2021 Summer Bucket List For Families In and Around Dallas


School is out, the weather’s heating up, and pools are calling! That means SUMMER has officially begun in North Texas. In a big city like ours, there’s never a reason to hear (or say) “I’m bored.” Print this list and start checking things off!


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 trails at the Trinity River Audubon Center. The nature center building is still closed, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting out and exploring miles of trails through wetlands, prairie, and the Great Trinity Forest. Tickets from $3-6 and must be booked in advance with a selected arrival time.

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. But beyond that, it’s such a fun experience for the kids.

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

5. Stroll through the Dallas Zoo. As of now, all tickets must be purchased in advance with a selected arrival time, even for members.

6. Have a food truck picnic at Klyde Warren Park. The Children’s Park recently reopened, so head down and enjoy a beautiful afternoon overlooking the Downtown Dallas skyline. Bring towels so the kids can splash! Food truck schedule here.

7. Make a trip to SEA LIFE Grapevine Aquarium. Explore the touch pool and marvel at the 360° Ocean Tunnel. 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 bbq peach pulled pork sandwich and pint of peach ice cream to enjoy at a nearby picnic table!

9. Stop and smell the flowers at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. The Children’s Adventure Garden is back in business, and the rest of the 66-acre garden awaits. Check before you go for special events and activities!

10. Plan a weekend away at a local family-friendly resort. Book a room at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine and get full access to Paradise Springs (10-acres of water fun) and their Texas-themed atrium. Jade Waters at the Hilton Anatole Dallas is also officially open for the season.

11. Take a photo walk through Deep Ellum’s murals. We found this website with a great DIY Walking Tour. Or take a look at our post on Insta-Worthy Murals Around Dallas.

12. Escape as a family from a local escape room. Problem solving and family bonding!

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. Our Intro to Geocaching 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 Founders’ 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 Fridays this summer, your little engineers will love riding on this antique train. (If you’re looking for a longer excursion or weekend ride, check out their Cotton Belt Route to the Fort Worth Stockyards.)

17. Make a splash indoors at Epic Waters Indoor Waterpark. Reserve your tickets online in advance to have a great time with your family on their indoor lazy river or zooming through the water slides.

18. Visit the Butterfly House in Fair Park. Texas Discovery Gardens has a 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 or hiking at a nearby Texas State Park. You’re strongly encouraged to reserve day passes and overnight passes in advance because they regularly reach capacity. Here are a few parks we highly recommend:

If you want to plan a road trip, we recently shared a bucket list for favorites across the state.

20. Create an adventure in your own backyard! Pitch a tent, use an outdoor fire pit for s’mores, and tell bedtime stories under the stars. Backyard camping + backyard movie night? An unbeatable combo.

Download our bucket list here!Want to customize your own family summer bucket list?
Here’s a printable for it!


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