Nothing kills romance like boredom. If the day-to-day in Dallas is really raining on you and your S/O’s parade, it’s time for a little adventure.
Break out of the rut and take your love on the open road for a day trip or weekend escape that won’t take you too far from home. But, that doesn’t mean that you won’t feel worlds away from your Dallas reality.
Whether you’re a camping couple or park paramours, art lovers or nature followers, spa aficionados or foodies, there’s a destination for anyone on this list.
Don’t have a S/O? Don’t dismay. Go on a solo journey — or grab your wingman or wing-woman for a little weekend adventure. After all, you never know who you might meet.
The mystical name of this destination had us at hello. It just sounds romantic — and, spoiler alert, it is. Located near Fredericksburg, about four hours from Dallas, it's a giant pink granite dome that was believed to have a spell cast on it by a Spanish conquistador. The rock itself is the largest of its kind in the United States, which is pretty cool. But, where the magic really comes in is at night, where the view of the night sky is phenomenal for stargazing.
The Cell Block
If your idea of romance involves handcuffs, then you and your S/O should get a room here. Actually, there’s only one room available at this funky former jail from the ‘30s that’s tucked away in Clifton's Art Alley halfway between Dallas and Austin. This is how we recommend you spend a night in the slammer. No bailout required.
Dinosaur Valley State Park
Have your own Jurassic Park moment in the “Dinosaur Capital of Texas” — Glen Rose. It’s only 75 miles from Dallas, and you can even walk in the ancient footprints left by dinosaurs in what's now the bed of the Paluxy River. There’s also a Dinosaur World Texas museum close by, if you are so inclined.
The Vineyard at Florence
Become one with the vines at this boutique vineyard in the Texas Hill Country that will transport you straight to Tuscany. It has some of the most exquisite wines the state has to offer, paired with Italian-inspired fare at the café. Stay the night in a villa with a view, where you can relax in a hot tub or by the outdoor fireplace while you take in the serenity surrounding you. It’s also a popular venue for weddings, so you know the cute sophistication is on point.
Caddo Lake State Park
If you and your boo are the outdoorsy types, this East Texas park in Jefferson is a great destination for canoeing and kayaking on the maze of bayous and ponds amidst the cypress trees draped in Spanish moss. Paddle the waterways, then camp out or stay in a historic cabin there. It’s only about two-and-a-half hours from the city. Not bad for a respite from the concrete jungle.
Blair House Inn Bed & Breakfast
A sweet bed-and-breakfast ranks pretty highly on the romance scale, and this one delivers on the charm factor plus all the welcoming Texas hospitality you could want. Just under four hours from Dallas, it’s located on 22 acres in the beautiful village of Wimberley in the Texas Hill Country. Recharge at the day spa or brush up on your kitchen cred at the onsite cooking school before watching the sunset.
Have a throwback moment and take your date to a drive-in movie. It’s kitschy and fun, and no one will judge you for any mini make-out sessions in your car. Galaxy’s only a quick half-hour jaunt outside the city to Ennis. Bring on the popcorn.
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Its name sounds like a fairytale, and Crystal Bridges pretty much lives up to it. This enthralling museum unites the power of art and nature with both indoor and outdoor collections along with walking trails throughout the campus. It’s even home to the famous “LOVE” sculpture — cute photo opp alert! While it’s in Bentonville, Arkansas, it’s a mere five hours away and so worth the drive. Pro tip: Stay at the creative-cool 21c Museum Hotel that’s within walking distance of the museum.
You’ll think you’re not in Texas anymore given the enchanting nature of this grotto that’s about three-and-a-half hours from Dallas. A 45-foot-tall micro-waterfall pours into a beautiful body of water beneath. Given the limited space for parking, reservations are highly recommended.
The Inn at Dos Brisas
You may very well feel a honeymoon vibe at this luxurious Relais & Chateaux resort that’s made for a special occasion. It’s an idyllic and very romantic getaway in the rolling meadows of the eastern foothills of Texas Hill Country and just a short drive from Houston or Austin. Horseback riding here is a must.
Garner State Park
Go for the sunrise; stay for the scenic hike-able trails along with campgrounds and the sparkling Frio River where you can swim, inner tube, canoe, and paddleboat. You can even go geocaching — modern-day treasure hunting. But, at just under six hours away, you’ll want to camp out or stay the night in a cabin.
Set out for the wild, wild West if your definition of “near Dallas” is a bit, ahem, more flexible. See what the Marfa buzz is all about at the now-iconic Prada Marfa installation; check out the trippy art; look for the mysterious Marfa lights; and fall asleep in a teepee under the stars at El Cosmico. At 520 miles southwest of Dallas (approximately eight hours of straight driving through barren desert-scapes), it’s a commitment but worth every mile.
Swing your partner round and round at Texas’ oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall in New Braunfels, originally built in 1878. It boasts a laundry list of famous stars who’ve played there, and it’s still a fun place to dance all night long to country tunes and live entertainment.
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
Lions, tigers, and bears… oh my! Okay, so maybe none of those creatures are roaming Fossil Rim, but you will see all kinds of other wildlife at the animal conservation facility including zebras and giraffes along with emus, gemsboks, and even an Arabian oryx or two. It’s an African safari practically right in your backyard in Glen Rose, an hour and change outside of Dallas. And, yes, you can feed the animals!
Lavender Ridge Farms
Stop and smell the roses — or, the lavender. Originally a strawberry and melon farm in the early 1900s, Lavender Ridge now grows seasonal lavender, flowers, and herbs and also has the cutest farm animals onsite. It’s located eight miles east of Gainesville and only about an hour from Dallas. Make sure to dine at the café that serves lavender-infused dishes like lavender cheesecake. Yum.
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
If art is your language of love, take a mini road trip to Fort Worth for this gem of a museum that boasts nearly 3,000 pieces in the permanent collection. The genres of Pop and Minimalism are particularly strong, as is German art of the '70s and '80s. The building itself is a work of art, too, designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.
At a cool 68 degrees year-round, this artesian spring is ideal for chilling out and/or a refreshing swim. It’s the second largest, fully submerged cave in Texas and it’s located not too far outside of Austin in Wimberley.
Palo Duro Canyon
Everything is bigger in Texas, including Palo Duro Canyon, which is near Amarillo and about six hours from Dallas. It’s the second largest canyon in the country (after the Grand Canyon, of course). It’s dusty, but there’s a certain desert allure to it all. Hiking, biking, and horseback riding are all up for grabs — or you can drive around for an easier way to see the incredible rocky terrain.
Fredericksburg Herb Farm
The darling cottages at this farm are worth the four-hour drive alone. The garden environment is the perfect place to slow down and smell the herbs. Plus, the little town of Fredericksburg boasts antique shops, boutiques, and more, should you want to leave the farm for a bit — not that you really need to do so, with a spa, bistro serving farm-to-table fare, and gift shop all there.
Village of Salado
A certain sleepy-charm pervades this creek-side town located between Austin and Waco, where you can relax overnight at a historic inn or B&B such as the romantic Stagecoach Inn. There are also antique shops and boutiques, shady parks by the water, and all the downtime you need.
Shangri-La Botanical Gardens
Rekindle your sense of wonder at this flora-and-fauna haven in Orange, about five hours away and bordering southwestern Louisiana. The tranquil sanctuary is home to more than 300 types of plants and a wide variety of wildlife.
Go chase all the waterfalls you want at this 77-foot one in Davis, Oklahoma, where you’ll also find hiking trails, caves, and scenic landscapes with the Arbuckle Mountains close by. Who knew you could get all that within two hours of the city.
Siddhayatan Spiritual Retreat
Have an “eat, pray, love” weekend with your S/O — no passport required. Re-center your mind and your soul at this Eastern spirituality ashram in Windom. The East Texas destination offers a range of programs supplemented by homemade vegetarian-forward meals, yoga sessions, chakras-balancing, meditation, deep breathing sessions, and more.
River Road Treehouses
Indulge your childhood dream of treehouse life at this Swiss Family Robinson-style getaway above Jacob’s Creek and across from the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels. Is there anything cooler than sleeping among the treetops? We think not.
Tyler Rose Garden
Did you know Tyler was the Rose Capital of America? We didn't either. Flower lovers will go crazy for this garden, and you can always swing by the historic Goodman-LeGrand House & Museum and wander the Tyler Azalea Trail that walks you through the town’s most impressive residential gardens.
Stay and play — and by play, we mean day-drink — at this legendary Texas food, wine, and spirits destination that’s only about 90 minutes east in the city of Tyler. Along with the lovely B&B hybrid accommodations, the place boasts rolling vineyards, a winery, a distillery, and more.
Magnolia Market at the Silos
The charm is so real at Magnolia Market. It’s basically the mother ship for worldwide fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ hit HGTV series “Fixer Upper.” Even if you aren’t fangirling the show, the Waco destination is still worth the trip. It’s only 95 miles from Dallas, and it’s practically its own perfect little community. You’ll definitely feel inspired wandering the perfectly coordinated décor store, garden, bakery, huge grain silos, food trucks, and more. But, you and your boo may leave with more than a few shopping bags — and an urge to redecorate. Fair warning.
WinStar World Casino and Resort
If you’re feeling lucky, cross the state border into Oklahoma and hit the slots and tables in Thackerville, which is only about 80 miles away. The mega-casino is divided into nine themed plazas including Paris, Rome, Beijing, Madrid, London, Cairo, Vienna, New York City, and an all-new Rio area. So, you also win big by transporting you and your significant other to another country. Even if gambling’s not your thing, Winstar hosts major music stars and entertainment shows. Plus, you’ll want to recharge your lucky streak at the resort hotel and spa.
Fort Worth Stockyards and Rodeo
You know what they say … Save a horse, ride a cowboy. Regardless, you can couple it up with your S/O — cowboy hats, boots, and all. The historic site with original brick walkways, wooden corrals, shops, and dining is also the home of the world’s only twice-daily cattle drive and world’s only year-round rodeo every Friday and Saturday night. Oh, and you can ride a horse, too, if you so desire.
The Crazy Bath House
Bath for two? Soak in the “magic” water of Mineral Wells, a town famously known for its natural spring water that allegedly has healing properties. Whether you buy into the legend or not, it is still an awesome spot to stay the night and indulge in a spa treatment or two. Plus, it’s only about 90 minutes from the city.