Maybe this was the year you were finally going to take that trip to Europe, or you were looking forward to taking your kids to Disney for the first time. Or perhaps you had to cancel a super cheap Caribbean cruise. Or maybe you were planning to take some time off and get away from your daily routine. Whatever your original plans, they likely were thrown out the window thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We can relate in a big way, and we’re here to tell you to keep those PTO days on the calendar because you can still scratch that wanderlust itch with these hidden North Texas day trip gems right in your own backyard.
If eating a burger in the birthplace of the great American hamburger has been at the top of your bucket list for a long time — or your mouth is watering at the thought— then making the 90-minute drive from Dallas to Athens might be your idea of an ideal culinary day trip.Texas historian Frank X. Tolbert attributes the invention of the hamburger to Fletcher Davis of Athens. Davis is believed to have sold hamburgers at his café at 115 Tyler Street in the late 1880s, before bringing them to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. While the building still stands today, you’ll find antiques — not burgers — in the historic shop.
But if you’re hankering for a good burger, Athens newbie “Athens Burger Bar” has a solid five-star rating on Yelp. Offering hamburger meat ground fresh daily and homemade potato chips and ketchup, it’s not hard to figure out why it’s a favorite of locals and tourists alike.
“Benson’s Eats & Treats” is another timeless classic offering up more than just burgers. They’ve been serving up burgers since 1949, so it’s safe to say they know a thing or two about creating this all-American delicacy, and the restaurant’s rave reviews back that up.
While you’re scouting out your favorite burger joint, enjoy Athens’ downtown shops, art galleries, restaurants, and historic buildings. We’ve heard there’s even a popular farmer’s market on the weekends that’s worth the drive.
We know it’s not the Bahamas, but there’s also a scuba park, so if you’ve always wanted to get scuba certified or just want to feel like you’re on a tropical getaway, plan on making a day of it.
Magnolia Market at the Silos
601 Webster Ave
Waco, TX 76706
Whether you’re a fan of TV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines, a Baylor Bear fan (or have one in the family) or you simply love the simple, laid-back charm of Central Texas, you’ll enjoy the two-hour drive to Waco, an increasingly hot destination for North Texas day-trippers. If you haven’t been to Waco lately, you’re in for a few fun surprises and a new experience.
Magnolia Market at the Silos is a great example — it just keeps expanding! Aside from the flagship home-décor store on Bosque, the Magnolia Market at the Silos with its sprawling food truck yard out back and the on-site bakery (Silos Baking Co.), now boasts a coffee shop (Magnolia Press), restaurant (Magnolia Table), and plans to open six new boutique shops in short order.If you’re looking for more than a day trip, you can even book one of three fixer-uppers turned vacation rentals. Each house can accommodate anywhere from six to 12 people, with a full kitchen, free WiFi and updated cleaning procedures for your safety. Whether you plan to host a small family celebration, or you just want a home-away-from-home for a few days, just think of all the Instagram-worthy photos you can take at one of these beauties.
1 AT&T Way & 734 Stadium Drive
Arlington, TX 76011
Whether the Cowboys are playing or not, AT&T Stadium is open year-round for tours if you want the big stadium wow experience. The Stadium is still offering its ever-popular VIP guided tours around the sprawling facilities, with smaller groups, more tour stops and improved cleaning procedures to keep everyone as safe as possible. Tours are not only entertaining but you’ll manage to get in nearly three miles of walking (but you’ll hardly notice it!)
When you’re finished at the nicknamed ‘Jerry World,’ make the short trek over to the new Globe Life Field where you’ll be among the first to tour the new indoor facilities. As you tour the third home of the Texas Rangers, you’ll receive a complete rundown of history about both the Field and the franchise, making this a must for every baseball fan.
While Frisco may just be a quick commute for many North Texans, the emerging hub for regional, local and global headquarters offers more than business parks and corporate campuses.
For instance, did you know Frisco is home to the National Videogame Museum? Inside the Frisco Discovery Center lies a virtual world of nostalgia for youth and the young at heart. Whether you remember playing Pong, had the very first Playstation, are a hardcore collector or you’ve never even touched a controller, its niche collection of more than 100,000 games, consoles and rare artifacts means it has a little something for everyone.
These interactive exhibits are split up to cover the evolution of video games, from the very first video game to what we have now and even future technology. As for those 80s kids out there, you can’t miss the retro arcade, where you can use your complimentary tokens to try to get the high score on Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and other classics.
If modern art is more your thing, be sure to check out the Texas Sculpture Garden. Located within HALL Park, the Garden boasts more than 40 works of contemporary sculpture by several prominent Texas artists. The Garden is recognized as the largest private collection made available to the public.
Beavers Bend State Park
4350 S Hwy 259A
Broken Bow, OK 74728
When we asked those in the know for must-visit day trips, Broken Bow, OK, was recommended to us time and time again. Don’t let its location north of the Red River scare you away — this hot destination is only about a three-hour drive for most North Texans.
Start with the 1,300-acre state park where you’ll find Broken Bow Lake, and the “towering timbers, crystal clear waters and rugged terrain make this park an outdoor lover’s paradise,” according to Travel OK. And be sure to check out Beavers Bend State Park where there’s plenty of hiking, biking, boating, fishing, water skiing, canoeing, and horseback riding to keep you busy for a day trip or longer.
If a round or two of golf is more your style, the 18-hole Cedar Creek Golf Course at Beavers Bend State Park is also a favorite of day-trippers. You and your family can also enjoy tennis, volleyball and mini-golf nearby. For indoor activities, there’s an amphitheater, gift shop, restaurant and the Forest Heritage Center found within the park. If great restaurants and wineries are on your itinerary, head to nearby Hochatown.If you’ve got more than a day trip in mind, you’ll need a place to stay whether a cozy lake cabin or luxury accommodations. To check out your options, visit the McCurtain County Chamber’s website for more information and to reserve a cabin.
No matter where you go during this time, please remember to follow all local and state-mandated orders, especially regarding wearing a face covering and safe distancing from others. And remember to always wash/sanitize hands frequently. If you’re experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please plan on taking your vacation virtually from the comfort of your own home.
*Texas Health Resources does not endorse, nor is affiliated with, these third-party companies. Offers are subject to change, so check that company’s website for the latest information.