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Dallas skyline

Dallas skyline (Photo credit: dherrera_96)

When you think of Texas the first city that comes to mind is Dallas. The land of the cowboy can make a wonderful affordable family vacation. We love the Texan attitude of big and brave and strong. We have visited Dallas many times to see family and each time we find something new to explore.

Airfare, lodging and logistics:

  • Airlines: American has its hub in Dallas so check them first for good rates.  Be sure to sign up for travel alerts on Travelocity or Kayak to find the best fares
  • Ground transportation: because everything is big and wide apart, we recommend renting a car and usually you can find a good deal with your airfare and lodging packages
  • The Gaylord Texan: luxury family accommodations where the staff wears cowboys shirts and the beautiful resort offers everything you could ever want. At the holiday times, the Gaylord presents beautiful decorations complete with a gigantic tree reaching its skylight ceiling.  The hotel is quite close to the DFW Airport

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The lobby of the Gaylord Texan
  • Great Wolf Lodge: amazing family fun with any type of water slide your children can imagine. They also feature a unique family scavenger hunt called Magiquest which keeps everyone occupied for hours. The resort is right next door to the Gaylord Texan
  • VBRO or Dwellable.com: are great options for rentals and B&Bs

No Fuss Family Friendly Restaurants:

  • Central Market Grocery: in Southlake has a great cafe with good food and healthy kids meals. You can sit outside right next to a fenced playground so the children can run. For a fun diversion, they also offer gourmet or kids cooking classes
  • Riverwalk Cantina: in the Gaylord Texan has yummy southwestern food with a family friendly atmosphere
  • Dickeys BBQ: a Dallas classic that features several days a week where kids eat free
  • Mooyah Hamburgers: great for gluten-free eaters, delicious fries and shakes. The restaurant features a giant wall where kids can color with dry erase markers. The best part: they have a bunch of cow jokes gracing the remaining establishment walls
The Ballpark in Arlington home of the Texas Ra...

The Ballpark in Arlington home of the Texas Rangers during a game against the New York Yankees. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cowboys and Rangers and other fun stuff:

  • Rangers Ballpark in Arlington: another stop on our family tradition of hitting every baseball park in American together. (Promise to write a blog on this soon). We bought “All you can eat” seats which were a bargain for a large family but not the greatest food so be prepared.
  • Dallas Cowboys: going to a game with our favorite football team “growing up” is a must. Who didn’t love the Dallas Cowboys in the 70’s with Roger Staubach at quarterback?  The stadium also  hosted some of the playoff games for the NCAA Final Four
  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science: just opened and the building is “model” high-tech and environmentally friendly
  • The Dallas Museum of Art: an incredibly revolutionary museum because it provides free admission and quarterly programming for kids on the autism spectrum
  • The Dallas Arts District: the recently revamped area is perfect for an afternoon stroll and can be the right time to teach the “do not touch the art” lesson versus yelling in a quiet and prestigious museum like the Smithsonian (more on that one soon)
  • Klydewarrenpark: avoid kiddie culture overload by hitting the park just a few blocks from the Museum district. The spacious urban park offers games, books, putt-putt, table tennis, that you can check out for free. Another fun benefit of the park is the nearby food trucks of “up and coming” local chefs
Fort Worth Stockyards

Fort Worth Stockyards (Photo credit: Texican Chick)

  • Rodeo: You can’t miss the rodeo when in Texas. Check out the Fort Worth Stockyards and the Mesquite Rodeo. Would you believe they have mechanical bull riding for all ages? For the wee ones, it is a huggable velvet horse that only slightly shakes but provides memories of a lifetime.

Thanks to John & Anne Sullivan and their children for the family fun suggestions. You just gotta love Texas!