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3 Amazing Day trips from Austin, TX

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  5. 3 Day Trips from Austin – Day 2 : Dallas & Fort Worth

3 Amazing Day Trips from Austin – Day 2: from Austin to Dallas & Fort Worth

Saddle up, partners! Join us on our day trips from Austin. Today’s day trip from Austin will bring us to the Southfork Ranch in Dallas and Fort Worth’s Stockyards!

Remember J.R. Ewing, slickin’ back his hair and schemin’ his way through Dallas back in the day? His sprawling Southfork Ranch ain’t just some dusty TV set, y’all. It’s a real, livin’ piece of Texas paradise that’s been welcoming fans like us since way back in 1974. Even after the show moseyed off the airwaves in 1991, the Ewing legacy kept the doors swingin’ wide. So, we knew we had to mosey on over and see for ourselves where all that drama unfolded!

But hold your horses, partner, because our Texas trail wasn’t just about relivin’ Dallas dreams (although, let’s be real, that played a big part!). We craved a good dose of that Wild West spirit, and where better to find it than the legendary Fort Worth Stockyards, where cattle drives still rumble through the streets and ten-gallon hats are practically the official headwear?

Yeehaw! Let’s do this!


Our Texas trail started with a smooth ride down I-35 from Austin to Dallas, like a rattler sunnin’ itself on a rock. But to reach the Southfork Ranch, we had to veer off onto I-35E and US-75, dodgin’ tumbleweeds like longhorns in a rodeo. It’s a 3-hour, 45-minute jaunt, click HERE (or on the map) for more detailed driving instructions.

Next stop, the Fort Worth Stockyards! We swapped I-35 for US-75, hopped on the President George Bush Turnpike, and yeehawed down Texas 183 TEXpress in an hour flat.

Last leg, moseyin’ back to Austin. Three hours on the dusty trail, and boom, we were home, boots kickin’ up dust and hearts full of Texas memories. Remember, these directions are just a guide. Half the fun is gettin’ lost and findin’ your own way! Yeehaw!

But just in case.. This map can help you with the directions: TEXAS STATE MAP

# Breakfast Recommendation

Ah, rumbling engines and open roads calling your name? Day trips from Austin are the perfect escape, and fueling up for adventure is key!

For us, a hearty breakfast sets the tone for any epic escapade, and in Texas, there’s one spot that has never disappointed us: Cracker Barrel. 

Imagine stepping into a slice of Southern charm nestled right off the highway. Cracker Barrel’s log cabin facade and wraparound porch lined with rocking chairs instantly transport you to a simpler time. 

Each location features a gift store,  a stone fireplace, and decorative artifacts from the local area. Cracker Barrel also partners with country music performers.

But the real magic happens at your table. Cracker Barrel’s menu is a love letter to classic Southern comfort food. Every bite is a burst of down-home goodness, fueling you for the adventures ahead.

And guess what? This Southern gem was perfectly situated on our route to Dallas, making Cracker Barrel Round

Cracker Barrel Round Rock Texas Day Trip Austin Texas


Click on the pictures for directions and here for their menu.


If you’re a fan of iconic TV shows, then the names J.R. Ewing, Bobby, and Sue Ellen will certainly ring a bell, especially if you’ve ever indulged in the legendary series, DALLAS.

Interestingly, even though we were just youngsters when the show was at the height of its popularity, our parents’ dedication to watching every episode rubbed off on us, sparking our own interest and turning us into fans as well.

This nostalgic connection is one of the many reasons that make day trips from Austin to Dallas so intriguing and worthwhile.

While mapping out our day trips from Austin, we had a serendipitous discovery – the Southfork Ranch website. It was a delightful surprise to learn that the famed ranch isn’t just a TV show set; it’s a real place you can visit.

The range of activities at Southfork Ranch is truly impressive, encompassing everything from tours, riding lessons and private lessons to camps, events, and even weddings. For those eager to dive into this experience, booking a tour or arranging riding lessons is a click away.

Our interest was particularly piqued by the Southfork Ranch Tour, so we didn’t hesitate to book it.

The tour commenced with a scenic drive around the ranch, showcasing the expansive land, the majestic horses, and even the TV show cemetery, the final resting place of the iconic J.R. Ewing.


The original owner of the ranch and his family were actually living at Southfork Ranch as the filming began. After years evolving as a tourist attraction, the owner opened the doors of the Ewing Mansion to the public and the expansion of the ranch as an event center began in 1985.
Link: The History of Southfork Ranch

# Inside the Mansion

The tour intriguingly led us indoors as well. Among the standout experiences was exploring the bedroom of J.R. and Sue Ellen, which boasts an amazing balcony view overlooking the pool and sprawling ranch meadows.

Equally noteworthy is the “Dallas Legends” Museum Exhibit. Here, you’ll find an array of memorabilia, including the infamous gun that shot J.R., Lucy’s Wedding Dress, and the detailed “Dallas” Family Tree, among other fascinating items.

To round off the visit, you can have in a delightful meal at Miss Ellie’s Deli and browse through the unique selections at the Southfork Ranch gift shop.

Southfork Ranch Mansion Tour Gallery

* FLYER from: 7/29/2021.



#DVD Recommendations

# Fort Worth Stockyards

Fort Worth Texas Stockyard Longhorns Day Trips from Austin

“Once upon a time in the West..”

Embarking on a journey to explore the essence of the Wild West, we sought recommendations from friends on the best towns to experience this iconic era. Their unanimous advice?

The Fort Worth Stockyards is the must-visit destination.

They couldn’t have been more right – our day in Fort Worth was filled with unforgettable fun! Our first stop was the Stockyards, a vibrant living museum that vividly commemorates Fort Worth’s Wild West golden years with daily cattle drives.

Highlighting our visit was witnessing the Fort Worth Herd, the world’s only twice-daily “longhorn” cattle drive. This unique spectacle occurs every day at 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM in the Fort Worth Stockyards, offering a truly authentic glimpse into the past. To delve deeper into this extraordinary experience, [Learn More].


The transformation of the area into a pivotal livestock center began in 1876 with the construction of the railroads. The Stockyards flourished remarkably, reaching the milestone of selling a million cattle annually by 1907. However, in the 1950s, the business experienced a downturn as livestock auctions moved closer to the original production areas.

Today, the Fort Worth Stockyards celebrate the city’s rich history in the cattle industry. In recognition of its significance, it was designated as a historical district on the National Register in 1976.

On a rejuvenating note, April 1, 2011, marked the renovation and reopening of the Fort Worth Stockyards Stables. These stables now offer horse rentals for exploring the open trails of the Trinity River and delightful carriage rides. For a full list of activities available at the Stockyard Stables [Click here for all activities at the Stockyard Stables]

While we couldn’t experience it ourselves, if you’re in town on a Friday or Saturday night, make sure to catch the exhilarating Championship Rodeo at the Cowtown Coliseum! For tickets, visit the [Stockyards Championship Rodeo Website]

#Livestock Exchange Building

Upon our arrival at the Stockyards, the first structure that caught our eye was the striking adobe-style Livestock Exchange Building. Constructed in 1902, this building quickly became the hub of all Stockyards activities.

It even earned the nickname “The Wall Street of the West” due to its central role in the livestock industry.

Inside, visitors can explore the North Fort Worth Historical Society Museum. This museum houses a wealth of historical information and artifacts, offering insights into the development of the Stockyards Historical District.

Additionally, every other Friday, the building hosts satellite cattle auctions by Superior Livestock Auctions on its first floor. The lawn of this historic building frequently serves as a venue for various special events, adding to its vibrant legacy.

Monday – Tuesday: 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Wednesday:  CLOSED
Thursday – Saturday:  10:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Sunday:  CLOSED

*$2 per person, 12 years and under are free
(First floor of The Exchange Building)

* Info from: 8/31/2021, please double-check Fort Worth Stockyards Website for changes

Fort Worth Stockyards Gallery

#Book Recommendations

# What else did we do on our day trip from Austin to the Fort Worth Stockyards?

Naturally, a point came when hunger struck, prompting us to search for a great steak restaurant. In Fort Worth, the choices seemed endless, but we quickly decided on Riscky’s Steakhouse, drawn by its favorable reviews and inviting appearance. Regrettably, we didn’t capture any photos of our meal or the restaurant’s ambiance, so a detailed review will have to wait for another visit.

Finally, no trip to the Stockyards would be complete without a bit of shopping. Katja and I were on a mission to find new cowboy boots, and let’s just say the selection did not disappoint. If you can’t find the perfect pair in the shops surrounding the Stockyards, chances are you won’t find them anywhere else!

Forth Worth Texas Stockyard Longhorns Day Trips from Austin
After a long but pretty perfect day, we drove back to Austin again.
Our day trip from Austin to Dallas is one we’ll very likely never forget.

Would we go back?  YESSSSS!! Definitely!

This wasn’t goodbye, we need a lot more boots =)

Day 3 - Day Trip Austin - Southfork ranch dallas and fort worth - memories


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