Best Weekend Getaways From Dallas & Fort Worth

Head to San Antonio, Texas, to stroll the charming River Walk
Head to San Antonio, Texas, to stroll the charming River Walk | © Karen Cowled / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Suzanne Harbison
28 April 2021

When the weather begins to warm and wildflowers start to bloom, spring fever erupts. Time to get out of the house and off on a road trip. Fill the tank, grab the camera and leave Dallas & Fort Worth heading north, south, east or west for one of these reinvigorating weekend getaways. From relaxing wineries, great shops and delightful art to historical museums, dinosaur bones and adventure, these are the best weekend getaways from DFW, Texas.

McKinney

Architectural Landmark
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Head 35mi (56km) north from downtown and you’ll hit McKinney – great for a weekend or just a day. It’s a place for ambling, nosing in boutiques and for lazing over lunch in and around the pretty downtown square. Favorite spots include Cadillac Pizza Pub, Landon Winery and the Sweet Spot bakery and coffee shop, the latter does the best scones in town. Hang around into evening and you’ll find many establishments have live music. If you’re into wildlife and hiking, the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary is a nature preserve with miles of trails, plus a plant garden and butterfly house. McKinney is also known for vineyards and breweries, so you’ll have no trouble quenching your thirst after all that walking.

Oklahoma City

Architectural Landmark
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Oklahoma City Oklahoma OKC Bricktown Canal with boats and restaurants downtown
© Bill Bachmann / Alamy Stock Photo

Three hours up Interstate 35, Oklahoma City is a cinch to get around and has masses to see and do. Start at the Museum of Art – where a 55ft (17m) blown-glass installation in the atrium greets you, created by Dale Chihuly. In fact, the museum has one of the most comprehensive collections of Chihuly glass in the world. After, observe a moment’s silence at the Oklahoma City National Memorial, and visit the adjoining museum, which explores the events of 19 April 1995: the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building; the loss of 168 lives; the wounding of 680; and the consequences in the days, weeks and years that followed. End up in buzzy Bricktown with a bite and a bevy at one of its watering holes: the oldest tap house in the city, TapWerks, has real atmosphere – and more than 200 beers on tap.

Fredericksburg

Architectural Landmark
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Fredericksburg, Texas
© simon leigh / Alamy Stock Photo
The clue’s in the name: this town was founded by German settlers in the mid-19th century. You still get a taste of the homeland today in the architecture and the food, the military history and the rambling vineyards. It’s around four hours’ drive south of Dallas & Forth Worth, amid the rolling landscapes of Hill Country, with hundreds of B&Bs to choose between. Settle in and make your first stop the National Museum of the Pacific War; packed with interactive exhibits, it tells the story of the Pacific Theater battles of World War II. While here, idle in the Japanese Garden of Peace. Next stop: Main Street, for art galleries and shops, then refreshments – there are beer gardens at Hondo’s On Main and Auslander, as well as live music. One evening, hit the Rockbox Theater for country, rock and blues tributes; and spend a day exploring the wineries along Highway 290 – try a tour, so you can drink a tempranillo or two.

Waco

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The Silos at Magnolia Market, Waco, Texas
© By LunaseeStudios / Shutterstock
Halfway between Dallas and Austin is the college town of Waco, home to the Mayborn Museum – on the Baylor University campus – which is especially fun for children, with interactive stations and displays; while all ages will love the Waco Mammoth exhibit. Walking on a see-through floor you see, below, casts of Columbian mammoth bones displayed exactly as they were unearthed mere miles from the campus. With hunger pangs gnawing, hit the Collin Street Bakery for a slice of pie, a macaroon or their famous fruit cake. For a more substantial meal, something meaty from Rudy’s Bar-B-Q will hit the spot.

San Antonio

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Tourists enjoying a boat trip, San Antonio River Walk, San Antonio, Texas USA
© Kumar Sriskandan / Alamy Stock Photo

Five hours south of Dallas & Forth Worth, along I-35, lies the perfect long weekend. San Antonio, of course, means a visit to the Alamo, the Spanish Missions and the famed River Walk; but it’s also a winner if you’re in the mood for food: Mexican, French or German. Favorite treats include the prickly pear margarita and guacamole made tableside at Boudro’s, and brunch at The Guenther House – famed for serving enormous buttermilk biscuits. Built in 1860, it’s both a restaurant and a museum: admire the stained-glass windows and light fixtures, and shop for gifts at the on-site River Mill Store – it does a fine line in recherche gravy mixes and vintage-towel sets. There are more fabulous homes in the surrounding King William Historic District, if you’ve got spare time to wander further.

Granbury

Architectural Landmark
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town square grandbury texas
© Bob Kreisel / Alamy Stock Photo

One hour southwest of the big city, just off Highway 377, you’ll roll into quaint Granbury which, for good reason, wins awards of the ‘Best Historic Small Town in America’ variety: it’s rich in both heritage and hospitality. Stay in one of the many B&Bs or inns here, or consider the RV parks, cabins and cottages. Spend the day shopping – Granbury Square has more than 40 unique outlets, plus the landmark Hood County Courthouse in ornate French Second Empire style (today, it’s a fascinating museum). If you’re in town on a Saturday afternoon, check out the popular Revolver Brewery – at 7 percent ABV, the Blood & Honey Texas Ale here is a hit. Before you leave, squeeze in a production at the renovated 1886 Opera House.

Palo Duro Canyon

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Mesquite Camp Area, Palo Duro State Park, Texas.
© Dan Leeth / Alamy Stock Photo
Five hours west from the big city lies Texas’s answer to the Grand Canyon of Arizona. If you’re not camping or renting a cabin, consider staying in nearby Amarillo so you have plenty of time to take in the majestic beauty of this awesome spectacle – hit the trails early for that photogenic morning light. Palo Duro Canyon State Park has more than 30mi (48km) of marked trails to explore, either by hiking, mountain biking or horse riding. Nearby Elkins Ranch, a working cattle ranch, lays on Jeep tours and is steeped in Old West adventure and history. Of course, things are always bigger in Texas – you’ll find more than 2m exhibits at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum. From dinosaur relics to conquistador memorabilia, it’s all here in the largest history museum in Texas.

Bullard

Architectural Landmark
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A few miles south of Tyler, Bullard is a town with an ace up its sleeve: the American Freedom Museum, on The Brook Hill School campus. The Hall of Presidents includes a signed document by every president from George Washington to Barack Obama. The Hall of Freedom chronicles the major conflicts the United States has been involved in since the Revolutionary War. It’s energy-sapping stuff, so make sure you’re based for the weekend 10 minutes northeast in Kiepersol, an estate winery, distillery, restaurant and B&B. Founded by South African native Pierre de Wet, it’s famed for quality and service. Try wine tastings at your leisure – tours take place at designated times, no reservations needed. You’ll also get to enjoy steak or seafood for dinner, surrounded by the two-story cellar lined with hundreds of bottles from around the world.

Pittsburg

Architectural Landmark
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Founded in the 1850s, Pittsburg is a pretty little slice of Americana, with timber churches, chapels and a Commercial Historic District of brick buildings with storefronts in cast iron, wood and glass. Beyond town is Daingerfield State Park, home to the Rustling Leaves Nature Trail, where you can hike, camp and fish in the shadow of vividly colored maples, gums and oaks. The big attraction – particularly if you like a tipple – is nearby Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards. Book the weekend special and you’ll get live jazz on the expansive patio. See, too, if you can get onto one of the cooking classes with acclaimed chef Enam Chowdhury. Aim to bed down in one of the cottages at Lavender Mermaid Farm B&B, with its lavender chocolates, lavender scones at (gourmet) breakfast and even lavender bath products. No need to worry about having a good night’s sleep; inhale those aromas and you’ll be out for the count.

Ennis

Architectural Landmark
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Ennis, Lupinus texensis, Texas, USA, biennial plant, bluebonnets field, spring, plants, agriculture, farm
© Prisma by Dukas Presseagentur GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

Every Texan spring road trip has to feature those floral favorites – bluebonnets. And where better to be at one with the state flower than in Ennis – the Official Bluebonnet City of Texas – half an hour southeast of Dallas on I-45? Each spring, the Ennis Garden Club ramps up the color scheme by hosting a 40mi (64km) mapped drive among horizons of the incredible blooms in the Bluebonnet Trails. If the motoring has got you all revved up, plug into more speed at the Texas Motorplex drag-racing facility or experience a stock-car race at Big O Speedway.

Wichita Falls

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Just a cow-tail’s flick from the Texas/Oklahoma state border is the city of Wichita Falls. Although the city’s namesake natural waterfalls were washed away two centuries ago, you’ll love the other natural (and constructed) attractions including Lucy Park, River Bend Nature Center, Lake Wichita and Castaway Cove Waterpark. If you’re a history buff take a look around the Museum of North Texas History to learn more about the area. Meanwhile, fans of the squared circle should head over to the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame & Museum.

Tyler

Architectural Landmark
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Tyler, an easy two hours’ drive east of Dallas on I-30, may not have the same mainstream mega-wattage as the Lonestar State’s major metropolises, but the Rose Capital of America is worthy of your weekend. The quaint brick-lined streets, charming family-owned shops and Texas-sized eats in vibrant downtown will make you feel at home. Tyler is one place where you should stop and smell the roses; figuratively and literally. The Azalea and Spring Flower Trail, as well as various rose gardens and nurseries, will tempt you to take it slowly and savor every breath of fresh Texas air.

Corsicana

Architectural Landmark
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Point your vehicle down I-45 from Dallas and in about an hour you’ll be saying hello to Corsicana. This city celebrates its history at every opportunity, hosting festivals and absorbing tours throughout the year. Every week, you’ll get the opportunity to sip a cocktail and support local businesses – that’ll be Mimosas at the Market. Meanwhile annual events such as the Best Little Airshow in Texas, Derrick Days and the Cotton Harvest Festival draw crowds from near and far. If you’re a competitive cyclist, here’s a date for your diary: the spring Tour of Corsicana is a race through downtown like no other.

Nick Dauk contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on April 28, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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