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If there ever was a state as diverse as the United States is, Texas could fill that role! The Lone Star State encompasses beaches, mountains, hills, deserts, and prairies; it’s both urban and country; deeply rooted in history, and simultaneously is full steam ahead into the modern world. No matter where you go, Texans love to eat so you’ll find incredible dining options from Texas-sized steaks, to our famous TexMex, and every other cuisine imaginable. It also happens to be where I call home!
When clients or family members call, telling me they want to see Dallas, Ft. Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio all in one trip, I tell them I hope they saved up their gas money because that is one heck of a road trip! I’ve previously shared bits on San Antonio and Austin, so now I thought it would be fun to explore my own backyard and talk about what to do in the Dallas – Ft. Worth Area aka DFW to locals!
First things first, DFW is HUGE! We are talking over 9,000 square miles of two major cities, lakes, rivers, and tons of fun. You cannot possibly plan to see it all in one day or even one weekend.
The metroplex centers mostly around DFW International Airport, with much of the growth going North, East, and West from there. Highway I-35 makes a large loop around the bulk of the DFW area with Dallas and Ft. Worth taking the outer East and West sides respectively and Dallas Cowboys Stadium (aka God’s Team) taking up the South-Center. You’ll immediately notice that each side is almost two totally different worlds. Ft. Worth is all about our history, and that laid back cowboy lifestyle. Dallas is much more contemporary and business-focused. While the area does have public transportation, it is not as robust as what you would see in New York, so I always recommend renting a car.
The weather is as vast as the state is wide and can change on a dime. The summer months experience temperatures from hot to hotter (95+ degrees), but then can drop in an instant if one of our famous summer storms roll in. Spring and fall are both beautiful but still much warmer than what most would consider normal for that time of year. Temperatures will sit in the 70s, 80s, and 90s with mostly sunny days. It can be very windy, which does tend to cool off the evenings. Winter sneaks up on us one day anywhere between Halloween and Christmas. We never really know when it’s coming but over the course of a few days we will drop from warm weather to somewhere in the 30s and 40s and that’s where we will stay until Spring where we will do the same thing but in reverse. Depending on the time of year you visit, you’ll want to be sure to pack accordingly. Don’t forget your sunscreen!
The area has an array of hotels and boutiques to stay, some of which you may never want to leave! You could choose to stay in the center of everything in the City of Grapevine at either one of their beautiful family-friendly resorts: The Gaylord Texan or Great Wolf Lodge. Both offer beautiful accommodations and onsite water parks for the whole family to enjoy – if you come in the summer, you’ll be glad you opted for a place with pools!
In Fort Worth, you could choose to stay right in the center of all the action at The Worthington Renaissance Hotel. This hotel is steps away from Sundance Square and all of the nightlife Ft. Worth has to offer, and just a quick drive to other attractions like the Stockyards, Zoo, or Botanical Gardens.
In Dallas, the Hilton Anatole sits conveniently located for quick access to attractions that are both downtown and a little further down the road. It’s also very close to some of the area’s best dining options. The hotel has plush accommodations and a beautiful water park for the family to enjoy.
Dallas – Fort Worth has no shortage of attractions for those who live life in the fast lane! The most famous, and original theme park to the area is Six Flags over Texas. Guests can visit their favorite friends from Toon Town or the DC Universe, and enjoy extra special attractions during Halloween and Christmas.
Epic Waters is one of the area’s newest attractions and is the largest water park in the state of Texas. Open seven days a week, it features a wave pool, a lazy river just for kids, huge thrill slides, cabana rentals, and a flow rider.
Zero Gravity Thrill Amusement Park in Dallas is the number one place to go for adrenaline junkies in the area. It features bungee jumping, a sky coaster, and its newest attraction, the Skyscraper, promises to make guests feel like they are flying at fighter jet speeds.
The Dallas – Forth Worth area has some incredible historic landmarks that you will not want to miss on your visit. Perhaps one of the most notorious is the Sixth Floor Kennedy Museum and Grassy Knoll where President Kennedy was shot and killed while driving through town. Here, visitors can honor the life and legacy of President Kennedy and take a step back in time to the 1960s.
Feel like stepping back into the Wild West? Take a trip on the Vintage Railroad from Grapevine into the Ft Worth Stockyards. Shop for some country western gear, sample what a real Texas steak tastes like, visit a saloon or watch the longhorns on a cattle drive. While you’re down there, check out the Cowgirl museum or the Cowtown Opry. Follow the footsteps of notorious outlaws, Bonnie & Clyde, as they made their way through North Texas robbing banks and eventually shotting Check out how the original settlers lived at the Log Cabin Village where you can peer into real log cabins, see what kinds of toys children played with, visit a one-roomed schoolhouse, a blacksmith, and see how candles are made.
Whether you want to hike, kayak on a river, or spend the day out on a lake, the Dallas Ft. Worth area has you covered with many options to get you out into nature. Some of the area’s top lakes include Lewisville, Grapevine, White Rock Lake, or Joe Pool Lake where you can find boat rentals for fishing trips or something faster speed with water skis and tubing. The Dallas Arboretum is a 66-acre botanical garden full of beautiful seasonal blooms and attractions. In the fall, they host one of the largest area pumpkin patches, and the spring it abounds with colorful tulips! Across town, the Trinity River runs from Fort Worth to Dallas and has a beautiful area in Dallas where people flock to kayak. On the Fort Worth end, the Nature Center and Refuge spans over 20 miles of walking trails for the whole family.
A short drive out to Glen Rose will take hikers back in time… way back to the Dinosaurs! Millions of years ago, serval species of dinosaurs called North Texas home and adventurers can find their tracks preserved in the river beds of Dinosaur Valley State Park. Find yourself getting a little too hot? Cool off in the river!
Both Dallas and Fort Worth have some incredible museums. The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is located in Dallas and is one of the areas newest museums. This gorgeous, modern building consists of four levels of exhibits, with one entire floor dedicated to small children. Make a day of your visit and plan to have lunch nearby and even walk to the Dallas World Aquarium.
Fort Worth’s cultural district consists of museums to appeal to children and adults alike. Kids will have a blast with all of the hands-on exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Science and History. Here kids can both experience a real dino dig and blast off into space at the Omni theater. For grown-ups, the Kimball and the Modern (next door to each other) offer both permanent and seasonal exhibits from world-renowned artists. Enjoy a delicious lunch at the restaurant in the Modern to make a day of it!
The Dallas Zoo encompasses over 100 acres of beautiful animal habitats and 2000 animals. It is known for its zoo monorail and train, and its elephant habitat. The Fort Worth Zoo has just been named the #1 Zoo in the USA and just opened an amazing giraffe encounter and habitat. Both offer wonderful educational experiences for the animal lovers in your family.
Whether you plan to spend a few days or an entire week, Dallas Fort Worth is the place to go for fun for the whole family! One last tip, Texans are known to be friendly and chatty! If you ask one of us for a restaurant recommendation, be ready for at least a 20-minute chat on who has the best queso and margaritas (a subject we are all very passionate about)! The Lone Star State is also known for its fairs and festivals, which I could write one entire post on its own about! Depending on when you come, you may be in for a special treat with the Texas State Fair or Fort Worth Art Festival.
What is something you most want to see when you visit the DFW area? If you’ve been, where is your favorite spot to grab the BEST queso and frozen margarita?
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