Often lumped in with its larger neighbor, Dallas, Fort Worth is an interesting city in East Texas filled with some typical Texan delights.
Though Dallas is more known for its modern culture, Fort Worth is a great way to experience typical Texan life, as well as some of the history of the state.
Though both Dallas and Fort Worth have plenty of attractions to keep you entertained for weeks, some visitors to the cities decide to take day trips to get away from the city life.
East Texas contains many natural parks, small towns and larger suburbs that are worth taking a day out to visit.
Here are the 15 best day trips from Fort Worth:
1. Addison (Dallas)
Located within Dallas, Addison is a very popular suburb with tourists and day trippers.
The private airport in the area has the Cavanaugh Flight Museum attached, where you can learn more about aviation and military history.
The area is also filled with trendy bars and restaurants; the Addison Improv Comedy Club is famous for hosting some of the biggest comedians in the country.
The restaurants also have a very international feel – in particular, with influences from Brazilian, East Asian and, of course, Texan cuisine.
The bars are very popular across the metropolitan area, with deep influences from the UK and Ireland being easily noticeable in most.
2. Wichita Falls
For a view of the real Texas, Wichita Falls will give you a great insight into local culture.
Visit Lucy Park to take in some of the state’s best hiking trails, which bring you to the falls themselves.
For families, Castaway Cove has a waterpark, with a variety of slides and pools.
There is also a local farmers market for you to check out the fresh produce from the area.
The local boutiques are very popular with visitors; you can pick up Texan-style furniture, clothing, and art.
The food here is very Texan, with the focus being on Tex-Mex and barbecue.
Granbury is another calm suburb of the sprawling Dallas-Fort Worth metropolis.
It is a lot more laid back than other areas of the city and is a great day trip if you are looking to get away from the city vibe.
You can enjoy a relaxing boat ride around Lake Granbury and even indulge in a romantic dinner whilst on board.
Granbury Live is a frequent event in the suburb that hosts fully-costumed concerts with a nostalgic feel.
You can also learn more about the history of the area in the historic square and at the Hood County Jail and Museum.
4. Lake Murray
Located in Oklahoma’s largest state park, Lake Murray is easily reachable from Fort Worth and is a worthy day trip.
The lake is lined with secluded beaches, campsites and hiking trails to thrill any explorer.
There is a large marina on the lake, where you can hire boats and launching ramps.
Other popular activities on the lake include fishing, jet-skiing, and swimming.
There are also historical towers worth exploring on the shoreline.
There is a golf course, nature center, and a few restaurants to keep a variety of visitors entertained for a whole day.
McKinney is another great suburb just outside of Dallas, ideal for getting away from the city buzz and experiencing the unique charm and history of small-town Texas.
The downtown area of the city is filled with traditional Texan architecture, historic museums and interesting boutiques with local handicrafts.
For families, the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary is a great option, with a variety of nature trails for all ages.
The largest flea market in North Texas is in McKinney, held on the third Monday of every month.
You can also visit a variety of breweries across the city and take a tour to learn more about the making of craft beers.
Denton is a college town to the north of Fort Worth, giving it a very young atmosphere.
The city comes alive every Saturday thanks to the Acoustic Lawn Jam, where locals and visitors alike are encouraged to bring their instruments – guitars, fiddles and banjos are common – to the green space outside the courthouse for a jam session.
Just south of Denton, you can visit Lake Lewisville to engage in some watersports.
The city offers many trendy restaurants – tex-mex is especially popular here with the college crowd and backpackers.
Fry Street is the most popular area for bars, as it is legal to drink alcohol on the street.
Another small town outside the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, Corsicana provides another interesting look into the local life of the Texan prairies.
The main attraction is the reconstructed pioneer village, designed to look just like Texan towns in the 1800’s.
The Corsicana Opry is a popular music venue with locals, showcasing a wide range of local and statewide talents.
The Cook Planetarium based here is the second largest planetarium in Texas and gives a great overview of space exploration in the state.
The civil war museum is also attached next door.
Oil is a major part of the Texan economy and Kilgore is described as the oil capital of East Texas.
Here, you can visit the East Texas Oil Museum to learn more about the fossil fuel, the impact the discovery had on the city, and the future of oil.
You can also view what was once the largest collection of oil wells in the country at the World’s Richest Acre Park.
The town also has traditional taverns, tex-mex restaurants and a museum dedicated to the explosion of the New London School in 1937.
For a rare insight into what prairie life used to be like, Greenville is well worth a day trip.
Just outside the town, the Mathews Prairie Preserve gives you the chance to get close to native wildlife.
You can also take a look at the preserved site, which shows you what the prairies would have looked like when the pioneers first arrived in this region of Texas.
In the town itself, there is the American Cotton Museum, which gives an overview of cotton production in the United States – albeit a slightly abridged history.
The town has some great Mexican restaurants and traditional, Texan-style taverns.
Garland may seem like a quiet, easy-going suburb of Dallas at first glance, however, there are many interesting delights to be found in the suburb and surrounding areas.
Here, you can hire jet-skis, fishing rods, and parachutes for use on the nearby lake.
You can also head to the downtown area of the suburb and check out some of the unique local craft shops and art galleries – as well as small boutiques offering a variety of home goods and clothing.
The Generator is a great place to meet locals – an eclectic mix of artists, students, and middle-class Texans – over a grilled cheese sandwich and a board game.
Nocona is the birthplace of cowboy boots and a great place to visit if you are looking to pick up some traditional leather goods whilst in Texas.
You can also experience many aspects of local culture while in town.
The Tales ‘n Trails Museum gives you a great, anecdotal overview of the pioneer history in the state.
You can also visit Horton’s Classic Car Museum to get up close and personal with some of America’s most iconic vehicles.
If you are a beer fan, take a tour of Nocona Beer and Brewery – or simply kick back in Daddy Sam’s Saloon for the true cowboy experience.
12. Lake Tawakoni State Park
Lake Tawakoni State Park is a great day trip option for those who love the outdoors.
The lake is safe for swimming in, and you can hire boats for watersports, such as jet-skiing, paragliding, and regular boating.
If you prefer a slower pace, you can also hire kayaks.
For those keen on fishing, this is a very popular spot for catching catfish and stripers.
There are a number of hiking trails, and the state parks department provides an interactive map to help you navigate them.
They occasionally run family-friendly events at the amphitheater, so be sure to check the website before you plan your trip.
Waco is an interesting city steeped in contemporary American history and culture.
You can visit one of the largest city parks in Texas – home to disc golf, fishing spots, and watersports launch sites.
There is also a zoo within the park, and two rivers pass through the green space.
The city is packed with museums and art galleries; one of the most popular museums with visitors is the Dr. Pepper Museum; the drink was invented in Waco.
The Mayborn Museum is also a great option as it is very interactive – great if you are traveling with kids.
Palestine is a small town filled with a number of unique attractions to keep day-trippers excited.
From here, you can take a vintage train ride to Rusk on a steam-powered train – though be aware the return journey does take around four to five hours.
You can also visit the Davey Dogwood Park, filled with beautiful local nature and a wide range of trees.
The historic Museum for East Texas Culture has some great exhibits about culture and history in the region and early prairie life.
Another popular attraction with visitors is the Duncan Depot Antiques Store, where you can pick up your own unique souvenirs from days gone by.
For nature lovers, Athens is a worthy visit whilst in the East Texas area.
The town is a gateway to the Piney Woods region, where you can explore native forests and even kayak through the trees on the local river system.
The town itself contains the East Texas Arboretum and Botanical Society – a botanical garden built on the site of a former truck farm.
This garden displays native flora and has some great information about the Piney Woods region.
You can also enjoy scuba, motocross and the baked goods the town is famous for.