There’s nothing like a Fall Day Trip, from Pumpkin patches to scenic drives to see the changing colors of the leaves, there’s something for everyone. Here’s my list of 10 Fun Fall Day Trips in North Texas.
Leaf Looking One of the most popular drives during the fall is out to Lost Maples State Natural Area, which offers a beautiful view of changing leaves on a stand of Bigtooth Maples. The Texas Parks and Wildlife website offers a Fall Foliage report so you known when to visit. However, be prepared for long lines, especially on weekends. Reserve your day passes in advance.
Caddo Lake Area A visit to Caddo Lake is like a step back in time. The Cypress-lined lake offers phenomenal views, and early morning and late evenings, when the lighting is right on the moss-covered trees can be breathtaking! Caddo Lake State Park offers water access as well as a great pier for observing the lake. Backwater Jack’s RV Park sits at the put-in for 3 amazing Texas paddling trails, and they offer canoe and kayak rentals. In the idyllic town of Jefferson, you can walk the brick-lined streets, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or take a train ride through the swamp on the Historic Jefferson Railway‘s antique gas-powered locomotive. Captain Ron’s Swamp Tours offers a guided tour on a pontoon boat of Caddo lake. Don’t miss dinner sitting out on the deck of Big Pines Lodge overlooking Big Cypress Bayou. Bear Creek Smokehouse in Marshall offers you a chance to see their animals and purchase their famous smoked meats!
Broken Bow, Oklahoma One of the most popular weekend or vacation destinations in North Texas sits just over the Oklahoma border. Broken Bow consist of the lake, Hocatown with cute shops, restaurants and family activities, two state parks and the Mountain Fork River, which is stocked with rainbow trout and one of the best places to go fly fishing. Beavers Bend State Park offers nice hiking trails, or for a more strenuous hike, check out the Skyline Trail. The Fall is a great time to take a drive on the Talimena Scenic Drive. On your way to Broken Bow, I suggest a stop in the little town of Paris for a selfie with the Texas Eiffel Tower, and lunch at the Paris Bakery. Endangered Ark Elephant Sanctuary in Hugo, Ok. is a short detour, and offers tours of their sanctuary, plus a chance to meet and feed an elephant! They even offer overnight accommodations. The Choctaw Casino and Resort in Durant is also a nice place to extend your daytrip into a weekend.
Trout Fishing Texas Parks and Wildlife starts stocking ponds, lakes and rivers in Texas in November with rainbow trout, and you’d be surprised how many people follow the circuit of the stockings. Rainbow trout are a fun and challenging fish, and they taste great! One of the biggest stockings takes place in the Trinity River in Fort Worth, and the shores of the the river are lined with eager anglers. The Orvis stores offer FREE fly fishing classes and trips, as well as FREE classes on how to tie flies. We really enjoyed these classes. They were a great first-step to learning to fly fish. We then headed to Dallas and Tailwaters Fly Fishing and took their instructional classes (because we love classes and they were fun day dates).
Each November Turner Falls in Oklahoma, about a 2-hour drive from DFW, stocks Honey Creek with rainbow trout, making for a beautiful day trip. The park also offers some really great hikes, as well as a chance to see and explore the 77′ waterfall. While you’re in the area, the Chickasaw Cultural Center in Sulphur, Ok is definitely worth a visit.
The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, a town known for creating the first hamburger but surprisingly doesn’t have a lot of hamburger restaurants, is just a great day trip for learning more about our native Texas fish! They have a dive show, tram tours of their hatchery, and fishing! Young children always love seeing the Pitcher Plant Bog, which has native carnivorous pitcher plants. Volunteers can help you with setting up your pole, as well as bait, how to fish and even help removing the fish and identification. It’s a great way to teach children how to fish, without purchasing a lot of gear. Each fall they offer Fly Fishing instruction and their ponds are stocked with rainbow trout.
TP&W Fishing Tackle Loaner Program Did you known that many libraries, city activity centers and state parks offers FREE loaner poles and tackle? Also, a fishing license is not required when fishing in Texas State Parks, or for children under the age of 17.
The Texas Renaissance Festival, Todd Mission Running weekends from October 9th – Thanksgiving weekend, the 47th annual Texas Renaissance Festival is the largest Ren-Faire in the country! Each themed weekend offers fun shows, demonstrations, live music, children’s entertainment, craft shopping and amazing food!
Canton Fall always offers great shopping weekends, and the Canton First Monday Trade Days, when you’ll find the largest flea market in the world, offers both Fall and Christmas decor, as well as home decor and much, much more in a fun, festive atmosphere! A few more fun things to do in Canton include a visit to Yesterland Farms, one of my favorite Pumpkin Patches and Christmas Tree Farms! Early Fall is also a good time to visit East Texas Gators just 5 miles away in Grand Saline, and see their daily feeding show! Grand Saline is home to the Morton Salt Mine, and while they no longer offer tours of the salt mines, you can visit the Salt Palace to learn more about it. About a half hour scenic drive from Canton is the town of Mineola and the Mineola Nature Preserve, which offers some nice hiking trails.
Granbury It’s always a nice day in Granbury! This quick little day-trip from DFW offers a picturesque town square with shopping and dining options. Kessler’s German Restaurant and Biergarten is one of our favorites. Enjoy a day on the lake, or visit their FREE City Beach Park, which also offers kayak and bike rentals. After dark, the Brazos Drive In Theater takes you back. Opened in 1952, it’s still a one-screen, family-friendly drive in movie theater, and honestly our favorite! Back in Downtown, the Granbury Ghost Tour will entertain you with chilly tales of the history of Granbury and it’s eternal residents!
Glen Rose The Dinosaur Capital of Texas offers some great things to do outdoors, such as a visit to Dinosaur Valley State Park! Hike the trails or take a walk along the riverbed to the dinosaur tracks in the Paluxy river. Dinosaur World takes you on a 1-mile paved trail of huge, life-size dinosaurs, fossil digs, indoor animatronic dinosaur exhibits, and a jurassic-themed playground! Fall is my favorite time of year to visit Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, a drive-thru animal park where you can feed the animals.
The Canyons of Texas Caprock Canyons State Park and Palo Duro Canyon State Park, both in West Texas, offer beautiful hiking trails! Caprock Canyons is the home of the Texas American Bison (buffalo) herd, giving you a small Yellowstone experience. You’ll also find prairie dog towns and we even spotted our first porcupine here! Caprock Canyons is remote and much less popular than than Palo Duro Canyon State Park,. Then second largest canyon in the U.S., Palo Duro also offers incredible hikes, along with horseback trail rides, jeep tours and zip lines!
Fort Worth Alliance Air Show October 23-24th After the 2020 Airshow was only an in-car experience, the 2021 airshow will be back with a Landing Zone Activity area, food and souvenir vendors.
Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, Idiahoma OK Back across the Red River, the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge offers incredible wildlife viewing for both those who want to get out and hike the trails or windshield warriors with scenic driving routes. Herds of American Bison and longhorn cattle, prairie dog towns, and in the fall you can hear the bugleing of the elk in mid-to-late September. The picturesque town of Medicine Park is a must visit too! Take a drive across the mountain to Meers Restaurant for one of the best cheeseburgers.
The Texas State Railroad, Palestine Take a ride through the pines at the Texas State Railroad in East Texas. They offer rides to see the changing leaf foliage as well as a Pumpkin Patch Express and a Polar Express ride!
Visit a Texas Fort Texas has some great forks to visit on the Texas Forts Trail. Old Fort Parker is the site of the abduction of Cynthia Ann Parker, who later gave birth to Quanah Parker, one of the last war leaders of the Comanche people. Nearby, Fort Parker State Park offers a great day trip for fishing, paddling the limestone bluffs of the Navasota River, or just enjoying the sounds of nature in the park.
Fort Richardson State Park in Jacksboro has a completely restored fort, down to the fake food on the tables of the mess hall. The Lost Creek Reservoir Trailway is a nice 9-mile hike or bike ride.
Fort Griffin State Historic Site, Albany Home of the official Texas Longhorn Herd, a tour of Fort Griffin is more a tour of the ruins of the fort, giving you a completely different perspective. It’s also one of the closest dark sky parks to DFW, and offers amazing stargazing opportunities. The Fort host Living History Days on October 8-9th!
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