man walking dog by lake

Make a plan to enjoy the outdoors this summer. Plano is home to several fun outdoor attractions that are perfect for families, adults, and people who want to enjoy the sunshine. As you’re planning out your summer weekend, be sure to include these can’t-miss activities that are just a quick drive away from home.

Go Hiking on the Trails at Oak Point Park

If you love spending the summer taking long leisurely walks, Oak Point Park and Nature Preserve is the destination for you. It’s home to over eight miles of concrete trails around ponds, forest areas, creeks, and fields of wildflowers. You can also duck into the shady woods to stroll along five miles of soft-surface trails. 

Oak Point Park has a pond that’s open for canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing. Young adventurers can also enjoy the Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park for a two- or three-hour session of fun zip lining along its forest course.

Try Catch-and-Release Fishing at Bob Woodruff Park

Oak Point Park’s southern trails connect it to Bob Woodruff Park North, an expansive park with a playground, pavilion for events, and even more miles of trails. But its star attraction is the large pond with plenty of opportunities for catch-and-release fishing. The pond is encircled by a concrete footpath and even has its own fishing pier and small pavilion. You’ll find fishing experts and hobbyists enjoying a relaxing day around the water’s edge.

For a day of fun with the whole family, you can also enjoy the beach volleyball courts up the hill and a friendly dog park just a few minutes further down the Rowlett Creek trails.

Explore the Trails at West Plano’s Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

If you’re looking for outdoor fun on the west side of Plano, Arbor Hills Nature Preserve is a 200-acre nature preserve with miles of concrete trails, dirt walking paths, and even biking trails for hours of fun. You can explore the rocky paths along the creek bed, cross the park’s scenic bridges, or take a break at the pavilion near the entrance to the park. The trails are dog-friendly, and the park includes a large playground.

If you trek to the center of the park, you’ll be rewarded with a gentle climb up to the top of an observation tower, where you can see miles away across Plano and the surrounding towns.

Try Summery Treats at The Boardwalk in Granite Park

Take a break while still enjoying the outdoors by stopping by The Boardwalk in Granite Park. This small collection of restaurants is the perfect place to meet up with a group of friends or take the family. You can also visit the same restaurant or bring your meals to the waterfront edge of the boardwalk, where there’s plenty of seating, scenic views, and fun activities. Enjoy a fun lunch or relax during the evening as the pond lights flicker on.

Visit a Historic Farmstead at Heritage Farmstead Museum

If you’re looking for a fun summer “field trip” to take a break between hikes, visit downtown Plano’s Heritage Farmstead Museum. This historic farmhouse is from the late 1800s, and you can take a tour to see what historical life in North Texas looked like. The farmstead has the original house and buildings, as well as a recreation of a one-room schoolhouse. It also has horses and chickens that visitors are welcome to feed or interact with. 

Wander Through Historic Downtown Plano

On the corner of 15th Street and Greenville, you’ll find Historic Downtown Plano, a collection of local businesses and arts organizations in historic buildings from the city’s earliest decades. You can visit antique shops, try gourmet coffee and pizza, and relax in Haggard Park in the middle of the neighborhood. This district is one of the stops on the DFW Dart Line, so you can swing by while touring the whole area.

Visit the Interurban Railway Museum

Haggard Park in Historic Downtown Plano is also home to the Interurban Railway Museum. This museum is perfect for day trips with children. You can take a close look at an old railway car parked outside the museum or head inside for interactive exhibits, children’s storytime, and even summer camp programs. Swing by to take a quick look at old Texas train history before cars became the way to travel.

Put the Plano Balloon Festival on Your Calendar for September

Every year, Plano hosts the Plano Balloon Festival in late summer. If you love running, you can sign up for the 1/2 marathon, the 10K, the 5k, or the 1k race through the established trail around Oak Point Park. You can also have a fun, easy day watching dozens of hot-air balloons fill the sky. Get a close-up look at five hot-air balloon launches, learn more about how the balloons fly, and enjoy a festival of live shows, fireworks, and more. The event is scheduled for September 17 through September 19 in 2021, but sign up in advance to join the races or schedule your own balloon ride!

Have Fun at the Texas Pool

For some understated but Texas-sized fun this summer, visit the Texas Pool in south Plano. This pool is shaped like the state of Texas and has a small island right over DFW’s spot. It’s a giant 168,000-gallon saltwater pool with plenty of poolside seating and shade. Swimmers can enjoy the water slide located in the pool’s panhandle, and toddlers can enjoy the wading pool along Texas’s southern tip. Get a day pass or sign up for membership to get access to swimming classes, aquatic programs and events, and more.

All these outdoor activities in Plano are local, so all you have to do is load up the car for a fun day full of summer adventure. If you know of some local outdoor sites and activities that didn’t make it onto our list, let our team know. We love exploring the local outdoors and can’t wait to spread the word!

 Image via Flickr by vastateparksstaff


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