Traveling with Toddlers? 7 Mini Vacations within “Napping Distance” of Collin County

smiling family in sunglasses, day trips from frisco plano mckinney

One of our favorite things to do as a family is explore new places. However, we’ve discovered (through some trial and error) that traveling with an infant and a toddler can be challenging. We’ve found when traveling with small children, it’s best to limit road trips to the length of an average nap. I’ve put together a list of seven mini vacations that are within what I like to call “napping distance” (a.k.a., two and a half hours) of Collin County:

7 Mini Vacations Within “Napping Distance” of Collin County:

Broken Bow, OK 

Our family loves Broken Bow so much that we keep going back. What’s not to love? Only two-and-a-half hours from Collin County, Broken Bow has everything nature has to offer. With beautiful, towering pines and a crystal clear lake, it’s hard to believe you’re just right down the road from Dallas. On our most recent visit, my three-year-old daughter achieved her lifelong dream of riding a pony at the Beavers Bend Train Depot. While you’re there, don’t forget to take a ride on the train and catch a glimpse of Oklahoma wildlife! Beavers Bend State Park also offers hiking trails, fishing, canoeing, and boat/jet ski rentals. In nearby Hochatown, there are many delicious restaurants and fun breweries. Some of our favorites are Grateful Head Pizza Oven and Taproom (don’t forget to check out the gift shop!) and The Blue Rooster. Most luxury cabins have hot tubs and come stocked with family games, and many have outdoor playgrounds. 

Average cost : $250/night

Distance from Collin County: 2 hours, 30 min

Great Wolf Lodge

Another of our favorite nearby vacation spots is the Great Wolf Lodge. Although pricing on their website can be expensive, Groupon often runs specials for under $200/night. Each room comes with six water park passes that you can use from open to close each day of your stay. In addition to the indoor and outdoor water park, there are plenty of activities to entertain kids of all ages. Some of our family favorites include the arcade, Build-A-Bear Workshop, and the candy shop. They also offer arts and crafts, story time, and morning yoga. For older kids, check out the MagiQuest adventures, Oliver’s Mining Co, and Howlers Peak Ropes Course. As for dining options, there are several restaurants on site, including a breakfast buffet and Starbucks.

Average cost: $200/night

Distance from Collin County: 50 min

2 young kids splashing in pool floats, day trips from frisco

Gaylord Texan & Grapevine

Right across the street from Great Wolf Lodge is the Gaylord Texan. Although famous for their beautiful Christmas lights, it’s a fun place to stay any time of the year. While Great Wolf Lodge is mainly catered to kids, the Gaylord Texan is a relaxing place to stay for the whole family. There are several bars and restaurants on site, from Italian to Tex-Mex. There’s also a relaxing spa, beautiful indoor and outdoor gardens, and an extensive outdoor water park with a lazy river. If you want to venture out in Grapevine, check out these attractions for the whole family: Grapevine Lake, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Grapevine Mills Mall, Bass Pro Shop, Peppa World, and SEALIFE Grapevine.

Average cost: $200/night

Distance from Collin County: 50 min

Lake Fork, Alba TX

This is one of our favorite last minute vacation spots! My husband is from East Texas and we lived near this lake for several years. Although we love our busy lives in Collin County, every once in a while it’s good for the soul to slow down, take a break, and enjoy the stillness of the lake. We usually stay at the lakefront cabins at Pope’s Landing—cute little homes with a front porch, fire pit, charcoal grill, and personal fishing pier. Don’t forget your fishing poles because Lake Fork is famous for bass fishing. In fact, this is where our daughter caught her first fish! Believe it or not, there are several tasty dining options nearby—check out Burgins BBQ down the road or order a delicious specialty pizza from Verona’s!

Average cost: $150/night

Distance from Collin County: 1 hour, 30 min

Fort Worth, TX

I’m sure most Texans have been to (or at least heard of) Fort Worth. Known for the Stockyards, if there’s a town that defines the state of Texas, it’s Fort Worth! Just over an hour from Collin County, it’s easy to plan a mini vacation to experience Texas culture and history. There are several family-friendly hotels downtown. While you’re there, check out the Stockyards, National Cowgirl Museum, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, Fort Worth Zoo, and NRH2O Water Park (technically North Richland Hills, which is very close). Another unique place to look into is Burger Lake—a waterpark with sand beaches, a spring fed lake, diving boards, slides, a trapeze, and grills to cook out. If you don’t mind a small drive, Six Flags and Hurricane Harbor are right down the highway in Arlington.

Average cost: $100/night

Distance from Collin County: 1 hour, 10 min

kids in car, day trips from friscoTanglewood Resort on Lake Texoma

A recent discovery of mine that we plan to visit next month is the Tanglewood Resort on Lake Texoma. Only about an hour from Collin County, this resort is surprisingly affordable. On this trip, you can enjoy lake views from your hotel room, dive into three resort-style pools, play sports like volleyball, basketball, or tennis, and relax at the spa. The resort also offers horseback riding and private guided striper fishing. You have several dining options at Tanglewood, including a steakhouse and a sports bar and pizzeria. We plan on taking a 10-minute drive to the sandy beaches at Lake Texoma for even more swimming and relaxing. You can also take a sunset cruise or rent kayaks and boats! 

Average cost: $150/night 

Distance from Collin County: 1 hour

Four Seasons Las Colinas

If you’re looking for a resort style location right here in Dallas, look no further than the Four Seasons in Las Colinas! With an 18-hole, par-70 golf course, several delicious on-site restaurants and bars, a spa, and several pools, this resort offers something for everyone. While you’re there, you can even have a date night! Check out KFAS (Kids for All Seasons), resort-style “babysitting” where the kids can enjoy an indoor play area with a playground, play centers, arts and crafts, games, sports, and swimming pools, all while being supervised by childcare specialists (18+ and CPR certified). Childcare is available for ages eight weeks to 13 years. They also offer several “kids’ night in” options until 9:30pm on weekends with a reservation. Although this resort is on the pricier side, they sometimes have specials (i.e., stay two nights, get a third night free). 

Average cost: $425/night

Distance from Collin County: 40 min

Traveling with toddlers can be tricky, but that certainly doesn’t mean you have to stay home. These destinations are fun for the whole family and right down the road!

Which of these “mini vacations” sounds like fun for your family?

Ready to venture farther from home? Check out our Summer Road Trip Guide to Hot Springs, Arkansas, a great family destination!

Jennifer is a native Texan and has called Collin County home for the past 6 years. She is a proud wife and mom to Lilah (2018) and Luca (2020). They live in northeast McKinney and love the small town vibe while still being within 10 miles of Target and Trader Joe’s. She attended Collin College, obtaining a degree in liberal arts, and later graduated from Texas A&M with a bachelor’s in dental hygiene. When she’s not brightening smiles, she enjoys writing, running, curling up with a good cup of coffee or glass of wine and her guilty pleasure — jamming 2000s pop punk. On the weekends you can catch her with her family, exploring downtown McKinney, trying new restaurants around town, and being outdoors as much as possible! Their favorite place to be is a cabin in the woods. She has a passion for helping and relating to other moms through humor and loves to share her favorite local adventure spots.