While Dallas has always been an iconic city for oil tycoons, big hats and even bigger hair, it hasn’t quite received the same reputation when it comes to the outdoors. While there aren’t any mountains (or really any elevation to speak of) there is still ample opportunity to get outside and enjoy the Texas sunshine.
Once you arrive in Dallas your first stop has to be the Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum district to chow down on some of the best barbecue Dallas has to offer. The infamous barbecue joint will open up at 11am and serve food until 3pm (or until they run out) so make sure you get there early. There is almost guaranteed to be a long line out the door but it’s absolutely worth the wait. TRUST ME.
Since you probably just ate your weight in brisket and fried okra head over to the nearby Katy Trail to take a stroll beneath the trees and burn off those calories. The trail itself is about 7 miles round trip so you can make the walk as short or long as you like depending on where you park. There’s also a small park at the Snyders Union junction with the trail if you want to a break to relax beneath the trees. Along the Katy Trail you’ll also find the Katy Trail Ice House - a perfect opportunity to reward yourself with an ice cold beer. It’s a great outdoor atmosphere with a beer garden vibe and a Venison chili to die for. This is a great area to post up for the night as it’s walking distance to a variety of hotels and the light rail.
Start the day off right with a delicious cup of coffee and brunch from Ascension. Parking can be tricky so just snag a side street spot when you see one or if you’re not willing to play parking spot roulette you can always valet here. Once inside it’s a seat yourself free-for-all, so find a table either inside or on their patio to enjoy the Texas sunshine.
After fueling up with brunch head over to the East side of Dallas to enjoy the crown jewel of the metroplex area - White Rock Lake. There are so many options for your day here - Bike Ride the 9.33 mile loop, rent a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddle board from White Rock Paddle Company, or grab some bait from a tackle shop and fish, or just relax with a picnic and a book along the shores. There are some beautiful old wooden docks that go out onto the water that make a perfect place to take the shoes off and soak up some rays.
After White Rock head over to Truck Yard - a bar that is about 10 minutes away. This bar will give you an authentic Texas experience that you’re probably seeking equipped with a Lone Star beer bottle chandelier hanging in the middle. There’s also an outdoor section with two food trucks to satiate your hunger and a stage for some good ol’ live country music. It doesn’t really matter who’s playing it’s going to be a rowdy good time.
Sunday is great opportunity to slow your day down with another incredible brunch and some local shopping. Head over to the Bishop Arts District and dine at Oddfellows before you walk around the square. There’s an amazing shop called DFW M’ntiques where you can find the oddest assortment of gifts and trinkets. I’ve spent hours just wandering all the different aisles of antiques and you’re bound to find something that you can’t help but take home with you. If you’re craving something sweet at the end of your trip than you cannot miss Emporium Pies. This pie shop is in an old renovated house that serves up unbeatable homemade pies that change with the seasons. If you’re looking for a taste of Texas try their Drunken Nut - a Bourbon based Texas Pecan pie.
After a relaxing morning of food and shopping head over to Joe Pool Lake with a cooler of snacks and a six pack of local beer (try Deep Ellum Blonde or Community Mosaic IPA) to relax the afternoon away. During the warm summer months you can swim in the lake or you can fish anytime of the year. This is the perfect way to end your stay in Dallas - with a beautiful sun setting on the water’s horizon!
Hopefully this has been a helpful guide to discovering some of the best aspects of Dallas. While all of these fall within the city limits there are some other awesome outdoor adventure spots if you’re willing to travel a bit further. Check out my page or explore the adventures near you on The Outbound site and iOS app for more details. Dallas may not be the most "outdoorsy" city but there’s still plenty of fun to be had. I hope you enjoy the Lone Star State!
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.