You finally have a long four-day weekend coming up, but are too busy to take a real vacation and you don’t want it to go to waste. No worries, the DFW area is like one giant playground, and while you can easily keep yourself entertained in Dallas or Fort Worth, it’s a great time to take advantage of these unique activities that are slightly off the beaten track.
Denton Convention and Visitors Bureau
414 W. Parkway St.
Denton, TX 76201
The perfect way to start a long weekend is to leave the urban scene behind and escape to a town offering a burgeoning indie music scene and loads of charm. Since the new A-Train line linking Dallas to Denton opened up, Denton’s downtown square has become a hotspot for activity day and night. Thursday nights are hopping outside the old Romanesque courthouse where people gather on the lawn to listen to live music by students from the University of North Texas. Just as entertaining are the restaurants, bars, galleries and eclectic shops that surround the square. The Mini Malls are a great place to scoop up some unusual treasures and the decadent ice cream at Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Soda Fountain is worthy of every calorie. For dinner, Roosters Roadhouse makes the best burgers in town. Or for an upscale dining experience—try Queenies Steakhouse, the newest eatery by celebrity chef Tim Love. When evening falls, it’s time to experience Denton’s famous music scene and Dan’s Silverleaf is a great place to start—offering everything from jazz to country by some of the best bands around.
Grapevine Wine Tours
14755 Preston Road, Suite 823
Dallas, TX 75254
You don’t have to travel to California for a wine tour when you can visit the wine trails of Grapevine in less than 30 minutes from DFW. For more than a decade, Grapevine wineries have been producing award-winning wines—rivaling many of its Californian and European counterparts. A great way to sample some of Grapevine’s fabulous wines is by riding along with Grapevine Wine Tours, where you can drink and relax while leaving the logistics to your professional tour guide. The four-hour tours run twice daily and include van transportation to three of the seven Grapevine wineries for tastings and a meal. Spend the day with a lunch tour for $74.50 or make it a special evening on the town for $89.50.
Related: Best DFW Day Trips For Under $100
Wired Zip-Line Challenge Course
796 N. Trade Days Blvd.
Canton, TX 75013
Canton is home to the largest flea market in the world, and if you go between Thursday and the first Monday of the month, you’ll get to experience all of what First Monday Trade Days has to offer. Canton is also the place to go for an ultimate adrenaline rush on the longest zip-line challenge in the state and it’s all only an hour away from Dallas. Wired offers visitors the thrill of soaring at speeds over 45 miles per hour along four different zip-lines, high above 20 acres of beautiful countryside. Wired is open for reservations on Saturdays and Sundays, so if you plan it right, you can visit First Monday at the same time since Wired is located right across the street.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway
100 Park Road 71
Mineral Wells, TX 76067
Finish off a great weekend with a road trip to a place known for fossil digs, crazy water and a stunning state park. Located less than an hour from Fort Worth, Mineral Wells was once was a bustling spa town, drawing visitors from around the world who came for the healing powers of the town’s mineral water. Although the town is no longer a resort, you can still sample this mysterious crazy water at the Crazy Water Company everyday except Sunday— and for $28 take a soak in it as well. Once you’re rejuvenated from the water, head over to Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway, especially now as the weather is starting too cool off. The park is a haven for naturalists with plenty of birds and wildlife to see. You’ll also find areas for fishing, swimming, biking and hiking, but one of the best attractions is climbing and rappelling the rock formations at Penitentiary Hollow. If you are an avid fossil hunter, be sure to swing by the Mineral Wells Fossil Park on your way home where everything you find is free for the taking.
Related: Unique Museums In DFW
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.