Top 16 Outdoor Activities in Dallas
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
The Great Outdoors in Dallas, TX

Dallas isn't near the mountains or the sea, and it can get quite hot in the summers, but that doesn't stop residents from enjoying the great outdoors. There are over 22,000 acres of parkland and over 125 miles of hike and bike trails in this city, which is ideal for outdoor enthusiasts thanks to its average of 232 days of sunshine per year.

Away from the noise and chaos of other nearby cities, Dallas offers some of the best outdoor recreation opportunities in the region. Here are the top outdoor activities in Dallas to try whether you’re visiting alone as a couple or with your little ones.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza
Visit the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza

Dallas has a rich history, both good and bad, and is most famous as the site of the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. The John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza is free to visit, but admission to The Sixth Floor Museum, which is dedicated to JFK's life and legacy, will cost you. It is a cenotaph, a type of open tomb monument popularized by architect Philip Johnson, and visitors are welcome to step inside and reflect. 

Just down the road is Dealey Plaza, the site of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and now a National Historic Landmark District.

DFW Founders’ Plaza
Go Plane Spotting at DFW Founders’ Plaza

DFW Founders' Plaza is another well-known Dallas plaza. This plaza is an overlook of DFW airport and should not be confused with the Founders Plaza in the city center.

There are telescopes, picnic tables, and a radio that broadcasts air traffic control communications, making this spot much more than just a patch of grass by the side of the road. The plaza is open from 7 AM to 7 PM, making it perfect for plane spotters and other aviation fans.

Klyde Warren Park
Take a Walk in Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park, one of the most visited parks in the city, may not be particularly large (it spans only a little more than five acres), but it makes excellent use of the space it has. Yoga classes, concerts, and movie screenings are just a few examples of the free events that happen there every day.

Look at their online schedule to get an idea of how full their days are. It's a much-appreciated patch of nature in the middle of the city, especially given its location between towering office buildings and a busy highway. You can visit Klyde Warren Park anytime between 6 AM and 11 PM daily.

White Rock Lake
Relax on the Banks of White Rock Lake

You can enjoy the lake without ever leaving the city limits. White Rock Lake is just over a thousand acres and well worth a visit. 

Enjoy the nine-mile trail by walking, biking, picnicking, fishing, and kayaking. You can also take out a boat if you have access to one, but swimming is prohibited (at least for humans; the dog park has its own swimming area). 

White Rock Lake is open daily from 6 AM to 11 PM.

Katy Trail
Enjoy a Bike Ride or Hike on the Katy Trail

The Katy Trail, a historic path that spans 3.5 miles and was once a railroad line, is like taking a stroll through time. 

This path once carried trains along the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, but now it's a pleasant place to go for a stroll or ride a bike because no cars are allowed on it. 

Don't miss the sculptures that have been placed along the trail as part of the Katy Trail Art project.

Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve
Discover the Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve

Cedar Ridge Nature Preserve, found in the city's southwestern reaches, boasts miles of trails across its 600 acres. Even though you're only 20 minutes away from the city center, the abundance of native trees and plants will make you feel like you've been transported to the heart of the Hill Country. 

You should visit the butterfly garden before you leave. The only day the preserve is closed is Monday. To avoid permanent damage, trails are closed temporarily after it rains, so if you want to go there, it's best to check their Facebook page first.

Dallas Farmers Market
Spend the Day at the Dallas Farmers Market

You don't have to buy anything to enjoy a nice day out at the farmers market. Enjoying the sunshine while perusing the wares for sale can be a lot of fun on its own. 

The Dallas Farmers Market is home to both an indoor market (known as The Market Shops) and an outdoor pavilion, giving customers the option of shopping for locally produced goods in either setting (called The Shed). There may also be live performances, such as concerts or cooking demonstrations, depending on when you visit. 

Both the Market Shops and The Shed are open seven days a week.

Trammel Crow Park
Spend a Sunny Afternoon at the Trammel Crow Park

A sunny afternoon in Trammell Crow Park is enjoyable for many reasons. The views of the Dallas skyline, for one, are spectacular. 

Second, it's a great place to go paddling, canoeing, or hiking because it's situated near the Trinity River. Many hang-gliders and paragliders use this area for training and competitions. Finally, the whimsical stone cow sculptures placed in realistic settings are a great addition.

Coppell Nature Park
Hike the trails at Coppell Nature Park

Wagon Wheel Park encompasses 66 acres, where you can explore the trails at Coppell Nature Park. More than 130 different bird species pass through each year, and hawks, bobcats, and coyotes live here (stay on the trails and consult online safety guides if you're visiting). 

Local flora and fauna, as well as a water feature or two, will also be visible. The Biodiversity Education Center in the park provides visitors with opportunities for experiential education in environmental science.

Dallas Arboretum
Spend a Day at the Dallas Arboretum
The Dallas Arboretum is one of the best botanical gardens in the country, and it's open to the public to explore on its 66 acres of beautiful grounds. In case your kids get bored exploring the beautiful gardens, the Arboretum is hosting a number of events this season, including a scavenger hunt on Trivia Thursdays, family fun on Fridays, and frozen treats on Frozen Fridays. The Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden features an array of hands-on science experiments and exhibits.
Oak Cliff Nature Preserve
Discover the Oak Cliff Nature Preserve
The Oak Cliff Nature Preserve spans 121 acres and is situated right in the heart of Dallas. Spend some quality time in nature with your kids by taking them bird-watching, cycling, and hiking through the woods. Among the pecan trees and other random artworks, you'll find a bicycle cemetery.
main street garden
Take a stroll through Main Street Garden

Main Street Garden is one of Downtown Dallas' most popular parks, despite having been nothing but a block of stores and garages not too long ago. This 1.75-acre park at the east end of the city's Main Street District serves as an outdoor venue for live entertainment while also providing a centrally located escape from the bustle of Downtown. 

This park is perfect for families thanks to its splash fountain, newly renovated playground, and urban dog run. The park features a café, public art installations, and a shade structure, and it's not unusual to see food trucks parked around the outside as well. Main Street Garden provides free Wi-Fi because it attracts a lot of local businesspeople.

Dallas Zoo
Spend a Fun Day at the Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo is the largest and oldest zoological park in Texas, spanning 106 acres and housing over 2,000 animals representing 400 species. But this isn't just another zoo where you can stroll through the animal exhibits. The majority of the zoo's enclosures are accurate recreations of the animals' natural habitats.

The 11-acre Giants of the Savanna is the only exhibit of its kind in the United States, and it is home to both elephants and other animals. In addition to the regular animal presentations, feedings, and demonstrations, the Children's Zoo features a miniature train and carousel for the little ones.

Interested in enhancing your zoo visit? Then book your tickets for the 90-minute backstage safari now to get an exclusive look at the show's making-of.

dallas running tour
Go on a Dallas Running Tour

Do you want to get some exercise and see the sights in Dallas? Then get your running shoes on and join Dallas Running Tours to get the lowdown on the city's art, architecture, and history while you're at it. You can pick from tours ranging from 3 to 18 miles long that take you to places like the West End Historic District, Katy Trail, and White Rock Lake in Dallas. 

Tours cost $35 per person for the first 4 miles, with an additional $5 per mile after that. The company also provides running buddy services for those who need an extra push or are preparing for a race. Are you not a runner? You need not worry; a fitness walk is also an option.

horseback riding
Go Horseback Riding

Even though it's a common misconception that all Texans have horses, that doesn't mean we don't enjoy pretending to be cowboys and cowgirls from time to time. And a trip with Widowmaker Trail Rides is a great way to get some horseback riding in. 

The two-hour rides, designed for groups of no more than 12 people, take riders along the picturesque shores of Lake Grapevine through a thousand acres of breathtaking landscape. Rides are available every day of the year for $100 during the week and $120 on the weekends. The best part is that most rides are private since appointments are required.

great trinity forest
Discover the Wildlife in the Great Trinity Forest
Even people who have long been Dallas residents may be unaware of the hardwood forest in their own backyard, but a short trip out into the verdant wilderness will quickly change their minds. Great Trinity Forest’s paved trails make it simple to go hiking through areas teeming with wildlife, such as birds, waterfowl, river otters, and even the occasional snake. Thanks to the mild to cool temperatures, rather than the scorching heat of summer, you can enjoy a hike in the woods at almost any time of day during the fall.
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