Dallas – Fort Worth may be the largest inland metropolitan area in the United States with a population exceeding seven million, but that doesn’t mean it can’t co-exist with its smaller neighbors. The Metroplex proper includes more than 140 small towns and dozens of mid-size cities that share the 9,286 square miles across 13 counties. Countless more tiny towns dot the roads throughout the broader North Texas region. Each has it’s own unique charms and a strong sense of community, along some truly outstanding restaurants and shopping. Here are 15 of them to visit when you want to escape the big city life and enjoy an environment where life is still simple and traffic snarls are non-existent.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
With a population at around 1,341, the town's motto is "Where Everybody is Somebody!" Hico (pronounced High-co) maintains that outlaw Billy the Kid lived out his last years of life here. They even have a museum. Check it out and decide for yourself.
Countless Texans travel through West daily, as interstate 35 goes right through the town. It is conveniently located between DFW and destinations such as Austin and Houston. It's the epic kolaches that make people stop and visit West and its population of under 3,000.
The Czech Stop in West draws lines of people daily who wait sometimes for hours to take home (or eat on the spot) legendary kolaches from the all-in-one deli/bakery and convenience store.
Ennis embodies a hometown feel and is known across the state for its bluebonnet fields and beautiful countryside. Ennis loves festivals and hosts the National Polka Festival every Memorial Day weekend. Its population is around 18,000.
4. Pilot Point
With a population of just over 4,000, this small town claims movie star fame. This former bank (now an antique store) was used in the 1967 movie
Bonnie & Clyde.
The area is best known, however, for its gentle rolling hills, nearby state parks, and Lake Ray Roberts.
While Thurber today is a modern-day ghost town with less than 48 residents, over 10,000 folks once called this town home. Between 1888 and 1921 this town located about 70 miles west of Fort Worth was one of the largest producers of coal in Texas. Abandoned coal miner homes and turn-of-the-century smokestacks still stand. This photo is of the historic St. Barbara's Catholic Church.
6. Glen Rose
Glen Rose has a population of about 2,500, and while the drive through the city and its stone-structure courthouse and town square is impressive, the mention of "dinosaurs" has made them a favorite spot with tourists.
Dinosaur Valley State Park and Dinosaur World draw tourists to Glen Rose from all over the world here every year.
7. Walnut Springs
Walnut Springs has a population of about 823, but its small size doesn't equate to any shortage of fun.
An annual highlight in Walnut Springs is the Rattlesnake Roundup and Snake Dance.
Granbury is a perfect day-trip getaway from DFW. WIth a population of around 8,000, it features a town square, outstanding shopping, festivals, and special events almost every weekend. Lake Granbury beckons guests with its great fishing and boating.
9. Van Alystyne
Fall der All is just one of the festivals that brings out the town in Van Alstyne. It is located about 45 miles north of Dallas and has a population of about 3,000 and growing.
Justin has a population of about 3,246, and locals hope to keep it that way. However, with its close proximity to Texas Motor Speedway, growth is inevitable.
While Justin Boots headquarters is actually in Fort Worth, there is a large outlet store here. While people think that the town is named after the bootmaker, it’s really just coincidence The town is home to many stores that feature Western wear.
Iredell (pronounced "Ire-dell") may be small in size but it's big on heart. It has a current population of about 339. Fishing on the Bosque River, hunting, and all things outdoors are popular with residents. Many businesses are closed on the formerly busy main streets but locals are hopeful about future growth.
12. Little Elm
Located on the shores of Lake Lewisville, the town features the largest beach area in North Texas. The town has experienced exponential growth because its location only 35 miles outside of downtown Dallas. The 2000 census had the population at 3,646. It is now over 25,000.
Denison is a happening city with a robust historic downtown area. The 30-block area has been officially designated a Texas Main Street City by the Texas Historical Society.
Denison also just happens to be the birthplace of our nation's 34th president, Dwight D. "Ike" Eisenhower. Its population has grown to about 22,000.
Waxahachie is perhaps best known for its features beautiful historic buildings and a breathtaking gothic-style courthouse.
Waxahachie also has a claim to fame as the self-described "crepe myrtle capital" and pays homage to the blooming tree there with a large festival every summer. It also hosts the annual Scarborough Faire. About 30,000 residents call Waxahachie (pronounced "walks-uh-hatchie") home.
Weatherford may have passed the small-town status, but its quaint charm and small-town roots make it a must go-trip day trip. Weatherford locals known for going all out for the holidays and welcoming visitors like they are kin. Weatherford's current population is about 25,250.
Which of these towns have you visited and what other ones should be added to this list for their history or charm?