Dallas offers many attractions and activities in Texas, including theme parks and family resorts, but if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the town, you can always plan a road trip to some of the nearby places. The city of Dallas is located near several small towns, lakes, historic sites and outdoor recreational parks, which make it a great starting point for a road trip. Some interesting places like Marfa, Broken Bow Lake, Cadillac Ranch and Stonehenge II and Easter Island Heads make for great trips. So what are you waiting for? Scroll below to find out all the places where you can plan the best road trips from Dallas, Texas, USA.
This city is located between Big Bend National Park and the Davis Mountains. Marfa is about 836 km (520 miles) from Dallas, which means you can reach the city in about 7.5 hours in a car. While in Marfa, you can visit Building 98, a historic US Army base, which was active from 1911 to 1946. The building is now an art gallery and its dining room has many murals of World War II prisoners of wars. The city is also famous for the Prada shop, which is located in the middle of nowhere. Apart from many historic buildings, Marfa is also well-known for the mysterious lights called Marfa Lights. Ranchers, tourists, meteorologists and more have seen unexplained lights in the outskirts of the city. While the source of the light remains unknown but sightings of this strange phenomenon have been reported for decades.
2. Garner State Park
Garner State Park is the most popular state park in Texas for overnight camping. The state park is 585 km (364 miles) away from Dallas and is located along the Frio River. Adventure enthusiasts can indulge in canoeing and paddle boating. You can swim here or take a tube and drift along in the water. Soak in the scenic landscape and enjoy the 17 km (11 miles) long hiking trail at the Gamer State Park. Since the 1940s, people have been gathering in the concession building to enjoy a jukebox dance. You can book screened shelters, campsites or cabins if you are planning to stay overnight.
3. Palo Duro Canyon State Park
Palo Duro Canyon is the second biggest canyon in the country after the Grand Canyon. The Palo Duro Canyon State Park is about 606 km (377 miles) from Dallas, making it an ideal destination to plan a road trip. You can explore the dusty state park on foot, in a car or on horseback. If you like hiking, there are about 48 km (30 miles) of trails in the park to keep you occupied. During summers, you can also enjoy an outdoor musical drama called TEXAS, which highlights the struggles, triumphs and stories of the early settlers of the region. A short drive will take to the city of Amarillo, where you can visit Big Texan Steak Ranch and savour great steaks grilled over an open oven. If you feel adventurous, you can also take the legendary “Steak Challenge” at this restaurant.
4. Fort Worth Water Gardens
A short road trip from Dallas, Fort Worth Water Gardens is an engineering and architectural marvel designed by Philip Johnson. The refreshing and beautiful oasis is adjacent to Fort Worth Convention Center and is 51 km (31.9 miles) from the city of Dallas. The Water Gardens in Fort Worth is frequently visited by tourists throughout the year. It features three pools of water: the aerating, the quiet and the active pool. The aerating pool features several illuminated water spray fountains under a canopy of large oak trees. Travellers will enjoy some solitude at the serene meditation pool. This pool is a part of the quiet pool and is surrounded cypress trees, which add to its charm. What’s more, the walls of the pool have water cascading down. The highlight of the Water Gardens, however, is the active pool with water streaming down from 11.5 meters (38 feet). It flows down from the steps and terraces to the small pool below. The idea behind the pool was that people could experience its beauty and relax by listening to the soothing sounds.
5. Cadillac Ranch
If you’re looking for a place to go on a road trip, then you’ll love Cadillac Ranch. It is a quirky display of 10 Cadillacs wedged into the ground on the historic Route 66. This sculpture and art exhibit was created by Ant Farm, a group of three artists: Hudson Marques, Chip Lord, and Doug Michaels. You’ll find the Cadillac Ranch on the way to Amarillo and hoards of people stop at the site every day to leave their mark on the graffiti-wheeled landscape. Bring along some cans of aerosol paint if you want to write or paint on one of these 10 Cadillacs.
6. Milton Reimers Ranch Park
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
This park is spread over a vast area of land and is about 352 km (219 miles) drive from Dallas. This park has an 11 mile (17.7 km) Milton Reimer’s Ranch Trail, which is perfect for people with all skill levels. Visit Reimers Observatory inside Reimers Ranch and use the two large telescopes to view the night sky. Bird watching tours are also available to guests travelling from October through April. The price of the tour is included in the entrance fee.
7. Stonehenge II and Easter Island Heads
Are you in the look for a driving vacation in Dallas? If so, you may want to see Stonehenge II and Easter Island Heads, which are located in the Texas Hill Country and are a homage to the original monuments. Stonehenge II is located at Hill Country Arts Foundation’s campus in Ingram. From Dallas, you have to drive 473 km (292 miles) to reach this place. Al Shepperd created the exhibit as an art project with the help of his neighbor Doug Hill. This site also includes two 13 feet (3.9 meters) tall Easter Island Heads, which are replicas of the original heads, on either side of Stonehenge II.
8. Hamilton Pool
An ideal place to visit near Dallas in summer, Hamilton Pool is a great place to escape the hot weather and enjoy a cool breeze. Take a dip in Hamilton Pool, which has a waterfall pouring into it. It is a perfect place to relax or enjoy swimming in the midst of nature. Hamilton Pool is 352 km (219 miles) from Dallas, which makes it the perfect destination for a road trip. This natural pool is surrounded by large limestone slabs that rest by the water’s edge. The cave has large stalactites that grow from the ceiling high above. Travellers should note that this is a natural pool and creek, which means it is not chemically treated and water quality is monitored regularly. Sometimes swimming can be restricted due to unsuitable water quality.
9. Broken Bow Lake
Broken Bow Lake is situated 289 km (180 miles) from Dallas, making it an ideal day trip or weekend getaway. This is an incredible place where you can indulge in a number of outdoor activities like golfing, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding and more. You can also rent a cabin to relax. If you are travelling with kids, you can also take a duck tour on the lake.
10. Enchanted Rock
Located almost four hours away from Dallas, with a distance of 234.6 mi (376.58 km), Enchanted Rock is another must-visit road trip destination in Texas. It is a pink granite mountain that offers numerous outdoor activities ranging from easy-going activities like picnicking, wildlife watching, and camping, up to adrenaline-pumping pursuits, including rock climbing and hiking. You’ll also find here nature trails and a park store, where you can buy souvenirs and other things. Additionally, everyone is reminded that all trails, except for the loop trail, close at sunset.
11. Turner Falls Park
A two-hour drive from Dallas, with a distance of 128.2 mi (206.32 km) away, Turner Falls Park is tucked in the Arbuckle Mountains in Davis, Oklahoma. It is a favorite attraction among families, and a popular summer destination for it features numerous picnic areas, camping spots, and RV hookups. But the stars of the show are the 77 ft (23.47 m) waterfalls, swimming area, natural caves, sandy beaches, and hiking trails, which lure many tourists all-year-round. Also, you’ll find here food concessions and many shops to provide you with your needs.
12. Caddo Lake
Nestled between the borders of Louisiana and Texas, Caddo Lake is a three-hour drive from Dallas, with a travel distance of 196.4 mi (316.07 km). It is a picturesque 25,400-acre (10,279.02 hectares) body of water composed of a lake and a bayou and with a depth of up to 20 ft (6.10 m). The lake is home to many Cyprus trees, different species of fauna, birds, and wildlife, including turtles, frogs, squirrels, deers, and more. If you’re wondering what activities you can try here, you can go fishing, boating, paddleboarding, hiking, picnicking, and even have a camping trip.
13. Big Bend National Park
Located seven hours away from Dallas, with a travel distance of 533. 2 mi (858.10 km), Big Bend National Park is another major road trip destination that you should try whenever you want a change in scenery. This national park is composed of a mountain, a desert, and a river. And to make the most of your time and ensure that you explore most of its features, you should stay here for at least three days. It is also one of the least visited parks in the US, so you’ll have the park all for yourself, which is ideal if you’re escaping from the city because of the crowd.
Little Rock, Arkansas
An almost five-hour drive from Dallas, Texas, with a distance of 319.1 mi (513.54 km), Little Rock is the city capital of Arkansas and home to various sights and attractions. One of these is the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, where you’ll find numerous exhibits like the presidential artifacts and the exquisite Oval Office’s replica. And if you want to know more about the city, you can always visit the Old State House, which is located in a stunning Greek Revival structure from the 1800s, and features many historical artifacts. Other must-visits include MacArthur Park and Arkansas Arts Center.
Enjoy a road trip from Dallas
The city of Dallas has a lot to offer to travellers with varied interests. You can also hop in a car and visit some nearby places of interest if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city life. State parks and lakes are some places where you can just relax or indulge in outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, swimming and more. So don’t forget to check out our guide to the best road trips from Dallas.
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