A weekend vacation is never a bad idea. It doesn’t get better than you and your significant other, one-on-one, road-tripping to a romantic destination. With the chaos of family, work, and extracurricular obligations, odds are it isn’t often you find the time to escape for a weekend, let alone plan it. While it’s certainly important to commit yourselves to the many responsibilities that come with everyday life, it’s equally necessary to commit time to one another—unplugged, unstressed, and unobligated.
If coming up with a place to go and things to do are your biggest roadblocks, then start packing your bags. We’ve got you covered with the five best places—all fairly close— for a weekend trip with your beloved. Set your sights on whichever looks most appealing, and book a hotel or Airbnb nearby.
Driving Time: 45 minutes
From the Stockyards to the Near Southside neighborhood, there’s a little bit of everything in Cow Town. Dance your boots off at Billy Bob’s Texas, where live country music plays weekly, after consuming your weight in enchiladas and margaritas at Joe T. Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant. You’ll find a quieter, but quirky, vibe in the latter corner of town. Pop by The Bearded Lady for a craft beer from their impressive list, Lili’s Bistro on Magnolia for creative and fresh fare, and The Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge for some local tunes.
Driving Time: 1 hour
A bustling college town through and through, Denton is home to a thriving music scene, the University of North Texas, and historic landmarks. Learn about the town’s past at the Denton County Courthouse Museum during a jaunt through the Downtown Square, and top it off with a toppling cone from Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Soda Shop. It’ll be easy to up the romance-factor at a hidden venue in the heart of Denton, Paschall Bar, a quiet cocktail spot with books lining the walls and cozy leather couches where patrons can play chess. Just be sure not to miss the unmarked entrance.
Driving Time: 1.5 hours
Most people would consider Mineral Wells a tourist destination—in the 1920s and 1930s. But don’t let this unassuming city fool you. From a ghost tour at the historic Baker Hotel to lush, verdant views at Lake Mineral Wells State Park, there’s an abundance of activities that lend themselves to quality couple-bonding time. As for dining options, it isn’t the most glamorous, but Woody’s Bar & Grill is an iconic burger diner and an obvious must-go spot to get your fill of chips and a cheeseburger after a day of feats and frights.
Driving Time: 1.5 hours
Baylor University’s hometown often inspired disdain from residents of other Texas metropolises, but don’t sell it short. Fans of HGTV’s show Fixer Upper should plan a stop at Chip and Joanna Gaines’ new Magnolia Market and Silos, a huge market with grounds for live music, food trucks, a garden, and, coming soon, an onsite bakery. Barbecue is the food of choice here. So you’ll want to plant yourselves at either Vitek’s BBQ or George’s, both famous for tender cured meat.
Driving Time: 2.5 hours
If wine tasting is your kind of couple-time (isn’t it everyone’s?), head north to Wichita Falls—or, more specifically, Wichita Falls Vineyard and Winery. Sprawling hills chockfull of grape vines are an idyllic backdrop for a weekend away. Also nearby is Lake Arrowhead State Park, an alluring option for fans of the outdoors. It offers fishing, swimming, water skiing, camping, picnicking, and horseback riding. For sustenance, split a rack of lamb with a side of mashed potatoes from Mediterranean café Salt & Pepper.