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5 Dallas Parks to See on Vacation
Here are the best local outdoor spots for stunning sights and relaxation.
Experience the beauty of Dallas parks.(Getty Images)
Whether you're searching for a place to bike, picnic or enjoy a beautiful Texas sunset, Dallas has a park for every preference. During your next visit, consider making plans to spend an afternoon at one of these five parks, selected by local experts.
Klyde Warren Park
Klyde Warren Park.(Courtesy of Klyde Warren Park/Thomas McConnell)
Arguably Dallas' most popular park, Klyde Warren Park welcomes visitors to its green lawns and shady spaces at its spot over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway. The 5.2-acre park is free and hosts fitness classes, festivals, concerts and other activities.
[Read: The Best Hotels in Dallas-Fort Worth.]
"Klyde Warren Park is fun. It's social," says Mary Stamm, chief concierge at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. "It is a beautiful and unexpected outdoor space."
If you're looking for a place for a picnic with a spectacular view of the Dallas skyline, you can find a cozy spot on the Ginsburg Family Great Lawn. Let your best furry friend bound across My Best Friend's Park, or bring your kids to the Children's Park. Snap photos of your afternoon and upload them to Instagram using the park's free Wi-Fi. Most days, you'll also find some of the city's favorite food trucks at the park. You can also grab a bite at Savor Gastropub, a restaurant located in the park – it's "gorgeous with glass from floor to ceiling. … It's a Dallas favorite," Stamm says.
Klyde Warren Park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
White Rock Lake
For an afternoon break from the city, drive about 5 miles northeast of downtown Dallas to White Rock Lake. There, you're close enough to see the towering Dallas skyline in the distance and far enough to go bird-watching or drop a fishing line in the deep waters of the 1,000-acre lake.
Find a wooden bench on the west side of the lake to watch the sailboats go by, or picnic on the Bath House Cultural Center's lawn. With some 9 miles of trails, the lake is a favorite for runners and cyclists. On-the-water activities include kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. You can rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard from White Rock Paddle Co. and head out on the water.
White Rock "is this really cool escape in Dallas that's centrally located," says Frank Everet, W Insider at the W Dallas - Victory. "It takes you out of the cement jungle and puts you in the middle of nature."
Trinity River Audubon Center
Trinity River Audubon Center.(Courtesy of Trinity River Audubon Center/Sean Fitzergald)
It's hard to believe that the site of the Trinity River Audubon Center used to be home to 1.5 million tons of illegally dumped construction debris. Tall prairie grass and hardwood trees were planted over hills of consolidated waste to create the center as it's known today.
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You can now walk along about 5 miles of wooden decks and bridges of trails through three ecosystems: wetland, forest and prairie. The 120-some acres offer great bird-watching spots and opportunities to see black willow trees, American elms and native pecan trees. There's also a picnic area alongside the Trinity River and another that overlooks the wetland ponds and provides a view of the Dallas skyline.
"The prairie lands are an amazing sight that often gets overlooked," says Bill Kennedy, chief concierge at the Hotel Crescent Court.
The Audubon Center is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for children 3 to 12. Admission is free the third Thursday of each month.
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden.(Courtesy of Dallas Arboretum)
On the shores of White Rock Lake, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is a favorite for photo shoots and bridal portraits because of its expansive greenery and colorful gardens.
"A great day date is the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden," says Robert Case, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas. "There are hundreds of stunning spots to sit amongst the flowers and look over White Rock Lake while enjoying a packed picnic."
The arboretum spans 66 acres, and visitors can meander around the sweeping flower beds and lush plant life. There's also the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden where kids can enjoy hands-on activities.
Throughout the year, the arboretum has seasonal festivals and other rotating displays, but those looking for a way to spend a relaxing afternoon can stop by year-round. Visitors are also encouraged to find a shady spot anywhere on the grounds and picnic.
[Read: 6 Can’t-Miss Dallas Museums.]
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 8 p.m. on Wednesday. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and $10 for children 3 to 12. Admission to the Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden is an additional $3.
Reverchon Park, a beloved outdoor spot in Uptown, is an older park that has developed quite a local following.
"It's a beautiful park that's very old with many pecan trees and swings for the children," Kennedy says. Those swings are part of a playground specially designed to be accessible for children of all abilities.
The roughly 41-acre park also has a century-old baseball diamond and beautiful stone benches, tables and steps. It has traditional park features, like basketball and volleyball courts, but Reverchon stands out because of its historic beauty. Its well-shaded picnic areas and easy access to the Katy Trail make it a park worth visiting.
To experience more of what Dallas has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.
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