5 Incredible Road Trips to Take from Dallas This Fall

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

When it comes to road trips in Texas, it often seems like people feel boxed in by the size of our state and just stay put. And while hitting the road for Austin, San Antonio or Hill Country can be absolute heaven, there are plenty of other places within driving distance that will excite all your senses. Here are five fall road trips near Dallas, in order from shortest to longest, that we are urging you to take this season. If you don’t do it for us, do it for the ‘Gram, man!

These Are the 12 Best Picnic Spots in Dallas

1. Broken Bow, Oklahoma (2 Hours, 50 Minutes)

This road trip is ideal for those who want to look at something totally different than what Dallas has to offer but don’t necessarily have the time to give up a day of driving. A relatively new travel destination to Dallasites, this area of Southeastern Oklahoma has become popular for getting away from the stresses of the city. Popular spots to enjoy on your adventure include Broken Bow Lake, Beavers Bend Resort Park and Hochatown State Park. And while stocking up on groceries and cooking a campfire feast is the preferred method for most meals, don’t forget to swing by Gypsy Brew for a seasonal latte to sip on before you start your day.

Where to stay: Rental all the way. Some cute spots can be found here, here, here, and here!

2. Hot Springs, Arkansas (4 Hours, 20 Minutes)

Sure, you’ve been to Fayetteville for football (Woo Pig Sooie!), but have you experienced other parts of the Natural State? Hot Springs has a little bit of fun for everyone and is ideal for the road tripper who wants their weekend to include a little bit of everything. Nestled in the Ouachita Mountains, this area is known for fishing on Lake Catherine and hiking along the 26-mile Lake Ouachita Vista Trail in addition to its natural springs. In search of fall foliage? The Hot Springs Mountain Tower has 360-degree views of Hot Springs National Park and much of Hot Springs. Post leaf-peeping, head over to Superior Bathhouse Brewery which is the first in a United States National Park and the world’s first to utilize thermal spring water as the main ingredient in its offerings.

Where to stay: We have our eyes on the The Reserve at Hot Springs, which is a new, luxury boutique hotel that specializes in Southern hospitality. Centrally located, this six-bedroom lodging option is a former private home and a currently National Heritage Landmark. It’s great for those who enjoy the outdoors but also want to retire at night to a bedroom suite that comes with a coursed breakfast.

road trips near dallas ridgedale missouri
Big Cedar Lodge

3. Ridgedale, Missouri (7 Hours)

Have golfers in your group? This is the road trip that they have been waiting for. Not only will the fall feels completely captivate you on your drive up to the Ozarks, but you will be privy to some of the most spectacular courses in the area at Big Cedar Lodge thanks to Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, who is dedicated to making this one of the most esteemed golfing regions in the country. And while there are plenty of famous names to boost this resort’s resume, all eyes are currently on Payne Valley which was designed by Tiger Woods.

Golfing not your cup of tee? (Sorry, we had to.) The area also happens to be nestled in to one of the most picturesque areas of the state that includes hiking, biking, boating and fishing. Have kids and in need of a thrill outside of Big Cedar? Nearby Branson is home to the famous Branson Belle dinner cruise and Springfield has a 350,000 square foot Wonders of Wildlife National Museum & Aquarium that has 800 species of animals to explore.

Where to stay: You guessed it, Big Cedar Lodge! You truly cannot go wrong with this incredible property that offers endless amenities for everyone from your toddler to your grandmother. Whether you are golfing, enjoying nature or checking in to the spa, this Ozark Mountain masterpiece is a 4,600-acre wilderness wonderland. Check out their holiday programming here.

4. Terlingua, Texas (8 Hours, 30 Minutes)

This is us standing on a soap box highly suggesting that you check this incredible area of Texas from your bucket list. We’ve said it once and we will say it again, West Texas is one of the most underrated areas of the state, despite it having some of the most beautiful attractions in arguably the whole nation. Case in point? Big Bend National Park, which is mere moments from this Texas ghost town, and is one of the least visited National Parks in the nation. Make sure to work up an appetite for a to-go plate of DB’s Rustic BBQ under the stars post exploration.

Where to stay: While we love The Local Chapter (we wrote about it here), we cannot ignore the minimalistic beauty of The Willow House. And with both being very popular, two options are always better than one. Our suggestion? Casita five, six or seven at The Willow House, all of which have stunning views of the Chisos Mountains.

road trips near dallas santa fe new mexico
Bishop’s Lodge, Auberge Resorts Collection

5. Santa Fe, New Mexico (9 Hours, 40 Minutes)

Foodies, listen up: If you have yet to sink your teeth in to the distinct Southwestern flavors of New Mexico, let this be your reminder that your taste buds aren’t. even. ready. And while this is the longest road trip of the bunch, it might be the best. Whether you are headed to the top of Sandia Crest Peek, cruising the farmers market, shopping for interesting art by local artists and crafters or stuffing your face with food at The Shed, don’t go home without a sunset sangria at La Fonda on the Plaza. A city with soul doesn’t even begin to describe the goodness that awaits in Santa Fe.

Where to stay: Ever since we got the highly anticipated reopening announcement back in July, we have been dying to check out Bishop’s Lodge, Auberge Resorts Collection. This property, which was first settled 150 years ago by Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy, is now open once again after a $75 million renovation. The architect? None other than the Dallas-based Nunzio Marc DeSantis Architects. So, it seems only natural that we support the home team, no?

Discover more fun things to do near Dallas by signing up to our email newsletter here.

diana oates

Dallas Editor

Diana Oates is a freelance writer living in Dallas with her husband and three kids. When she’s not telling you about the best new restaurant in town or the hottest hotel to escape...