Unless you’re Ted Cruz, cold winters are made for staying indoors and warming up by the fireside. Winter is the slowest season to travel, which means cheaper hotel rates and plane tickets, fewer crowds, and the possibility of a heartwarming getaway in your personal cabin away from COVID. If you don’t want to venture too far from home, there are some comfortable destinations a short drive from DFW. Texas travel blogger My Curly Adventures shared some of her favorite winter getaways nearby.
While Texas takes a rest from the humidity and scorching heat, the freezing winter months really are the best time of year for outdoor adventures. Lubbock’s Caprock Canyons State Park (850 Caprock Canyon Park Road) is a natural wonderland you thought you could only find somewhere to the north. Rich red rocks rise everywhere and the park is littered with free-roaming bison, prairie dogs, hiking trails and campsites. Enjoy the last vestiges of summer with a leisurely stroll on the beaches of Buffalo Springs Lake (9999 High Meadow Road) or climb the elegant red rock caves that overlook the water below. When it’s time to feed your inner pet, Embers BBQ (1106 5th St.) serves up a brisket so tender you won’t need a knife. Responsible for 85% of the grapes used in the Texas wine industry, Lubbock is also home to two magnificent wineries, English Newsome Cellars (408 E. Woodrow Road) and McPherson Cellars Winery (1615 Texas Ave.), which inform visitors about their production. process while offering intimate experiences like tasting barrels. Just make sure to wear layers and apply (or take them off) if needed.
You will feel transported to a Hallmark cinematic universe in Fredericksburg. Spend a magical night in a treehouse in the middle of the wine country. Treat yourself to some winter serenity surrounded by tall pine trees at Das Peach Haus (1406 SUS Highway 87), where you can taste Texas wines, expand your palate with one of their scheduled cooking classes, and enjoy your drink in water for a little while heat added. Fredericksburg is at the end of Wine Route 290, so while your options are endless, you’ll likely have to plan multiple trips to see all of the wineries along the way. End your day with a late afternoon hike in Enchanted Rock State Park (16710 Ranch Road 965) and watch the sunset. Keep an eye on their schedule for different types of guided hikes, which focus on stargazing or local wildlife.
What could make you warm more than getting close to cute animals? The Goatel on the Chocolate Bayou (7838 Bayou Drive) allows its goats to roam free and includes a Goat Happy Hour with your reservation, which allows visitors to bottle-feed their babies. Upgrade yourself and you can also take a “goat yoga” class. If you stay in the bohemian bells of the bayou, you will feel like you are floating on the water and will be visited by several furry friends. Then you can take an open-top streetcar across 80 acres and feed exotic animals along the way at the Bayou Wildlife Zoo (5050 FM 517). You can either plan an on-site picnic at the zoo or stop by Smokin D’s BBQ Fusion Bar & Grill (2625 TX-35 N.) where they amplified the Texas BBQ by mixing it up through a Mexican and Asian fusion. Try the pho brisket, sriracha Brussels sprouts and their brisketmacdilla. And you can’t leave Alvin without tasting the most hearty, flavorful milkshakes you’ve ever had with extravagant toppings at Grace’s Pizza and Shakes (113 E. Sealy St.).
Stories of dragons, knights and princesses form the basis of childhood imaginations, but as an adult, a Bellville bakery owner named Mister Newman made his dream of owning a castle come true. Now Newman’s Bakery (504 E. Main St.) serves as the first stop before heading inside Newman Castle (1041 Old Highway 36), an architectural marvel that brings fairy tales to life. After Newman himself introduces you and knights the smaller ones in the group, he’ll let you roam the castle at your own pace. Friendly sleuths, characteristic of ancient castles, roam the property. Keep the theme alive with a stop at Phenix Knives (305 E. Main St.), a local smithy where you can learn how to forge your own knife or choose from the selection of handmade items, the perfect gift for the handyman of your life. Kid-friendly activities are endless in Bellville: meet horses at Bluebonnet Farms (8260 FM 529); grab lunch items made from scratch at Farm to Market Produce Company (128 E. Palm St.); explore the shops with little treasures on each display; then pick up a take out barbecue take out from the Bellville Meat Market (36 S. Front St.).
Brownwood is dedicated to preserving the history of the Santa Fe Railroad, including the Runaway Train Café (3600 Stephen F. Austin Drive), a miniature train transformed into a classic restaurant in all its glory, with cherry red walls and black leather bar stools. The Harvey House (600 E. Depot St.) is reminiscent of the culture that surrounded the Santa Fe Railroad. And Brownwood is tastefully rustic everywhere you go. This is especially evident at the Spirit of Texas Winery (6037 County Road 291), where you can sip local wine inside an old bus surrounded by twinkling lights. Also check out the renovated 1920s Brownwood Lyrical Theater (318 Center Ave.) and stay in a small cabin in the woods with a hot tub for a cozy soak in the cold at Star of Texas Bed & Breakfast (650 Morelock Lane).
When it comes to Texans, as long as the sun is shining, there’s nothing stopping us from being on the water. Lake Texoma combines the comfort of a mountain vacation with the excitement of a beach vacation. Rent a cabin with a modern twist at Paradise on Lake Texoma – Resort Campground (503 Paradise Park Road, Pottsboro). Spend quality time with nature by lounging on their on-site hammocks and grilling by the light of your own fireplace. There is an abundance of outdoor adventure to experience near Lake Texoma: Waterloo Lake (1101 Waterloo Lake Drive, Denison) offers scenic kayaking and nearby caves or enjoy the lake breeze while you take a boat ride -taxi to a private island for a romantic dinner cruise. Or hike the diverse terrain of Eisenhower State Park (50 Park Road 20, Denison). The nearby town of Denison is the original site of the fungus resistant vine that saved the French wine industry. The town can also boast of its many shops and the famous burgers at the Best Burger Barn (100 W. Chestnut St., Denison).