(credit: ERMAL META/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: ERMAL META/AFP/Getty Images)

Memorial Day is a time to honor those who gave their life defending our country, and for many it also marks the unofficial start of summer. Rather than grilling and chilling in your own backyard, why not take advantage of the three-day weekend to make a quick getaway? These five destinations, less than a two-hour drive from the DFW area, are the perfect places to make a Memorial Day weekend escape.

Cedar Mountain Lodge
6950 Shady Lane
Scurry, TX 75158
(972) 452-3273
www.cedarmtnlodge.comWhether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or a weekend adventure, you’ll find it all just 30 minutes southeast of downtown Dallas at the Cedar Mountain Lodge. Set amidst towering oaks and gently rolling hills, this sprawling 550-acre wildlife ranch offers everything from massages, trap shooting, fishing and horseback riding to soaring through the treetops on 4,000 feet of zip-lines. Lodging options range from rooms in the main lodge and B&B area to a luxury treehouse with rates starting at just $105, which includes breakfast. While you’re in the area, be sure to stop in the nearby town of Ennis for a taste of the Czech culture during the National Polka Festival taking place May 23-24, 2014.

Tubing the Brazos
Hillbilly Haven Campground
10801 W. Interstate 20
Millsap, TX 76066
(817) 341-4009
No need to head down to New Braunfels to float down the Guadalupe River when you can catch a ride on the Brazos, the longest river in the state. One of the closest places to go with the flow is Hillbilly Haven, an easy 45-minute drive from Fort Worth. With a perfect setup directly on the sandy shores of the river, Hillbilly Haven provides everything you’ll need for tubing and canoeing. You can canoe down the river for $35 or take a five-mile tubing journey for $17, which includes your tube, an extra tube for your cooler and a shuttle ride back to the starting point. If you want to stay all weekend, you can set up camp or head just 15 short miles over to Weatherford for more lodging options.

The Artesian Hotel
1001 W. 1st St.
Sulphur, OK 73086
(855) 455-5255
www.artesianhotel.comIf you’re looking for a place to try your luck that’s a bit more low key than the big Oklahoma casinos, the retro-chic Artesian Hotel, located about 130 miles from DFW, may be a bit more your style. Unwind in the spa, take a swim in the pool, hang out in the casino and enjoy a meal in the hotel’s restaurant without ever leaving the property. But if you do want to get out and explore the surrounding nature, the Chickasaw Recreational Area is right across the road and Turner Falls Park is just a 15-minute drive away. 

Related: Best DFW Day Trips For Under $100

Foothills Safari Camp
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
2299 County Road 2008
Glen Rose, TX 76043
(254) 897-2960
www.fossilrim.orgIf you enjoy getting up close and personal with animals at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center during the day, you’re going to love having a sleepover here at night. The fully furnished tents in the Safari Camp offer all of the comforts of a hotel in a rustic setting. Or if you want something more luxurious, book one of the amazing suites, equipped with a Jacuzzi. A major perk of sleeping on the preserve is that you’ll be able to view the animals’ activities at the nearby watering hole where they congregate at night. Weekend rates include breakfast and a scenic drive wildlife pass, starting at $100.  

Historic Downtown Granbury Square
205 E. Pearl St.
Granbury, TX 76048
(817) 573-5299
www.granburytx.comWith a picturesque town square dating back to the 1880s and its array of attractions, it’s no wonder that Southern Living magazine put Granbury on the list of “Best Small Town Getaways.” Situated about 40 miles southwest of Fort Worth, Granbury offers everything from museums, eateries and shopping to performing arts, galleries and even a lakeside beach. In addition, the town hosts a huge Memorial Day commemoration all weekend long. Ongoing in both the square and at the beach, the commemoration features parades, food, vendor booths and even fun activities for the kids. Should you wish to stay all weekend, you’ll find plenty of lodging options, including the Historic Nutt House Hotel in the square and The Inn on Lake Granbury – a stunning hotel that rests high on a bluff above the lake.

: Memorial Day Celebrations 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.