Just about 15 miles south of the Oklahoma border you’ll find a gem of a city known as Wichita Falls. An abundance of creativity and a strong focus on families, this town is one for the bucket list. For a city that was built off of the winnings of a poker game back in 1837, Wichita Falls has something for everyone.
What to Do
Alley Cat Vintage Mercantile // If antiquing gets your heart strings playing, then you need to visit this fabulous collaboration of all things vintage, antique and handmade. With over 7000 vinyl records, the music lover in the group will also appreciate stopping in for good measure. Find that one unique piece that will always remind you of the time you visited Wichita Falls.
Books A Million // If you’re looking for a new book to read on your vacation or your next road trip, be sure to stop by Books A Million off of Midwestern Parkway. Open daily this store will not disappoint the book lover in the group. And with competitive prices, you might walk away with more books than anticipated, which is helpful on those long road trips.
Castaway Cove Water Park // Should you be traveling through Wichita Falls during the summer months, you might want to add this fun water park on your itinerary. Visit each of the seven water attractions, like Buccaneer Bay and Pirate’s Plunge, to beat the heat and add some coolness to your summer. Rent a cabana to relax in the shade so you can stay all day in paradise.
CrashWorks STEAM Studio & Makerspace // Come and create something wonderful at this amazing explorative playground of sorts for all ages. Stocked by donated materials, CrashWorks encourages the imagination to take everyday ordinary things and work through the process of creating something new. Admission: $9 for ages 2+
Family Fun Zone // The name says it all about this entertainment space in Wichita Falls. From the skate zone, race zone, raft attack zone to the game zone and more, there will be no shortage of fun to be had here. To note, each zone does appear to be a separate cost with the average of $8 per person.
Hotter’n Hell Hundred // Known as one of the oldest and largest cycling events in the nation, this 4 day event has been drawing cyclists to Wichita Falls for over 40 years. 100 miles in the 100 degree heat of August. To the fitness enthusiast- this is your ride. Registration opens in the spring and be sure you don’t skip out on the spaghetti dinner the night before. We all know carb-loading is a real thing.
Museum of North Texas History // For the history buff in the group, this museum is a must! Ask about the scavenger hunt to keep the children engaged. Some of the permanent collections at the museum include: Heritage Hall with over 500 western hats on display, an exhibit dedicated to medical history showcasing the iron lung, and the Mary Thomas Doll and Toy collection where you can marvel at vintage childhood pastimes. Suggested Admission: $5 for Adults and $2 for children
River Bend Nature Center // Rated one of the top things to do in Wichita Falls, the River Bend Nature Center brings people and nature closer together. With events all year round, education programs, and rental spaces for weddings or birthday parties, there’s something for everyone on this twenty-acre center. Admission: $5-6
Spa Bella // From massages, facials and a pampered princess party option, this spa will make you feel rejuvenated. Be sure to check out their seasonal treatments to really connect with the scents and elements of nature. Open Monday through Saturday, come experience Spa Bella and leave feeling your best.
The Wichita Theatre // Initially opened in 1908, you can still find some of the original windows and gaze at the Art Deco styling that came in the late 1930’s. For a unique combination, check out Stage 2 for dinner and a show. Produced by local talent and using the latest multi-media operations, this theatre offers the best of the best when it comes to entertainment in Wichita Falls.
Where to Eat
Circle M Bakery // Donuts and cupcakes in one place?! This is a must-stop for the sweet tooth lover. Plus they have breakfast burritos if donuts aren’t your thing. Known for their custom cakes and excellent customer service, let Circle M Bakery take care of your next celebration.
Fox Hill Restaurant & Garden // Positioned on eight acres of land, this farm-to-table is an experience you won’t forget. The team focuses on intention and integrity. The gardens are picturesque and the food is exquisite. Perfect place for the nature lover / foodie / special person in your life.
Gidget’s Sandwich Shack // If you’re on the hunt for a good sandwich, you need to place an order at Gidget’s. Starting off in 2004 with offering only paninis, this little sandwich shack has grown into something fantastic. From the Breakfast Egg McGidget to seasonal soups and some of the best sandwich combinations, stop by when you just need something that will hit the spot.
Gutierrez Family Restaurant // In 1996, this local authentic Mexican restaurant opened with a focus on family and good food. The care that goes into each plate is unmatched which is why if you’re craving tacos, nachos or other classic plates, this is the only Mexican restaurant you need.
Gypsy Uncorked // With a Grand Champion of the Food Truck Championships of Texas in their family, this favorited menu is also available at a quaint restaurant in town. Enjoy the live-music on the weekends while you devour any of their eclectic menu options. The Gobblin Berry sandwich does sound intriguing.
Hibiscus Cafe // Sharing grandma’s Greek recipes with you, this family owned restaurant will have you coming back despite how far you may have traveled. You didn’t walk in as family, but by the time you leave, you’ll feel like family.
Hook & Ladder Coffees and Wine Co. // Nestled in a National Landmark building, H&L is the definition of hometown pride. Hand-selected wines from their urban winery and single origin coffee source, this will become a coveted spot for that girl’s weekend getaway. Fun fact, they are dedicated to celebrating public safety professionals as the owners are retired firefighters.
Jordan Craft BBQ // A Texas road trip just isn’t complete without some Texas BBQ. Whether you’re traveling with family or friends, bring them here to enjoy time together. Live music, games, a playground and of course, amazing BBQ and beer, Jordan Craft BBQ has road trip experience written all over.
Namaste Indian Restaurant // Recognized for their modern interpretation of classic Indian cuisine, this restaurant is a local hotspot and rightfully so. Each dish is made fresh with all the best spices, so be prepared or ask for the “Americanized version.” Bonus, there’s a vegan buffet option.
Pat’s Drive Inn // Home to the Best Burgers and Best Cheeseburgers, this family owned and operated restaurant has been giving back to the community ever since they opened in the late 1960s. The onion rings are made fresh, the milkshakes are from hand scooped ice cream and the secret ingredient is love. This is a landmark burger joint that will not disappoint.
Where to Stay
The Avondale (Airbnb) // You’ll have the entire house to yourself and it is a beauty. If home safety is a priority, this house has it all from a smoke alarm, carbon monoxide alarm, fire extinguisher and a first aid kit. Noted by the guest book, The Avondale is becoming a regular booking for several satisfied guests. Pricing for a 2 night stay is around $217 (fees included).
Coyote Ranch Resort // Recently partnered with Jellystone Park Camp Resorts, the Coyote Ranch has even more to offer to guests including RV sites, cabins, cottages and a yurt! For activities and amenities check out the maze, mini golf, pools, splash pad, fishing pond and something called a giant jumping pillow. This resort is only missing one thing… you! Nightly prices average from $37 (tent site) to $249 (family cabin for 8)
Detached Studio Apartment (Airbnb) // Comfy. Cozy. Charming. All words that best describe this Airbnb. If you’re looking for tranquility and a peaceful getaway, book this hidden gem today. Just picture a morning cup of coffee in the lovely landscaped garden. If your trip is booked around the holidays, you’ll be able to see a display of over 1,000 luminaries. You might still be in Texas, but you’ll feel like you’re in a quaint holiday movie. Price for a 2 night stay is around $200 (fees included).
Fairfield Inn & Suites Wichita Falls Northwest // Close to Sheppard Air Force Base, Midwestern State University and other attractions, this hotel is known for their cleanliness and service. Comfortable rooms and amenities to delight in, this hotel will exceed your expectations. Pricing starts around $125 per night.
Homewood Suites by Hilton // Facing the Sikes Lake, this hotel is a great option for those who like to take a morning or nighttime stroll. Within walking distance is the Wichita Fall Museum of Art. Breakfast is included in a spacious area that will feel like home. Pricing starts around $130 per night.
Lake Arrowhead State Park // Pitch the tent and sleep under the stars in the state park. Choose your campsite: Primitive, with Water, or with Electricity. There are restrooms with showers available on the campgrounds as well. During your stay, partake in several of the services offered such as disc golf, hiking or horseback riding. Pricing starts at $10/night for a campsite.
The Little House (Airbnb) // With only a 550 square foot layout, this 2 story house provides a full size experience. Full size appliances and pet friendly, this rental provides everything you need at a reasonable price. Price for a 2 night stay is around $194 (fees included).
Modern Loft 24 (Airbnb) // This cute studio apartment is situated perfectly downtown with easy access to lots of local restaurants and coffee shops. It’s all about the details for this Modern Loft, from the record player to the reclaimed tile, this is a highly recommended place to lay your head. Pricing for a 2 night stay is around $334 (fees included).
The Rambling Pearl (Airbnb) // For a group of 6 guests, check out this adorable Airbnb. With that flare of southern hospitality, the owners have thought through all the details when renovating this house. The aesthetics of this rental are simple and timeless. Price for a 2 night stay is around $319 (fees included).
Wichita Bend RV Park // If you’re traveling by RV or motorhome, this scenic spot is the place to park. Each of the 28 paved spaces has water and electrical hookups. Though the park does not have independent restrooms, it does have a dump station. If you know why, you know its value. Pricing is $17/day with a drop box for payment or collected by the Park Ranger.
For more driving destination ideas, check out Fort Worth Moms “Guide to Road Trips from Fort Worth.”
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Joining Janie on the pursuit of life’s adventures while laughing along the way are Janie’s husband, Jared who is a flight school director and pilot, their angel baby, Jackson (2016) who passed away shortly after birth, and newest crew member, Jensen (2018). With an undergraduate degree in communication from UTA and a master’s in health communication from the University of Illinois, writing has been a creative outlet for Janie. Working full-time in healthcare, being involved at her local church, and volunteering with the Junior League of Fort Worth, Janie is passionate about serving people and holds a special place in her heart for women and children. When they are not headed to their next adventure, you can find Janie and her family creating their own adventure as proud Fort Worth residents. Read more articles by Janie here!