12 Best Day Trips From Dallas, Texas (2024 Guide)

Looking for some of the best day trips from Dallas? Here’s our list of 12 incredible Dallas day trips you should add to your itinerary!

The Lone Star State is packed with incredible things to see and do. If you’re visiting the busy city of Dallas, the attractions here alone could entertain you for days on end.

In Dallas, a city known for its cosmopolitan flair and rich cultural offerings, some of the best things to do include exploring the historic Dealey Plaza, where the Sixth Floor Museum chronicles the events surrounding President John F. Kennedy’s assassination.

Additionally, visitors can indulge in the city’s vibrant arts scene by touring the renowned Dallas Museum of Art or strolling through the picturesque Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, offering a delightful escape into nature within the heart of the city.

But if you have time for a day trip, consider venturing outside the city to explore more of Texas!

Our list of the top day trips from Dallas combines all the most fascinating parts of East, Central, and North Texas. Some of these day trips from Dallas even take you all the way into Oklahoma!

You can tour art galleries in cities like Austin or go horseback riding through a state park. You can visit the gorgeous natural wonder of Turner Falls, or lounge on the sandy beaches of a lake. Or head up to Oklahoma’s capital city or explore the wilderness in Beaver Bend State Park.

These day trips from Dallas allow you to make the most of your time in Texas and see beyond the excitement of the city. So make sure you save some time in your exploration of Texas to try some of these day trips from Dallas!

Explore more of the Lone Star State with our list of the best things to do in Texas.

The 12 Best Day Trips From Dallas, Texas

Dallas is located in northeastern Texas without many other major cities nearby. So many of these day trips from Dallas require a bit of driving. Just start the day early and you can easily fit any of these day trips into your Dallas itinerary!

If you don’t already have a car, try to rent one in the city. There isn’t tons of public transport that reaches these Dallas day trips, so having your own vehicle is ideal. Any of these day trips would also make a great weekend trip as well, particularly the further destinations that require 3 hours of driving one way.

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

1. Fort Worth

  • Distance from Dallas: 32 miles
  • Driving time: 30 minutes

Fort Worth, located in the heart of North Texas, is a vibrant city that seamlessly blends its rich Western heritage with a modern urban atmosphere. It’s one of the easiest and most popular day trips from Dallas!

Known as the “City of Cowboys and Culture,” Fort Worth proudly embraces its cowboy roots, evident in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards District. Here, visitors can witness the daily cattle drives, explore the iconic Fort Worth Stockyards, go on a pub crawl, and soak in the Old West charm of saloons and rodeo arenas.

Beyond its Western allure, Fort Worth boasts a thriving cultural scene, with world-class museums like the Kimbell Art Museum, the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. These institutions showcase an impressive collection of art, history, and culture, making Fort Worth a great place to dive into Texas’s cultural influences.

The city’s downtown area, Sundance Square, is a bustling hub of entertainment, dining, and shopping. With its red-brick streets and historic architecture, Sundance Square exudes a welcoming atmosphere and serves as a focal point for community events and festivals.

Fort Worth is also home to other attractions like the Fort Worth Zoo and The Fort Worth Water Gardens. The latter is a stunning urban oasis that captivates visitors with its modernist architecture, serene pools, and cascading waterfalls.

Whether one is exploring its cowboy heritage, indulging in cultural pursuits, or enjoying the vibrant city life, Fort Worth stands as a dynamic and multifaceted destination, inviting residents and visitors alike to experience the best of Texas hospitality and charm.

2. Oklahoma City

  • Distance from Dallas: 207 miles
  • Driving time: 3 hours

You can venture all the way up to Oklahoma on a day trip from Dallas! At just about 3 hours away, Oklahoma City is a great option for Dallas day trips.

Oklahoma City, the capital and largest city of the state of Oklahoma, blends a rich history with modern progress.

Nestled in the heart of the Great Plains, the city’s skyline is marked by impressive architecture, including the iconic Devon Energy Center. The Oklahoma City National Memorial, located at the site of the tragic 1995 bombing, stands as a solemn tribute to those who lost their lives, offering a place for reflection and remembrance.

The Bricktown Entertainment District, once an industrial area, has transformed into a vibrant hub featuring an array of restaurants, bars, and shops along the scenic Bricktown Canal. This district is particularly lively in the evenings, offering a lively atmosphere for visitors and locals alike.

Oklahoma City is deeply connected to its Western heritage, evident in attractions like the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, which showcases an extensive collection of Western art and artifacts.

The city’s commitment to the arts is further exemplified by the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, home to a diverse range of exhibits and a stunning collection of Dale Chihuly’s glass sculptures.

With a thriving cultural scene, a welcoming community, and a mix of historic charm and contemporary offerings, Oklahoma City is one of the best day trips from Dallas. Because it is a 3-hour drive, this also makes a great weekend trip from Dallas!

Related: Check out these other great road trips from Dallas!

Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City is an underrated US capital city!

3. Waco

  • Distance from Dallas: 95 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

One of the most popular day trips from Dallas is Waco, an exciting city situated along the banks of the Brazos River in central Texas.

Known for its friendly atmosphere and cultural attractions, Waco has gained national attention in recent years, thanks in part to the popular renovation of the historic Magnolia Market at the Silos. Founded by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” fame, Magnolia Market has become a major draw, attracting visitors with its stylish shopping, delicious food trucks, and vibrant community space.

Beyond Magnolia Market, Waco offers a range of cultural experiences, including the iconic Dr Pepper Museum. Housed in the original bottling plant, the Dr Pepper Museum offers a delightful journey through time, showcasing vintage advertisements, memorabilia, and a glimpse into the evolution of the beloved beverage.

Waco’s downtown area has undergone revitalization, featuring a mix of trendy boutiques, eateries, and entertainment venues. The Brazos Riverwalk provides a scenic backdrop for leisurely strolls and outdoor activities, offering a peaceful escape within the heart of the city. You can even go horseback riding with a cowboy guide!

The city is also known for the Waco Mammoth National Monument a paleontological site that preserves the fossilized remains of a herd of Columbian mammoths and other Ice Age creatures. Visitors to the monument can take guided tours to explore the well-preserved mammoth fossils in their original context.

Between its ancient fossils, bustling markets, and Dr Pepper Museum, Waco is one of the top Dallas day trips!

4. Davy Crockett National Forest

  • Distance from Dallas: 144 miles
  • Driving time: 2 hours and 20 minutes

Davy Crockett National Forest, located in East Texas, is a sprawling expanse of woodlands and waterways that honors the legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett.

Encompassing over 160,000 acres, Davy Crockett National Forest is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, featuring an extensive network of hiking trails, including the 20-mile Four C National Recreation Trail, which winds through scenic pine and hardwood forests.

The forest’s terrain is interspersed with serene lakes and rivers, providing opportunities for fishing, boating, and wildlife observation.

Big Slough Wilderness, a designated wilderness area within the forest, offers a pristine and untouched natural environment for those seeking a more secluded and immersive outdoor experience.

Davy Crockett National Forest is a treasure trove of biodiversity, home to a variety of plant and animal species. The forest’s diverse ecosystems range from upland pine forests to bottomland hardwoods, creating a gorgeous day trip destination. Birdwatchers can delight in the abundance of avian life, while deer, squirrels, and other wildlife are commonly spotted by those exploring the forest trails.

Davy Crockett National Forest serves as a peaceful retreat, inviting travelers to engage in camping, picnicking, and simply soaking in the tranquility of the East Texas wilderness.

Read next: 14 Best Day Trips From Austin, Texas

5. Beavers Bend State Park And Nature Center

  • Distance from Dallas: 181 miles
  • Driving time: 3 hours

Located in the southeastern corner of Oklahoma, Beavers Bend State Park and Nature Center is a haven for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. Encompassing over 1,300 acres along the shores of Broken Bow Lake and the Mountain Fork River, the park is renowned for its stunning landscapes, dense forests, and crystal-clear waters.

Visitors to Beavers Bend State Park can explore a network of hiking trails that wind through the towering pine and hardwood trees, offering glimpses of native wildlife and providing a serene escape into nature. The park’s centerpiece, Broken Bow Lake, provides opportunities for boating, fishing, and water recreation against a backdrop of picturesque hills.

The park’s dedication to preserving its natural beauty is complemented by the Beavers Bend Nature Center, where educational programs and exhibits enhance visitors’ understanding of the diverse ecosystems that thrive within the park.

The Beavers Bend Nature Center serves as an interpretive hub, providing valuable insights into the flora and fauna of southeastern Oklahoma. Naturalists and park rangers lead guided tours and educational programs, engaging visitors with hands-on experiences and informative exhibits that highlight the region’s biodiversity.

Additionally, the center offers a range of family-friendly activities, making it an excellent resource for those looking to deepen their appreciation for the great outdoors. Beavers Bend State Park and its Nature Center offer one of the best day trips from Dallas for people of all ages.

Beavers Bend State Park
This is a stunning place to explore the wilderness of Oklahoma.

6. Big Cypress Bayou

  • Distance from Dallas: 170 miles
  • Driving time: 2 hours and 40 minutes

Big Cypress Bayou, located in the Piney Woods region of East Texas, is a picturesque waterway known for its serene beauty and rich ecological diversity. Flowing through the historic town of Jefferson, the bayou has played a significant role in the region’s history, serving as a vital transportation route during the steamboat era in the mid-19th century.

Today, it remains a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. The bayou is surrounded by lush cypress and hardwood forests, providing a tranquil setting for activities such as canoeing, kayaking, and birdwatching.

Visitors can explore the scenic waterway, immersing themselves in the peaceful ambiance while spotting a variety of wildlife, including turtles, waterfowl, and the occasional alligator.

One of the notable features along Big Cypress Bayou is the Caddo Lake, a sprawling and iconic lake known for its bald cypress trees draped with Spanish moss, creating an enchanting and almost mystical atmosphere.

The interconnected waterways offer a unique opportunity to explore the bayou’s beauty and the historic remnants of the steamboat era, such as old paddlewheel boats and remnants of riverboat landings. Big Cypress Bayou and Caddo Lake State Park collectively form a haven for nature lovers, photographers, and those seeking a tranquil day trip into the natural wonders of East Texas.

7. Lake Texoma

  • Distance from Dallas: 88 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

One of the less touristy day trips from Dallas is Lake Texoma. Straddling the border of Texas and Oklahoma, this is one of the largest reservoirs in the United States and a popular destination for outdoor recreation.

Formed by the confluence of the Red River and the Washita River, the lake spans over 89,000 acres, offering a vast expanse of water for boating, fishing, and other water activities. Known for its clear blue waters and scenic shoreline, Lake Texoma attracts visitors from both states and beyond, providing a diverse range of experiences, from serene coves for relaxation to open waters for sailing and jet-skiing.

The lake’s extensive shoreline is dotted with marinas, campgrounds, and parks, providing ample opportunities for camping, hiking, and picnicking. Fishing enthusiasts flock to Lake Texoma for its reputation as a prime fishing destination, hosting a variety of fish species, including striped bass, catfish, and crappie.

The lake is also home to the Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge, a haven for birdwatchers, where migratory birds and waterfowl find sanctuary. You could easily spend a whole day trip exploring this one spot, but there is so much to see here!

Lake Texoma’s combination of recreational amenities, natural beauty, and diverse ecosystems make it a year-round destination for those seeking outdoor adventures and a peaceful escape into the heart of the Southern Plains.

Heading south? Check out our list of the best things to do in San Antonio!

8. Turner Falls Park

  • Distance from Dallas: 128 miles
  • Driving time: 2 hours

Turner Falls Park, nestled in the Arbuckle Mountains of southern Oklahoma, is a scenic and recreational haven renowned for its stunning waterfalls and natural beauty.

The park’s crown jewel, Turner Falls, cascades 77 feet into a natural swimming pool, creating a picturesque landscape that draws visitors seeking both relaxation and adventure. The clear spring-fed waters and the surrounding lush greenery make it a popular destination for swimming, hiking, and picnicking.

Visitors can explore the park’s extensive trail system, which leads to panoramic viewpoints, cave formations, and the Collings Castle, a historic structure built in the 1930s that adds a touch of enchantment to the park’s landscape.

Turner Falls Park also offers diverse recreational amenities, including water activities in Honey Creek that meanders through the park, providing opportunities for canoeing and paddle boating. There are plenty of places to camp and there are some fun family attractions such as Arbuckle Wilderness Park.

Due to its natural beauty, outdoor activities, and family-friendly atmosphere, Turner Falls State Park is one of the best day trips from Dallas for families and nature lovers.

Turner Falls
Turner Falls is an exquisite natural wonder!

9. Dinosaur Valley State Park

  • Distance from Dallas: 80 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour and 22 minutes

Another one of the best day trips from Dallas is Dinosaur Valley State Park, a captivating destination that allows visitors to step back in time to the prehistoric era.

The state park is renowned for its exceptional fossilized dinosaur tracks, which can be found along the riverbed. These tracks, dating back millions of years, offer a unique opportunity for visitors to witness the footprints of massive dinosaurs such as the Acrocanthosaurus and Sauroposeidon.

Beyond the dinosaur tracks, the state park offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and birdwatching, providing nature enthusiasts with a chance to appreciate the diverse flora and fauna of the region.

Visitors to Dinosaur Valley State Park can also enjoy the picturesque landscapes along the river, with opportunities for fishing, swimming, and even camping. The state park features well-maintained trails that lead to scenic overlooks, and the iconic Blue Hole offers a refreshing spot for swimming in the clear waters of the Paluxy River.

With its combination of paleontological wonders and outdoor recreational opportunities, Dinosaur Valley State Park stands as a unique and educational destination for families, nature lovers, and anyone intrigued by the mysteries of the ancient past.

Find more gems with our list of the best places to visit in Texas.

10. Austin

  • Distance from Dallas: 195 miles
  • Driving time: 3 hours

Another one of the best Dallas day trips is the mighty capital city of Texas, Austin! Known for its unique blend of live music, thriving tech scene, and recreational opportunities, Austin has so much to offer travelers.

Located along the banks of the Colorado River, Austin has earned the moniker “Live Music Capital of the World,” boasting a dynamic music scene that comes to life in its numerous live music venues, festivals, and events.

The iconic South by Southwest (SXSW) festival, an annual celebration of film, music, and technology, draws creative minds from around the globe, solidifying Austin’s reputation as a cultural hub. The city’s famed Sixth Street, also known as the “Dirty Sixth,” is a lively entertainment district lined with bars, clubs, and restaurants, offering a diverse array of experiences for both locals and visitors.

Beyond its musical scene, Austin embraces its natural surroundings with an abundance of parks and green spaces. Travelers can explore the scenic Barton Creek Greenbelt, hike along the trails of the Barton Creek Wilderness Park, or go kayaking on Lady Bird Lake, all within the heart of the city.

Austin also has an amazing culinary scene that celebrates local flavors and diverse cuisines, making it a haven for food enthusiasts. Join a guided food tour to uncover all the local secrets of Austin’s eateries!

Whether enjoying the energetic atmosphere of downtown, immersing oneself in the beauty of nature, or savoring the culinary delights, Austin captures the essence of Texas’s diverse and dynamic spirit.

Austin Texas
Don’t miss a chance to explore Austin, Texas!

11. Glen Rose

  • Distance from Dallas: 75 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Glen Rose, a charming town in Somervell County, Texas, is nestled in the picturesque Brazos River Valley and is renowned for its rich history, natural beauty, and unique attractions. The town is often celebrated for its dinosaur tracks at Dinosaur Valley State Park, offering a fascinating glimpse into the prehistoric past.

Beyond this iconic state park, Glen Rose exudes a small-town charm with historic buildings, boutique shops, and family-owned restaurants. The downtown area, surrounded by rolling hills, provides a relaxing atmosphere, inviting visitors to stroll along the streets and enjoy the local hospitality.

The town is also known for its cultural events and festivals, including the annual Somervell County Peach and Melon Festival, which celebrates the region’s agricultural heritage.

Glen Rose boasts cultural attractions as well, such as the Barnard’s Mill Art Museum, housed in a historic gristmill, showcasing local and regional artwork.

With its unique blend of natural attractions and community warmth, Glen Rose is one of the best day trips from Dallas for those seeking a tranquil escape with a touch of Texas history and charm. This small town is close by and perfect for a day trip!

Read next: The Ultimate 3 Days In Austin Itinerary

12. Tyler

  • Distance from Dallas: 97 miles
  • Driving time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Tyler, known as the “Rose Capital of America,” is another one of the best day trips from Dallas and it’s only about an hour and a half drive. This vibrant city in East Texas is celebrated for its blooming rose gardens and charming Southern hospitality.

The Tyler Rose Garden, one of the largest in the country, showcases over 38,000 rose bushes and 500 varieties, attracting visitors from far and wide. Each October, the Texas Rose Festival transforms Tyler into a floral wonderland, featuring parades, garden tours, and other events that highlight the city’s deep-rooted connection to horticulture and the rose industry.

Beyond its floral fame, Tyler offers a diverse range of cultural attractions and recreational activities. The city’s downtown area is home to a mix of historic architecture, trendy boutiques, and local eateries. The Caldwell Zoo provides a family-friendly adventure, housing a variety of wildlife species in naturalistic habitats.

Tyler State Park, just outside the city, offers outdoor enthusiasts opportunities for hiking, fishing, and camping amid the beautiful piney woods of East Texas. With its blend of natural beauty, cultural charm, and community spirit, Tyler stands as a welcoming day trip destination that embraces both its floral heritage and the modern amenities that make it a thriving hub in the region.

Wrapping Up

So whether you’re looking to explore a small town in a hidden corner of the Lone Star State, or head up to Oklahoma to check out the capital city, there are so many amazing day trips from Dallas!

If you have more time, there are plenty of weekend trips from Dallas that are worth trying as well.

Head down to Houston and check out the famous Space Center Houston, or explore the eclectic neighborhoods like the Museum District and tour the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Or spend more time in central Texas near Austin and embark on a journey out to the scenic Texas Hill Country. Here you can tour Guadalupe River State Park or explore the historic town of Fredericksburg.

Or try to see it all on a 10-day Texas road trip itinerary! Whether you’re looking for day trips, weekend trips, or epic road trips, Texas really does have it all!

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Alesha and Jarryd

Hey! We are Alesha and Jarryd, the award-winning writers and professional photographers behind this blog. We have been travelling the world together since 2008, with a passion for adventure travel and sustainable tourism. Through our stories and images we promote exciting off-the-beaten-path destinations and fascinating cultures as we go. As one of the world's leading travel journalists, our content and adventures have been featured by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, CNN, BBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Washington Post, Yahoo!, BuzzFeed, Channel 7, Channel 10, ABC, The Guardian, and plenty other publications. Follow our journey in real time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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