The Lone Star State has everything a visitor could desire, from wide-open skies and vast outdoor recreational areas to many small towns boasting some remarkable Texan pioneer history and heritage. Almost every little town within a two-hour drive of Fort Worth boasts an historic downtown area filled with beautifully restored old buildings, interesting museums and art galleries and fabulous shopping and dining. You can celebrate the history of the Texan Railroad and the Texas Oil Boom, go horse-back riding or golfing, set off to explore large networks of hiking and biking trails or find the perfect Texan cowboy hat and boots. It’s all waiting to be discovered on your next day trip from Fort Worth.
Home to the Urban Wine Trail and the annual Grapefest, Grapevine is centrally located in the heart of the Lone Star State Wine Business between Dallas and Fort Worth, where it offers visitors of all ages a great day out. For children you will find amazing attractions like Legoland Discovery Center, Peppa Pig World of Play, and SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium. As if these were not enough, you can take a ride on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad and visit museums like historic Nash Farm where children can learn all about the pioneer days in Texas. Wine enthusiasts can enjoy tastings at seven urban winery tasting rooms dotted around the city.
Grapevine, TX 75019-6099
© Christopher Boswell/stock.adobe.com
Abilene is located in typical Texan “Big Sky Country” approximately two and a half hours west of Fort Worth. History buffs and others who would like to learn about the history of Texas will enjoy a visit to the Frontier Texas Museum which uses brilliant modern technology to tell the Texas story from the earliest native inhabitants to the arrival of the railway. You can take a nostalgic journey back in time at the Taylor County History Center where at least fifteen historic buildings and their contents are showcased. Other Abilene attractions include Fort Phantom Hill, Dyess Air Force Base, the Grace Art Museum and the fabulous Abilene Zoo.
Abilene, TX 79601-9699
Addison is located about forty-five minutes north east of Fort Worth, which makes it very accessible for a fun family day trip or shopping excursion. Art lovers will enjoy discovering some of the city’s many outdoor public art installations which are dotted around the city. Addison is known for offering an outstanding choice of restaurants, café and coffee shops, many of which can be found in the Galleria Dallas or Village on Parkway shopping malls. If you are interested in aviation you can visit the Cavanaugh Flight Museum or treat yourself and the family to an awesome helicopter tour at Epic Helicopter Tours.
Addison, TX 75001-5254
© City of Athens, Texas Government
Athens is located about ninety minutes drive southwest of Fort Worth and is definitely worth visiting for an unusual Texan-style day trip. The Henderson County Historical Museum is worth a visit to get an overview of the city’s history before you move on to visit the town’s most popular attraction, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. Here you can join a guided tour and watch scuba divers hand-feeding some of the native Texan freshwater fish. On the topic of scuba diving, Athens offers enthusiasts a unique diving experience at the Athens Scuba Park where you can explore an entire lake filled with sunken boats, planes and other obstacles. Other attractions include the East Texas Arboretum (for beautiful gardens and trails), the New York Texas Zipline Adventures and Tara Vineyard and Winery.
Athens, TX 75751
You need to get an early start for your day trip to Canton if you want to be first in line to pick up a bargain at the city’s world-famous First Monday Trade Day. Staged each month during the three-day weekend before the first Monday of the month, Canton plays host to thousands of dealers and craftsmen who come from near and far to sell their wares at this enormous flea market. You can spend hours admiring fine furniture, artwork, antiques, décor and much more. If you visit outside of these bustling weekends you can have some fun fishing at Mill Creek Reservoir and Old City Lake, visit the Canton Plaza Museum, have hours of fun at Splash Kingdom Waterpark or play a round of golf.
Canton, TX 75103
No visit to Texas would be complete without donning a cowboy hat, saddling up your mount and heading off along the Chisholm Trail for an unforgettable trail ride. The Stockyards Stables in Fort Worth welcomes avid equestrians seven days a week to go on a relaxing outride along the Old Chisholm Trail which winds its way along the Trinity River, against the backdrop of the Fort Worth skyline. You can choose from a thirty or sixty-minute ride and your young children (older than three years) can enjoy a ten-minute arena ride. Besides getting to know the stable horses, children will enjoy the petting zoo while adults may like to have their photo taken astride a beautiful (and patient) Texan Longhorn.
Stockyards Stables, 157 E Exchange Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76164, Phone: 817-247-2510
Located off Interstate 45 in Navarro County, Corsicana is within easy reach of Fort Worth for an interesting family day trip. Corsicana is famous for being the birthplace of the Texas Petroleum industry which you can learn all about as you take a walk through Petroleum Park which features various pieces of oil-mining equipment used back in the 1950’s. You can step back in time to Corsicana’s boom days at the Pioneer Village Historical Museum which features various pioneer-era buildings. Still on the subject of history, you should not miss the Pearce Museum at Navarro College (Civil War History), the Cumbie Aviation Museum and the Capehart Communications Collection.
Corsicana, TX 75110
© will milne/stock.adobe.com
Denton is located in the heart of Texan Horse Country, just over thirty minutes from Fort Worth. The area surrounding Denton is home to a huge concentration of horse farms (over 300) which avid equestrians can explore on a scenic drive or by joining a guided behind-the-scenes coach tour. There are at least three local horse ranches which offer guided horse-back out-rides. But Denton is not only for horse lovers – the city boasts an interesting Historic Downtown surrounding the impressive Courthouse-on-the- Square, great art galleries and studios to admire, a selection of heritage sites and museums to explore, restaurants for all tastes and some really different shops and boutiques.
Denton, TX 75065-6259
9.Dinosaur Valley State Park
For a fascinating family day trip from Fort Worth, the Dinosaur Valley State Park is hard to beat. Here, on what was once the shore of an ocean, you can walk in the footsteps of giants
along the bed of the Paluxi River. Depending on the time of year you visit, you will be able to find actual dinosaur tracks in the river-bed (it is advisable to phone the park before your visit to check track visibility during the rainy season). Besides searching for tracks the park offers many other activities including walking, hiking, swimming, biking, picnicking and geocaching. There are also some ranger-led activities to enjoy.
Dinosaur Valley State Park, 1629 Park Rd 59, Glen Rose, TX 76043, Phone: 254-897-4588
Located 50 miles east of Fort Worth, Garland offers a large variety of activities for day-trippers of all ages. If you are visiting during the summer months the Hawaiian Falls Waterpark and Surf and Swim in Audubon Park are favorite family destinations for hours of water fun. Outdoor enthusiasts can visit Bass Pro Shops on the shores of Lake Hubbard to view an enormous saltwater aquarium as you outfit the entire family for your next outdoor adventure. In Historic Downtown Garland there is an array of interesting shops, cafes and restaurants set in charming historic buildings. Nobody should leave the town without touring the Resistol Hat Plant where you can buy your own genuine Texan cowboy hat.
Garland, TX 75040
© Stanley Rippel/stock.adobe.com
Granbury is located about 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth, where it offers day trippers an easily accessible Texan small-town experience. Art and culture enthusiasts will find a vibrant arts scene in Granbury with several galleries, studios and even an opera-house to visit. If its history you are after you can find it in the Bridge Street History Center Museum, the Granbury Historic Railroad Depot and the Hood County Jail and Museum. You could even join a “spirited” Granbury Ghosts and Legends Tour. Outdoor enthusiasts will find half a dozen golf courses, various lake and river water sports and five miles of walking and biking trails and a delightful butterfly park in the Acton Nature Center.
Granbury, TX 76048
Greenville is another delightful Texan small town which offers day trippers from Fort Worth a variety of fun family activities. A leisurely stroll through historic Downtown Greenville will introduce you to the town’s history as a pioneer cotton farming center in the early 1900’s, and you will find ten historic markers along the way. To learn more about the cotton industry which put Greenville on the map you can take a tour of the Audie Murphy American Cotton Museum. For some active outdoor fun you can visit Splash Kingdom Water Park or enjoy fishing, disc golf, picnics and the splash pad at Graham Park. Landon Winery and Bistro offers delicious meals and wine tastings in their barrel room.
Greenville, TX 75401
© Hillsboro, Texas - City Government
History enthusiasts who are touring Texas should definitely add Hillsboro to their itinerary. Hillsboro is located about an hour south of Fort Worth and is home to the Texas Heritage Museum which is one of the best museums you will find on Texan history through the Civil War, WWII and the Vietnam War. Other historic sites include the Hill County Cell Block Museum, the very impressive Hill County Court House and the MKT Railway Depot. Once you have explored the historic sites you can have some outdoor fun at Lake Whitney, tee-off at the Hillsboro Country Club or shop for antiques and bargains at the Original Antique Mall and the Outlets at Hillsboro.
Hillsboro, TX 76645
14.The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary (IEAS)
Providing essential care and sanctuary for a wide variety of abandoned, orphaned or confiscated exotic animals, the International Exotic Animal Sanctuary in Boyd is a most interesting destination for a family day trip from Fort Worth. Not only will you and your children (older than seven years of age) get the chance to observe many magnificent exotic animals at close range, but you will also learn about conservation and many aspects of animal welfare. The sanctuary offers guided 90 minute walking tours of the sanctuary every day of the week. Expect to see black bears, Bengal tigers, bobcats, brown bear, cougars and many more beautiful creatures.
IEAS, 3901 TX-114, Boyd, TX 76023, Phone: 940-433-5091
© City of Kemp - Mayor's Page
The little Texas town of Kemp is located about an hour west of Fort Worth, where it is home to the Kemp Calaboose, one of America’s weird and wacky roadside attractions. A calaboose happens to be an isolated, one-cell jail and this one would not be worth a second glance were it not for the fact that Bonny Parker, of Bonnie and Clyde fame, is reputed to have once spent a night locked up in this little brick building. The brick jail is quite unremarkable, but worth stopping to photograph if you happen to find yourself driving along US-175 in the vicinity of Kemp.
Kemp Calaboose, 11th Street, Kemp, TX 75143
Kilgore holds the rather dubious distinction of once being home to nearly 1,200 oil wells which were dotted throughout the town. If you are visiting Texas and would like to learn all about the oil boom days in the Lone Star State, Kilgore should be on your list of day trips. The East Texas Oil Museum on the Kilgore College Campus is a good first stop to get an overview how this little town became a Boom Town in the 1930’s. Next up you can visit the World’s Richest Acre Park in downtown, where you can see seventy restored oil derricks. Other Kilgore attractions include the interesting and interactive Texas Broadcast Museum and the lovely Shakespeare Garden, which are modeled on the original garden in England.
Kilgore, TX 75662
17.Lake Murray State Park
© Michael QuallsDanita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
When you need a break from history and culture you can make your way to Lake Murray State Park for a day of brilliant outdoor recreation. Lake Murray State Park is located across the border in Oklahoma, where it boasts over 150 miles of beautiful shoreline and a wide variety of recreational facilities. Boating enthusiasts can bring along their own craft to launch at the boat ramps or hire a pontoon at the Marina. In addition you can enjoy canoeing, kayaking and paddle-boarding or keep your feet dry and head off along one of the walking/hiking/biking trails. There are stables for equestrians who fancy some horseback riding, a golf course, tennis courts, volley ball and much more.
Lake Murray State Park, 3323 Lodge Rd, Ardmore, OK 73401, Phone: 580-223-4044
18.Lake Tawakoni State Park
Lake Tawakoni State Park is located about 90 minutes west of Fort Worth where it protects over 370 acres of forest, 50 miles of shoreline and a huge reservoir called Lake Tawakoni. The park is a great place for day trippers who want an exhilarating day of outdoor recreation or relaxation. Here you can pull on your hiking boots or bring your bicycle and set off to explore a network of trails, most of which are easy and suitable for families. Fishing in the lake is reputed to be good and fishing gear is available to rent on site. Other park activities include geocaching, bird watching and ranger-led nature walks.
Lake Tawakoni State Park, 10822 FM 2475, Wills Point, TX 75169, Phone: 903-560-7123
© Nocona EDC
Day trippers can spend an interesting and rewarding day following a selection of historic, heritage and other trails which all start in or near the little town of Nocona, which you will find about 90 minutes north of Fort Worth. Start your day at the Tales and Trails Museum, which will give you an overview of the history of the region and includes a Visitor’s Center where you can pick up trail maps and information. Nocona is famous for continuing the leather-work heritage of the region and a tour of the Nocona Athletic Goods Factory is one of the highlights of a visit. You may also like to explore the Cross Timbers Wine Trail where you can visit at least ten Texan wineries.
Nocona, TX 76255
A visit to Palestine is a must on any history buffs Texan itinerary. The town lies at the western terminus of the Texas State Railway and boasts a large number of historic buildings and sites. Besides walking around the town to see all the wonderful architecture and heritage sites, the most popular attraction in town is the Railroad Heritage Center, where you can admire several exhibits and take a scenic train ride aboard one of the center’s beautiful steam trains. The Museum for East Texas Culture and the Art Tracks Sculpture tour are other popular attractions for families, and children of all ages will love the Curious Museum. Palestine also offers excellent outdoor activities and great shopping and dining.
Palestine, TX 75801-5803
© City of Pilot Point
Another of the many delightful Texas small towns which has a beautifully revitalized historic main street, Pilot Point is easily accessible for a day trip from Fort Worth. If you happen to be in the area in late February and early March, you can witness acre upon acre of brilliant tulips during the annual Tulip Time Festival. Other Pilot Point attractions include the Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch where you can take a tram ride through the ranch to see a variety of exotic animals and the Ray Roberts Lake State Park where you can enjoy some outdoor recreation. The Western Son Distillery and the Whistle Post Brewery are next door to each other and offer a tour of the distillery and tastings.
Pilot Point, TX 76258
The town of Waco is literally bursting at the seams with a long list of attractions for all ages which means that day trippers will need to do some prioritizing. Visitors who love history, art and culture will want to explore historic downtown, cross the 1870’s Suspension Bridge, visit the Martin Museum of Art and a few of the town’s historic House and Garden Museums. If you are more interested in outdoor activities you can head straight to Brazos Park East, the Cotton Belt Trail (for hiking and biking), the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course or Hawaiian Falls Water Park. There is a free trolley service running throughout the Silo District to make it easy to access the historic downtown restaurants and shopping.
Waco, TX 76633-6799
The historic town of Weatherford is best known for two widely divergent activities, namely horse breeding (and training) and producing the best peaches in the whole of Texas. However, even if you have no interest in either of these industries you will find plenty to do in the city, starting with a good selection of museums. There are plenty of outdoor recreational parks and gardens including the very beautiful Chandor Gardens where Oriental architecture and English formal gardens are expertly married. Bargain hunters will find several intriguing antique stores including Main Street Mercantile. One of Weatherford’s most popular annual events is the Parker County Peach Festival which is held on the second Saturday of July each year.
Weatherford, TX 76085-6087
Neatly nestled between Dallas and Oklahoma City, about 90 minutes from Fort Worth, Wichita Falls has been cattle ranching territory since the 1800’s. Today visitors will find a modern and eclectic town which has plenty on offer for day trippers. If you are visiting in summer you may want to head straight to Castaway Cove Water Park for a morning of family fun or enjoy some fishing and boating on Lake Kickapoo. Art and culture enthusiasts will enjoy visiting the Kell House Museum, the Kemp Center for the Arts and the attractive Depot Square Historic District. The Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum and the Museum of North Texas History are also well worth a visit.
Wichita Falls, TX 76301-6311
24 Best Weekend and Day Trips from Fort Worth, Texas
- Grapevine, Photo: loriette/stock.adobe.com
- Abilene, Photo: Christopher Boswell/stock.adobe.com
- Addison, Photo: ak2015/stock.adobe.com
- Athens, Photo: City of Athens, Texas Government
- Canton, Photo: mivod/stock.adobe.com
- Chisholm Trail, Photo: stevecuk/stock.adobe.com
- Corsicana, Photo: Jacob/stock.adobe.com
- Denton, Photo: will milne/stock.adobe.com
- Dinosaur Valley State Park, Photo: ericurquhart/stock.adobe.com
- Garland, Photo: Qzian/stock.adobe.com
- Granbury, Photo: Stanley Rippel/stock.adobe.com
- Greenville, Photo: mivod/stock.adobe.com
- Hillsboro, Photo: Hillsboro, Texas - City Government
- The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary (IEAS), Photo: Felix/stock.adobe.com
- Kemp, Photo: City of Kemp - Mayor's Page
- Kilgore, Photo: warren_price/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Murray State Park, Photo: Michael QuallsDanita Delimont/stock.adobe.com
- Lake Tawakoni State Park, Photo: mivod/stock.adobe.com
- Nocona, Photo: Nocona EDC
- Palestine, Photo: st_matty/stock.adobe.com
- Pilot Point, Photo: City of Pilot Point
- Waco, Photo: Peter/stock.adobe.com
- Weatherford, Photo: Empath/stock.adobe.com
- Wichita Falls, Photo: Brandon/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Stanley Rippel/stock.adobe.com