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8 fun-filled day trips within two hours from Dallas

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By COURIER DFW Staff

February 21, 2024

There are plenty of fun things to do in Dallas itself, but sometimes you just want to get away and check out something completely new. With its central location, Dallas is only two hours away from countless attractions, ranging from national parks to unique museums. Here are eight great places you can visit for a day full of fun without having to travel super far. 

Waco, Texas (1.5 hours)

Waco is only about an hour and a half drive from Dallas, and there’s tons to do there. If you’re only going to head up for a day, we suggest starting with a visit to Magnolia Market. HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines have built a media empire, and you can enjoy shopping and treats at their storefront (and maybe see them there if you’re lucky). After that, stop by the Dr. Pepper Museum to learn all about the iconic soda and its history. You’ll be able to see vintage memorabilia, create your own soda, and even tour the original 1906 bottling plant. 

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center (1.5 hours)

While there are a couple of attractions to check out in Glen Rose, you can easily spend a whole day exploring the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, which offers diverse ecotourism experiences. You can join a guided tour or drive your own vehicle through the park’s 1,800 acres and get a close look at free-roaming animals. There’s also a Children’s Animal Center, a unique cafe for dining, and opportunities to learn about conservation, making it a destination for the whole family. 

Paris, Texas (1.5 hours)

Paris, Texas, is famous for its Eiffel Tower replica topped with an iconic red cowboy hat. While you should arguably make the trip just for the photo opportunities alone, you can spend an entire day exploring its charming downtown, taking in the historic sights, and savoring local dishes. Paris offers a unique blend of small-town charm and quirky landmarks, making it a worthwhile day trip that you can easily make on a weekend. 

Turner Falls (2 hours)

It only takes about two hours to reach Davis, Oklahoma from Dallas, and you’ll be glad you made the trip. Tucked into the Arbuckle Mountains, Turner Falls is the largest waterfall in Oklahoma and is surrounded by beautiful park grounds. You can swim in the natural swimming pool, explore the trails and 1930s-era Collings Castle, and take in the lush wilderness. If you want to stay longer than a day, there are plenty of lodging opportunities, but you can also be back to Dallas by dinner. 

 

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LBJ National Grasslands (1 hour)

If you’re looking for a wildlife adventure close to Dallas, look no further than the Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) National Grasslands. The area spans more than 20,000 acres and is home to animals like deer, coyotes, turkeys, and catfish. It also boasts dozens of different native plants. Visitors can hike, fish, bird-watch, or even mountain bike during their stay. No matter what you choose to do there, the LBJ National Grasslands are a great place to visit to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Lavender Ridge Farms (1 hour)

For a more unique day trip, head to Lavender Ridge Farms in Gainesville. The family-owned farm is the site of multiple gardens and, of course, its namesake lavender field. Take in the sweet floral smells as you stroll through the beautiful grounds, pick your own lavender, and grab some farm-fresh goodies from their market. They also have fun events throughout the year, including hands-on classes and workshops, making it perfect for a relaxing countryside excursion.

 

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Texas Wine Country (1-2 hours)

Craving a vineyard experience but don’t have the time to book it to Napa County? Don’t fret — North Texas has plenty of opportunities of its own. Vine & Wine Tours of North Texas is an all-inclusive experience that takes participants to three wineries within Fort Worth, meaning you’ll never be further than two hours away from Dallas. The best part is that someone will do the driving for you! Marvel at the expansive vineyards, meet local wine makers, and sample delicious wines throughout the visit. You might never need to travel out of state for wine tours again. 

Choctaw Casino & Resort (1.5 hours) 

If you’re more of an indoors person, you can still have a fun day trip without having to travel too far. Located in Durant, Oklahoma, Choctaw Casino & Resort boasts tons of activities. From traditional casino games to a full-service spa and live entertainment, you’re sure to have a great time. Choctaw Resort and Casino blends excitement, leisure, and entertainment, making it an ideal place to go with a group. 

READ MORE: Fun stuff to do in the Dallas metro area for $20 or less

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