Some of the best places to discover are those that are a little bit off the beaten path. Lots of visitors to Texas go for the larger, well-known cities like San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and of course, the state capital of Austin. If you live in the great (and very large) state of Texas and want a unique road trip, we recommend Decatur. Located about an hour from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Decatur also makes a great side trip or day trip from “The Big D.” If you make it to Decatur (which you should), check this list of awesome things to do in Decatur TX with kids.
If you're looking for things to do in Decatur with kids, there are plenty of those. My family and I recently spent four days and three nights in this warm and friendly Texas town and everything was kid-inclusive, which we loved. And yes, pretty much everywhere you go in Texas is warm and friendly.
Our invitation to visit Decatur lined up with our opportunity to test drive the 2019 Chevrolet Equinox. The right car can make a good trip great and a great trip even better. Our trip to Decatur was a great one and we loved having all the room and performance offered by the Chevy Equinox. I definitely recommend it as a car to consider if your family road trips often. Decatur is about a four-hour drive from our home near San Antonio and that's just under the max our kids are used to driving in one stretch. The Equinox is a very connected and comfortable car and it made our trip a breeze. Here are a few more details on this very sweet ride.
1. Decatur Town Square
Decatur TX has one of the most charming town squares you'll ever see. Whether you're looking for food, drinks, shopping, or entertainment, you can find it all in downtown Decatur. Here are a few of our favorites:
The Pink Lady
This granite structure sits in the center of town and is the seat of Wise County. This lovely pink granite structure was built in 1896 and if you are an architecture buff, you'll want to snap pictures from all angles.
Biggar Hat Store
If you visit Texas, you need a cowboy hat. If you want a quality cowboy hat or want to learn how they're made, then you need to go to Biggar Hat Store. They offer custom made hats with craftsmanship that will truly wow you as well as a small selection of boots and other goods.
The Divine Center of Yoga
If you're looking for some relaxation after a long drive or plane ride, pop in and get signed up for a class. They also have a lovely section of gifts, so even if you're not looking to take a class, stop in and check out their storefront area.
Two Eight Seven at The Majestic
There are a lot of cute stores in the square…I didn't go in all of them but I did spent some time in this one and it was delightful. I'm sure all the other little stores were just as good but this one? I'm pretty much in love with everything they sell.
2. CARE Tiger Sanctuary
The Center for Animal Research and Education is in nearby Bridgeport. CARE is home to to approximately 50 animals, mostly big cats. There are a few other species mixed in as well, to include lemurs, llamas, and a tortoise.
CARE's mission is to provide for a safe, permanent and loving home to exotic animals in need. CARE focuses on excellence in physical and emotional care, advocating animal welfare through education, and conducting minimally-invasive research that will improve living conditions for captive animal populations world-wide. Many of the animals in residence at CARE are transfers from other facilities or private zoos and some were formerly kept as pets.
This is an educational experience versus a zoo experience. The tour lasts about 90 minutes – check the website for current availability – and isn't suitable for kids under eight. I would strongly caution you against taking your younger kids. Mine are eight and they did OK but we were on a small, private tour. It's essential that your kids be able to be relatively quiet and not run around or make excessive noise during the tour. There's no sitting and no down time and you're 100 percent out in the elements. That said, it was an amazing experiences and one of my favorite things we did all year.
3. Nock It Archery Center
If you're looking for an indoor activity to do with kids, check out Nock it Archery Center. Whether you're a pro with a bow and arrow or a total newbie, you'll have fun here. I walked in not being much of an “archery person” but I have to admit our time there flew by.
4. NRS Ranch
National Ropers Supply is part giant western wear and tack store, part museum, and part outdoor rodeo experience. They also offer onsite cabins if you want to spend the night on this beautiful property. You can check out a free golf cart and explore the ranch at your leisure. All you have to do is exchange your driver's license to a key and the the golf cart is yours to explore with. How cool is that.
Don't miss this one. Our hosts made sure we visited and I'm so glad they did. We'd have probably passed it buy as “just another western wear store.” It is that, but it is so much more.
Want more TMOM tips? Check out the things you can do in Decatur Alabama.
5. The DIY Studio Decatur
Chip and Joanna may have put shiplap on the map in Texas, driving hundreds of thousands of visitors a year to nearby Waco. But if you're planning a trip to Waco to see all the DIY and crafty things, Decatur will up your ante.
The parent company of DIY Studio Decatur Texas is a supplier to the Magnolia Market, meaning that some of the goodies you see for sale in Waco are made in Decatur.
If you want to create something truly fun and unique, The DIY Studio Decatur Texas is your place. They offer classes geared toward couples (where you make one project together), families, girlfriend groups, corporate groups, and anything else you might be able to think up. The DIY Studio Decatur is located in a large industrial building with lots of space, supplies, and tools, so what you're able to create is pretty much limitless.
6. Where to Eat
I recommend Sweetie Pie's Ribeyes, Rooster's Roadhouse, and the iconic Whistle Stop Cafe. I also love nearby Five Boys Ranch in Bridgeport and Trinity Street Coffee Coffee Bar.
If you're looking for something sweet, pop into Hey Sugars – it's a delightful little candy shop and soda fountain located in the square.
If you'd like to learn more about Decatur, check out this complete guide to the area. This is definitely one to put on your list of places to visit.
Want to know more about the Chevrolet Equinox?
The Equinox has so many features we loved and it is perfect for a family road trip. Here are some highlights:
4G LTE WI-FI
This feature allows you to stay connected on the road, Skype or video chat, stay on top of work if needed, and stream movies and music, etc. from the road. It can connect 7 devices at once – which means my husband and I can both have our phones connected, my kids can have their Kindles connected, leaving plenty of room for me to connect my laptop or my ChromeBook and work from the passenger seat…which is often a reality of traveling for us.
The 4G LTE Wi-Fi lets my kids stream video, play Minecraft together and, in general, keeps them happy, quiet, and entertained while we are traveling. WINNING. This service also allows you to download movies, music, and books to your device while you're on the road without using your data. That's HUGE for us. Say what you want about kids with their noses in their devices…it allows us to focus on the road and just makes getting there so much more pleasant.
APPLE CARPLAY/ANDROID AUTO – SYNC UP YOUR PHONE TO THE CAR
Apple CarPlay takes the iPhone features you’d want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display – so you can make calls, send/receive messages and listen to your favorite playlists right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri.
Android Auto is built around Google Maps giving you the ability to talk to Google and use several different apps straight from your cars display screen.
360 SURROUND VISION CAMERA
Surround Vision is camera technology that provides a literal look at the 2019 Equinox’s perimeter all the way around the vehicle. This available system uses strategically located cameras on all sides of the vehicle to provide a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the vehicle. This allows you to view the surrounding area at a glance for more confident maneuvering when reversing, parking or trailering. We're a busy, on the go family and we want to take advantage of all the features that can help keep us safe. Because that's what it's all about.
REAR CAMERA MIRROR
This available technology allows the rearview mirror surface to double as a video screen, providing the driver with a wider, less obstructed field of view behind the vehicle.
TEEN DRIVER TECHNOLOGY
We aren't there yet, but Teen Driver is an industry first built-in system that lets parents view a report card that shows how their young driver drove the vehicle. The report card shows maximum speed reached, distance driven and number of times available active safety features were engaged.
I remember returning my mom's station wagon when I was a teenager. She asked me what had happened to make me slam on the breaks. I couldn't figure out how she knew. Her answer to me was, “Moms know everything.” She later revealed there was a stack of books in the back.
MYCHEVROLET MOBILE APP
The myChevrolet app turns your mobile device into a command center for your vehicle. This app allows you to start/stop your engine and lock/unlock your doors from your smart phone. You can even send destinations to your available navigation system, view diagnostic information, customize Wi-Fi settings and set parking reminders from virtually anywhere. I love being able to take all these actions from my smart phone.
Learn more about the Chevrolet Equinox here.