Located just 15 minutes from downtown Dallas, White Rock Lake is our family’s favorite escape from the hustle and bustle of the city… without ever leaving Dallas city limits. On a weekly basis, we love to visit White Rock to connect with nature, exercise, and experience wildlife. In this article we’ll share some of our go-to spots and activities, and teach you the best ways to spend an entire day enjoying the many different offerings of this incredibly diverse lake!
Where to Play
White Rock Lake offers a variety of recreational activities to people of all ages! Whether you’re looking for playgrounds, water sports, or just a beautiful place to run, walk, hike, or bike…White Rock has you covered! It’s entirely possible that you could see a $20 million house, take your kids fishing, and see a bald eagle during one trip to the lake.
There is a 9.5 mile trail that loops around the entire lake. It is very well-maintained, and terrific for walking, running with a stroller, or biking. Just remember to keep an eye on your children - the trail can be crowded on pretty days and we’ve seen some close calls! There are plenty of parking lots with immediate trail access along Lawther Rd., which mostly runs parallel to the trail. In general, the west side of the lake will have prettier architecture and better playgrounds while the east side has more wildlife and outdoor activities.
T&P Hill Park and Lakewood Park are two of our favorite playgrounds in Dallas! T&P Hill Park has a smaller play area, but if you walk down by the Boomerang Boathouse, you’ll find the best spot on the lake to feed ducks. This playground has beautiful views of the lake and is situated right next to a bridge that my kids love. It’s also a popular spot for kite-flying. A little further inland you’ll find Lakewood Park (also known as Williamson Park), which is absolutely beautiful! It has a great playground, towering trees, and a creek where you will sometimes see families fishing. If you’re up for it, you can even walk from T&P Hill Park to Lakewood Park along the trail!
White Rock Lake is also a great place to kayak and paddleboard. White Rock Paddle Co. offers equipment rentals and has life jackets for children as small as 30 pounds. You can even bring the family dog along for the adventure, as long as they’re under 50 pounds.
If you want to take in some art and culture, check out the Bath House Cultural Center. The Bath House features local and international artists. Entrance to the galleries is usually free unless a special event is taking place!
Where to Eat
On a nice day, you can’t beat a picnic at White Rock Lake! We like to bring a blanket and enjoy a lunch or sunset dinner on the grassy area overlooking the water at T&P Hill Park, but there are plenty of picnic tables available if that’s more your style. Another picnic option is the newly renovated Stone Tables & Playground. With lots of wide open spaces, a large playground, and indoor bathrooms, this is a great option for larger families.
If you’re going to a restaurant, there’s no better place than White Rock Alehouse & Brewery, located right off the trail. We love their large, kid-friendly patio and excellent happy hour specials. It’s also a great spot for a large group!
The Dallas Arboretum
A day at White Rock Lake isn’t complete without a visit to The Dallas Arboretum. The Arboretum’s meticulously maintained 66 acres include a Children’s Adventure Garden, vegetable garden, flower gardens, restaurant, amphitheater, and vistas with breathtaking views of the lake. Though it’s worth a visit any day of the year, the seasonal events and festivities make it truly special. Whether you’re enjoying the tulip festival in the spring, the evening concerts on the lawn in the summer, the pumpkin festival in fall, or the Christmas Village in December, your visit will be magical and memorable.
White Rock Lake is one of our family’s most treasured spots. We’ve created some of our most special memories experiencing all that the lake has to offer!
This article was written by Hannah Fairchild. You can find more helpful adventure tips and tricks on Hannah’s Instagram @dallasfunfam