If the hustle and bustle of daily life is wearing you down, then it’s time to start considering places for a brief respite. Dallas, Texas is a large metropolitan area with a twin city situated within easy driving distance, so you have access to the top museums and shopping centers ranging from outlet malls to upscale stores. Stay at a Dallas vacation rental during the week, then spend the weekend exploring a nearby small town or exciting community. Check out the seven best weekend getaway spots from Dallas.

1. Weatherford

charleston tx
Source: Flickr/grassrootsgroundswell

When you walk down the street in Weatherford, the locals make you feel like you’re at home. Start your trip with a tour of the Chandor Gardens. It offers a tour of the manor home that features Chinese-style architecture and the attached English gardens. Let the kids run a little ahead as you meander past fountains and waterfalls in this garden. In the summer months, slip into your bathing suit and stop by the pool at Cherry Park. Even if the weather is a little chilly, enjoy a picnic lunch with takeout barbecue from Mesquite Pit and let the kids indulge in the playground equipment while you get everything organized.

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2. Denison

denison tx
Source: Flickr/Nicolas Henderson

Covering 30 blocks, Denison’s historic downtown area is the main attraction in this small city. In fact, the city’s nickname is Texas Main Street City, and it came from the Texas Historical Society. So plan to spend the better part of the day seeing the historic buildings and exploring the small stores, including The Hangin T, Blue Moon Antique Mall, and the Southern Bling Boutique. This town is the birthplace of former United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and you should see the Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site while in town. Hit the beaches of Lake Texoma in the Eisenhower State Park or bring your fishing poles and catch some fish for dinner back at your vacation rental.

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3. Van Alstyne

small town junction tx
Source: Flickr/Nicolas Henderson

In the fall, head up to Van Alstyne for the weekend and the Fall der All. This festival features a variety of family fun activities, vendors selling homemade crafts, and food tents to satisfy your hunger. Run by volunteers, the Van Alstyne Historical Museum is a small building filled with a lot of history. There are old photographs, personal items, and clothing from residents who lived in the area in the past. Don’t worry about cooking at your vacation rental when you can just grab a pizza from Romano’s. If you want to enjoy a sit-down dinner, try El Patio Escondido Mexican Restaurant for a little spice or Buck Snort BBQ with its buffet.

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4. Glen Rose

dinosaur world
Source: Flickr/Anna Harris

If your kids have dinos on the brain, then you need a weekend away in Glen Rose. This is home to the Dinosaur Valley State Park and Dinosaur World that draws crowds from all over the state. Start your trip to the Dinosaur Valley State Park with a stop at the interpretive center. Hiking through the park puts you in the very spot where dinosaurs once walked, and you can even see their footprints. Watch your kids cheer as they race to see each of the 150 dinosaurs at Dinosaur World. There’s also a museum, fossil dig area, and a playground but who wants to swing when there are dinosaurs to see?

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5. McKinney

towne lake mckinney
Source: http://www.mckinneytexas.org

In McKinney, you can alternate between catching up on your reading and enjoying the attractions in town. Bring your camera for a walk around Historic Downtown McKinney. In the square, you can enjoy some shade under a bench or pick up a souvenir at one of the charming shops, such as Crystal Cloche and Fair and Square Imports. Kids enjoy seeing the cute animals at the Heard Natural Science Museum and Wildlife Sanctuary. There are a variety of exhibits that explain the natural world along with a sanctuary for animals that you can see as you walk along the trails. Harvest is a local restaurant that sources its ingredients from nearby sources and offers a seasonal menu.

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6. Pilot Point

tulips and cherry blossoms at dallas arboretum
Source: Flickr/Steve Rainwater

If you want to tiptoe through the tulips, then your destination must be Pilot Point. While in town, take the family to Texas-Tulips, a small botanical garden filled with every color tulip under the rainbow or so it seems. Included in your small admission price is the okay to pick a couple of these lovely blossoms, including black tulips. Take older family members over to the Western Son Distillery for a tour and bring back a liquid souvenir. Hop on the Sharkarosa Wildlife Ranch’s tram to see all the animals in this 126-acre zoological park. The park offers a private encounter with some of the younger park members.

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7. Frisco

frisco square christmas
Source: https://www.visitfrisco.com

There’s plenty for families with young kids to do in the small town of Frisco. Start with a visit to the Play Street Museum. This museum helps children learn about life through play. They can create their own lemonade stand, sell groceries, and pretend to be in a cafe in Paris. When the weather is good, take everyone to Hope Park. The park offers a huge play fort and playground with activities for kids of all ages. You can catch some shade under a tree while the kids play. Tour the National Videogame Museum to learn about this history of this popular pastime. The daredevils in your family appreciate an hour or two at the iFLY Indoor Skydiving center, where they can experience skydiving without jumping out of a plane.

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