So many people who inhabit the Dallas area aren't native Texans. But, as the saying goes, they got here as fast as they could.
Although the reasons for Big D's attraction are many, lush landscapes, wonderful year-round weather and an embarrassment of "things to do" no doubt top the list.
Dallas vacations can begin and end without ever leaving the city. Just a stone's throw from the reflecting, glass-encased skyscrapers you'll find daytime distractions such as museums, zoos, shops, parks and lakes. Your day can then continue long after the sun sets, if you wish, thanks to a large collection incredibly romantic restaurants and hotspots where locals go to see and be seen.
Meanwhile, lake recreation and small-town charm reside just a few miles in either direction of the Metroplex. Granbury, about 30 miles southwest of Fort Worth, offers an ideal combination of small-town Texas history and big-lake Texas fun. The Bridgeport and Tyler areas also provide opportunities to relax and rediscover lakeside living.
City or country, Endless Vacation Rentals makes it easy to kick back and relax at the end of every exciting day, thanks to accommodations that include full kitchens, living rooms, and patios or balconies to take in the Texas-sized views.
Fifty-Six (Dallas). Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck recently opened this restaurant in the Dallas' iconic Reunion Tower, where visitors have been coming for years to see the city from its' 360-degree observation deck. Named for the number of floors up it sits within the Dallas skyline, Fifty-Six proves you really can eat a great view.
La Hacienda Ranch (Dallas). The kids will love being greeted at the door by the enormous stuffed bear. Mom and dad will love the brisket tacos and other Tex Mex prepared to perfection daily.
Six Flags Over Texas (Arlington). The flagship of the Six Flags franchise remains one of its most popular family destinations. Ride 13 coasters, including the Titan and Texas Giant, or enjoy the park's popular summer concert series.
Water, water, everywhere. Temperature do tend to rise during the summer months, but that just makes visiting one of the areas hundreds of water parks that much more fun. Visitors can cool off at the Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park, the Six Flags-themed Hurricane Harbor, or one of several strategically located Hawaiian Falls parks.
Go fish. Dallas-area lakes are stocked with trophy bass waiting to be reeled in. White bass fishing is particularly good on Lake Bridgeport, for example, during the spring spawning run.
The Fort Worth Zoo. About 1 million visitors annually pour through the gates of this award-winning zoo, the only zoo in the United States to house all four Great Ape species (gorillas, orangutans, bonobos and chimpanzees).
The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Enjoy 66 acres of blooming trees, plants and flowers surrounding two historic mansions and overlooking White Rock Lake.
Historic Granbury. Located about 30 miles southwest of Fort Worth, Granbury is known as the town "where Texas history lives." Many of the buildings located on Granbury's town square remain as they were in the late 1800s and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mega outlets (Grapevine, Allen). If outlet shopping appeals to you, the Dallas area won't disappoint. Consider walking the massive Grapevine Mills indoor mall (Abercrombie & Fitch, GameWorks, Rainforest Café) or the outdoor Allen Premium Outlets (Ann Klein, Calvin Klein, Nautica).
Mega malls (Dallas, Garland, Frisco). From the Galleria and Willow Bend in far north Dallas to Stonebriar in Frisco, Dallas shoppers love their malls. But perhaps the most impressive of the group is NorthPark, where high-end retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York and Nordstrom (and an impressive collection of artwork and sculpture) share almost 2 million square feet of retail space.