6 Summer Vacation Destinations To Which You Can Drive


Updated in 2022.

IMG_5216The kids are nearly out of school and you are panicked. You totally meant to research and book an amazing vacation a few months ago, but you didn’t quite get there. Not to worry. Dallas is a uniquely centralized location with many vacation options reachable via car (a distance defined by me as 4 hours or less).

1. Broken Bow, OK

If you are looking for an “Americana” vacation feel, check out the piney woods of Beavers Bend. Just three hours east of Dallas, the forest is a whole new topography that feels far from our urban reality. Book a private log cabin for the family or choose to “rough it” and opt for camping in Beavers Bend Resort Park. Either way, enjoy paddle boats, mini golf, a train ride, and horses near the scenic Broken Bow Lake. Bring a boat or check out the well-known area trout fishing. Driving Distance: 3 hours


2. Hyatt Lost Pines

Austin’s Hyatt Lost Pines resort is one of my favorite Hill Country stops. I’ve visited many times for trips ranging from corporate to romantic to girls’ weekend to family getaway. Lost Pines uniquely targets all of these audiences. Family favorites include the lazy river and water park, horseback riding, zip lining and rock climbing, tennis and golf courts, and fly fishing. Need some alone adult time? Send the kids to Camp Hyatt for the day and make a spa appointment or book a golf tee time. And if you hoard hotel points for work, it’s nice to have the Hyatt name behind the property when you are ready to cash in. Driving Distance: 3 hours

3. Rough Creek Lodge

great road trips from Dallas

If Lonesome Dove meets resort living is your kind of thing, look no further than Glen Rose, TX. Sure, Glen Rose boasts dinosaurs and wild animals at Fossil Rim, but keep driving a little further down Hwy 67 to Rough Creek Lodge. This is ranch-style dreaminess from the lazy river to use of the property’s Rangers and four-wheelers to clay shooting and campfire s’mores. Rough Creek is a splurge I wholly recommend. Rates include a three-course dinner and breakfast. (Be sure to check out the kids’ buffet where they can’t miss the entire dessert area. Or better yet, book a resort babysitter and enjoy a date night with your spouse!) Driving Distance: 1.5 hours

4.  Horseshoe Bay Resort

I’ll admit, I’m 100% biased that this Hill Country nugget is paradise. My husband and I married here nearly a decade ago and make a Horeshoe Bay Resort visit part of our annual summer memories. Nestled on the constant-level Lake LBJ near Marble Falls, TX, the golf and resort community boasts pool and water activities perfect for the dog days of summer. Rent a boat through the marina or dock your own. You’ll find a full docket of children’s activities from crafts to tennis to lawn games and campfire s’mores. Kids who are potty-trained can sneak away for part of the day sans parents at the Jungle Kids Club. Insider tip: You can also check out private rental homes and condos on sites like VRBO, but be aware that this route may not include all of the resort privileges. Driving Distance: 3.5 hours

great road trips from Dallas Horeshoe Bay Resort

5. Carlton Landing, OK

The latest town in the new urbanism concept, Carlton Landing is perfect for those of you who cringe at the idea of stuffing your 18-month old into the car seat for 11 hours to the 30A beach strip in Florida. A developer went to Seaside, FL and was so inspired by the town that he created Carlton Landing in 2013. The resort development features a town square, urban garden, community spaces, and homes with large front porches all centered around the scenic Lake Eufaula. Carlton Landing vacation rentals are available for family memories centered around water skiing and kayaking in the lake, live music in the city center, biking on the trails, and cooking demonstrations at the chef’s kitchen in the garden. Driving Distance: 3.5 hours

6. JW Marriott Hill Country Resort & Spa

Amanda detailed her Christmas getaway at the JW Marriott on Dallas Moms a few months ago. Add a 6-acre water park to her enticing details, and you have the perfect recipe for a hot weather getaway. If your little fish ever decide to come out of the water, don’t forget you are near San Antonio’s tried and true vacation attractions including Sea World and the River Walk. Driving Distance: 4 hours

great road trips from Dallas JW Marriot Hill Country


Perini Ranch

If a trip off the beaten path or a quick overnight weekend getaway is on your list, check out the west Texas town of Buffalo Gap. Meat lovers might have heard of the famous Perini Ranch Steakhouse, home to the annual Buffalo Gap Food & Wine Summit where some of our favorite Dallas chefs (Stephen Pyles and Matt McAllister, to name a few) tromp thru the ranch grounds. Make a reservation at the steakhouse and then dig deeper to learn about the adorable ranch guest quarters for out-of-town patrons. Other rooming options include the “Main House” or the “Camp House.” We loved the peaceful hammock amidst nature’s beauty, watching the wild turkeys come up to our bunk house, and drinking wine on the porch under the stars after the kids went to bed. (Accommodations are limited and fill quickly, so be ready for some advanced planning.) Driving Distance: 3 hours

great road trips from Dallas Perini Ranch


  1. You shouldn’t have told people about the Perini Ranch guest houses- that’s where my hubby and I like to escape to and we don’t want it to be too hard to book 🙂

  2. I was so excited to read this list and see that Broken Bow made the list.
    My wife and I love that place, so much so, that we built three cabins and one more in the works.
    Check out our Top 25 Things to do in Broken Bow, which we hope helps your visitors plan an incredible trip to Broken Bow and Beavers Bend.
    Top 25 Things To Do In Broken Bow:

    For a short road trip from Dallas, only 3 hours, I would encourage your readers to go to Broken Bow, Oklahoma. It has gorgeous outdoor adventures – hiking, canoes, zip lines, fantastic fishing, breweries, wineries and great restaurants. The cabin rentals are incredible. They are secluded and luxurious.
    Check out our site Rustic Luxury Cabins for some of the best out there. We have a great resource for Top 25 Things to do in Broken Bow as well.

    Go explore,
    Rustic Luxury Cabins


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