If you have the time to venture out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, you will quickly find a wide variety of nearby day trips that fit any desire or interest. You can take in a game of the true Texas pastime of college and pro football, discover the largest flea market in the country, indulge in North Texas’s growing wine scene, or gape at wild animals. Add in shopping and plenty of food options, and you’ll find no shortage of reasons to venture outside of the big city.
Canton Flea Market — Recommending a day trip to a flea market as a vacation activity seems odd, but this isn’t your grandma’s flea market. The Canton Flea Market claims to be the largest flea market in the country and the oldest continuously operating flea market in the US, dating back to the 1850s. Here you will find anything from rare antiques and jewelry to home decor and clothing. Since the flea market is literally hundreds of acres, be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Anyone who isn’t able to walk long distances can rent a scooter. If you plan to make significant purchases you’d be wise to bring a wagon to carry your belongings.
The market is about an hour from Dallas and 90 minutes from Fort Worth. It averages 100,000 visitors and 6,000 vendors per every four-day flea market. Although, it’s called the “First Monday Trade Days,” it’s actually open the last Thursday-Sunday before the first Monday of every month. Yes, that is a bit confusing. Here’s an example: The first Monday of May 2019 is May 6, so the market is open Thursday, May 2, to Sunday, May 5. Full dates are available on their website.
Parking is $5, otherwise admission is free. Plenty of vendors on-site offer food and drinks. The market is open rain or shine, with Thursday usually being the least crowded day.
Glen Rose Fossil Rim Wildlife Center — If you take just a 60-minute drive from Fort Worth or 90-minute drive from Dallas, you can transport yourself to the plains of Africa at Fossil Rim. While that may be a slight exaggeration, it’s not far off. Here you can see exotic animals including gazelle, cheetahs, bison, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, rhinos, and much more in an environment similar to their natural habitat.
The standard two-hour safari tour costs $40 per person. Fossil Rim also offers a wide variety of specialized and private tours that range from sunrise and after-dark tours to feeding and photography tours. At the Overlook Café you can grab food and drinks with a view. In addition, Fossil Rim offers plenty of educational courses and children-specific activities.
If you’re looking to experience Fossil Rim on your own terms, you can pack a picnic and pay $22-26, depending on the day, to drive your own vehicle through the park.
Grapevine Wine Train — This Texas city is named Grapevine for a reason. While being the wine capital of North Texas isn’t exactly equivalent to having the same title in Northern California, Texas is the fifth largest wine-producing state in the US and Grapevine does offer some unique wine-related experiences. Located only 30-35 minutes from Dallas or Fort Worth, Grapevine is an easy wine country getaway.
The Wine Train on Grapevine’s Vintage Railroad is certainly one of the coolest experiences in DFW. For about $60, you’ll get to listen to live music while riding a vintage train from winery to winery for tastings. You’ll get a gourmet dinner box and a souvenir glass to boot. The three-hour experience happens rain or shine. Be warned, these trains book up fast. If you do miss the boat on the train experience, there are still plenty of other Grapevine winery experiences and events you can take part in.
Waco, Texas — This is a day trip with multiple destinations you can mix and match. Just 90-minutes south of Dallas or Fort Worth, Waco is home to the Baylor University Bears. Come down on a fall Saturday to watch some Big 12 football at the glistening McLane Stadium located on the banks of the Brazos River. Here you can “sailgate” by docking your boat right outside the stadium or you can stroll through the college town campus.
If that doesn’t sound appealing, you can check out the stomping grounds of now-famous HGTV Fixer Upper couple Chip and Joanna Gaines at Magnolia Market at the Silos. Stepping into the silos feels like you’re walking onto the set of an HGTV show. From shopping and the garden to food and games, there’s a lot to see at this now nationally known destination.
Another interesting Waco stop is the Dr. Pepper Museum, where for $10 you can visit the “Home of Dr. Pepper.” See more than 100,000 items relevant to the history of soft drinks and enjoy a beverage from the soda fountain.
Regardless of how you choose to spend your time in Waco, be sure to make a pit stop on your way back to Dallas at the famous Czech Stop. There, you will find their specialty kolach pastries with flavors like cream cheese, a variety of fruits, sausage, and pepperoni made to absolute perfection. Expect a line.
Arlington, Texas — Sandwiched halfway between Fort Worth and Dallas, about 30 minutes from each, Arlington is a city built around sports and entertainment. It’s home to the Dallas Cowboys and AT&T Stadium, which is one of the largest and most advanced stadiums in the world. You can visit AT&T Stadium on a Sunday for a game, concert, or for one of the tours ranging from $25-35 where you can do things like go into the press box, check out the locker room, or even step on the field.
The city is also where the MLB’s Texas Rangers play at Globe Life Park from April through September. The best time to check out a game is in April or May or during a night game when you can better avoid the Texas sun and heat.
To get a break from the sports action, head down the road to the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park or its’ neighboring water park Hurricane Harbor. With some of the biggest and most exciting roller coasters and water slides in the country, there’s no shortage of thrills here.
One of the newest attractions in DFW is Texas Live!, which is located between AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park. Texas Live! is a venue designed to socialize while watching sports on giant screens with a wide variety of dining options and bars, including the Live! Arena located in the center of all the action.
Frisco, Texas — DFW’s fastest-growing suburb is skyrocketing for a reason. It’s brand-spanking new and offers a lot to do. This is also why it was chosen as Money’s number one place to live in 2018. The northern suburb is about 40 minutes from Downtown Dallas and 60 minutes from Downtown Fort Worth, but can be 20-30 minutes longer with heavy traffic.
Frisco’s main attraction is The Star, which serves as the global headquarters for the Dallas Cowboys. The 12,000-seat Ford Center at the Star serves as the Cowboys practice facility as well as a venue for concerts, big-time Texas high school football and more. You can also take a VIP tour of the full facility for approximately $30 or watch practice during training camp every August. The Star is also home to a 91-acre entertainment district complete with shops, restaurants, bars and more suitable for all ages.
Legacy West is also a popular shopping and dining mecca in Frisco. There are plenty of shopping options and Legacy Hall provides a contemporary take on the classic food hall experience with every cuisine imaginable offered. Just be ready to see plenty of small children. This is suburbia territory after all.