazing or make s’mores by the fire pits.  It is one of our favorite resorts.

La Cantera Resort  

Located in the hills just outside San Antonio, the Westin La Cantera Resort offers six pools, health club and spa services, tennis courts, unique dining options, a kids club, three hot tubs, and more.  The property is majestically perched atop one of San Antonio’s highest points and drawing its inspiration in design and character from Texas’ legendary King Ranch, The La Cantera Hill Country Resort is a hilltop retreat that’s pure luxury wrapped in Hill Country charm.

JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa

Texas friendliness awaits you at the award-winning JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa in San Antonio. There is a Lazy river where you can let the stress of every day float away as you jump in a tube and ride around our 1,100-foot lazy river.
Plus water slides and rides that put the fun in full speed as you fly down five exciting water slides or brave the thrills of the 650-foot rapid river ride. Little ones will be feeling the fun as they cool off in their own mini water park, featuring toddler-size slides, fun fountains and shallow spots to crawl and splash. Adults can treat yourself to your own vacation as you escape the crowds and dip into a retreat of relaxation at the adult pool, complete with an infinity edge overlooking Texas Hill Country and the beautiful rolling greens of TPC San Antonio or enjoy the Marriot Lantana Spa that dedicates itself to alleviating physical and spiritual illnesses.

Horseshoe Bay Resort

Located on the shores of Lake LBJ near Marble Falls, a short drive from Austin, Horseshoe Bay Resort offers a wide variety of amenities, including a first class golf course, a spa, fitness center, marina and more.

The Houstonian

Well-known for its upscale Spa, the Houstonian also offers guests fine dining, access to the Redstone Golf Club, tennis courts, exercise facilities and more. The Houstonian is a perfect place to stay when  visiting one of Texas’ largest city.

The Inn at Dos Brisas

On the eastern foothills of the Texas Hill Country you will find The Inn at Dos Brisas where you can ride horses, sample wine, and get a massage without leaving the resort.  What began as a ranch retreat the family purchased in 2000 has evolved into a Relais & Chateaux luxury inn, brimming with character and charm. This Luxury Ranch Resort houses the only Forbes five-star restaurant in Texas, where cuisine is made from ingredients cultivated on their acres of organic farmland and orchards. Dining is definitely a highlight here – you can enjoy breakfast on the patio of your casita, or have the resort pack you a picnic lunches that you can enjoy during a ride.

You might like – Instagrammable spots in Dallas, Spas in Dallas, Cute Coffee stops in and around Dallas, Family Friendly things to do in Dallas and other fun things to do in and around Dallas and the Suburbs.

PIN IT FOR LATER

Are there other Texas road trips that are a easy drive from Dallas that should be on this list?  Let me know and I will it this list and my to do list 😉

Note: This post contains affiliate links and some sponsored content. But as always images and opinions are our own. For more information on our affiliates and privacy policy at Outside Suburbia see here.

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