And just like that…summer is in the middle. Which means it’s time to plan that girls’ trip you and your friends always talk about. There are plenty of fun places to get to on a quick getaway just a short drive from Fort Worth, even if it’s just past Dallas.
The next five places have great pool shows (or river floats for the more adventurous), lounges, delicious restaurants, and most importantly, relaxation areas. It’s a mixed bag of good lodging (but hey, you’re splitting the bill). Some are new, some are tried-and-true favorites with new reasons to visit, and all are within about a four-hour drive.
So text your loved ones, pack your swimsuit, and get ready to hit the road.
Winstar World Casino and Resort, Thackerville, Oklahoma
After a recent multi-million dollar renovation and expansion, WinStar World Casino has launched a slew of new features just a short drive north on the Oklahoma-Texas border – even if the gambling isn’t demanding.
What’s new: Located in a new 26,000 square-foot building is the WinStar Spa, a two-story spa that just opened in May. European-made products include saunas from Germany, ceramic hot tubs from Austria, and large hydrotherapy baths from Lithuania. Most of the services come with relaxation areas, saunas, steam rooms, two types of showers (one called “wash” and the other called “experience”), hot benches, and an “ice room” that feels good for beating the heat.
Another new addition is Cascades, WinStar’s new five-acre pool with bungalows, cabanas, daybeds, and multiple pools. The 360-degree seating area sets the scene, and your lounge chair has food and drinks. Unlike WinStar’s Terrace Pool, Cascades is open to the public – however, all guests (including hotel guests) must make a reservation in advance. Time slots are available for half a day in the morning, half an afternoon, or a full day.
If your girl group loves live music: After a three-year hiatus from concerts, WinStar will host live music again in October with the opening of Lucas Oil Live, a new entertainment venue for 6,500. The first concert on the calendar is the Randy Rogers Band featuring Casey Donahew on Saturday, October 7. Other upcoming shows include Miranda Lambert, Rod Stewart, Leon Bridges, and more.
Where to eat dinner: If you’re visiting on a Saturday night this summer, plan to attend the Cascades After Hours party. Held every Saturday from 8:30-11 p.m., the adults-only (21-and-up) event features live music and dinner. Tickets are $50 per person, and cash is available. Or visit one of the casino’s several restaurants, such as the new Union Mesa & Cantina restaurant, or Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill.
Prices: Through Labor Day weekend, rates start at $199 per night.
Omni PGA Resort, Frisco
Don’t let the “PGA” in the name fool you. Guests of the Frisco resort, which just opened in May, don’t have to be golf enthusiasts to enjoy the many luxury amenities on offer: multiple pools with bar service, a fitness center, a fitness center, live music, and 13 food and beverage outlets.
If your gal group loves golf: There are two 18-hole courses and two acres of putting green. But don’t miss The Swing, a 10-hole par 3 course that’s lit up after dark – perfect for avoiding the summer heat. Texas country music blares over the overhead speakers, and there’s a Casamigos tequila truck that offers refreshing drinks to the ranchers on the deck, making the course the most fun in town.
For non-golfers: Book a relaxing treatment at the Mokara Spa, which has more than 20 rooms, a sauna, a steam room, a jacuzzi, a private pool, and a restaurant. Buy a Monument Realty PGA Lot then enjoy The Lounge at TopGolf. Or just kick back for the day at the adults-only rooftop infinity pool with a Coco Berry Mojito in hand from the Bluestem Bar.
Where to eat dinner: Make a reservation at Trick Rider, a fine dining restaurant with signature seafood and seafood dishes. Grab a pre-dinner martini at the horseshoe-shaped bar and say “hello” to Cinnamon, the restaurant’s impressive 1,500-pound, horse-shaped chandelier.
Prices: Rates start at $359 per night.
The Adolphus, Dallas
No time to drive across I-30 to downtown Dallas? There are many luxury hotels, but nothing quite like this luxury hotel that feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Opened in 1912 by Anheuser-Busch co-founder Adolphus Busch, the resort attracts a new generation of tourists seeking an extreme escape.
If your friends like: Reserve afternoon tea in The French Room, famous for its luxurious, elegant rooms fit for royalty (fun fact: Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip stayed at the Adolphus in 1991). Marble floors, ornate furniture, glasswork – everything exudes beauty. The tea service includes three courses with the option of adding champagne and caviar. Reservations are available Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.-2:45 p.m. (Note that the French Room has not yet reopened after the pandemic, but they do have a new chef in the kitchen.)
If you have a hot summer girl: Show off your smoking bathing suit at The Adolphus’ rooftop pool, where a live DJ plays music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday afternoon. Pass on the cabana and grab a bottle of Minuty sparkling rose on ice to share. If finding zen is your escape goal, make plans for Black Swan Yoga by the pool on Saturday, August 19 at 9:30 am.
Where to eat dinner: Feeling fancy? Visit The French Room Bar, where foie gras torchon, escargot en croute, East Coast oysters on the half shell, and rack of lamb make up the finest French cuisine. (The absolute best savory, slightly spicy Popcorn comes with a restaurant at the bar.) For something more casual, go to the bottom of the Rodeo Bar, where burgers, nachos, barbecue, and even a full foot long dog is a combination of a completely different dining experience. Wash it all down with dry whiskey.
Prices: Rates start at around $298 per night.
Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, Austin
The popular Hill Country Resort is also worth checking out this summer, as they’ve launched a new summer wine, beer, and spirits tasting event that’s well worth the three-hour drive from Fort Worth. An adults-only pool, a 13,000-square-foot spa and sanctuary, and breathtaking views of more than 4,000 acres of countryside add to the appeal.
If your girl group likes older drinks: Don’t miss Hill Country Sip & Savor, the festival’s new tasting event that features drinks from local distilleries, distilleries, and wineries sourced from across Texas along with food and live music. The festival kicked off Memorial Day weekend and there are two days left: Saturday, August 5 and Saturday, September 2. Prices start at $459 per night and include overnight accommodations, three drink tickets and one meal ticket per adult, two beach towels and one tote bag per room, and one bottle of sunscreen.
Other gal pal jobs: Lounge by the adults-only pool and order an Elderflower Spritz from the bar, or visit the spa. The latter has its own private rooftop pool with plenty of lounge chairs and outdoor seating away from the crowd. There are also four golf courses on site for ladies who love a good tee time.
Where to eat dinner: Make reservations for Blind Salamander, a luxury seafood restaurant led by chef Francisco Baca. Enjoy grilled mussels with miso butter, glazed redfish with clams and corn, or jumbo shrimp with blood orange cocktail sauce.
Prices: Rates start at $399 per night.
If you’re going to the Hill Country, you have to hit…
It’s a bucket list event for the Texans, but a different experience with just the girls. Away from the noisy boys on the river, groups of dogs can bond (and solve the world’s problems) during indoor breaks—the tube floats down the Guadalupe cold and iced—tumblers in hand. Then finish the day in the small town of Gruene, where groups can gather to listen to music at Texas’ oldest music hall, sip margaritas at a riverside restaurant, a pub, or relax in a pub. There are countless hotels, campgrounds, and short-term rentals for overnight stays.
How to approach the stream: Rockin’ R doesn’t come close, located on the banks of the Guadalupe in Gruene. Over the years, they have made tubers to float in rivers and provide shuttles from the end. New is Rockin’ R’s expansive Gruene Light Bar, where live music and cocktails are available all summer long. El Arroyo (an Austin-based Tex-Mex restaurant known for its colorful billboards) also has a food truck on site that serves pre-orders or floats. Don’t forget to wear water shoes, and note that cans, glasses, or anything spillable are not allowed on the water.
Things to do about Green: Have a sangria or a tall bottle at the famous Gruene Hall and listen to live music. Stroll through local shops to find cute clothes, jewelry, and souvenirs. Or arrange a spa treatment at Gruene Day Spa, but medical information must be kept for at least two to three weeks.
Where to eat dinner: No trip to Gruene is complete without dinner at Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar. There is often a wait for a table, especially on weekends. But that means you start listening to live music on the lawn with a salted margarita until your name is written on the board, indicating that your table is ready. Top tip: chips and fresh salsa (also sold to go by the mason jar) are available at the outdoor bar while you wait.
Prices: Tube and shuttle rentals at Rockin’ R start at $25.