2020 Summer Bucket List For Families In and Around Dallas (Social Distancing Edition)


School is officially out, the weather is heating up, and backyard pools are calling! That means Summer has officially begun in North Texas, but this year, something is a little different. Oh yeah, that thing we call Social Distancing. Normally around this time, we’d be sharing helpful parenting tips on where to find the best splash pads and who’s hosting the next outdoor movie series, but for all of us, this summer will be a whole new experience and a chance to rediscover our metroplex in new and unique ways.

In the spirit of going on new adventures and making new memories this summer, here’s our 2020 Summer Bucket List for Dallas Families: Social Distancing Edition!

Before crossing off any of the items below, please make sure to check social media or websites for any changes before arrival as status and policies are constantly changing. We also encourage every family to use their best judgment when it comes to the risk you’re willing to take going out and about. Please follow all city and county guidelines.


  1. Participate in a Summer Reading Program. Join the Dallas Public Library to participate in the Mayor’s Smart Summer Reading Program. Record your reading time and win some fun prizes all summer long. Not a Dallas resident? Check your local libraries for information on their own summer reading programs.
  2. Hike the AT&T Trail at the Trinity River Audobon. The Audobon Center is closed until at least June 30th, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting out and exploring this FREE 3.5 mile trail through the Trinity River Forest.

3. Take a short drive to Ennis for a Drive-In Movie. It doesn’t get more socially distant than watching a movie from your car at the Galaxy Drive-In. Make sure to bring fast food or a picnic as they’re not serving concessions right now.

4. Head up to the GEO-Deck at Reunion Tower and enjoy a rotating view.

5. Stroll through the Dallas Zoo. We’ve heard the animals are excited to see people again! Tickets must be purchased in advance with a selected arrival time.

6. Bring a blanket (and a good book) and have a Food Truck picnic at Klyde Warren Park. The Children’s Park remains closed, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying a beautiful day overlooking the Downtown Dallas skyline.

7. Make a trip to SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium. Right now, SEA LIFE is open to 25% capacity with online reservations required. Afterward, you can make your way over to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch.

8. Drive east to Terrell for some berry picking. Hams Orchard not only has great peaches, but delicious blackberries ripe for the picking. Make sure to grab a pint of peach ice cream to go and enjoy at a nearby picnic table!

9. Stop and smell the flowers at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Not all of the gardens will open June 1, but we think you’ll find plenty of room for your kids to stretch their legs on their 66 acres.

10. Plan a weekend away at a local family-friendly resort. The Gaylord Texan in Grapevine reopens June 8th at 25% capacity with full access to Paradise Springs (10-acres of water fun) and their Texas-themed atrium. Jade Waters at the Hilton Anatole Dallas will also reopen June 8th at 25% capacity. Reservations can be made now for both.

11. Take a photo walk through Deep Ellum’s murals. We found this website with a great DIY Walking Tour.

12. Find a way to escape as a family at a local escape room. Many require reservations right now, but at limited occupancy, these are sure to be a safe and unique summer experience.

13. Cool down with a favorite frozen treat. Here’s a few of our favorite spots.

14. Go geocaching in your part of the city. This website will provide you with all the info you need to start on your journey. How many can your kids find in one day?

15. Watch the airplanes at Founder’s Plaza at DFW Airport. Just off the highway, you’ll find the perfect view of airplanes taking off and landing. Turn on the radio for a live feed of air traffic control.

16. Take a one hour ride on the Grapevine Vintage Railroad. Operating on Saturday & Sunday only, your little engineers will love riding on this antique train.

17. Make a splash indoors at Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark. Reservations are a must, but at 25% capacity you’re going to have a great time with your family relaxing on their indoor lazy river or zooming through the water slides.

18. Watch a Butterfly Release at the Butterfly House in Fair Park. We’ve put this further down on our list because they’re not quite open yet. Texas Discovery Gardens has plans to reopen Mid-June, but when they do, you’ll have full access to their 2-story Butterfly House and over 7 acres of gardens. Stroll outdoors to view their Snakes of Texas exhibit, Natural Playscape and much more!

19. Go camping at a nearby Texas State Park. Camps are now open for overnight reservations, and it’s the perfect time to go and explore! Day passes and overnight passes must be reserved in advance to adhere to capacity limits, but here’s a few we highly recommend:

If you don’t mind the drive, we just shared a bucket list for favorites across the state.

20. Create an adventure in your own backyard! Pitch a tent, use your outdoor fire pit for s’mores, and tell bedtime stories under the stars.

Download our bucket list here!

Want to create your own family summer bucket list?
Here’s a printable that can help!


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