Dallas, Texas :: Your Next Best Family Vacation in 4 Easy Steps

While there are tons of things to do with kids in Lafayette, sometimes it takes getting away from it all to appreciate life at home again. Maybe you are looking for a vacation that is within driving distance of Lafayette, or perhaps you are looking for an easy day trip outing with kids (might we recommend Avery Island?!). Lafayette Mom is here to share ideas of enjoying life in Louisiana with kids. Below are some ideas for South Louisiana getaways with kids, and here is a list of other family-friendly weekend trips in Louisiana.

Dallas, Texas :: Your Next Best Family Vacation in 4 Easy Steps

Howdy, y’all! I have got all the things you need to know to do with kids on a weekend visit to Dallas, Texas. How did I become such an expert? Well, if you’ve only read my name you might assume I am as bonafide a Cajun as there ever was, but if you’ve met me in person there’s no hiding my height and long red hair. I come from the poster family definition of “everything’s bigger in Texas.” At 6’2” I am the short one in my family, and thanks to my height and volleyball skills I ended up playing Division I volleyball at the University of Louisiana Lafayette. After falling in love with a Broussard in Graduate school, four inches shorter than me, we now have two sons and I have lovingly called Lafayette home for the past twelve years. My Cajun roots are well planted and established, but Texas often calls and we must go (for a weekend).  

Getting There 

The key is to keep in rhythm with a normal day for your family. Our family is used to waking up and getting out the door by 8 am so when we travel we aim to be on the road around the same time. My sons are ages 3 years and 10 months; our limit for the car is 3 hours max. If you need a break before Shreveport, Alexandria has a wonderful children’s museum T.R.E.E. House

We make it to Shreveport and treat the kids to Raising Canes; food is always first as low blood sugar levels are a tantrum waiting to happen. Specifically, this Raising Canes as it is right off the highway, clean, and bathrooms are easily accessible. 

Next up is the Shreveport Aquarium. This hidden gem is an hour of fun for the kids and time to burn some energy while stretching their legs. The interactive museum lets you walk a trail of sea anemones, feed stingrays, and have your hands cleaned by shrimp (ample hand washing stations are also available). They run special programs like the Mermaid Breakfast so check their website often! 

My foolproof equation is 3 hours driving + 1.5 hours of food and fun (lunch + activity) = 1.5 hours of nap time in the car. A white noise machine is required for our kids or AM radio station for the surround sound effect. By the time nap is over you’re at the nearest Buc-ee’s if you need another stop or with a movie on the iPad you will get you all the way to your hotel! 

Where to Stay

If you want something nicer, for older kids, and in the heart of everything, you need a night at The Adolphus. This is the perfect spot for a holiday stay, think running the YMCA Turkey Trot with 30,000 other people or Christmas on the rooftop. It is magical and I can’t wait for my crew to be old enough to enjoy the experience. 

Any other time and for families of all ages I recommend the Hilton Anatole. It is conveniently located just off the highway so with your car handy you can go anywhere you want around town. JadeWaters is their waterpark onsite, think Great Wolf Lodge vibes but won’t break the bank and is outdoors. 

What to do in Dallas with Kids

If you haven’t done Dallas before, the Dallas CityPASS is the place to start. This will get you into any four of the major attractions for $49 for adults and $33 for kids ages 3-12. We started doing this pass when my oldest was 6 months old and got family and friends in Dallas to get a pass too so we can explore the city together. It automatically comes with access to the Perot Museum and Reunion Tower and then you pick the other two of choice from their list. 

As our boys get older we will swap out the city pass for Rangers baseball and Dallas Cowboys football tickets. My husband and I have done the stadium tours of each and those would be great for the older kids. 

In our current stage, really for kids 12 years old and younger, the Dallas Arboretum is where you need to be. There is a day coming when we double our yearly trips to Dallas and at that point, I will buy a yearly membership to the arboretum because it is that dang good. It sits overlooking White Rock Lake, a beautiful lake with a 10-mile loop around it. There are plenty of walking paths, trails, and spots to picnic along the lake for those of any walking level. 

Louis, who just turned 3, enjoyed the baby splash pad area. We didn’t come prepared for the water activities of the day and he ended up in my crop sweater. Learn from me and pack extra clothes. 

The main attraction for families with kids visiting Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. This is an interactive immersive outdoor learning experience that will take all day, or more, to explore! Bring swimsuits and a change of clothes, weather permitting, for the water activities for ages 6 months and up! 

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a beloved spot in our hearts. We have enjoyed Christmas days strolling the life-sized globes that brought the twelve days of Christmas to life; we came back for a parent’s night out under the twinkling lights and moonlight because we love it enough to go twice in one day. 

Check their calendar because they have animal friends visit from the zoo, or fill the grounds with over 60,000 gourds for Fall, and showcase outdoor art exhibits. 

If you do nothing else in Dallas, DO THE ARBORETUM! If beautifully curated outdoor garden bliss isn’t your thing you can find more fun things to do with kids here

Getting Home

You’ve spent all your energy getting to Dallas with kids and exploring town only to realize you need a little energy left to get home. You got this, Momma! Keep with the routine and get up and in the car the same way you did on the drive up. Grab a coffee at any of these local Dallas places on your way out of town. 

Stick to the formula: 3 hours driving + 1.5 of food + fun = 1.5 hours of nap in the car. As you pull back into Shreveport make a stop at Strawn’s Eat Shop for some good home cookin’. Head to the Sci-Port Discovery Center for an adventure for all ages! This is home to the PoP Children’s Museum, IMAX, and Space Dome. Guaranteed fun for every age group here

Back in the car and gassed up, you’re ready to hit the final road home with the kids napping and a movie on deck.

I hope this post gives those with littles the courage to pack your bags, take the drive, and make the memories in Dallas, Texas to last a lifetime. There is so much to do in Dallas with kids, and I promise to write more of our adventures as we go and grow. 


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