Got some spare days on your Texas vacation? Find inspiration and explore more of the Lone Star State with this guide to the best day trips from Fort Worth. A short drive from “Cowtown” will take you to historic towns, prehistoric sites, and natural wonders.
On your adventures, you’ll explore the traditional courthouse squares of Granbury and Glen Rose, search for fossils at Dinosaur Valley State Park and Waco, and cool off in the crystal waters of Turner Falls Park.
Ready to ramp up your Texas trip? Get stuck into this exciting part of the US with this guide to the top-rated Fort Worth side trips!
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Drive less than 30 minutes from Fort Worth, and you’ll arrive at the pretty city of Grapevine. Experience Texas from 100 years ago as you wander the 19th- and 20th-century streets of this historic town. Grapevine’s Historic Main Street is full of charm, with independent boutiques, galleries, and restaurants.
History and train enthusiasts will have a blast on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. The steam train with Victorian-style railcars will take you around the county, ending with a stop back in Fort Worth. The trains also run regular events, including wine and dinner trips.
Grapevine is home to several traditional artisan workshops. Watch the creation of swirling designs at Vetro Glassblowing Studio, craft your own ceramics at Sunshine Glaze, or take a painting class at A Touch of Paris Gallery. Shop for more local products at the Grapevine Farmers and Artisan Market, offering fresh seasonal produce, delicious baked treats, and handcrafted gifts.
Be sure to assign a designated driver on your getaway to Grapevine, as the town has a fabulous wine scene. Taste the flavors of Texas on the Grapevine Urban Wine Trail. There are tastings, festivals, and tours throughout the city. Head to the tasting room at Messina Hof Grapevine Winery, where you can sip sparkling rose wine in the intricate rooms of the 1891 Wallis Hotel.
Take some time to visit the iconic metropolis of Dallas. It’s a 45-minute drive to the “Big D” from Fort Worth or under an hour on public transport. Known for its sports, history, and art scene, this buzzing city offers an action-packed trip to add to your Texas vacation.
Many people are surprised to hear that Dallas has one of the largest art scenes in the United States. The Bishop Arts District comprises 19 blocks of innovative galleries, inspiring museums, and vibrant street murals. Or head to the Dallas Design District for art galleries and design studios dripping with contemporary cool.
From the rise of the cotton industry to the assassination of JFK, Dallas has a rich history. Uncover the early years of Dallas at the Pioneer Plaza. One of the coolest places to visit in Dallas, the square has interesting depictions of settler times and is home to the largest bronze sculpture in the world. Visit the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza to unpack the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy.
Nobody concocts BBQ flavor quite like Dallas. The city has over 75 years of experience perfecting the science of creating smoky flavors. Sink your teeth into juicy brisket at Cattleack Barbeque, or try the wagyu beef at OAK’D BBQ.
Take an old-world day trip to the adorable town of Granbury. Voted as the USA’s best historic small town, it’s less than a one-hour drive from Fort Worth and is full of unique things to do.
Step into times gone by at Historic Granbury Square. Immerse yourself in the sounds of horses and carts clopping down the road alongside quaint architecture and a grand clock tower.
The courthouse square is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s home to top Granbury attractions, including the elegant Historic Granbury Opera House and the impressive Nutt House Hotel. In the evenings, Historic Granbury Square comes to life with people strolling from restaurants to bars.
Get around town in style on the Granbury Trolley. The vintage transport system will add a touch of nostalgia to your trip. It has an hour-long route that takes you to major Granbury hotels and points of interest.
History buffs will want to visit the Hood County Jail Museum. It’s the original town jail and was built in 1885. Visit the spooky slim building and get a taste of old Western justice. Browse artifacts about famous outlaws and wander the eerie rooms of the preserved cells and quarters.
Make some time in your Fort Worth itinerary for a journey to McKinney. The town has a great mix of old and new and an authentic historic district. At under an hour’s drive from Fort Worth, it’s a great way to spend a day out of Cowtown.
Your first stop in McKinney should be the Historic Downtown Cultural District, one of the largest and oldest historic districts in Texas. Whether you love history, shopping, or eating, there’s something here to please everyone. The district’s pretty brick buildings house over 120 boutiques, art galleries, and wineries.
Escape to the shores of Croatia at Adriatica Village. The 45-acre Mediterranean village sits in the heart of McKinney. Embrace the European lifestyle with lakeside scenery, old-world streets, and chic bistros.
Peek behind the bell tower, and you’ll find Harry’s at the Harbor. Eat their fish and chips on the patio by the Riva Habor. Or sample a global wine menu in a cute cottage at Zin Zen Wine Bistro.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
Budding archaeologists should make some time for Dinosaur Valley State Park. The scenic park is a one-hour drive from Fort Worth and is perfect for a quirky Texas adventure. The dinosaur capital of Texas is full of outdoor activities and some of the most well-preserved dinosaur tracks in the world.
Search along the Paluxy River for dinosaur footprints dating back 113 million years. This rocky river was a prehistoric ocean. Put your foot inside a print to get a sense of how immense these giants were. As you enter Dinosaur Valley State Park, you can get up close and personal with two life-size replicas.
If the dinosaurs weren’t enough for you, there are also 20 miles of stunning trails around Dinosaur Valley State Park. Challenge yourself on the rugged paths or see it all on a guided horseback tour.
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Hike the Buckeye Trail alongside the sound of trickling waterfalls. The Black-Capped Vireo Trail is named after the small birds that like to hide in the bushes. If you need to cool off, you can take a dip in the azure waters of the Blue Hole.
Spend an afternoon in the city of Glen Rose. It’s less than one hour from Fort Worth and 10 minutes from Dinosaur Valley State Park, so ideal for crossing off two top-notch Texas destinations in one day. As well as lots of prehistoric-themed adventures, the city offers fun safari parks and a lovely historic downtown.
Take an epic safari at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. A knowledgeable guide will help you find endangered species like rhinos and cheetahs. Or take a self-guided tour and explore the park in your own car.
Spend some time in the quaint Historic Downtown Square. The old courthouse overlooks cute stores and restaurants. Stop in Shoo-Fly Soda Shop, a vintage soda shop selling old-style sweets and nostalgic desserts.
For a one-of-a-kind experience in Glen Rose, go to the GOAT Ranch. The working goat ranch is home to adorable Boer and Nigerian dwarf goats. Bottle-feed the babies or take part in a fun goat yoga class!
Cedar Hill State Park
Embrace the outdoors at Cedar Hill State Park. The popular Texas state park is around a 30-minute drive from Fort Worth and offers plenty of opportunities to spend time in nature. The 1,826-acre park is home to idyllic prairies and the stunning Joe Pool Lake.
Explore the rugged natural beauty of Cedar Hill State Park on the many hiking trails and biking trails. Try the Overlook Trail for pretty views of the lake below. Fishermen can prop themselves up on one of the piers and switch off for the day. Try your luck catching catfish, sunfish, and crappies.
If you’re looking for some culture, spend an hour at the Penn Farm Agricultural History Center. It gives you a glimpse into old Texas farm life. You’ll get an understanding of how machinery transformed the way that farms operate.
The 7,500-acre Joe Pool Lake is the highlight of Cedar Hill State Park. Unwind on the over 60 miles of shoreline. Spend time floating in the vast waters or race across it on a jet ski. Pack a picnic and feast by the waterfront.
Take a Fort Worth side trip to the adorable Wichita Falls. It’s an hour and 45 minutes drive away from the city but is full of unique things to do. The small area is full of life, regularly hosting vibrant parades and food festivals.
Pack a picnic and spend the afternoon at Lucy Park. Relax by the tranquil Wichita Falls Waterfall. The tiered waterfall stands at 54 feet. It’s man-made, but this doesn’t stop it from being a gorgeous photo opportunity. Or spend some time on the basketball and volleyball courts. Make sure to pack plenty of bread for the ducks and geese in the duck pond!
Spend some time exploring the Depot Square Historic District. The pretty red brick streets are home to important cultural sites, a farmers’ market, and quaint antique stores.
The most famous attraction in Wichita Falls is The Newby-McMahon Building. The bizarre neoclassical building was built in 1919. At 40 feet tall, it’s the World’s Littlest Skyscraper.
You’ll find plenty to keep you busy in Waco. The small but charming city is an hour and 35 minutes drive from Fort Worth. Unpack its fascinating history, ranging from mammoth bones to the rise of Dr. Pepper.
Kick off your Waco trip with a visit to the Dr. Pepper Musesum. Waco was the birthplace of Dr. Pepper, and one of the best things to do in Waco is to explore its history in this 1906 bottling plant. Explore exhibits full of memorabilia or take a make-your-own soda workshop.
Step back thousands of years at the Waco Mammoth Site. Columbian mammoths once roamed these lands. The discovery of 24 fossils marked this as an essential visit for paleontologists. Explore traces of bull mammoths, ancient camels, and giant tortoises.
Treat yourself to some retail therapy at Magnolia Market. Two huge 1950s silos mark the destination for this stylish shopping center. Pick up cute homeware and get inspiration for the next time you redecorate your home.
If you’re in Texas in the spring, a visit to Tyler is a must. In the rose capital of America, thousands of rose bushes will be blooming around the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden. But this city is an attractive place to visit any time of year. Tyler is a two-hour and 15-minute drive away from Fort Worth, but well worth the drive for its attractive streets and incredible nature.
Classic red brick streets house an emporium of antique and specialty stores. Pick up some cowboy boots at Cavenders. Or wander the eclectic Dory’s Garden, full of intriguing plants and artwork. The unique Bowles Creek Store allows you to buy gifts, grab lunch, and spot zebras all in one place.
Get inspired at Art Alley, full of vibrant murals from 40 different local artists. There’s also a community panel, so you can add your creativity to this fun space.
Wrap up your day at Kiepersol Vineyards, Winery & Distillery. The gorgeous rolling hills offer a peaceful setting for unwinding and spending time together. Graze a charcuterie board as you make your way through the tasting menu.
Turner Falls Park, OK
Cross the border and visit one of Oklahoma’s tallest waterfalls. One of the best day trips from Fort Worth, Turner Falls Park lies in the Arbuckle Mountains, some of the oldest mountains in the world. Crystal-clear waters weave their way through the park, creating bubbling creeks and stunning natural swimming holes.
The main draw of the park is its namesake 77-foot-high Turner Falls Waterfall. Swim in the turquoise pool below to immerse yourself in the sounds of thundering water. There are two other places to swim in the crisp blue waters, one at Blue Hole Pool and one at Honey Creek.
You can explore three hiking trails in Turner Falls Park, and there are opportunities for rock scrambling if you want to go off-road. On your way, you’ll uncover cool caves where you can stop for a quick rest. Spend some time exploring Collings Castle, constructed of native stone in the 1930s. A visit here is like stepping into a Celtic myth!
You’ll find other great outdoor activities around Turner Falls Park, too, including trout fishing and zip lining. The 777zip whips you across 777 feet in 77 seconds. As you fly through the sky, you’ll marvel at panoramic views of the waterfall and the mountains.