Texas is a large state, and you’d be doing yourself an injustice if you only visited one city, so take a look at these road trips from Dallas which will demonstrate to you the best of what this Southern state has to show. Natural wonders, historical landmarks, and eccentric college towns are all within a short distance of Texas’ third-largest metropolis. One of the greatest ways to see the United States is by vehicle, and staying in Dallas gives you access to a plethora of options for exploring the region.
We’ve put up a comprehensive list of drivable destinations in the Dallas area, with road excursions ranging from a few hours to a full weekend escape.
If you’re ready to start cruising, keep reading to learn about the best itineraries and must-see locations for your Southern adventure.
Do you plan on spending some time in the large metropolis before heading out on the road? Check out our guide to a perfect weekend in Dallas, which includes information on when to visit, how to get around the city, and more.
Here’s your one-stop shop for the best weekend escapes in Dallas, arranged from shortest to longest.
Grapevine is a minor suburb outside of Dallas, around 20 minutes away. While this city may not immediately spring to mind as a tourist destination, it is jam-packed with unique activities that make it an ideal day trip from Dallas.
Grapevine Lake is a beautiful natural escape from the city, with boating, water skiing, windsurfing, and fishing opportunities. The lake is encircled by nine miles of meandering hiking and biking trails if you prefer to keep off the water. The Grapevine Vintage Railroad, which takes tourists on a ride down the historic Cotton Belt Route in 1920s Victorian carriages, is our favorite odd feature. This city is also known for its world-class local wines and hosts an annual GrapeFest that includes four days of wine tastings, live music, and other activities.
2. Turner Falls
Dallas is conveniently located in Northern Texas, just a short drive from the beautiful marvels of Oklahoma.
Turner Falls, at 77 feet, is the tallest waterfall in the neighboring state. While it is the main attraction in the area, there are plenty of pleasant natural pools, hiking paths, and caves to explore in the surrounding countryside.
You’ll want to leave Dallas early in the morning so that you may come early and enjoy the park while it’s less crowded. Take a break from swimming as the day progresses and more tourists arrive, and refuel with some of the substantial Southern cuisines served at one of the onsite restaurants. Turner Falls is readily accessible in a single day, but if you want to extend your adventure, there are designated campsites and lovely lodges for overnight stays. Stop visit WinStar World Casino and Resort, the largest casino in the United States, on your way back to Dallas. A day spent in such beautiful natural surroundings will undoubtedly make you feel fortunate!
3. Caddo Lake State Park
This state park is shrouded in Spanish moss and full of hidden mazes of twisting rivers, and it encompasses one of Texas’ only natural lakes.
Caddo Lake, located on the Louisiana border, is only a two-and-a-half-hour trip from Dallas (which explains the gorgeous bayou landscapes). A journey to the area isn’t complete without a visit to the marshes, and canoes and kayaks may be rented to explore the area’s more than 50 miles of paddling routes. If you decide to stay the night, the park has several charming antique cabins. The Civilian Conservation Corps, founded by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to help young men during the Great Depression, built these throughout the 1930s. Caddo Lake State Park, in reality, is steeped in history. The land is thought to have been inhabited for at least 12,000 years!
4. Beavers Bend
This picturesque resort, located three hours west of Dallas, offers something to offer everyone. Hiking, paddle surfing, and golfing are just a few of the physical activities available to the energetic adventurer. You may also try out the unusual yakanoe, a canoe-kayak hybrid that will bring you out on the water in style. The park’s nature center offers a diverse selection of films and guided treks that will immerse you in and teach you about the surrounding ecosystems. You can even go on an eagle-watching expedition if you come between November and February! Beavers Bend adds ziplining, jet skiing, and scuba diving to the mix for thrill-seekers. It’s essential to spend at least a weekend touring the park because there are so many attractions vying for visitors’ attention. Consider renting a cottage in Hochatown for an overnight visit.
5. Oklahoma City
Because Texas is such a large state, it’s sometimes more convenient to take a road trip to Oklahoma! Dallas is about a 3-hour trip from the capital city of Texas’ northern neighbor. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is one of OKC’s most popular museums. Take some time to visit the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, which honors the victims of the devastating 1995 bombing. If you want to get away from the crowds for a bit, head to the Myriad Botanical Gardens, which cover 17 acres downtown and offer a pleasant afternoon of sitting on the grass and visiting the Tropical Conservatory. We recommend turning this plan into a two-day road trip from Dallas because it’s a big city with a lot to see.
Galveston, Texas, may not be the first place that springs to mind when thinking of a beach vacation, but it is here to alter that. Dallas residents long for the sun and sand, so they enthusiastically start on the four-and-a-half-hour drive down to the Gulf of Mexico. This island is a charming beach town in Texas with a distinct character, framed by a colorful promenade full of Southern charm and ornamented with Victorian mansions. On one side, restaurants and magnificent paintings frame the main road, while on the other, a 10-mile barrier reaches out to the most desired sandy beaches in Galveston. Head to the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier in the evenings for carnival rides, fried food, and stunning sunset views. Because the travel is a bit long, you should plan on spending at least two days on the island. After all, beach holidays are supposed to be relaxing!
7. San Antonio
If you’re seeking a complete driving holiday from Dallas, San Antonio will transport you to a bygone era in Texas, as it is home to most of the state’s rich colonial history. However, be aware that getting to the city is an adventure in itself. Other significant Texas sites such as Waco and Austin, which merit their own road excursions, will be visited on this road trip from Dallas. A stop in the little hamlet of West, Texas, however, can be crammed into a tighter schedule.
In the late 1800s, this quirky Czech enclave attracted countless Eastern European immigrants, and it still has some of the greatest kolaches in the state, which can be found at Slovacek’s or Gerik’s Ole’ Czech Bakery & Deli. A little further down the road is the world’s largest petrol station, a true Texas classic. Buc-in ee’s New Braunfels is a massive 67,000-square-foot convenience shop with 80 soda fountains and a tonne of locally created Southern goodies, including 37 different types of beef jerky and hot brisket sandwiches that you must taste. History aficionados may spend a day roaming about the Alamo, an 18th-century Spanish mission where soldiers once fought for Texas independence, once they arrive in San Antonio.
San Antonio’s streets are rich in beautiful Spanish architecture, including the Alamo, which is the most famous. Cathedrals, missions, and the homes of previous officials, all built in the 1700s, are still standing testaments to the region’s history. San Antonio, in addition to its historical significance, is home to a plethora of modern marvels. The River Walk, which runs through the heart of the city, is a popular tourist attraction.
8. Palo Duro Canyon
Palo Duro Canyon is located just west of Amarillo, roughly a 6-hour journey from Dallas. It is the country’s second-largest canyon system, second only to Arizona’s world-famous Grand Canyon. With nearly 30 miles of trails, visitors can explore the rocky terrain of the state park on foot, mountain bike, or on horseback. You may even drive through the canyon’s bottom, which takes a little under an hour to complete. It’s also an excellent location for seeing Texas wildlife. The canyon is home to wild turkeys, coyotes, bobcats, and longhorn cattle. There are countless campsites tucked away deep in the canyon, and on clear evenings, the Milky Way may be seen far above. As a result, staying at least one night before returning to Dallas is highly recommended.
9. Big Bend National Park
Big Bend is an outstanding national park in Texas that spans over 800,000 acres near the Mexican border and is home to beautiful canyons, desert landscapes, and rich archaeological sites where ancient fossils and dinosaur bones have been discovered. This is one of the more difficult road journeys from Dallas on our list, but it is well worth the effort. You’ll be on the road for about 8 hours if you go directly from Dallas to Big Bend.
However, we recommend making it a week-long journey so that you can enjoy the tiny villages along the road while still having enough time to see the park. Stop in Midland, Texas, roughly 5 hours outside of Dallas, to break up the long drive. You can learn about the history of the state’s oil boom or pay a visit to former US President George W. Bush’s childhood home. Continue for another 2 12 hours from Midland to Marfa, a small and charming town famous for the enigmatic Marfa Lights that show on the southeast horizon now and again. El Cosmico offers desert glamping if you opt to stay the night. They offer teepees, yurts, safari tents, and trailers, all with fantastic views of the night sky in West Texas.
You’ll want to spend a few days in Big Bend itself, doing things like horseback riding, birding, and rafting the Rio Grande.
10. Fort Worth
Dallas is a sister city in Fort Worth, and the two cities combined make up the United States’ fourth largest metroplex. You’ll notice a change in the air as you get away from the sleek, metropolitan Dallas skyline. The mottos of the city say it all. Even though it’s only a 30-minute drive from Dallas, you’ll soon find yourself immersed in a world of cowboys and bustling honky-tonks.
The Stockyards are by far the greatest way to spend a day in Fort Worth. In the morning, visit the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, then stay for the 11.30 cattle drive. There are infinite barbeque and Tex-Mex alternatives for lunch, each one more delectable than the last. You can go to Billy Bob’s at night for some square dancing and a go at your world-record-breaking bull ride (mechanical, of course). If you want to make a weekend of it, combine your Fort Worth plans with our Dallas one-day itinerary to get the best of both cities.
11. Dripping Springs
Dripping Springs’ charming name aptly captures the spirit of this small hamlet in the Texas Hill Country, just outside of Austin. The Hamilton Pool is the most popular attraction, a stunning natural swimming hole with such beautiful blue water and green sloping cliffs that you’ll forget you’re still in Texas! After your trip, relax at one of the town’s several vineyards or distilleries.
Deep Eddy, an Austin-based brand noted for its flavored vodkas, is well-known, and then Dripping Springs Wine Trail will take you on a tour of various boutique shops selling local goods. The travel from Dallas will take approximately 3 12 hours, but the area is small enough to be visited in a single day. Dripping Springs might also be readily added to a weekend in Austin agenda.
12. Davy Crockett National Forest
This resort is the ideal spot to escape society for a time and embrace your inner pioneer, with over 160,000 acres of beautiful forests, lakes, and recreation spaces. The Davy Crockett National Forest is only a three-hour drive from downtown Dallas, but it feels a world away from the city’s rush and bustle and towering structures. Early in the morning, get out and stretch those tired legs on the park’s 20-mile path, which winds through a variety of environments.
You’ll come across a rustic campsite about halfway through the trip where you can spend a solitary night under the stars before continuing your hike the next day. If hiking isn’t your thing, the National Forest also has 50 miles of horse trails as well as a 45-acre lake where visitors may fish, boat, swim, and picnic. We advocate making a weekend out of it so you can combine more strenuous activities with sheer relaxation in this unspoiled Texas wilderness.
13. Colorado Bend State Park
Don’t be fooled by the name. This state park is still in Texas, yet it’s only a three-and-a-half-hour trip from Dallas. The landscape, on the other hand, appears to be in a completely different location. Over 400 tunnels flow beneath the park, with thrilling guided excursions that will have you crawling through caverns and sliding into small spaces. Do you have a claustrophobic feeling? Instead, head to the open water, where guests can swim, kayak, or fish along the Colorado River’s 6-mile bank.
Colorado Bend is also a top mountain biking destination in the state, with a range of routes to suit any ability level. Hikers and cyclists can access the park’s whole 35-mile trail network. Gorman Falls, a magnificent 70-foot cascade tumbling down lush green rocks, is the most popular hike. We recommend taking this road trip from Dallas over a weekend so you don’t have to rush through the area’s many natural attractions.
Even though they are only a 3- to 4-hour drive apart, Houston is near twice the size of Dallas and has a completely distinct vibe. Although the road between the two is a straight shot, there are a few places worth stopping at along the way. If you’re traveling in the spring, make a pit stop at Ennis, which is about 30-40 minutes outside of Dallas. You can see bluebonnets (Texas’ state flower) blooming all along the way there.
Pull off the highway about halfway through your journey and have a picnic near to the famous Sam Houston statue, where Texas’ first president can tower over you as you eat your lunch. Then, after you are in Houston, there are numerous things to choose from.
The Space Facility, which serves as the official visitor center for NASA’s Mission Control, is a tourist attraction. Of course, a visit to the city’s barbecue scene would be incomplete without a stop in Dallas. Several neighborhood cafes in Houston, some of which date back to the 1930s, are recognized for their delectable cuisine that combines typical Southern smokey aromas with a Cajun and Creole flair. Make your trip to Houston a weekend getaway to explore everything the city has to offer!
If you’ve ever planned a road trip in Texas, Austin has to be at the top of your list. This odd city, about 3 12 hours outside of Dallas, is known for its gastronomy, music, and vibrant cultural scene. The trip can be completed in one day, and while there are other cities along the way, Austin has the majority of the great attractions. If you want to take a break and stretch your legs on the way, stop into Waco’s Magnolia Market, where you may shop and dine on handcrafted treats before getting back on the road.
Once you’ve arrived in Austin, we recommend giving yourself at least a weekend to fully experience the city. Fill your tummy at Franklin Barbecue, then stop by Gourdough’s Big Fat Donuts for a Texas-sized treat. Mount Bonnell is a popular hike for both residents and tourists looking to burn off some calories. The hike will take you to the highest viewpoint point in the area, where you can take in panoramic views of Lake Austin and the city beyond.
16. Texas Wine Country
Everything is bigger in Texas, and the wine industry is no exception. In terms of the number of wine-making facilities inside its borders, the state ranks fourth in the country. Of course, the number is meaningless without quality, but don’t worry, they’ve covered that as well. You can visit up to 50 different wineries along the Texas Wine Trail, each with its own style and specialty. Head south from Dallas for around 4 hours till you reach Fredericksburg, an ultra-romantic vacation in the United States, to get right into the heart of Texas Wine Country.
You can also visit Fall Creek Vineyard, the region’s oldest winery, before arriving at your destination. Several companies in Fredericksburg can arrange a tasting excursion for you, but feel free to get in your car and let your heart lead you to all of the best drinks. This road journey from Dallas can last anything from a weekend vacation to a 5-day adventure, depending on your pace. You might wish to stay in one of these romantic cabins in Texas to round off your romantic trip to the Wine Country–some are very secluded and give a lot of privacy. You might also splurge on one of these wonderful Texas luxury cabins!
17. El Paso
Hold on tight because this is going to be a long one. Although driving from Dallas to El Paso takes a bit more than 9 hours, it is still less expensive than flying to Mexico! This town is located in West Texas, near the United States’ southern border. El Paso is rich in delectable cuisine and cultural attractions as a result of its proximity to Mexico.
The Mission Trail is a 9-mile tour through three ancient missions and their neighboring towns: San Elizario, Socorro, and Ysleta. You’ll get to see local art, learn about Pueblo history and tradition, and even drive down one of the country’s oldest roadways. We recommend that you plan on taking this road trip for at least 4 or 5 days. The nicest part of driving rather than flying is that you’ll get to see all of Texas’ wonderful tiny towns along the way.
You may combine this journey with the Big Bend road trip in western Texas if you have the time. A visit to Alpine will make you feel as though you’ve stumbled into a scene from a movie from the past. Walk around and enjoy its charm because it’s tiny and manageable. Even though Alpine is a small town, you’ll note that the surrounding region is much more sparse than it is in Alpine itself. Since there are just 12,000 individuals dispersed across three counties, it is common for lengthy periods of time to pass without seeing another human being. Fort Davis National Historic Site is a former United States Army fort that is available to the public. Enjoy a breathtaking journey across the harsh landscape of Chihuahua’s arid desert to see Cathedral Mountain in the Glass Mountains, which is a few miles east of Alpine. Pack plenty of food for your picnics and don’t count on the mobile networks.
The Bottom Line
It’s easy to see that Dallas is home to a wide variety of natural marvels and thrilling To go about, you’ll need to sketch out a path ahead of time. For a complete list of hotels, hostels, and VRBOs in Dallas, check out our guide on where to stay in Dallas. Whichever place you choose, we guarantee you’ll enjoy it to the fullest!
What can I do on a long road trip?
On a long road trip, you can do the following things:
- Watch movies
- Listen to songs or podcasts
- Take some rest
- Play games
- Eat snacks
- Take photos
- Play quiz, etc.
How do you go to Texas’s lonesome highway?
It’s called the Lonesome Highway because of the sight it creates a dead-straight asphalt strip amid stark solitude that points directly towards El Capitan.
Where can I experience the best road trip in Dallas?
Fort Worth in Dallas can offer you the best road trip experience.
Which is the shortest road trip route from Dallas?
The shortest road trip route from Dallas is to Waco. It is a 2-hour drive from Dallas.