Need a break from the daily grind? These fun-filled places, located less than a gas tank away, make getting away for the day feel like a real vacation. Even better, you can keep everyone happily entertained for under $100.
Granbury Convention & Visitors Bureau
116 W. Bridge St.
Granbury, TX 76048
Journey to a town filled with frontier history and folklore legends. Start off at the picturesque town square—filled with antiques shops, unique boutiques and plenty of places to grab a bite to eat. Visit the hanging gallows at Hood County Jail and Historical Museum, located right off the square. On weekends, you can hop on the free trolley for a spin around town or take the Ghosts and Legends tour to meet the town’s restless spirits. Come on the second Saturday of the month and watch the Historic Granbury Gunslingers duke it out on the square. Then cool off from the summer heat at Granbury’s awesome city beach.
Athens Department of Tourism
201 W. Corsicana St., Suite 2
Athens, TX 75751
Athens, with its beautiful valleys and gently rolling hills, is a perfect place for a summer excursion. Stop off to pick fresh berries at Echo Springs Blueberry Farm. Stroll through a garden oasis at the East Texas Arboretum. Scuba divers will enjoy exploring for underwater treasures at the Athens Scuba Park. Catch a dive show or take a tram tour of the wetlands at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. For beautiful views and great wine, head over to Tara Vineyard & Winery. For even more breathtaking scenery, soar through the tree tops at New York, Texas ZipLine Adventures and bring this article to Connie for a $10 discount.
Tyler might have gorgeous roses, but it also has museums, historic homes, wildlife and great shopping. Visit the big cats at Tiger Creek Wildlife Refuge on your way into town. Then head over to an old Civil War confederate prisoner of war camp at Camp Ford. Tour a grand Victorian masterpiece at the Bonner-Whitaker-McClendon House. Take the kids to see the taxidermy animal exhibits at Brookshires World of Wildlife Museum. Then let them play on a 1950’s firetruck, a restored caboose and a 1926 farm tractor. End the day with roses—40,000 bushes of them—at the Municipal Rose Garden.
Saint Jo Chamber of Commerce
109 Broad St.
Saint Jo, TX 76265
Travel back to the 1800s with a visit to this charming Chisholm Trail town. Come on the weekend when everything’s open and discover the town’s colorful past at the Stonewall Saloon Museum. Stay the night for around $65 at the historic Texas Kings Hotel. Take one of the best scenic drives in the state on FM-677 and follow the road as it winds itself around the rolling hills and flower-filled prairies of the Red River Valley. Along the way, you’ll see the famous VW Beetle sculpture garden at Running N Ranch and Devil’s Backbone, an old tribal lookout point located at an elevation of 1,200 feet. Stop on the route for a taste of Arche Vineyard & Winery’s award-winning wines. Then continue on to Ancient Ovens for a $20, five-course dinner in a gorgeous outdoor setting.
Davis Chamber of Commerce
100 E. Main St.
Davis, OK 73030
Leave the flatlands of DFW for a day and head to the Arbuckle Mountains of Oklahoma. Take a cool dip in the natural pools under the 77-foot waterfall at Turner Falls Park. See hundreds of roaming animals on a safari tour of the Arbuckle Wilderness Park. Visit Davis’s Arbuckle Historical Society Museum, then head over to the Chickasaw Cultural Center and National Recreation Area for a little Native American history. Head back down Highway 77 for some of the best barbecue in the state at Smokin Joe’s BBQ.
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Ilene Jacobs is a freelance writer living in Dallas, Texas. Ilene enjoys writing about a variety of topics, ranging from food, fitness and travel, to kids, pets and senior care. You can find some of her work at Examiner.com.