Places to Discover in North Texas

Did you know there are places in North Texas that offer a myriad of exciting fun spots, of which, many people are not aware?  From gargantuan flea market events, to dinosaur footprints, to a renowned Hollywood filming location, North Texas has some fun surprises; and here are five fun locales, near Dallas, you just might want to put on your ‘let’s-go-there’ list.


Celina, Texas

Celina is a hop and a skip from North Dallas – about 42 miles away from the Big D.  This charmer of a small town offers three delightfully fun experiences that you won’t want to miss:  1) the Texas Farmers’ Market 2) Lucy’s on the Square and 3) Eden Hill Vineyard & Winery.

To begin with, Celina’s Texas Farmers’ Market includes vendors from around the area who colorfully display and sell their home-grown fruits and vegetables – from tomatoes to corn to green onions to home-made jams –  the first Friday of each month is brimming with down-home fun where natural foods take center-stage.  This rural rendezvous runs from March into November.

Your next stop in Celina should include Lucy’s on the Square where you can savor home-cooked meals, just like Grandma used to make.  This cozy cafe offers an array of delicious options from meatloaf to home-made soups to pork chops to Mexican cuisine.  Oh, and fried catfish is a specialty, there!

Another wonderful option in Celina is the Eden Hill Vineyard and Winery, a home-owned business where award-winning wines are crafted, using only Texas-grown grapes.  Highly-acclaimed Eden Hill Vineyard and Winery has been nationally recognized for its distinguished wines.  Its Albarino-Viognier won a coveted gold medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition.


Parker, Texas

Parker is only about 26 miles northeast of the center of Dallas; and it is, here, where filming took place for the ever-so-popular TV series, Dallas, which debuted in 1978.  The Dallas series’ mansion and property, known as Southfork Ranch, offers tours, a snack bar, and a gift shop, and regularly accommodates special occasions including weddings, corporate picnics, and holiday gatherings.  There is plenty of room for even the largest get-together since 63,000 square feet of space will cater to any event.

Parker, Texas is famous for a burger stand that is located in a very unlikely spot:  in the middle of a pasture!  The burger bistro, known as the Kelly Family Farm Burger Stand, receives rave reviews from patrons who rank the burgers as ‘possibly the most delicious burgers in Texas‘ – perhaps, due to the beef coming from 100% grass-fed cattle.  Burger-craving customers can relax on the umbrella-topped picnic tables or pick up their call-in orders – either way, it’s a taste sensation your taste buds will not, soon, forget!

Parker, Texas has another attraction that could be considered just as unusual as the Kelly Farm Burger Stand location – a private ranch that serves as a llama farm known as ShangriLlama.  It is, here, where llamas live – much loved llamas.   These gentle creatures relish human interaction; and if you wish to do a little llama loving, grab a leash and go for a llama walk.  The llamas within the pack come with

names that include:  Barack O’Llama, Dalai Llama, and Drama Llama, to name only a few!  Before you leave ShanriLlama, grab a llama-inspired gift for the person who has everything:  llama pajamas – not made from real llamas!


Cedar Hill, Texas

Cedar Hill is located about 17 miles south of Dallas; and if a small-town feel is what you might be in the mood for, then visit Cedar Hill’s charming and historic Downtown square where shops and restaurants will take you back to a simpler time.

Cedar Hill State Park offers more than 1,800 wooded acres that beckon mountain-biking enthusiasts and hikers who are drawn to the 45 miles of trails, including concrete bike-ways that span 23 miles.  A stocked perch pond is tons of fun for those who love to fish; and bring you camera, too, since bobcats, foxes and armadillos can be frequently spotted.

Once the hunger pangs hit, be sure to visit the White Rhino Coffee House that is open till midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and offers hot and cold drinks as well as mouth-watering pastries and sandwiches.  Signature lattes are a specialty at the White Rhino Coffee House in addition to a variety of soothing teas and other savory beverages.  Sit down, relax, and stay awhile at the White Rhino Coffee House where the coffee is hot and the hospitality is, always, warm and inviting.


Canton, Texas

Canton, less than 60 miles southeast of Dallas, is a very small town with less than 4,000 residents; but don’t let its small size fool you.  One weekend, per month, year round, Canton hosts a flea market extravaganza known as the ‘First Monday Trade Days’; and it is huge!  This mammoth flea market attracts thousands from all over who can’t get enough of all that is old, restored, re-purposed and/or unique.  The First Monday Trade Days dates back more than 100 years and continues as an electrified gathering where shoppers, vendors, collectors, artisans and antique dealers create a buzz of excitement.  To give an idea of how huge the First Monday Trade Days really is, imagine over 100 acres and 6,000 vendors!


Glen Rose, Texas

If you travel about 75 miles southwest of Dallas, you will find the community of Glen Rose, known for its Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Dinosaur Valley State Park, and historic Downtown district.

Dinosaur Valley State Park is a nature-lover’s paradise where one can discover dinosaur tracks in the bed of the Paluxy River, picnic, hike, bike, fish and swim.  If you are a horse owner, bring your beauty to Dinosaur Valley State Park where you can ride to your heart’s content throughout 100 acres of wooded, semi-rocky parkland.  If you love to camp, primitive campsites are available as well as 46 sites that are equipped with electricity and water.

Take time to visit the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center where, from the safety of your vehicle, you can feed exotic animals including giraffes and zebras as well as other animals seeking a morsel, or two.  Fossil Rim places third, nationally, in the USA TODAY 10-Best Readers’ Choice travel award contest for ‘Best Safari Parks’!

If your appetite is calling, don’t leave Glen Rose until you grab a delightful dinner at the Riverhouse Grill which, by the way, earned the 2012 Tripadvisor Award.  The restaurant is, actually, a renovated historic home where meals can be enjoyed on the patio, in the main dining area, or on upper level.  The casually-elegant ambiance makes patrons feel right at home where classic American dishes are served as well as beer and wine.  Whether your take time to enjoy lunch, dinner or Sunday Brunch, the Riverhouse Grill will beckon you to return to this quaint little corner, in the big state of Texas.

Brandon Jones

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