One of my great joys is traveling with our dog, Toby. Toby absolutely loves car journeys and exploring…perhaps more than we do!
We recently took a trip to the Ft. Worth area over New Year’s, and stayed at “The Bunkhouse,” a cozy guest cottage that we found on Airbnb.
The Bunkhouse – Airbnb
I’m always looking for affordable lodging that is pet friendly, and I hit the jackpot with The Bunkhouse! The cost was less than $100/night, and our hosts even provided delicious muffins from Central Market, drinks, and other goodies for us. It is not always easy to find a vacation rental that will accept large dogs, so we are so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to stay at this fantastic place.
Our entire cost for this trip was less than $500 for 4 days, so if you are looking for a budget friendly short getaway, consider some of the following options in the Ft. Worth area!
Lake Mineral Wells TX State Park
On our first day there, we visited Lake Mineral Wells Texas State Park. Toby was able to have the run of the place as we had the park almost entirely to ourselves. This park has some great hiking trails, and an amphitheater, where Toby took center stage. 🙂
I highly recommend getting a Texas State Parks Pass (if you plan to visit TX State Parks) as $70 will get you unlimited entry for you and your guests for one year. This is a GREAT value if you enjoy parks and the outdoors!
Amon Carter Museum
Ft. Worth has a number of awesome museums! We decided to visit the Amon Carter Museum, which is free to enter. The Museum is a beautifully designed building with a view of downtown Ft. Worth, and houses American Art including paintings by O’Keefe, amazing sculptures by Remington, and a beautiful work called Plexus no. 34 made out of the thinnest pieces of colorful threads – you don’t want to miss seeing this one of a kind piece of art!
Ft. Worth Water Gardens
After enjoying the Museum, we headed over to one of the highlights of our trip: The Ft. Worth Water Gardens.
I did not expect to see these amazing water gardens in the center of Ft. Worth! The Water Gardens are free to explore, and consist of an Active Water Pool, The Mountain, the Quiet Water Pool, and the Aerated Pool.
4 people actually died at the Active Water Pool in 2004 (since then they have made the area safer), and there is a memorial to them at the top of the Pool. If you are a fan of the film Logan’s Run, then you will recognize that some of the scenes were filmed at the Water Gardens. You can walk down to the bottom of the Active Pool (be careful!) and the walk up and down can be a little disorienting so take it slow! A great experience to be had!
You’ll want to climb up The Mountain while at the Water Gardens! Be aware your thighs and hamstrings may feel it the next day though!
After climbing the Mountain, head over to the Quiet Water Pool, where you can find peace and quiet, in contract to the noisy Active Pool. It is beautiful and serene, and walking around the pool is a time for reflection and to calm your spirit.
The last pool to experience is the Aerated Pool, which is noisy and playful! The architects wanted the pool “to be a visual illusion, giving visitors the impression that they could walk across the pool on tiles made of spraying water.”
You MUST visit the water gardens when in Ft. Worth – this is not to be missed!
Ft. Worth Trinity Trails
As a runner, I am now always on the lookout for decent trails to get my running in. Ft. Worth has the Trinity Trail system of trails, comprised of over 70+ miles of trails along the Trinity River. Great for running and dog walking! Toby had a walk along the trails, and saw his first train, and posed with a statue of Mark Twain as well.
Lunch at Pacific Table
We had lunch at a place called the Pacific Table after walking and running the Trinity Trails. I mention this specifically because they have the BEST Korean Chicken Sandwich! Being half Korean, I absolutely love Korean food and I was blown away by this sandwich. So…I’m going to do some experimenting and hopefully come up with a copy cat recipe soon. 🙂
Ft. Worth Botanic Garden Center
After lunch we headed over to the Ft. Worth Botanic Garden Center, mostly FREE to enter! Being the dead of winter, there certainly wasn’t much color, but two areas did stand out: the formal gardens, and the Japanese Gardens.
The Japanese Gardens charges $7 per adult, however, if you are a member of a botanical center, you may be able to use your membership to gain entry free as the Japanese Gardens is part of the AHS Reciprocal Admissions Program.
The Japanese Gardens were truly beautiful and much larger than I had expected. We saw the beginnings of cherry blossoms starting to bud, got to feed the koi , and just enjoyed the peace and serenity of the gardens.
Last Evening at The Bunkhouse
The last evening was spent at The Bunkhouse, enjoying everything that this cozy cottage has to offer. There is a grill, so we grilled some Korean Barbecue steak, which Toby thoroughly enjoyed. 🙂 My husband also handily beat me at pool.
Colorado Bend State Park
The next day, we said goodbye to The Bunkhouse, and headed over to another TX State Park, Colorado Bend State Park. There is so much to explore at this park, however due to limited time we just hiked the Lively Trail, which Toby thoroughly enjoyed.
If you are on the lookout for an affordable and budget friendly getaway in North Texas, then I hope you will consider some of the options mentioned here.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and never stop exploring!